You must complete four basic steps to study at a university in the United States. In this article, we’ll outline those steps so that you have the blueprint to start your journey!
How do I begin the process of studying in the United States?
As a prospective international student, there are four basic steps you must complete in order to study at a U.S. university.
Step One: Decide which universities to apply to.
This is often a complicated task because you need to know a lot of information to make a good choice. If you have no idea how to do this, you should consider contacting the closest academic advising center sponsored by your government or the United States government. Each office can provide useful advice about schools you should consider. (P.S. our website is a great resource to learn about some of the best schools in the nation!)
Step Two: Contact the Office of Admissions at each school.
After you have decided which schools interest you, the next step is to contact the Office of Admissions at each school and request an admissions application for graduate study. This application will give you details about the process at each school. While you wait for a response, it can be a good time to take the TOEFL and any other examinations that will be required by most schools.
Step Three: Complete final application requirements.
The third step is to complete the applications you decide to pursue and arrange to have all of your secondary and post-secondary study records sent directly to the schools you selected. Then send in the applications and the application fees according to the instructions in each application packet.
Step Four: Play the waiting game.
The final step requires some patience. You must wait until the universities make their admission decisions. This can take some time, so be patient (and apply early!). When you have been accepted, you will be sent a form called an I-20, the document you will need to get a student visa. Take the I-20 form from the school you wish to attend to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate nearest you. Take your passport and proof of financial support (bank statements, scholarship awards, etc.). You will be requesting student visa status, which is usually an F-1 visa.
After you are interviewed and receive approval, a visa will be stamped on your passport. Then you are ready to come to the U.S. to begin your studies. Make your travel arrangements early to avoid a last-minute disappointment.
It is quite common for students to transfer from one U.S. university to another at the undergraduate level.
Is it possible to transfer from one U.S. university or college to another without starting my program over?
Answer: It is quite common for students to transfer from one school to another at the undergraduate level. In fact, some schools (many 2-year colleges) are designed to be transfer schools and offer only the first two years of undergraduate study. Their graduates often go on to do the last two years of a bachelor’s degree at another school.
Graduate programs are more complicated due to the nature of graduate education. It is sometimes possible to transfer to another university after beginning a graduate program in the U.S. The policies, however, will vary by individual school; therefore, it is important that you inquire about the university where you plan to transfer and what courses they will accept for transfer.
You should make sure to inquire about the general transfer policy and specific policies pertaining to the school you’re transferring to. It is likely that some of your previous graduate credits will not be accepted. You should choose the school you are transferring to carefully and discuss your options with your graduate advisor.
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