Preparing the Application

You’ve researched and written pro and con lists and read advice columns and now you’ve finally decided that you want to be an international student in the USA. Yet you’re still wondering, “How do I get into college?” The answer, of course, is that you have to apply.

If you’re applying as an undergraduate, every school will have different but overlapping requirements. The list below includes the most likely pieces you’ll have to include in your undergraduate application, but make sure to check each school’s website for specifics. And don’t forget that a school’s international student center can be a great resource to help you understand all the steps to get into college.  

For graduate programs, though several requirements (such as undergraduate transcripts) will be the same, most programs require specific materials relevant to their focus, such as a statement of purpose, research papers you’ve published, writing samples, a portfolio, or something else. Again, check the schools’ websites.

As an international student, you will most likely also be required to complete the TOEFL, a standardized test that measures the English-speaking abilities of non-native speakers.

Undergraduate requirements for international students

Things to keep in mind