The Ultimate Guideline To Follow When Applying To Top Universities In USA
Are you looking to study in the USA? Have you started your university application process to apply to the best colleges/universities in the US? If not, then you need to stop everything you’re doing and read this blog. Do you know why at times, students tend to face rejection in their application? One of the common reasons is not adhering to the admission requirements stated by top universities in USA.
Every university in the USA follows a strict college application process. As an international student looking to get accepted at your dream university, this is one of the vital processes that can determine your enrollment chances. Don’t be scared, as fulfilling the admission process at top American universities is simple. All you need to do is remember the essential steps and accurately execute them. So, how can you get started? This blog will be your guide.
How To Apply To Top Colleges In USA For International Students?
The college/university application process for every top university in the USA will vary. However, there is a standard procedure that is followed by all. Remember that your admission process is also a determining factor for university recruiters to decide whether your student application is worth an entrance seat. Thus, ensure you follow the list below to apply to your dream USA university successfully.
- Identify your academic and professional goals
Before you can get started with your college application process, it is essential that you analyse what your academic and professional goals are. It is important to understand this, as it will make your application process more manageable. For instance, if you’re looking to pursue an MBA, you can easily find USA universities that offer the same and work on meeting the entry requirements accordingly.
Similarly, if you’re looking to pursue a career in engineering, you can research courses that match this career interest. One of the common reasons why your application could be rejected is university recruiters not being convinced about your choice of pursuing an academic program. To help you get started, list your goals and find solutions that can match these goals better.
For instance, if you wish to become an entrepreneur, you can explore study programs related to business, etc.
- Choose the right USA university
Next, once you have your course program in place, it’s time to identify which USA university is more ideal. Choosing the right university is essential here because the academic learnings you receive from there will impact your employment opportunities accordingly. For instance, if you decide to study engineering at MIT, you can go on to explore better engineering roles that match your career goals. To choose the right USA university, keep these factors in mind:
- The university should be reputed and ranked
- The course program should cover essential topics based on your career goals
- The course curriculum should be updated as per the current market trends
- The style of teaching is essential. Choose an interactive learning classroom session instead of theoretical learning alone
- The faculty for your course should be well-experienced and have a good background related to your field
- The university should offer great placement opportunities or be partnered with top brands.
Choose one such USA university that can equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to help you ace your career journey.
- Check the entry requirements
Now that you have the research taken care of, it’s time to start applying to the best colleges in the US. You should visit your chosen university’s official admission page to check the entry requirements. The latter will vary based on the degree program and course program selected. Ensure you’re mindful of every need, as failing to adhere to them can impact your student application.
- Analyse the list of entrance exams required
Most top universities in USA enquire for an entrance exam. The purpose of these exams is to help university recruiters understand your knowledge and skills in various subjects. For instance, almost all USA universities enquire for the English language proficiency test score. A good score on this test will help university recruiters analyse how well your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills are in English. Here is a list of entrance exams asked by most USA universities:
- English Language Proficiency Test (IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, Duolingo, Cambridge)
- GRE/GMAT (for graduate admissions)
- SAT/ACT (for undergraduate admissions)
- MCAT (for medicine study programs)
- LSAT (for law)
The scores will be listed on the university website. Aiming for a higher score to enhance your admission application is advised.
- Draft an influential SOP and secure credible LORs
There are two vital documents which you need to send to your dream university as that will vouch for you better. Let’s understand the importance of both.
An SOP or statement of purpose is an essay you should draft honestly. An SOP aims to help university recruiters understand who you are better. As you prepare this essay, highlight points on what course you wish to pursue, why, what makes you unique from the other student applicants, what are your extracurricular activities, and more.
Refrain from sharing your academic scores or any other information you submitted earlier. An SOP should be your story that lists how you wish to shape your life and future with your current academic decisions.
A LOR or letter of recommendation helps university recruiters understand who you are from another person’s perspective. As the name suggests, it is a letter that will be drafted by a person you chose to speak about your academic goals, achievements and anything more related to this information.
For instance, if you’re still in high school, you can request a tutor to write a LOR. If you work in a company and want to pursue graduate studies, have your manager write your LOR. Choosing the right person to draft your LOR is essential as it will help the university recruiters understand you deeper. Opt for someone who can write better about your academic/professional performance, growth and aspirations.
- Pay the application fees
Before submitting your application form from your chosen US university, ensure you also pay the application fees. The charges can range between $50 and $100.
- Submit the essential documents
After you have conducted all of the above steps, it’s time to submit the relevant documents required. This is a necessary process which is why you should create a checklist to ensure all required documents are submitted.
- Previous academic transcripts (for undergraduate studies- high school certificate, for master’s studies- bachelor’s degree, for PhD studies- a bachelor’s and master’s degree). Ensure the transcripts are translated into English
- Passport-size photos
- ID Proof
- Passport copy
- Proof of finance (bank statements or scholarships)
- Statement of Purpose
- Letter of Recommendation
- Entrance exam scores
- Proof of payment of fees (receipt)
- Application fee payment receipt
- Work Experience proof
- Research proposal or Portfolios (PhD aspirants)
While the above is a standard requirement in most USA universities, however, there are a few institutes that enquire more. Ensure you visit their admission page to enquire about the same.
Another essential factor to remember is that these documents should be submitted before the application deadline. If you have chosen more than one university for your admission process, ensure you list down the last deadline dates to avoid missing them.
- Attend an academic interview
After you submit your documents, a few USA universities might conduct an interview process to learn better about the student applicant. In such a case, ensure that you attend the interview on time, speak well, and be honest when answering any questions related to your academics, accomplishments, and career aspirations.
- Await the results
After completing the above step, you will wait for your confirmation letter. The same can be received via email notification.
- Apply for a student VISA
If you’re selected to pursue your higher education at your dream university, it’s time to move towards the next step: applying for a student visa. International students should apply for an F1 student visa. You should have all the necessary visa documents (proof of payment of the SEVIS fee, DS-160 confirmation form, visa application form, English language proficiency test score (if asked), passport copy, passport size photos, funding proof, university confirmation letter, home country residency proof, institution certificate and I-20 form) when attending a scheduled interview with the visa consultants for your student’s visa approval.
- Arrange for funds
You must arrange funds to support your education in the USA. This can be done via personal savings, bank loans, sponsor support or applying for scholarships. It is preferred to use the latter since most USA universities offer an excellent funding benefit for international students. These fundings could be partial or full and can help cover vital costs such as tuition, travel, rent, etc.
- Plan your post-arrival actions
Start to plan your activities as you arrive in the USA. Make a list of the things you wish to conduct, such as opening a bank account, purchasing book materials, etc.
- Get ready
Pursuing your education in the USA has always been your dream. Now that you’re finally getting the opportunity to pursue your higher education here, grasp this chance and continue to fulfil your goals accordingly.
Your admission process is equally important as exhibiting a great academic score when applying to top universities in the USA. Most students will sometimes have their application on hold until they complete the required entry process. This delay could result in you having to sacrifice your ideal admission intake and, in turn, settle in for another intake or apply next year. If you don’t wish to experience any of these mishaps, we strongly suggest investing in a study abroad counsellor. The latter is of great help as they have the experience and knowledge to assist various study abroad aspirants in their admission journey at their chosen USA university. Get started by booking a free 1-1 counselling session with Collegepond today!