international student using library resources to seach study options in the US

Step 3: Complete Your Application


Start early, plan ahead, and know the application requirements. Application packages require a great deal of preparation and planning.

You will benefit by starting this process early. You should plan adequately for the time and effort involved. Make a calendar of deadlines to track what you need to do and when it needs to be completed.

In the United States, application requirements can vary greatly from one institution to another. Check the specific requirements on the website of each institution’s international admissions office. It is typical for U.S. undergraduate applications to be due between November and January for students who wish to begin courses the following September.

Some general application requirements:

  • Educational credentials: This is typically your secondary/high school diploma and transcripts, as well as any final national exams required in your country. Transcripts are certified copies of your educational record, courses, and grades. An original transcript or certified copy sent by your secondary/high school is generally required for each institution you apply to for admission, along with translations into English.
  • Standardized test scores: Scores may be required to assess your academic ability and English proficiency level.
  • Recommendation letters: The head or principal of your school, your school counselor, your personal tutor, teachers, coaches, or supervisors from professional experiences may write recommendation letters. Your recommenders must be able to write about your work and be able to assess your potential to do well pursuing a higher education degree. Be sure to choose someone who knows you well.
  • Essay/personal statement: This is your chance to write about your interests, long-term goals, and strengths – one of the most important aspects of your application.

For further guidance, visit one of the EducationUSA advising centers.