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Study Abroad Guide

Ultimate USA Student Guide: How to Apply for University

August 2021

The United State of America is renowned for study abroad. The country welcomes numerous students every year to study their wide spectrum of courses. It has a well-systematized course, curriculum and outstanding teaching methods. The USA has leadership in the technology field. It also hosts the largest universities. The faculty encourage students to learn and earn that means to grab a practical knowledge along with the learning; these help students to experience and understand the importance of employee. Students are allowed to work part-time which is 20 hours per week, and full-time that is 40 hours per week during vacation.

Documents required for the student's visa

  • All original documents should be carried, make sure that there are no fake documents.
  • Passport, Visa fee receipt, Interview appointment letter, DS-160 confirmation page.
  • I-20 in original with the student's signature.
  • SEVIS fee receipt.
  • Financial resources: Original documents required. Proof of liquid assets sufficient to pay for the entire first-year expenses as well as proof of semi liquid assets to cover the remaining years of studies and IT Returns of the sponsor.
  • Academic documents.
  • Acceptance letter or rejection letter from any other university.

There are two type categories of visa

Immigrant Visa : Immigrant visa is for a permanent stay visa.

Non-Immigrant Visa. : The non-Immigrant visa is for a short-term stay. Students have to choose a Non-Immigrant visa as their sole purpose is to study in USA and this is also a basic requirement to satisfy the visa officer.

Documentations and Procedure for USA University application.

Application Form : Students need to submit the required application form to the university. It can be downloaded from the college or university website. Some forms may be free of cost while some may charge an application fee and it sometimes depends on the course.

Application Form : Students need to submit the required application form to the university. It can be downloaded from the college or university website. Some forms may be free of cost while some may charge an application fee and it sometimes depends on the course.

Resume : A resume is a vital part of the application as it shows a student's experience and in some courses like MBA work experience is needed. Other things that need to be added to a resume are your contact details like phone number, email address, residential address and educational background like school, college, subject related to the course, extracurricular activities as well as accomplishments.

Statement of Purpose/ SOP : The SOPs are about the student's personality, skills, interests and aspirations. This is another important part of a university application. This is the time were come to know about the student as the student is an unknown individual to the university. One thing that needs to keep in mind is that the SOP should be written in your words and not plagiarize.

Academic Documents : The students need to attach attested academic documents along with the university application. The documents include Marksheets and Certificates of Std X, XII, First Year to Final Year of Bachelors, Masters, whichever are applicable along with Other Diploma certificates. The scan copies should be attached with the online university application and mail them.

Admission Test Certificate : In the USA Universities, they have some test criteria that need to be fulfilled by the students. Some courses require a test like GRE, GMAT, SAT etc to secure admission. While some universities require English Proficient Tests like IELTS, TOEFL, PTE

Letter of Recommendation / LOR : Students are advised to get 3-4 LORs as it is important for the application. LOR verifies the student's makes and proves validation to the admissions committee. The LOR should be written by the Department head, Principle, Supervisor, Employer, etc. LORs should be submitted depending upon the course.

Additional Certificates : The certificates of any extracurricular activities that have been attended by the student. It should also be attested with the application and the academic documents.

Passport Copies : It is important to attach the passport copies with the application as this will help the university to recognize the student and the other that need to be submitted is photographs as ID proof.


What are the various methods for applying to universities in the US?

The USA is one of the most sought-after study overseas destinations. As an international student, one may wonder how to apply for USA university. Mentioned below are different ways to apply to universities in USA:

