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The basics
THE USA: Applying to University - Must read

Top Tips: What makes your application stand out?

Find out how to make your university application stand out in a positive way

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With the competitive nature of the application process knowing what will enhance your chances of being accepted can be key. We went in search of the best advice from an admissions officer in the U.S.  One of the key areas of focus is the submission of SAT or ACT test scores, as well as proof of English proficiency, all of which can help you stand out. 


Test results submissions 


In many cases, if a student submits an SAT (Scholarly Aptitude Test) or ACT (American College Test) score as part of their application it will raise the interest of an admissions officer. This is primarily because it’s an indication of competency and ability, giving an insight into the student’s suitability for a course of study or programme. The scores are also indicative of what colleges and universities students are able to attend and what course of study would be most appropriate. If a student has particularly high SAT or ACT scores then it’s unlikely they will also need to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score in support of an application, this is especially true of scholarship level scores. 





Students who want to qualify for funding and scholarships need to be able to demonstrate the requisite level of academic ability and performance. SAT and ACT scores can be key to this. You may find that these scores are optional at certain colleges, however if you have taken the tests it’s always advisable to submit the results. It will add significant value to your application with admissions officers being able to offer you more options. Don’t worry if you haven’t taken an SAT or ACT test, the academic results you have from your country of origin will be evaluated accordingly and there are tools used to see if they are transferable. Always make sure that you have written a strong personal statement and have all your documents in order as this gives the impression you are serious about your application. 




English language proficiency 


One of the key areas for all international students is to be able to prove their English language proficiency. Some universities and colleges may allow admission without test scores like IELTS or TOEFL, but this usually requires you to undertake an intensive English programme. Intensive English programmes have a strong academic focus or the purposes of refining academic and language skills to prepare for the rigours of full-time study. They are designed to equip you with the skills for undertaking your course or programme including research, writing, speaking and class participation. International students who meet the minimum English language requirements can also take up a place on one of these programmes, as they can be beneficial for your orientation into a new environment and gaining valuable skills you can use during your degree.


Intensive English programmes are most commonly structured at three levels, namely beginner, intermediate and advanced. Each level is designed to cover a single semester and it is possible to enter at the most appropriate level for you. By way of example, if you have an IELTS score of 5.0 you automatically qualify for enrolment onto an advanced level course. Conditional acceptance onto a university programme may be given, provided you successfully complete the English language course. An interesting point is the observation that many international students who undertake an intensive English programme cope better during their university studies and achieve better grades. 




Study in the USA


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