The application process for a finance degree varies from program to program. Whether you're coming in with experience in the field or perhaps none at all, what most schools are looking for is passion and motivation for the field. There are many different ways to show on your application why you want to study finance and how you might think about using them to your advantage in the application process.
Depending on whether you're applying as a first-time freshmen, a transfer student, graduate student, or just applying to the finance degree program within the university you've in which already been accepted, there will be some differences in the application process you'll experience. As an international student, there may be a special international student version of the application for admission to finance degree programs. You'll also find guidelines for the visa & immigration process available through your school's registrar office.
Are there any finance courses or work experience that will help my application?
If you've already completed courses that are relevant to studying finance, you can include that information in your application in the form of academic records from your former school, descriptions of what you learned in a well-written, finance-related application essay, or within a letter of recommendation from a former teacher or boss.
Although previous courses or work experience is helpful, it isn't necessarily required, even for graduate school. For many finance degree programs, backgrounds in science, mathematics, engineering, business, or other fields can be helpful. However, students who simply display a clear motivation and passion for excellence in finance are really what schools are looking for. A wide array of experience & backgrounds can be accepted, even at graduate level.
What kind of test scores do I need?
The application process for a finance degree at most schools will require new freshmen to take either the ACT or SAT, and graduate students to take either the GMAT or GRE, although there are rarely any set requirements for what specific scores you need to have, even in the math sections, for admission into finance programs. International students whose native language is not English, or those who are not from an English-speaking country, may be required to take an ESL, TOEFL, or IELTStest.
Your scores on these tests are necessary submissions in order for most schools to consider you as a candidate for their finance degree program, but test scores can't make or break the success of your application on their own. However, since finance degree programs have a significant emphasis on rigor in quantitative analysis, studying for the math section of your tests and doing your best in math classes is a good idea prior to applying.
What other factors can help my application to get accepted?
Transcripts from any previous high school or college you attended are likely to be required in the application process for a finance degree, but a grade point average (GPA) can certainly help or hurt your application to a finance major. However, other things like your performance in specific math, business, or other classes related to the curriculum of a finance degree program that might show that you'll do well in the program will also be helpful.
You can also submit letters of recommendation from former teachers, advisors, or bosses who can speak to your specific abilities working with numbers, management or other factors that might help to show why they expect that you'll do well in finance.
Submitting information that shows evidence that you've displayed character, determination, or leadership in past experiences, will also help you. Finance is about numbers, but it is also about bearing responsibility for very high stakes projects, and making good calls on issues that aren't always clear.
Motivation & Passion
All of the above things, test scores, transcripts, essays, letters of recommendation, or information on other extra-curricular experience you submit are really just ways of communicating to the school your motivation and passion to participate in their program. If you are motivated and passionate about finance, there will be lots of different kinds of opportunities to demonstrate so within the application process for a finance degree at the schools you're applying to.