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Application Timeline - 18 Months Before


Research various colleges and universities programs to see which programs will best fit your academic and professional goals

Thousands of American colleges and universities open their doors each year to international students like you. As you begin your research, visit the Decision-Making Process section of our Study USA guide. Students seeking an undergraduate level of study have for years used reference books from school libraries or U.S. educational advising centers – but of course the web is the best source for school research now. You can start your search of possible schools in the U.S. using the USA School Search. The USA School Search lists every college or university in the USA that admits international students, and leaves out any schools that do not, making it very useful and efficient for an international student planning to study in the US.

Applicants to graduate study need to study college catalogs and web sites to find suitable programs and identify faculty who share their academic interests. You should use software such as Peterson’s Grad Search, and reference books such as the GRE/CGS Directory of Graduate Programs, available at U.S. advising centers. A few good web sites for the initial research are:

Once you have narrowed down the colleges in which you are interested, read anything you can find about them. If possible, talk to or correspond with alumni of these institutions or parents of students studying there. Confer with faculty and academic counseling staff at your own school. A good list of your selected programs can only be made if you are well informed.

Register and prepare for required entrance exams

Undergraduates should register and prepare for the TOEFL, IELTS or other English language test accepted by your schools, as well as the SAT exams. In addition to one of the English language tests, Graduate students should determine whether they will need to register for the GRE and/or GMAT exams. Law students will likely need the LSAT, medical students the MCAT – and there are several more! Please visit our section on standardized tests for more information on standard tests you may be required to take.

Keep working at your subjects at school. Good grades in the courses you are taking will count heavily in the admissions process.

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