United States is the number one choice for the international students since it provides the best quality education and top career opportunities. However, applying to colleges requires lots of preparation, compliance, efforts and patience. US education system is very different and the admission process is not based simply of academic marks or merit. It is a holistic selection process. Here we will discuss five steps to apply for the colleges and study in the USA.
One of the requirements of admission is standardized Test. SAT and ACT are commonly taken by the students. The number of SAT test taking students is more compared to ACT. However, colleges don’t give any preference to any one test. Many students attend different academic curriculums like IB, State Board, or IGCSE, national curriculum of different countries, hence judging and comparing students needs some kind of standardizes benchmark.
These standardized tests are testing the math, English and analytical analysis etc. abilities / understanding of the test taking students. Colleges considers this standardized test marks as means to compare two different students with respect to the college readiness.
In the colleges of the United States the medium of instructions is English. Also, for international students it is required to demonstrate the English proficiency. For this all students are required to take any one of the English proficiency tests from TOEFL, ELITS and Duolingo etc.
You need to apply these colleges either through Common app or Coliation app. Some colleges have their own application process and platforms. California state universities have their own application system. You need to write about 650 words one essay showing your statement of purpose for the admissions in those colleges. It is a common essay to be sent to all the colleges you are applying. Also, some colleges will ask their individual questions and need to answer them in 50 to 500 words as per college requirements.
After submitting application, you will receive a link from the colleges where you will find the application portal. All the details are there in the portal. Various materials are required to be submitted so as to complete the application requirements before the deadline. All the official transcripts, testing scores, recommendation letters etc. need to submitted before deadline so as to mark your application as complete and referred to admissions committee. Incomplete applications will not be processed.
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3. College selections:
Most of the students apply to many colleges ranging from 5 colleges to 20 or even more. After college admission decisions are released, many students get admission offers from more than one college. Considering all the admits and all the individual priorities of each student they need to take decision which one college they want to attend. Accordingly, students need to commit to any one college by depositing the commitment amount of $500 to that particular one university.
4. Get I-20
Once college is finalized now its time to get the I-20 letter for VISA process. For that first students need to inform the colleges about how they will fund their cost of attendance. Cost of attendance include the cost of tuition fees, living and boarding expenses, books and lab fees, local transportation fees, health insurance fees etc. Student need to show to colleges that they more than one year’s liquid funds available in their parents or sponsor’s bank account. Even approved bank loans can be considered. Students need to submit these necessary documents, bank latest statements, income tax return etc. After that college will send you the I-20 form to student which is used for getting student F1 VISA.
To enter into united states every student needs to get nonimmigrant F1 Visa for the validity of entire duration of education. Students need to submit DS 160 form and comply with other requirements and book the appointments for visa interview. This process requires lot of preparation hence start as early as possible. You need to show funds readily available at least for one academic year as mentioned in your college I-20 form. At the time of interview the officer can ask you any question so search for frequently asked questions and prepare and practice answering these questions. Once you receive your visa approved you are ready to go to the United States for college higher education.
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Studding in United States is a great experience but it requires lots of preparation and planning. If you plan it in advance and if you follow above mentioned 5 steps it will guide you in the right direction of getting admission into US universities. However, this is just an overview of this process. You need to do detailed research of each step of college selection, admission requirements, financials etc. You can read other articles on this website for detailed information of each topic. Good Luck for your study in USA.