Admission Process
The United States of America is the world’s leading student destination. Several universities there, for example, Stanford University, MIT, and the University of Harvard, are famous for their state-of-the-art education system. Even though each of these universities has its application process for international students, there are several aspects you need to keep in mind while making your application. Following is a comprehensive overview of the application process for students from India wishing to pursue an education in the USA.
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  • There are around 4000 accredited colleges and universities in US that offer diverse range of programs.
  • These institutions are providing quality education, abundant opportunities, and multicultural environment to students.
  • US is known for its diversity and inclusion. Moreover, the education system is flexible such that students enjoy the freedom to select the course content as well as the structure.
  • The application process in any US university is straightforward and mostly online. However, it can be difficult for candidates to know where to begin and what things to focus on.
  • Students who have been refused visa once will not be able to seek interview appointments again in the same year. Therefore, it is crucial to follow a step-by-step guide for applying in US university.
Prepare to Apply

Most universities in USA gives their candidates an opportunity to apply directly on their official website.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before beginning the application process.

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  • Candidates are expected to read the requirements carefully before beginning the application process.
  • Candidates are advised to apply at 3 to 5 universities to increase their probability of being admitted.
  • Depending upon the university, candidates will have to pay university application fee of 75 to 100 USD to complete the application process. In case of trouble in paying the application fee, candidates can contact university directly.
  • Non-US candidates will have to mandatorily provide a proof of their English proficiency through TOEFL or an equivalent exam.
  • Keep the required documents ready before beginning the process of application. While some universities require standardised tests, others may ask for different documents.
Documents Required

Various colleges and programs require different documentation to complete the application process.

The following is a list of documents that are required by all universities.

  • Transcripts of all previously attended Schools & Universities.
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Standardised Test Scores (SAT, GRE, GMAT, ACT)
  • Proof of English-language proficiency [IELTS/TOEFL]
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP)
  • Letters of Recommendation (LOR)
  • Application Fee
  • Financial Statement from a Bank
  • Essay or sample writing
  • Passport Copy
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Language Proficiency

Candidates must provide a proof of proficiency in English language for admission in US University.
The minimum score required to apply for a course shall depend upon the programme and the university criteria.

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Most universities in US accept:

  • IELTS Academic: International English Language Testing Service
  • PTE Academic: Pearson Test of English
  • TOEFL iBT: Test of English as a Foreign Language
  • C1 Advanced: Formerly known as the Cambridge English Advanced
Application Process

Step 1: Make a list of your preferred schools.

Before you kickstart the application process, the first essential thing you need to do is to make a list of the universities and schools in the USA that provide your preferred study program

When you are done with that, what follows is to contact the schools for an application form for international students. Take your time to gather much information about the schools you wish to apply for.

Step 2: Contact the Universities in the USA

Once you are done preparing a list of the universities or schools you wish to attend in the United States, you can contact each via mail or phone. Use this stage wisely to clarify any questions concerning particular programs, courses, accommodation, application form, adopted teaching methodology, international student admission, and many more.

Step 3: Go through Application Requirements and Essentials

After making a list of the universities or schools you want to apply to in the USA, the following process is finding out all the application necessities, document checklist, and eligibility requirements you need to apply to your shortlisted schools or universities. Below are the primary application requirements and essentials to study in the United States of America.

  • Academic Transcripts
  • ACT/SAT Scores for Undergraduate programs
  • GMAT/GRE for MBA
  • English Language Proficiency Scores like TOEFL, IELTS
  • Research Proposal for Doctoral Programs
  • GRE for Masters and Doctoral Programs
  • Resume
  • Additional admission essays
  • Letters of Recommendation (LORs)
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP)
  • Register and Take the Admission Test Needed

At this step of the application process, you should take at least six months to appear for the needed eligibility exams like standardized test prep for GRE, GMAT, ACT, and SAT. Otherwise, you should handle language proficiency exams like TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE. Doing this helps you target the perfect scores needed to apply for your shortlisted program and universities. Note that these exams are carried out at testing facilities globally.

These exams are known to be standardized. As a student, you can take similar tests at each testing location or test centre. Your outcomes provide the admissions staff with a consistent global benchmark for comparing your capacities to other students. Your test outcomes will then be delivered to your school of interest directly. For computer-based examinations, you will be needed to select the schools at the exam location. Afterwards, the testing organizations will transmit your outcomes to them instantly.

Step 4: Prepare Your Application and Essays

As you prepare for the admissions tests, you must draft an impressive application for your selected course. Generally, this includes preparing LORs, SOP, and finessing your CV and resume. For programs like MBA, you will be required to submit MBA admission essays. Otherwise, you need to provide a research proposal for PhD in the USA.

Step 5: A guide on how to provide an outstanding essay.

