How do I apply to universities in the USA?

US Uni How to

It is a popular fact that the United States of America is among the most sought-after countries for higher education. Aside from the renowned education system, the culture, diversity, and various places to explore in the country are some of the reasons why students choose to study there. The USA is a technologically advanced country that also has a global reputation. The college/university application process is generally quite a task. Despite that, the process and hard work can result in a rewarding experience. You can do it, and it all starts with knowing how to apply as an international student.

Application Timeline for International Students

Typically, universities in the US offer two application deadlines for applying to an undergraduate (Bachelor's) program.

  • The early application deadline for fall (autumn) admission is between October and November of the previous year.
  • The regular admission deadlines for the fall (autumn) admission are between February and March of the same year.

For a post-graduate (Master's or Ph.D.) degree, the application deadline will depend on the semester in which you are enrolling (spring intake or fall intake).

  • For fall intake, the deadline can be anywhere from January to March.
  • For spring intake, the deadline is anywhere between July and September of the previous year.

Depending on the program you are applying to or the university you wish to attend, these deadlines may differ drastically.

Therefore, It is best that you start working on your applications as early as possible. 

Research Colleges and Universities

First, you have set a routine to research the programs that interest you, which will likely include several universities and colleges. Then, based on the factors most important to you and your long-term goals, you can make a final list of universities to which you want to apply. University rankings can also help you find the right university, including institutions on par with Ivy League schools.

For example, if you want to work as a Financial adviser, look at the rankings of the university that provide Finance programs and create a list of the highest ranked. You can then narrow this list further as you look into more details of each of their programs.

If you are still confused, check out our Course Search now and get insights on universities, courses, destinations, career outcomes, etc.

Start mailing admissions officers after making a list of potential universities to apply to learn more about admission tests, waivers, estimated costs, and how to obtain the required documents. 

Standardized Testing

US universities and colleges usually base their admissions decisions on a student's academic record and applicable test scores. These tests are necessary for enrolling in a university/college. The required tests for international students applying to American universities differ depending on the program and whether they are studying undergraduate or graduate degrees.

Undergraduate programs usually only require one of two tests:


Graduate students need to take more specialized tests:

  • GRE—For liberal arts programs in the humanities or sciences
  • GMAT—For Business programs

Graduate students may also have to take specialized tests depending on the program. These could include:

  • Dental Admission Testing Program (DAT)
  • Law School Admission Testing Program (LSAT)
  • Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
  • Optometry Admission Testing Program (OAT)
  • Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)

Language Requirements for International Students:

Most universities in the US require foreign applicants to take an English as a second language test. Be sure to have your TOEFL iBT, IELTS Academic, PTE Academic, or C1 Advanced certificates available.

Apply to the Colleges of Your Choice

It's time to start applying once your applications are ready! Most Top universities in USA allow international students to apply online, along with supporting documents. Double-check to make sure you have attached all necessary information and are sending your application to the correct recipient or via the university's official admissions website before sending. If you are applying to a university in the US, remember we have a streamlined application process. To learn more, contact our counsellor!  

Accepting the University Offer as an International Student

There is a possibility that you may receive admissions offers from more than one university to which you have applied. Consider your options carefully and select the option that best suits your long-term career goals, lifestyle, and personal goals in the US if this happens. Also, compare which universities offer scholarships or other forms of financial aid for international students to reduce your tuition costs.

Once you've selected a US university, follow the instructions in the admissions letter to confirm your acceptance. You may also need to pay a deposit fee to the university or program to secure your enrollment.

Student Visa for International Students

To study in the US as an international student, you need to acquire a student visa. To start this process, you need to be accepted by one of the universities you have applied to, as they provide you with an important document that is required during your visa application process.

For more details check out 10 Steps To Get Your USA Student Visa and Documentation Checklist.

Once you receive your visa, celebrate the news with your friends and family! Your new life in the US begins soon, and with an AECC counselor supporting you every step of the way, you can start your journey with spirit.

Check out our YouTube and Podcast channels for more informative content!

Also, visit our free premium tool AECC Course Search and explore over 170,000 courses from around the world!


Let's get social.

English Coaching

Copyright © 2024 aecc.
Useful Links | Glossary | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Speak to UsAECC SearchAECC Student