Process of applying to US universities for Undergraduate (Associate & Bachelor Degree) programs
Letters of Recommendation
Statement of Purpose (SOP)
Interviews (If applicable)
Send enquiries at least 15 to 18 months before the proposed date of admission. There are two ways to get application forms.
Requesting Application Forms via email : You can request application forms from the universities website. Most universities have a form on their website which can be completed online to request application material.
Requesting Application Forms via Air Mail : The other way is to send a request by airmail for application material. The request should contain a brief description of your educational background, academic objectives, source of financial support, English proficiency and standardized test scores.
Downloading from the university website : Many universities have a downloadable and ready to print versions of their application forms on the net. These can be used for applying just as regular forms.
Admission to a College or University in US requires a completion of twelve years of elementary and secondary education. In the Indian context, this implies qualifying in class 12th examination or junior college as applicable. The acceptable degrees include : Indian School Certificate, Intermediate Certificate, Higher School Certificate, Higher Secondary Certificate, All India Senior School Certificate.
You can either pursue a two-year Associate degree like Associate of Science (A.S.) or a four-year degree like Bachelor of Science (B.S.).
Students who are applying for a Bachelor program or another undergraduate course would be required to submit a secondary school report and transcripts (report cards) of the final exams. The report form should be filled out by a school 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 school report 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 used abroad and the ones used in India, ask your school to include a guide to the grading standards used in your educational system and your school. If your school 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.
If the transcripts are in a language other than English, then it must be translated into English only by the issuing authority or university otherwise it may not be acceptable.
English Proficiency Test
TOEFL: This test is mandatory for International students applying to a Graduate course or University in US. The minimum score required by most universities for admission is 570 (Paper-based test) and 230 (Computer-based test).
Other Require Tests
SAT I : This is required for almost all Courses and Universities.
SAT II : A few Universities may require you to take two or three subject tests.
ACT : A few Universities may also require you to take this test.
Letter of Recommendation
Letters of reference or recommendation letters play a very important part in your admission especially in courses that earn you a master’s or doctoral degree. A recommendation letter is a signed statement from a person who knows you well professionally or has taught you in a subject that is related to the course you are applying to. It should list your positive and negative qualities, strengths and other such information.
The author or teacher 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 (often on the prescribed forms sent by the institutions) 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 and help your case.
Many universities have their own format and questions that have to be answered by the person who is giving the letter of recommendation on your behalf. Letters, which do not give enough information, can jeopardize a candidate’s chances of selection.
Note : Even if not mentioned, it is advisable to include at least two letters of recommendation in your applications as they increase your chances of getting admissions.
Statement of Purpose
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 résumé or reasons for applying to that particular course.
You must submit a financial aid application if you desire financial help for your graduate studies in a US university. Financial assistance for non-US citizens is very limited.
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 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.
A few universities may take your interview to know you better. The interview could be with a college representative or “third party” representatives, staff, faculty or alumni of the college or simply a telephonic interview. These interviews are usually informal and more of an opportunity to exchange information. The interviewer will try to judge your abilities and interests.