Since universities in US follows the most comprehensive and exhaustive admission procedures, the checklist procedures for US universities pretty much addresses documentation requirements for any other destination like UK or Australia – which in most cases have fewer requirements. Thus for the sake of convenience we have elaborated on the admission procedure for applicable mostly for US universities

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) (usually required for US universities)

The SAT tests the students’ reasoning based on knowledge and skills developed through their course work. It measures their ability to analyze and solve problems by applying what they have learned in school. The SAT Reasoning Test is a measure of the critical thinking skills you’ll need for academic success in college.

The SAT assesses how well you analyze and solve problem, skills you learned in school that you’ll need in college.

The SAT has following three sections:

– Critical Reading

– Mathematics

– Writing

Please click here to know more about SAT…

Test of English As Foreign Language (TOEFL) (some other countries may require IELTS)

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) measures the ability of nonnative speakers of English to use and understand English as it is spoken, written, and heard in college and university settings. Please click here to know more about TOEFL.

Application Process

The application process to International Universities is a long and complicated affair. It involves extensive research, data gathering & analysis knowledge about the working method of international universities, accurate documentation and correct timing, to list just a few factors.

The following steps are involved in the applications process:

Selecting universities is perhaps the most time consuming and important process.

IMP DON’T: There is often a difference between popular perception and reality, so going by what most people say is good for someone else may not be so for you

The best university for you may not be the famous ones, but those that offer you your field of study as well as meet the other criteria important to you. The range of academic options as well as available universities are so wide that it is not possible to select the best in one go and it may take some time. The basic steps involved in the process of selecting universities are

  • Deciding on the field of education in line with your interests and past academic background
  • Assessing your financial capacity and budget
  • Selecting universities based on the following criterion:
    • Program Offerings
    • Research programs
    • University Rankings
    • Program Length
    • Cost Tuition, living expenses etc
    • Availability of Financial Assistance to International Students
    • Entrance Requirements
    • Tests (SAT,GRE,GMAT, TOEFL etc and minimum scores)
    • Accreditation status (Professional accreditation for some programs)
    • Student Profile
    • Enrollment Total available seats and the size of the school
    • Location (climate, semi-rural, metropolitan city etc)
    • Facilities Library, housing, student associations etc.
    • Type of Institution Public or Private

These are the usual criteria. You could prioritize your criteria out of this list and shortlist the number of universities on that basis to about 10. You could further shortlist your choice on basis of specific issues like tuition fees, availability of financial etc.

Your past academic record is one of the most important deciding factors in getting admission to a college abroad. Most schools require you to have a reasonably good academic record especially for technology programs and courses. Each university has its own minimum requirement for its programs, which are flexible depending on the candidate’s overall profile. It is advisable not to convert your marks to the American Grade Point Average system or any other system since the conversion may not be accurate.  Unless you get your credentials evaluated from an approved evaluation agency. You may attach an explanatory note from your college to indicate your rank in your class and/or university. The letter may also indicate your place as compared to the class and the university average and the number of students in the class and the number of colleges and students in the university. You may also provide any other information or documents that you feel may help you in the admission process.

Usually universities DO NOT have a cut off when it comes to standardized scores and usually publish an average score for specific programs, so depending on the strength of your other credentials the university accords a varying degree of flexibility as to the acceptable test score

It is important to understand that most universities offer financial assistance to international students based primarily on merit and rarely on need. The amount, and type of assistance offered varies based on the university, department and level of study.  Also funds are more likely to be available in fields like Engineering, Physical Sciences and Biological sciences.

Selection of university and selection of program usually go hand in hand. But one must remember that even the best-known universities are not the best for every single program offered in that university. Similarly, a particular university may not be very high ranked, but a particular program in that university may be excellent for your requirements. Therefore, it is necessary to study each program very carefully.

Academic Documentation, Transcripts, Recommendations and Statement of Purpose are the academic documents required for application process.

Transcripts: Students who are applying to American Universities would be required to submit a detailed report and transcripts (report cards) of all the years of higher studies in India. The report form should be filled out by a college official like the principal, counselor or headmaster. This form should introduce you in the context of your whole school experience in relation to the other students in your class. Admission committees will be interested in learning how you have performed in your own educational system. The transcript should talk about your accomplishments and provide a prediction of your chances for success in university-level studies.

Since there is a variation between the styles of scoring, ask your college to include a guide to the grading standards used in your educational system and your school, or subscribe to an evaluation agency like WES to equate your credentials to American standards. If your college ranks students by their level of academic achievement, make certain that the ranking is included with the other details. Also send the school / junior college leaving certificate as and when it is available. The transcripts must be in English only.

Letters of reference or recommendation letters play a very important part in your admission. A recommendation letter is a combination of subjective and objective evaluation from a person who has known you in an academic or professional capacity.

It should list your positive and negative qualities, strengths and other such information. The referee must indicate his position, how long he/she has known the applicant and in what capacity. He/she should briefly discuss the need, importance and usefulness of the study the applicant proposes to undertake. Authors are usually asked to rank applicants in their letters of recommendation, which helps admission officers to interpret the academic credentials of foreign students. Students should obtain letters of recommendation from teachers who know them as a person as well as a student. You may like to request your author to give concrete examples that may show your qualities.

The personal essays, and/or statement of purpose, play a very important role in the process of evaluating your application for both admission as well as financial aid because it gives the faculty assessing your application their most significant impression of you as an individual. This section is the key to distinguish your application from other suitable candidates and a chance to market yourself. A personal statement should include your reasons for choosing a particular course, the suitability of your education and experience for the chosen course, your personal interests and career goals. Some courses like Business school courses will have their own essay questions and format. Others may ask for a resume or reasons for applying to that particular course.

You must submit a financial aid application if you desire financial help for your studies in a universities abroad. The evidence of financial support is required by universities to issue the documents needed for visa application. Although it is a requirement for application, it is usually not taken into consideration into factors that determine admission. Most universities in US make their admission decisions without regard for the source and amount of financial support. You would be required to submit documentation of your family’s financial resources to help schools assess your need. Most of the universities have their own financial aid form, which you would have to complete. You would also be required to submit a bank statement demonstrating your financial capacity to support your education in US. Some US state institutions offer tuition waivers to international students in return for some type of educational contribution.

Universities usually inform students of their admission decisions well in advance of the beginning term. If you have received admission in more than one university, you will have to decide which one you want to attend. At this stage, you should compare a few objective and mostly more subjective criteria. The points you should focus on are program curriculum, length of program, choice of courses, funding offer or best program with respect to costs, Cost of living, Strength of related departments/program etc.

Each college will tell you exactly what steps to follow to confirm your acceptance of their offer of admission and how to prepare for your first term.  This information will be included with the letter of admission or in materials that will be sent to you shortly thereafter. You must respond with a “Yes” or “No” for each offer of admission. You may also be required to submit a financial deposit to the institution that you plan to attend. This is to guarantee your place in the class. Make sure you do not miss any deadlines.

Each college will tell you exactly what steps to follow to confirm your acceptance of their offer of admission and how to prepare for your first term.  This information will be included with the letter of admission or in materials that will be sent to you shortly thereafter. You must respond with a “Yes” or “No” for each offer of admission. You may also be required to submit a financial deposit to the institution that you plan to attend. This is to guarantee your place in the class. Make sure you do not miss any deadlines.