Where do you start if you want to study in the USA?
Making the decision to study at a U.S. college or university is an exciting one, but knowing where to start can be a challenge. So below, we’ve gathered expert information and resources to help you choose the best institution, pick a course and submit your application.
What you need to know
In general, to study in the United States, you will need to meet 3 basic requirements:
- An acceptance confirmation from an educational institution
- Sufficient funding to study
- A valid student visa
If this seems overwhelming don’t worry! With a bit of time, research and planning you can achieve this by following the tips below:
One: Decide where you want to study
There are thousands of places that accept international students in the U.S. so you need to think carefully about where you would like to study. The great thing about having so much variety is that you can choose a college or university that not only meets your educational needs, but also your social interests.
Below is a list of thing you will want to consider when starting your research:
- Where would you like to go? The U.S. has a great diversity of weather, culture and environment and you should consider these when looking at locations to study
- What kind of qualification do you want to achieve?
- What subject would you like to study?
- What kind of finance will you need? (See step two below)
- Which institution will best suit your personality?
It’s recommended that you only consider accredited U.S. colleges and universities. A searchable list of accredited institutions is available through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Start your research 12-18 months before you intend to begin studies as an undergraduate, or at least 24 months prior to beginning a graduate program. EducationUSA provides detailed timelines to help you identify where you are in the process.
Two: Decide what finance you will need for your studies
The next step is to think about how much it will cost to study in the USA. You want to think about:
- Accommodation costs
- Living costs including food and travel
- The cost of admission and other school fees
Remember, these costs can vary greatly from each institution and also in different areas of the country. Some areas in the United States are more affordable to live in than others, so make sure you research this.
Fortunately, there are a lot of options for getting financial aid to study in the U.S. For example:
- A scholarship from the institution where you want to study
- U.S. Government funded programs
- Awards and funds from other organisations
Don’t forget to read our article on how to find finance for studying in the U.S.
Three: Prepare your application
There is no standard application process for studying in the USA. Each college and university sets its own specific requirements and you need to make sure you know the application process for each institution you want to apply to.
These may include:
- Specific qualifications
- Personal, professional or teacher recommendations
- Extra-curricular experience
Choose between 6-10 institutions to apply to where you feel you have a chance of being admitted. Make sure you find out the application deadline for your top choices so that you have plenty of time to gather the information you need to apply.
Prepare far in advance of each college’s published deadlines to make sure all test scores, transcripts and other application materials are received in time.
Four: Make sure you have a valid visa to study in the U.S.
Once you have been accepted by an institution you will need to apply for a student visa. While this does take a bit of planning, it doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Make sure you’re familiar with the type of visa you will need, and the information you need to make your visa application.
In this article you can read about the type of visa you will need to study in the U.S. as well as resources to help you apply.
Five: Get your IELTS score to help you apply to a college or university
To study at a college or university in the United States, you will need to show that your English is good enough to meet their acceptance requirements.
IELTS is the most popular English test for people who want to live, study or work in another country. It’s also accepted at more than 3,400 institutions in the U.S. An IELTS test score can improve your chances of being accepted to study in the U.S.
● Use the EducationUSA website for more detailed advice on choosing and applying to a U.S. institution
● Discover your options for financing your U.S. studies
● Find out what you need to do to apply for your student visa
● Watch videos of International Students who have studied in the U.S.
● Find your local IELTS test center to book your test