Follow these steps to study in the USA
Step 1: Know the Requirements
In order to apply to universities in the States you need to understand the basic requirements and know what programs and courses they have to offer. It is good to have a brief idea of the visa requirements and the common documents like passport, letter of recommendation, statement of purpose, proof of finances etc. When choosing a university, make sure to check for its accreditation and ranking. As requirements vary by state and universities, spend good amount of time in doing its research.
Step 2: Decide on the university and the course/program
There are a lot of universities in the United States with good choices for almost everyone. Usually students apply to about 7-10 universities with a few being backups. Candidates need to choose a specific course or program of interest to pursue however you can switch to a different course later but it’s always advisable to do some prior research and decide what interests you the most.
For more helpful tips on deciding the university, check out this article Top 11 things to consider when choosing a foreign university.
Step 3: Give the Language Proficiency Exam
As an international student you will need to prove your proficiency for English language. You can either take the TOEFL or the IELTS exam. Decide the test, register and pay the fee and book your exam slot well in advance. Most universities have set requirements on the minimum scores for each section of these tests. Make sure to check on the university’s website. If your scores are low, you might be asked to enroll in some prerequisite courses at the university itself.
Step 4: Give the Entrance Exam if applicable
As an international student, some universities might require you to give certain entrance exams. Ideally the GRE is widely accepted in the USA but depending on your course you might need to give the GMAT exam or the ACT or SAT exam. Your score on the entrance test will play an important role on your admission decision so give your best in these exams. Take the required test, register and pay the fee and book your exam slot well in advance. Each university will have different score requirements for the entrance test so do not forget to check on the university’s website. If your scores are low, you might be asked to enroll in some prerequisite courses at the university itself.
Step 5: Apply to Universities and/or Colleges
By now, you should have shortlisted the universities you are interested in. Each university has an application fee which is a few hundred dollars so be mindful of the colleges you are applying to. Fill in the application form diligently with all the required documents. Some common documents required are a copy of passport, English language proficiency proof, any academic exam if needed, proof of sufficient funds or scholarship letter, Letters of recommendation, Statement of Purpose and passport sized photographs. Double check before submitting and then sit back until you hear from the university.
Step 6: Manage funds
As taking education at American university can be expensive, make sure you check the fees of each university you are applying to. You can also consider scholarships. There are plenty of them available and if you apply to the right ones your chances of getting one are higher. Check out this article ‘All you need to know about scholarships’ to ensure you are searching and applying to the ones you are most likely to get. If you happen to have dependents (such as spouse or children) who will be travelling to the USA with you, then you will need to provide evidence of being able to cover their living costs as well.
Step 7: Apply for Student Visa
Upon receiving acceptance letter from the desired university, you can now proceed with the visa application. The university will send you a SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) I-20 form to complete. With the help of I-20 form, you can fill in the student visa application form online following which you will have to pay the SEVIS fee to schedule your in-person visa interview.
Step 7: Immigration
When you land at any airport in the USA, you will have to go through the port of entry checkpoint where the immigration officer will check your passport and visa and other documents and may ask any questions if needed before letting you enter into the United States.
This is the final step and now you can focus on your dream of studying in an international University.
I hope this article cleared your confusion on how to approach the application process for studying in the United States. Have you started applying for universities yet? What step are you in? Let me know in the comments below.
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