It can be an intimidating task to find college or universities in the United States and apply to them as you have no idea where to begin with, whom should you approach, and what should be followed. Well below is a timeline that will give you a generalized guideline on admission for higher studies in the universities of the United States. Students applying for graduate programs like MBA, MS can also follow this timeline. To help students to be proactive, the task and activities are outlined easily so they do right away not wait until the last minute.
Before your program starts you should plan at least one or one and a half years. This gives you enough time for your preparation and not just rush at the eleventh hour.
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So what should be considered in your planning?
Assessing your finances- how are you going to provide for your finances? Are you going to opt for a student loan or an on-campus job?
Gauging your living experience abroad- probably one of the hardest things that you can face is living alone all by yourself if you have been away from your parents. Be prepared for it as you won’t be able to see them for a quite long time and you might feel nostalgic having to miss celebrating your birthdays, festivals, get-togethers with them, etc.
You can move on to the next step once you are prepared for these challenges.
It is mandatory to make a passport- if you already have, do check for its expiry date. If it is about to get expired you need to re-issue it as soon as possible.
Have an idea about the procedure of application starting from standardized test up to visa interview.
Seek help from a counselor who deals with a study abroad program and has vast knowledge and experience with good reviews from past students and one who is an expert in planning your costs effectively.
The process of application
After you have researched your university it time to move on to the application process.
Sitting for standardized tests
Depending upon your degree you have registered, prepare, and sit for the admission test. Common test scores that US universities accept are SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc. If you are applying for an undergraduate program you need to apply for SAT which is a written test whereas you need to apply for GRE or GMAT which is a computer-based adaptive test if you are applying for the postgraduate program.
Preparing and giving TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing Service)
Selection of university
- Browse a few universities
- Research about the deadlines of admission, tuition fees, scholarships/financial aid, cost of living, security, etc
- Finally, select the right university with the right academic field and the right budget with the help of your counselor.
Before filling out the online application form read the instructions very carefully as different universities different sets of questions. You can always save how much ever you have filled in the form and come back later and complete it. Due to heavy traffic or a lot of applications, the university server may get slow or down so try to submit your application at least one week before the deadline. The admission fee is nonrefundable so if you do not get selected your money won’t be returned.
So below are the steps:
- Fill out your online application form from the institution’s website which includes personal information, educational history, etc.
- Fill Department application (if any)
- Pay Application Fee (nonrefundable) which typically ranges between $35- $100.
- Confirmation number or application id
- Submit you’re filling out the online application
Submission of documents regarding application
Once you have filled out the application form you need to submit certain documents listed by the university along with your application. Different universities have different requirements so collect for the list of documents from the website that you need to submit to your selected university.
Below is the list of documents that you need to submit:
- Letter of Recommendation from your principal from last passed out of school.
- The most important aspect of your application i.e. writing statement of purpose.
- Submitting to your university copies of high school’s mark sheets or college’s mark sheet if you are applying for a postgraduate program, scores of SAT/GRE/GMAT.
- Submitting a resume or CV
- Bank statement showing sufficient funds
- Certificates of TOEFL/IELTS to prove your proficiency in English language skills and other supporting documents
- Affidavit of Supports
- Passport Copy of front and last pages.
- Passport photo
- Copy of confirmation regarding online application submission
- Check the status of your application which can take 2 to 4 months
- Wait for the Admission Decision. Once your admission gets confirmed you will receive an acceptance letter from the university and I-20 form
F1 Visa or Non-Immigrant Student Visa
- Study about the process of F1 Visa Interview
- Prepare thoroughly for F1 Visa Questions and Answers
- SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) Fees of around $350 needs to be paid for your visa to be issued.
- You need to carry documents like confirmation page D-160 form, I-20 form, Bank Statement, Affidavit from Sponsors along with you on the day of the interview
- Other supporting documents if required like transcripts, standardized test scores, etc
Preparation for your travel to the US
- Before booking tickets do a full-body health check-up as medical checkup is highly expensive in the U.S
- Arrange flight ticket
- Prearrange for Pickup and Accommodation in transit
- Purchase all necessary kinds of stuff needed for your travel and stay in the U.S
- Buy a good quality travel bag
- Carry enough cash to the US
- Keep a copy of documents at home as you may not know when you might need in case of emergency
So basically the whole process from preparation for your standardized test to landing to the U.S for your university can take up to 1 to 1.5 years. So I hope the above roadmap will help you to take the necessary preparation for your U.S study trip.