5 Things You Need Before Applying to Study in the USA

5 Things You Need Before Applying to Study in the USA

By Brianna Burrows

It’s an exciting decision when you have decided you are going to study in the USA! Although, some students can find the process frustrating and overwhelming. Before you start packing your bags, here are five things that students need to have before applying to study in the USA.

Application Fee and Financial Information:

Many students are not aware that they have to pay an application fee to apply to schools, colleges, and universities in the USA. While this might not be a normal practice in the other countries, this is standard in the United States. Application fees can range in price depending on the school. Some schools charge as much as $90 while other schools charge as little as $25. During the spring of 2015, the average application fee was $41, based on 1,068 ranked colleges. Generally, schools will waive the application fee under certain financial circumstances. If you are needing financial assistance to submit your application, contact your prospective university's admissions office. The application fee is essential, as you will not be able to submit your application until the fee has been paid or waived.

In addition to the application fee, students are required to show proof of financial eligibility. Generally, most schools will require a copy of your bank statement but some schools may allow other documents to show financial eligibility. If you are concerned about providing proof of financial eligibility, contact your prospective school’s admissions office.


If you are a not a citizen or permanent resident of the USA, you will need a passport to study in the USA. Schools in the U.S. require prospective students to submit their passport number on their application. Without a passport, the school will not be able to issue the necessary forms for a student visa, if accepted. Most importantly, your passport must be valid six months beyond the time of your planned studies have completed. For example, if your program ends May 2018, your passport must be valid through November 2018. Therefore, it’s important to check that your passport is valid before applying to study in the USA.

Academic Records and Test Scores:

There are many programs in the USA and each have their own requirements for admission. Many schools that offer undergraduate degrees will require students to submit SAT or ACT test scores prior to submitting their application. In addition to undergraduate programs, postgraduate programs may require the GMAT, GRE or MCAT test depending on the program to which you are applying. As an international student, generally you will have to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score for consideration to an undergraduate or postgraduate program. Although most schools require a TOEFL or IELTS score, there are some schools that do not require them. A list of those schools can be found here.

In addition, schools will require your previous academic transcripts. These transcripts should be from any previous accredited learning institution, such as a high school, community college, or a university. Obtaining academic transcripts can be a time consuming process, therefore, make sure to plan ahead.

Planning in advance will make the process of applying to schools in the USA easier. Remember to have money for each application you submit, a valid passport, and test scores relevant to your program, prior to submitting your application. Applying to study in the USA can be an overwhelming process but if you remember these key elements needed to apply you’ll experience an easy and simple application process.

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Brianna Burrows is a freelance marketing specialist and alumna of Northeastern University. She specializes in event management, social media management, and content branding. Follow her on Twitter here.

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