You have found the degree program in the School Directory and selected a list of “favorite colleges or universities”. Now you can narrow your list to 8 or 10 schools.
E-mail your narrowed list of schools for more information using the “Request Information Button” appearing next to each school in the directory.
The schools will send or email information with descriptions of the academic programs and activities. If you want more detailed information, then you can request a catalog of courses, usually published by the college or university (you may need to pay a nominal fee for printing or shipping). Some colleges have their catalog of courses available online.
Applying for Admission
After you have chosen several colleges and universities you can start the Admission Process. Each U.S. college or university sets its own admission standards and decides which applicants meet those standards.
You must apply separately to each college or university.
Even if you have selected one school where you are sure you want to study, you should still apply to other schools. It is possible that your “first choice” school may not accept you. Generally, it is wise to apply to several schools. At least one of your choices should be at a school where both you and your advisor are almost sure you’ll be admitted.
The Admissions Process
E-mail or Write to Several Schools
After you have selected schools where you want to study, contact them for more information and an application form by using the “Request Information” button appearing next to each school in the School Directory.
Send Application Forms
The Admissions Office or postgraduate school department will send you information about their academic programs. This will include an application form.
The application form usually asks for:
Certified Transcripts: U.S. colleges and universities usually base their admissions decisions on a student’s academic record. The Admissions Office will look at your marks during the last four years of secondary school. If you are applying to graduate school, the Admissions Office or department will look at your marks from college or university. Ask the school you are now attending, or have attended most recently, to mail a certified copy of your academic record to the schools where you are applying.
Activities: Make a list of clubs to which you belong, awards earned, team sports experience, or leadership roles you have exercised.
Personal Information: State your name, age, address, family background, birthplace, citizenship, and tax or immigration identification numbers.
Education Plan: Write a short essay telling why you want to attend this school, the program you plan to pursue, and what your career and research goals
Letters of Recommendation: The application form will probably include several blank pages to be completed by your teachers or other local community leaders who can vouch for you. Ask recommenders to complete the forms and mail directly to the Admissions Office. As a matter of courtesy and gratitude be sure to include an addressed envelope with postage pre-paid.
Admissions Tests: Most schools ask for official reports of test scores.
Application Fee: You will pay the school a fee, probably between US $30 and $50, payable by check (and sometimes credit card) in U.S. dollars. The fee pays for processing your application documents, and it will not be refunded if you do not attend the school. Be sure to send your application to the college or university well before the deadline.
Register for Admissions Tests
Students applying to U.S. colleges and universities must take examinations that measure aptitude and achievement. In addition, international students must an English proficiency exam. Your scores give the admissions office a uniform, international standard for measuring your ability compared with other students.
Take the Admissions Tests
You can have your test scores sent directly to the colleges and universities to which you are applying. You will be asked to indicate the names of these schools when you register to take certain tests, such as the SAT; or, you will mark them on your answer sheet when you take other tests such as TOEFL.
After the application deadline you will receive letters from the schools to which you have applied. Some schools tell students if they have been accepted soon after the students documents arrive at the admissions office (known as “rolling admissions”); other schools wait several months before writing you with their decision.
Paying Your Deposit
Most schools require students to pay a deposit before a certain deadline if they want to reserve space in the entering class. For international students, this deposit can be as high as a semester’s or a full year’s tuition. You should send your deposit immediately if you are applying for financial aid, or if you plan to live in college housing. Many schools do not have enough campus housing for all the students, so you will have a better chance of getting a room on campus if you send your housing application and a room deposit fee as soon as possible.
The school that admits you may ask for a statement showing how much money you have available for the entire duration of education. If your government or company is sponsoring you, then you will need to send details of your any financial benefits you will receive.
Your school will send you an I-20 form or an Exchange Visitors IAP-66 form. You can apply for a visa to stay in the U.S. using one of these forms.