Schools usually have different application materials for international students, so it is important that you identify yourself as an international student when you contact the admissions office.
Some possible differences include:
- The need to include certified translations of your education credentials.
- No eligibility for early action and early decision programs.
Application requirements and deadlines are usually the same. Nevertheless, you should allow extra time for applications to arrive, because the international postal system introduces delays. Expect it to take four to six weeks for you to get a response to inquiries. So allow plenty of time. Get information as much as possible from web sites and by email and facsimile. You should begin the process at least a year and a half in advance of the application deadline, and no later than August of the year before the academic year in which you plan to enroll.
Send all inquiries by airmail and request an airmail reply. Even if you are able to correspond by facsimile and email, the actual application and accompanying documents will need to be sent by airmail.
Your initial inquiry should be addressed to the Director of Undergraduate Admissions for undergraduate applications, to the Department Chair or Dean of the Graduate School or Director of Graduate Admissions for graduate applications. Your initial inquiry should either include a preliminary application form obtained from the nearest educational advising center, or at least the following information:
- Your name, indicated which of your names is your personal or given name and which of your names is your family name. It is helpful if you underline the family name or write it in all capital letters. You should spell your name the way it appears on your passport. When corresponding with a school, it is important to always use the same spelling of your name, especially if your name was transliterated from a non-roman alphabet. If you change the spelling of your name, some of your records might get lost. If some of your documents will contain a different spelling of your name, attach a note giving your name as it will be used on your application form.
- Your date of birth, written with the month first, followed by the day then the year, using the Gregorian calendar system. Spell out the name of the month instead of using numbers, because date conventions differ from country to country. For example, 4/3/67 is April 3, 1967 in the United States, not March 4.
- Your mailing address.
- Your citizenship and the name of the country issuing your passport.
- Your marital status and the number of dependents.
- Your past and present education, listed in chronological order, including all secondary schools, colleges, and universities you have attended. Include examination results, grades, and class rank if available.
- Your intended program of study and the month and year in which you hope to begin studying in the United States.
- A summary of the total funds you have available to meet your educational and living expenses during each year of study in the United States. Give as much detail as possible, such as the sources of these funds. Otherwise the admissions officers will refuse to issue the certificates you need to request a visa to study in the United States. You may be asked to provide a copy of the College Board Scholarship Service’s Foreign Student’s Certification of Finances and photocopies of your family’s most recent tax return (if applicable) and bank statements as part of your application.
- A list of your scores on TOEFL and other admission tests. If you have not yet taken the tests, list the dates on which you are registered to take the tests. Also mention where you studied English and the total number of years of English language study.
If you don’t provide this information, the school will respond with a preliminary application that requests it. Otherwise, if you meet their preliminary criteria, they will send you a full formal application for admission with instructions.
There are several organizations that allow you to apply for admission using the World Wide Web. You will still need to submit your credentials via airmail, but using the web-based application services can save you some time. No one service handles applications for all the schools, so you may need to visit several sites. The services include CollegeLink, CollegeScape, and Peterson’s CollegeQuest(GradAdvantage for MBA programs).