Want to get accepted into an academic institution in the United
States? Here's some help to improve your chances for success.
As you prepare your application, keep in mind these important
- The most essential part of the admissions process involves
making the right match between the student and institution.
Both should benefit - the student from the experience, and the
academic institution from the student's contributions.
- Admission standards will vary widely from institution to
institution throughout the nation. Be sure to study the specific
requirements of your selected schools carefully.
- There may be considerable competition from other applicants.
For each place in class, more than ten students will typically
submit an application. Only eight out of 10 of these students,
however, will actually be capable of doing the work.
What They Consider
US colleges and universities may have different admission policies,
but they typically consider this question most important in their
What is the applicant's potential for academic success at
my educational institution?
To determine that answer, admission councils will consider:
- The quality of the applicant's school programs and the student's
past academic performance
- The results of standardized tests
- The strength of the student's English proficiency
- The contents of recommendation letters
- The evidence of academic enthusiasm, creativity, independence
- The appearance of special talent in the arts or athletics
- The involvement in extracurricular activities, such as leadership
and service programs
World of Difference
Admission committees, who are evaluating applicants from non-US
schools, realize there are many differences in various educational
systems - not to mention, in grading methods and testing policies.
These experts recognize that extracurricular activities may not
be available, or only on a limited basis in a particular country.
They also try to interpret standardized test results in the context
of the student's cultural background. Often degree programs, majors,
concentration areas, pre-professional programs, and even individual
course requirements may be very different in the student's native
A typical undergraduate or graduate admissions application might
- An application form and fee
- School transcripts
- Results of standardized tests
- Reference letters
- A teacher's report
A Word about Essays
Essays convey a great deal about an applicant's interpersonal
skills and written communication abilities. In fact, an essay
or personal statement is very important when applying to a graduate
school program. Essays are also a good test of students' English
skills - and students with weak written English skills may be
required to take a remedial writing course or an English
as a Second Language class.
Essays often ask the student to describe the following subjects:
- An important experience or achievement
- A personal, local, national or international issue and how
it is important to him/her
- The influence that a specific person has had on him/her
- The role the student has played as a citizen in the community
Students often overlook the importance of essays. That's a mistake.
A poorly written essay will give a negative impression, even if
the rest of the student's application is top quality. That's why
it's very important to remember the following when writing an
- Make sure you understand the essay question completely
- Tell the truth; don't exaggerate or overstate your experience
- Organize your thoughts before you begin writing; think about
what you want to convey
- Write clearly and concisely; use relevant examples or stories
to make a point
- Never use a pre-written essay from a book; most school representatives
can recognize a staged answer and will judge you very negatively
- Use correct English; have a native English speaker read over
your essay for accuracy
Visas, Finances, Insurance
You will also be required to:
- Obtain a F-1 visa
- Demonstrate the financial capability to cover all expenses
for that year of study
- Purchase and maintain approved medical insurance
To apply for an F-1 visa, you will need a "Certificate of Eligibility
for Nonimmigrant F-1" student status (Form I-20). This will be
provided to you by the academic institution when you are accepted
into a program. To learn more about obtaining a student visa,
please click here.
Regardless of whether you are applying to an undergraduate or
graduate program, do take the time to prepare your application
properly. Each day, academic institutions receive hundreds of
applications from eager students just like you. You can improve
your chances greatly by making the effort to complete the application
accurately and completely. Answer all questions correctly and
be sure to write or type neatly with no errors.