23 June 2022 landmark
For students applying to US universities, the application process can be daunting, especially if you’re applying from outside the country. With so many forms and questions to answer, it’s not surprising that many students choose to have someone else handle their applications.
If you decide to do your own application though, there are some documents you should be sure to have on hand before starting the process. This article will cover all of the documents required for applying to US universities, as well as some other things you might want to consider bringing with you during the process.
Secondary School Transcript
This is a document that details your academic record during high school. It includes information like class rank, courses taken, grades earned, and honors received. It’s one of most important documents when applying to U.S. universities because it provides evidence of your ability to succeed academically in a college environment.
If you’re under 17 years old, an official copy of your transcript will be required by all universities; however, if you’re 17 or older but still in high school, you may choose not to include it—although some schools may require you to submit an unofficial copy in addition to the secondary school transcript.
Evidence of English Proficiency
This one is pretty obvious—after all, you’re applying to study in a different country. If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need proof that you can speak and write it with near-native fluency. Common requirements include an original TOEFL score of at least 550 on paper-based test or 80 on computer-based, or a score of at least 6.5 on IELTS (with individual scores of 6.0 or higher on each section).
Alternately, applicants may provide an official letter from a state department of education stating that they have passed a proficiency exam offered by that department within two years prior to application. Most schools also require official results for any SAT Subject Tests relevant to their programs (these vary widely).
SAT or ACT Scores
Many universities, especially those in competitive college admission areas, will require either an SAT or ACT score. Test scores are used as a measure of your ability to succeed in an academic setting. If you are applying as a high school student (rather than transferring), keep in mind that some schools allow multiple test scores, whereas others average multiple tests together.
Make sure you confirm which policy is in place at any school you’re applying to. If you take one test and then decide to retake it, be careful not to send both scores to any given university; they won’t combine them together. Send your first score and only retake when necessary.
There are so many application essay prompts out there, it’s hard to know where to start. But what should you write about? Don’t make your essay a laundry list of your extracurricular activities and accomplishments (after all, those will be in your resume).
Choose a thought-provoking question that really makes you think about something important in your life. If a program has an open-ended prompt, try taking that idea and spinning it into an interesting short story. And if they want you to make predictions, tell a relevant real-life anecdote instead of just dreaming up some pie-in-the-sky future scenario.
Letter of Recommendation
Although you’ll typically want letters from teachers and professors who know you well, high school counselors can also be valuable advocates on your behalf. When requesting a letter of recommendation, make sure it’s a teacher or professor that can speak about your academic ability and intellectual potential—and not just that one time you cleaned up after yourself in their class.
Sometimes, teachers will be able to write a letter of recommendation for standardized tests as well (such as SAT or ACT). Be sure to submit all letters at least three months before your application deadline. If there’s no room on your application for these letters, consider submitting them by mail.
Don’t leave your university application essay until last. Once you’ve finished crafting your high school and SAT/ACT scores, start working on a personal statement as soon as possible. It will take you some time to brainstorm, write, revise and edit your personal statement—and if you save it for last, it may not get done at all. (You don’t want to find yourself sitting in front of a blank computer screen with an hour before deadline.)
Your essay should be unique: Don’t just copy and paste someone else’s work or use a generic cookie cutter essay that can be found online; admissions officers have seen them before, and they aren’t impressed.
Proof of Funds
It is not sufficient to have a set amount of money in your bank account, you need to prove that you can afford study at US universities. Have your parents show their monthly/yearly income and make sure it covers university fees (tuition) as well as living expenses for you.
Having a large savings account is also not sufficient; Make sure that what you show on your documents will allow you to pay for all expenses and support yourself throughout study at US universities. International students need to show sufficient funds for university fees and living expenses in addition to citizenship documentation. Showing personal savings alone will not be enough!
So these are some important documents you need while applying for studying in US. However, keep in mind that the documents requirement may vary. It is important to consult the university. Or you can work with an experienced study visa consultant. Best of luck!