  1. Common Application (Common App): Utilized by more than 900 colleges and universities, it’s a single application platform that enables students to apply to several universities through submitting a single application.
  2. University-Specific Applications: Certain colleges have their distinct application systems. One can find university-specific applications at prominent or specialized organisations.
  3. Integrated Admissions: Different factors of one’s application, including exam scores, grades, recommendation letters, essays, and extracurricular activities are taken into account by the majority of universities in USA.
  4. Coalition Application: Like the Common Application, this is a shared application for several colleges.
  5. Transfer Applications: This is usually used when a student wants to transfer from his/her current university to another one.
  6. Early Decision (ED) and Early Action (EA): If admitted, ED is a legally binding promise to show up, usually with a shorter window of time. EA, on the contrary, is non-obligatory, and permits one to apply early for a prompt response.
  7. Regular Decision: Usual application procedure but with a later due date, allowing for additional time to prepare and compile documents.
  8. Examination-Optional Admissions: ACT/SAT standardized exam results are no longer needed by a few schools. However, if candidates believe that these scores boost their application, they can choose to submit them.
  9. Scholarships and Financial Assistance: Through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the CSS Profile, apply for financial assistance. Also, investigate and apply for scholarships from the university and outside entities.
  10. International Admissions: As an international student, make sure to fulfil visa prerequisites and provide proof of English language proficiency viz., IELTS/TOEFL test scores.
  11. Apply for a Visa: Students’ on acquiring a Letter of Acceptance, should obtain a valid student visa, generally an F-1 visa for educational courses.
  12. Appear for Interviews and Submit Portfolios: as part of the admission process, interviews may be required by certain universities, especially for specialized courses. Portfolios demonstrating your work may be asked for by art and design schools.
  13. Application Fees and Waivers: Students should pay application fees. Nevertheless, qualifies students are offered fee waivers by certain universities.
  14. Submit Necessary Documents: Provide mark sheets, personal statements, recommendation letters, and other supporting documents as asked for by each university.
  15. Follow-Up and Admissions Decisions: Keep a track of your application status and examine admissions decisions. If needed, prepare for interviews, and submit supporting documents, if requested.
  16. Acceptance and Enrolment: On securing admission, adhere to the guidelines of the university to accept the offer and enrol in classes.
  17. Attending Orientation and Pre-Arrival Arrangements: Be a part of orientation programs. As an international student, arrange for transportation and accommodation.
  18. Plans your Finances: Arrange your finances, including tuition fee payments, and living costs. Look into available financial aid options.

Make sure you obtain a valid medical insurance coverage and meet any immunization prerequisites. Acquaint yourself with the campus, facilities, and academic standards of the university.

The application procedure can differ between universities, hence, carefully evaluate the particular requirements and deadlines for the universities you intend studying at.

Which documents must you submit in order to apply to a US university?

For students wondering how to apply for university, he/she must start by investigating admission prerequisites and preparing application materials.

Wondering how to apply for admission in USA universities? Well, it is simple and just requires you to submit the below mentioned documents:

  1. A Complete Application Form
  2. Academic Marksheets
  3. ACT or SAT Standardized Exam Scores
  4. Test Scores of English Language Competency tests like the IELTS/TOEFL
  5. Statement of Purpose (SOP) or Personal Essay
  6. Recommendation Letters
  7. Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume
  8. Application Fee
  9. Proof of Funds
  10. Copy of Passport
  11. Visa Documentation viz., I-20 form (for F-1 visas) or DS-2019 (for J-1 visas)
  12. Interview (if required)
  13. Portfolio (if applicable)

For correct and recent information, visit each university’s admissions websites as particular requirements can differ between programs and universities.

What are the standardized exams needed to apply to US universities?

Many prospective foreign students often ponder upon how to apply for university in USA for international students. Applying to universities in USA requires students to appear for standardized tests. The typical standardized tests required for admission to a university in USA are:

  1. ACT (American College Testing) or SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test)
  2. GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) for business-related and MBA programs
  3. GRE (Graduate Record Examination)
  4. MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) for admission to medical schools in USA
  5. PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test) for admission to pharmacy schools
  6. LSAT (Law School Admission Test) for admission to USA law schools
  7. DAT (Dental Admission Test) for admission to dental schools
  8. Specific GRE Subject Tests
  9. Other specialized tests are required by certain schools or programs

What are the English language competency criteria for applying to a university in the United States?

Based on the county and university, how to apply for university can differ. Applying to universities in USA requires students to fulfil the following criteria for English language proficiency.

