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The basics
THE USA: Applying to University

Iranian students applying to a US university

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

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Studying in the United States can be a great opportunity. Study abroad students from Iran can experience everything that Western culture has to offer, make new friends and learn new things in a welcoming and diverse environment.


If you would like to expand your horizons by studying at a US university, the first thing you have to do is apply. Here is a step-by-step guide to applying to two well-known universities in the US to give you an idea of the process. This process will vary from school to school, so be sure to do your research, but we’ve picked a few universities below to show you how the application process can vary.


University of Kentucky


The University of Kentucky is a highly regarded university in regards to both academics and sports. It has won many honours over the years, and it is home to students from over 100 different countries. The application process for international students is not much different from the process for domestic ones.


The first thing you will need when you apply is (not surprisingly) the application form. This includes a questionnaire and an essay portion, and with it you must send a processing fee of $60 USD along with it. Secondly, you will need to send a copy of your transcript. You will need two copies of this: one in your native language, and one translated into English. This must show that you have received your high school diploma (Diplom-Metevaseth). Also, if you have already taken some college courses in Iran, you must show proof of these as well so that you can get into the right level of classes for you.


Other requirements are a bank statement on official bank letterhead that shows that you have enough money in your account to pay for a full year’s tuition (at the moment this is $38,500 USD), and/or a sponsor guarantee form, which shows that you will be financially supported for the duration of your stay at the university. Also, you must have the results of an English proficiency exam, such as the TOEFL or the IELTS. You must have a letter of recommendation from a teacher or guidance counsellor as well, and a copy of your passport.


If you would like to be eligible for scholarships, you must also include the results from the ACT or SAT exams.


The deadlines for application at this school are October 15th for the Spring Semester, which starts in January, and March 15th for the Fall Semester, which starts in August.


University of California


The University of California also has students from over 100 countries across the globe. They say that international and domestic students alike are attracted by the “exceptional learning environment that fulfils their academic ambitions, intellectual passions and desire to experience cultural diversity at its richest.”


The University of California has some requirements for international students that are a bit stricter than the University of Kentucky’s. To apply, you must have a high school diploma, as well as the results from your Iranian University Entrance Exam (Konkur). You must also have studied in school for 15 years all together, and have maintained a grade point average of at least 3.4. There are also specific courses that you must have taken in order to qualify for admission.


You must also have taken the ACT or SAT exam in your last year of high school. This test is not offered as a part of the high school program in Iran as it is in the United States, but it is important that you find a way to take the exam anyway. According to the university, “We understand that students living in certain countries where these tests are not offered (e.g., the Islamic Republic of Iran) are challenged to fulfil this requirement. However, given the large number of applications we receive from students throughout the world, we very rarely make exceptions to the requirement.” In other words, this particular requirement could make or break your hopes of getting in to this university, so go online or talk to someone at your school to find out how you could take the ACT or SAT. You can find a way—do not let this obstacle prevent you from applying to colleges in the US!


Other requirements include proof of English proficiency, such as results from the TOEFL or IELTS exams.


The filing periods for applying to the University of California are from November 1st-30th for the Fall quarter/semester, July 1st-31st for the Winter quarter/spring semester, and October 1st-31st for the Spring quarter. An application fee of $80 USD is required.


What should you do next?


These are just two of the hundreds of schools you could apply to in the United States. The application process is different in every school, but these two examples give you an idea of what sorts of documents and forms you will need when you apply.


Last but not least, some of these requirements seem very tough to achieve, such as the ACT or the SAT, but if you need help or are worried that you will not be able to adhere to some of the requirements, try sending an email to the admissions department of the school you are applying to. They would be happy to help you, or at least point you in the right direction.  

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