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An application fee is usually required to cover the cost of processing your application to American universities and colleges. Fees vary from about $15 to $40 and are typically payable in U.S. dollars only. Some U.S. colleges will waive this fee for very needy students. A complete application that is ready to be evaluated by the admission committee contains the following:

  • The fully completed application form
  • Teacher recommendations (if required)
  • Secondary school report (if required)
  • Transcripts and academic records (official copies, with translation into English if required)
  • TOEFL or other English language proficiency test scores (if required)
  • Standardized test scores (SAT, ACT, and/or SAT Subject Tests, if applicable)
  • Nonacademic information, as required by the U.S. college or university
  • Financial aid application (if applicable)

When applying to U.S. colleges, timing can be difficult

Timing can be one of the most difficult problems that international students face when applying to colleges in the U.S. Make sure that you have carefully read all of the information provided by each institution. You should make a list of all the deadlines for the various steps in the admission process—and for each institution that you are applying to. Make sure to send all correspondence by air mail, and mail them as far before the deadlines as possible. Most schools will send a card acknowledging receipt of your application and will also inform you if any required items are missing from your application package.

U.S. colleges sometimes require interviews

A final step in the application process may be an interview with a college representative. Sometimes the interviewer is an admission officer or a graduate of the institution who is living in your area. These interviews provide an excellent opportunity for you to learn more about the American colleges that interest you. They also give the interviewer a chance to get an impression of you and how your abilities, goals, and interests match those of the institution. The interview is generally informal. Be sure to check with each institution to determine its policy regarding interviews and to find out if an interviewer is available in your area.

Some American universities use what are called “third-party” representatives or recruiters to interview prospective students in other countries. When these individuals are not actual staff or faculty members or part of the alumni of the U.S.A. university or college, you must be extremely careful in evaluating the information you receive from them. If this is the case, you should seek additional information about the institution before making a final decision concerning your application to the respective U.S. college.

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