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The basics
THE USA: Applying to University

European students applying to a US university

Practical advice for European students applying to study in the United States

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With some of the best universities in the world, the US is a popular destination among foreign students. However, it is important to bear in mind that the application process can be time-consuming, so we've compiled some top tips on how to apply for a US university.




Being admitted into an American college or university can be a long process for international students, and will usually involve lot of paperwork. It is therefore crucial that you do your research before you decide on your subject and school. Use our quick and easy search tools to find out more about your dream institution in the US.




You should start the planning period early, preferably one year before departure. Of course, if you don’t have that much time you can get through the application process quicker, but the sooner the better. Remember that some application deadlines can be up to ten months before the beginning of the school term. Especially for schools with competitive admissions, the application process takes a significant amount of time and effort. You will need to write personal statements and request recommendations from teachers or others who know you well. For tips on how to write a personal statement click here.




Once you know what you want to study, you should contact the university to find out what admission requirements are needed. You can do this through our 'contact institution' button on the university profile pages or by visiting the university website. Often you will be required to have show good results on tests like the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test), or English tests TOEFL (Test of English as a Second Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Individual schools in the United States can also approve you if you have achieved a certain level of English from secondary school. Additionally, you must satisfy the requirements of the specific program you apply for.


Three of the most common English language tests


TOEFL: This test is normally computer-based, although paper versions are also available. The actual test consists of mainly multiple-choice questions, in addition to at least one essay question.


SAT:  There are two versions of this test. You have the SAT I and SAT II. The first-mentioned test is called the Reasoning Test and here your mathematical and verbal skills will be evaluated. In the maths section you will be asked questions to cover algebra, geometry, probability, arithmetic, counting and logical reasoning. The test normally consists of multiple-choice questions.


The SAT II, in comparison, contains 22 different tests, and is therefore referred to as a Subject Tests. Each subject test covers a specific area such as languages, chemistry or English history.


ACT: Though it is quite similar to the SAT test, the ACT test is purely subject-based. It covers four areas: Reading, Scientific Reasoning, Maths and English. This is also multiple-choice question based.


Make sure you give yourself enough time to take the necessary tests. In most countries you can try out for the tests several times. You can register for the tests here.


US student visa

As an international student, one thing you need to consider is the matter of student visas. A good tip is to apply for this as soon as you possibly can, as it may take time to get the application through. Read more about it here.


Study in the USA


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Top tips on how to apply to universities in the USA

The application system for universities in America is unique in several ways and can be quite hard to grasp. But don’t worry, we’ve spoken to international students and professionals from within the industry, to give you all the information you need. After reading this, you’ll know everything about how to put together the best application to universities, so that you can make your dream of a study abroad adventure in America finally come true!