USA-Admission Process

Applications and Visas

Admission Requirements & Application Process

Most colleges and universities in the U.S. use a holistic approach to university admissions: They look at a student’s GPA (grade point average), admission test scores and other factors to try to gain a better picture of the student. These factors may include: coursework, teacher and counselor recommendations, the student’s personal statement, interviews, community service, extracurricular activities and more.

Typical Application Requirements:

  • A completed application form
  • Application fee ($50-100 per university)
  • Admissions exam scores
  • 2-3 essays
  • Transcript
  • 2-3 letters of reference
  • Interview (for some universities)

U.S. universities and colleges usually base their admission decisions on a student’s academic record and applicable test scores, such as TOEFL, the SAT or ACT. If you are applying to graduate schools, additional exam scores, such as the GRE or GMAT, will be required.

The fee for each application is US$35 to US$100. This money pays for processing your application and is non-refundable, even if you aren’t admitted to the school. If you mail your application, make sure to contact the admissions office to confirm your application was received.

The admissions office will review your marks earned during the last four years of secondary school. Your results from your country’s national secondary school examinations will also be reviewed.

If you are applying to a graduate program your marks from the university or college will be taken into consideration.

Ask the school you are now attending, or the school you have attended most recently, to mail a certified copy of your academic record or “transcript” to the schools to which you are applying. Prior to taking your admissions tests, you should arrange for official score reports to be sent to the universities or colleges that interest you.

Most applications will request the following information:

  • Personal information—Include your name, age, address, family background, birthplace, citizenship, and so on.
  • Activities—make a list of club memberships, awards earned, team sports experience, or leadership roles you have held.
  • Education plan—Write a short essay explaining why you want to attend this school, what course of study you want to pursue, your career goals, and research plans.
  • Essay—some schools require a personal essay on a topic of your choosing.
  • Letters of recommendation—the application form will include several blank pages for your letters of recommendation. Ask several of your teachers to compose and mail these letters directly to the admissions office of each school you choose.

Be sure to send your application to each university or college well before the application deadline. This gives you some extra time to resolve any possible delays.

Once a US education provider accepts you as one of their students, they will issue a “Confirmation of acceptance of the student” known as an i-20. An i-20 is required for an F-1 or M-1 student visa.

As well as applying for the visa, the i-20 form is mandatory to enter the U.S. for the first time, re-enter U.S. after a short visit outside the U.S., and for the entry of family / dependents (spouse, children).

Visa Application & Visa Process

Pay the SEVIS fee online

SEVIS is The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. The SEVIS I-901 fee is required for all F and M students as well as J exchange visitors.

Complete the DS-160 for online application

In order to complete the form you will need to have completed all steps up to this point. After successfully completing the online form, you will have to print the confirmation page of the DS-160.

Payment of visa fee

The next step is to pay the visa application fee after filling visa application form. There are various modes of payment available.

Book a visa interview

The next step is to book two appointments for your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy. Appointments are booked online.

Once your appointment has been booked, you will be able to view your appointment letter. Make sure you take a print out of this as you will need to bring this with you when you attend your interview.

Undertake an interview with embassy

On the date of your appointment you will need to take your entire visa case with you to the interview. The case file should consist of the documents you have provided throughout the various steps of the process.

It is important to prepare for the visa interview. Make sure to be clear about the reasons you have chosen to Study in the USA, and why you have chosen the course and institution for which you have been issued an i-20.

Visa outcome

On the day of your interview, you will be informed about the visa decision. In case the visa is refused, your passport will be handed over to you directly by the visa officer. For approved visas the passport will be returned with the visa stamp, approximately one week after the interview