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Tips for Completing Your Application to American Universities and Colleges

By Peterson's Staff updated on Wednesday, January 30, 2013

There are a lot of details to remember when you're applying to colleges in the U.S., and it can be easy to overlook something. Here are a few things to remember or to look for while you're putting your application together:

No photocopies of school records
Don't send photocopies of your school records in with your application. U.S. colleges require that "official" records and transcripts from any previous schools you've attended be sent directly to them on your behalf. Anything you send yourself will probably not be considered "official," and you will then have to make the proper arrangements. This delay will cost you time and, perhaps, a chance at admission.

Translate academic records into English
If your academic records aren't in English, they need to be translated into English before being sent. Both the original-language records and the translation must be sent directly to the school. Pay particular attention to the instructions regarding translations. Some American colleges and agencies might allow you to do the translation yourself if you are sufficiently proficient in English. However, others might require an official translation or one done by an authorized or licensed translator. Follow instructions carefully to avoid unnecessary delays.

Submit copies of external national examination scores
If you were educated in a system that uses external national examinations, such as the Baccalaureate from France or "Ordinary" or "Advanced" level examinations from the United Kingdom, you will need to submit copies of those scores. If you are applying as a first-year student at the undergraduate (bachelor's degree) level you may also need to take certain standardized tests, such as the SAT or the ACT. If you're applying as a graduate or professional student, you may need to take one of several tests such as the GRE, GMAT, MAT, MCAT, or LSAT. Check with the U.S. colleges you're considering to find out which test or tests you need to take and how to make arrangements for testing.

Submit results of English language proficiency test
If English is not your native language, or if you have not been educated in a country or region where English is a native language, you may need to submit the results of an English language proficiency test, such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). If you're applying to graduate school, you may also be required to take the Test of Spoken English (TSE) as evidence of your ability to teach in English.

Pay attention to deadlines
Deadlines are extremely important! Pay close attention to any dates listed on the application forms. As an international student, admission to a U.S.A. university or college takes more time than it does for American students and most schools have an earlier international application deadline. U.S. colleges and universities receive thousands of applications from international students each year. In order to be considered for admission for the term you want to begin your studies, it is essential that your application and all materials be received before the deadline.

Studying in American universities and colleges can be an exciting and rewarding experience. To start off in the best possible way, carefully follow the instructions of each school that you are considering. If you have any questions about the application process, get in touch with U.S. college to get the information you need. They will be glad to help you!

About the Author

Peterson's has more than 40 years of experience in higher education, and the expert staff members here are all ready to leverage their considerable knowledge and experience to help you succeed on your educational journey. We have the information, the know-how, and the tools -- now all we need is you!

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