  1. IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) test scores
  2. Cambridge English tests viz., CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English) or CAE (Certificate in Advanced English)
  3. PTE (Pearson Test of English)
  4. TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) scores
  5. Duolingo English Test (used as an alternative to IELTS or TOEFL)
  6. English Language Courses: Students’ whose English language abilities do not meet the necessary standard may be offered conditional admission with an English language course requirement by universities in USA.
  7. Exemptions: Candidates who are native English speakers or have completed their schooling in English, may be exempt from appearing for English competency tests.
  8. Letters of Recommendation to support a candidate’s language proficiency
  9. Writing Samples: To determine their writing abilities, candidates may be required to submit essays/writing samples.
  10. Interviews: To evaluate a student's spoken English abilities, universities may in certain circumstances, conduct interviews.
  11. English Proficiency Waivers: For candidates from nations where English is the language of instruction, a few universities may do away with English proficiency prerequisites.
  12. English Language Proficiency Testing Deadlines: To be considered for admission, candidates must fulfil testing requirements and submit test scores.
  13. Conditional Admission: Candidates who adhere to academic requirements but require honing their English proficiency before the commencement of their regular coursework may be offered conditional admission.
  14. Visa Prerequisites: To acquire a student visa (F-1 visa) to study in USA, fulfilling English language prerequisites is crucial.

What financial aid opportunities are available to international students applying to US universities?

Many international students aspire to study in USA. However, the question of how to get scholarship in USA for Indian students, is often pondered upon. Financial aid opportunities are offered by a number of top ranked universities in USA, as mentioned below:

  1. Fullbright Program
  2. Need-Based Financial Aid
  3. Scholarships based on Merit
  4. Education Loans
  5. Specific Country Scholarships
  6. Fellowships and Grants
  7. Cultural Exchange Programs
  8. Graduate Fellowships
  9. Teaching or Research Assistantships
  10. Employer Sponsorship
  11. Study Abroad (International Exchange) Programs
  12. Work-Study Programs
  13. Private Scholarships
  14. Government Sponsorships covering living and tuition costs
  15. Professional Organizations
  16. Contact International Student Offices to know about the available financial aid possibilities and application processes.
  17. On-Campus Job Opportunities
  18. Collaborations and Agreements with foreign institutions
  19. Alternative Sources of Funding
  20. Scholarship databases available online

Scholarships help alleviate the cost of studying in USA for international students. To maximize your chances of securing financial aid as an international student, investigate each available option, adhere to application deadlines, and meet eligibility prerequisites.

When is the ideal time to apply to US universities?

There exist a number of top universities in USA. Pursuing higher studies in the USA requires one to carefully conduct an extensive study on how to apply for USA university programs. As a part of the application procedure, one is required to submit his/her academic marksheets, submit scores of standardized tests, and prepare any other application materials as required.

Making an application at the beginning of the Fall semester of the year before the desired enrolment year appears to be the best (ideal) time to apply to top ranked universities in USA. Applications for undergraduate courses must be submitted between the months of September to December. On the contrary, application deadlines for graduate programs differ but frequently fall between December and February. Each university and course have different deadlines, and so it’s advisable to check the unique deadlines for each. A few prominent schools may have earlier deadlines. One is offered adequate time to prepare for tests, compile necessary documentation, and to make solid application materials, through beginning the application procedure beforehand, at least one year in advance.

How can Indian students obtain a scholarship in the United States?

The cost of studying in USA being pricey, one often wonders how to get scholarship in USA for Indian students? It’s simple, just follow the below mentioned steps to acquire a better understanding:

