The college application process in the United States is a bit different than the application process that you will see in other parts of the world. There are a lot of things that you need to consider when you are applying to colleges and/or universities in the United States, and we will give you an overview of each of them on this page.
Tips for Applying to University in the United States
Applying to attend university in the United States is very different than applying to schools around the world. This is likely because attending university is considered to be a part of everyday American life. There are a lot of things that you need to consider when you are applying to attend university in the United States.
First, make sure that you start early. The earlier that you start, the better off you will be. Narrowing your search will also make it much easier for you to apply to university. Many colleges and universities in the United States have a date that you must apply by. Some of them also have early admission programs that can help you secure funds and such before you start going to the university; these early admission programs may want you to apply up to a year in advance. Make sure that you read each application carefully and fully understand what you are doing before you start applying.
While you are looking for universities, you may want to consider narrowing your choices down to three to five schools. This may seem difficult, especially because there are literally thousands of universities across the United States, but you can use the following categories to help you narrow it down.
- What program are you planning on pursuing? Not every university has every field of study available at the level you may be looking for. Some universities may have a bachelor’s program in your field of study but may not have a Master’s level degree available
- Is there a specific region of the United States that you want to study in, or do you not have a preference?
- Do you have a price range that you want to try to stay in? Some universities in the United States will cost much more than others.
- Do you wish to stay at the same university for undergraduate and postgraduate studies? Not all universities in the United States have Master’s and/or Doctorate programs.
- Would you like to study in a rural area, a suburban area, or an urban area? Your experiences will be different depending on the area that you study in.
Another important part of applying to schools in the United States is to make connections as quickly as possible. Almost every university or college in the United States has an international student adviser or office that you can talk to about the university and any questions or concerns that you may have. They can also help you with the application process and can connect you with other international students who attend the university who can tell you about the experience.
Overall, in order to succeed as a student in the United States, you need to make proper connections and apply as early as you can. Perform research, ask appropriate questions, and be smart about the process. If you follow these guidelines, you should not come across any problems while you are applying.
As opposed to other countries that may focus on grades alone, universities in the United States take a more multi-faceted approach. Each university has its own admission standards, but they usually consist of the following items:
- Grade point average (GPA) or letter average, depending on how your secondary school calculated grades.
- Admission test scores, such as the SAT or the ACT.
- Essays or questionnaires that you must fill out as part of the application process. These may include a “personal statement” about why you are considering that university.
- What courses you took during secondary school or during any prior tertiary education.
- Community service and group/club involvement during secondary education.
- Recommendations from educators.
- English Proficiency Exams may be required; most colleges and universities require you to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language exam (TOEFL) before you can attend.
University requirements will differ depending on which university you attend. You can get much of the information that you will need on the university’s website, or you can contact the university’s international student affairs office and/or admissions office for more information about the application process.
If you are not sure which universities that you are applying for, you can consider using the Common Application. The Common Application is a general application that is accepted at several hundred universities throughout the United States. Many of the universities will need a few extra things (such as essays), but it makes the application process much easier. Check out their website for more information about the universities which accept the Common Application.
Applying to university in the United States may seem daunting, especially if you aren’t sure where to start. The College Board website and the United States Government website on studying in the United States can both help you with your college search and how to apply, so make sure to check them out first.