Studying in the USA
There are five main steps you need to take to make sure your application to study in the US is successful.
Studying in the USA
- Research your study in the US options
You can do this by visiting university and college websites, talking to current students about the courses, and of course visiting the colleges themselves.
Take time to think through your decisions – but also be aware that you need to leave enough time to fill in the applications that will allow you to take your pick of the colleges you’ve applied to.
There are three levels of college that you should apply to. The first, often called ‘safeties’, are those that you are highly likely to gain an acceptance from – your grades should surpass what they ask for, although you should also bear in mind that you might up attending this college –so make sure it is somewhere that you would be reasonably happy to study.
You should also apply to colleges where you stand a good chance of getting into when your grades are taken into account and look at the quality of previous students when they enter. They are sometimes called ‘reasonable schools’.
Lastly, it can’t hurt to apply for one or two schools that you have less chance of getting into – where your grades might fall slightly short of what is needed.
There is no harm in trying for your dream college, and you never know – fill in a stand-out application form and wow the tutors at interview, and you might find that your slightly-below-requirement grades are overlooked.
- Complete your application
In the US, you apply directly to the universities rather than using a centralised system like the UK and other countries. You should be aware that some courses may have application deadlines as early as 10 months before the start of the course.
The majority of US colleges will ask you to take admissions tests to ensure that you are up to the calibre that their courses require. Some courses will require you to submit essays; all are likely to ask for references from tutors at your current or last school. It is almost certain that you will also need to have an interview.
- Finance your studies
To find out how to pay for your studies in the US, and for information on scholarship opportunities, visit funding study in the US.
- Apply for your student visa
To study in the US you will need an F1 visa, and you can apply once your place on a college course has been accepted. Visas can only be processed 120 days before the start of the course.
You cannot enter the US more than 30 days before your course is due to start, so if you need to be in the US earlier, you will have to apply for a tourist visa too. As always, visa information can change and depends on where you are applying from, so make sure you double check all information.
- Prepare for your departure
You’re almost ready! Now you should spend your time preparing for your course, your move, and ultimately your life in another country. Good luck!