  1. Investigate available scholarships for Indian students, including university-specific, private scholarships, and scholarships funded by the government.
  2. Check each scholarship’s eligibility requirements. Some may demand particular majors, backgrounds, or hobbies.
  3. A number of scholarships being merit-based, students are required to maintain an exceptional academic background. To qualify for the same, an outstanding GPA and high grades in the GRE/SAT standardized tests are required.
  4. Students should find out about any scholarships provided by the Indian government, such as those offered by the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of External Affairs, for students wishing to pursue their studies overseas.
  5. Students should make applications to universities in USA that offer scholarships to international students.
  6. Outside Entities: A number of external agencies viz., Tata Scholarships, United World Colleges (UWC), and other charitable foundations offer scholarships that support Indian students.
  7. Look into the various scholarships that are offered to students who support multiculturalism and understanding. Throw light on your cultural background and contributions.
  8. Monetary Requirements: Several scholarships being need-based, students should make sure they adhere to the financial prerequisites and submit the necessary documents.
  9. Complete the FAFSA: On qualifying, one should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be taken into account for government financial assistance programs.
  10. Submit Letters of Recommendation: To boost his/her scholarship applications, a student should submit compelling letters of recommendation from professors, advisors, or employers who can attest to their academic achievements and character.
  11. Prepare for Interviews and Essays: The scholarship application procedure may require students to prepare for interviews and essays. Highlight your achievements, ambitions, and reasons why you are the prefect recipient for the scholarship.
  12. Certain scholarships take into account all relevant aspects and thus, students should also create a powerful portfolio that includes one’s extracurricular activities, accomplishments, and volunteer work.
  13. Get in touch with Financial Aid Offices: To get to know about financial aid packages and available scholarships, consult the Financial Aid Offices of your preferred universities. You also look up online scholarship databases viz., Fast web, Educations, and, for additional options.
  14. Pay heed to application deadlines. So as not to pass up opportunities, applications should be submitted beforehand.
  15. Get in touch with Indian graduates or students presently studying in the USA for knowledge or guidance on scholarship opportunities. Also, stay abreast with any changes in scholarship programs, prerequisites, and application processes.
  16. Few scholarships may depend on your legal standing, and thus, it’s important to comply with Visa and immigration conditions to study in USA.
  17. Watch out for scholarship scams. There are no application fees for genuine scholarships.
  18. Constantly search for scholarships and make applications to numerous scholarships.

The competition for scholarships being fierce, to boost your chances of obtaining financial aid for your Studies in the USA, plan and begin searching beforehand.

What are the visa prerequisites for foreign students applying to US universities?

The Visa prerequisites for overseas students applying to universities in USA are:

  1. Letter of Acceptance from a SEVP-certified institution
  2. Form I-20
  3. Visa application (DS-160) and fee
  4. Passport-sized photos
  5. SEVIS I-901 fee payment receipt
  6. Valid passport
  7. Financial documentation
  8. Proof of ties to home country
  9. Visa interview appointment letter
  10. Additional documents as requested

For the most recent information before making an application, consult the U.S. Department of State or the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate as visa prerequisites and processes may vary.

What factors should be taken into account when selecting a university in the US?

When applying to universities in USA, take into account the following aspects:

  1. Location of the University
  2. Courses Offered
  3. Accreditation
  4. University’s Standing and Reputation
  5. Admission Prerequisites
  6. Cost of studying including tuition fees and living expenses as well as financial aid offered by the university
  7. Career Resources and Campus Amenities offered
  8. Accommodation Options
  9. Extracurricular Activities on Campus
  10. Size and Student Population
  11. Campus Culture and Student’s Safety
  12. Professional Networks and Alumni Connections
  13. Student Graduation Rates and Alumni Success
  14. Support Services Offered
  15. Policies Concerning Transfers
  16. Individual Choices
  17. Your Future Ambitions and how the University resonated with Them
  18. The University’s Financial Security
  19. Visa and Immigration Considerations

To make an educated choice as to which university best suits your requirements and ambitions, conduct an extensive study on and if feasible, visit the universities.

What are the top 3 universities in the United States?

There are a number of universities in USA. Among these, the 3 top universities in USA are Harvard University, Stanford University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

We help you with the entire USA visa process like, filling up applications, preparing financial statements, and also guidance and training for mock interviews and much more.

We are regularly advised by the consulates about the latest visa documentation and rules and have a success rate of over 99%. Visa guidance is free for all Edwise students in all countries.

For further assistance or queries students can contact us, Edwise International, and avail our wide range of services for students on destinations like Universities in USA, study in USA, study in UK, study in Canada, study in Australia, study in New-Zealand, study in Singapore, study in Ireland and many other countries.

Top US State Universities

Also read: Trending Courses in Canada in 2021

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