  • Choose an exciting process. Make sure your essay topic is meaningful to you. It ought to show something concerning your values, personality, and hobbies. Besides, it should show how you differ from other applicants.
  • Complete your essay. Typically, it takes time for one to write well. Hence, you should not be in a hurry to complete writing your essay. When writing, it is advisable to take much care of the introduction. You have to draw the reader in to make them curious about what the rest of your essay will disclose.
  • Employ simple phrases to help you describe your ideas. There is no need to use complicated vocabulary to demonstrate your English language command.
  • Take time to seek help. You should give yourself time to be away from your essay for several days or a week. Doing this allows you to reread your essay with new eyes. Finally, request your instructors, mentors, family, and friends to read your essay. This will help them notice issues you might have overlooked or forgotten to mention.

Step 6: Fill Out the Application Form

Gearing up for your complete university application to study in the United States of America is the next important step you need to take now that you are ready with your essays and scores. Keep in mind that US universities admissions usually are based on the academic records and applicable test scores of the students like SAT, ACT, or TOEFL/IELTS. Besides, you might be needed to submit GRE or GMAT scores based on the course you are applying for.

During the application process, you have to pay an application process fee that varies from $35-$100. Furthermore, if you want to apply for a scholarship at the same university, you might be needed to enclose your scholarship application along with the form of application.

Step 7: Wait for Acceptance Letter

After submitting all the needed documents before the deadline, it is up to you to wait to hear the outcomes. If your application is impressive, you will be assured of getting an acceptance letter from the universities that shortlisted you.

Step 8: Receive Acceptance Letters

You will get acceptance letters from the universities you have selected after the deadline application. Some universities notify their candidates of their acceptance as soon as their documents arrive in the office of admissions. Mainly, this is referred to as rolling admissions. On the other hand, others wait for months before informing all candidates.

Step 9: Fee Deposit

Once you have received your letter of acceptance, you will be needed to deposit your fees to the chosen university. Most of the universities in the USA have a deadline for when to pay. Paying as early as possible is highly advisable. Doing this will help you to plan on getting an accommodation room at the campus because they get filled up very fast.

Step 10: Fill out I-20 Form and Apply for Student Visa

Once you have been accepted at a school and you have deposited your fee, what follows is to receive an I-20 form from your designated school. Typically, this is an important document meant to help you get a student visa. Upon receiving it, you are advised to keep it safe for the whole international student life cycle. Keep in mind that you will be needed to have an original form with you when entering the country. This is the concluding step of the application process to help you study in the USA.

Student Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Financial aid is a means by which students can reduce or eliminate the expenses that they will incur during their education overseas. A university may offer a financial aid package to students that includes scholarships/grants as well as an on-campus job program. As a nutshell, this package assists students in covering a large portion of their total costs while studying abroad.
The American university student culture can be defined as a play-hard, work-hard society. Keep in mind that classes are intellectually demanding, with plenty of homework. However, most students have part-time jobs to assist them to pay for their education. Most of the colleges in the USA provide outstanding facilities for academics and sports.
A minimum academic record of 65% or higher in the humanities stream in class XII and 70-80% or higher in the commerce/science stream in class XII, will also be needed. Otherwise, students with less than 60% grade point average can enroll in Diploma and Foundations programs.
There are three intake options in the United States. The most popular among Indian students is the fall intake which starts in September. If you miss the September one, you can join the spring intake that starts in January. The summer intake is the third one that takes place in May and it is normally available for a limited number of universities and programs.
  • Candidates must begin admission process at least six months prior to the application deadline.
  • It is recommended to choose intake season when the class size is much larger as it means a better chance of getting admitted then.
  • Colleges look for candidates who are curious, passionate, and altruistic. While the grades are crucial, extra-curricular activities are a great way to highlight candidate’s passion.
  • Professors begin their research at the beginning of the academic year. Candidates are likely to have more opportunities to obtain on-campus jobs and internships if they begin courses in Fall semester.
  • Once the application process is complete, candidates will also require a student visa and health insurance. Even if health insurance is not compulsory for student visa, it is a pre-requisite for candidate’s stay abroad.
Student visas can be obtained given proper documentation. Most of the applicants from India who provide a confirmed offer from a University/College abroad and evidence of financial support for tuition fees and living costs are issued visas. The Consulate can provide you with a downloadable Visa application form. Alternatively, you could get the same information from your educational advisor at Indo American Student Council.

Grants & Scholarships

Studying abroad can often be expensive, however, an efficient budget plan can help to manage living expenses effectively with the help of grants and scholarships.

Grants and scholarships are both meant to provide students with a financial help to complete their education, but both are different.

Grants Scholarships
Meaning Grants are funds disbursed by one party. It is an award of financial aid for students to pursue their future education.
Recipients It is often given by a government department, foundation or trust, or a corporation to students or educational institutes, veterans, non-profit organisations, colleges and universities. Scholarships are awarded to students who are academically qualified on various criteria reflecting their values and purpose of the donor.
Types No specific categories Scholarships are based on need, merit, career, and student specific.

The college application process can often be intimidating as there are many steps involved like writing an essay or obtaining letter of recommendation. It is recommended that candidates take the help of experts who can guide them.


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