If United States is the country you wish to go to for higher studies, you might need more than just a passport and a visa. Every year, thousands of students apply in numerous colleges and universities all across United States. Most of them hope to settle down in the U.S. itself while others feel that that a degree from the U.S. would boost their career prospects back home.
However, studying is the U.S. is not as easy as it seems. There are certain conditions that have to be met before for a college or university in the U.S. considers your application.
In this blog, we highlight some of the major requirements for study in the U.S.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR STUDY IN THE U.S.?
PROOF OF TWELVE YEARS OF REGULAR SCHOOLING
Any student applying for a course other than a short-term diploma has to show proof of at least 12 years of regular schooling. Those students who haven’t undergone regular schooling and have passed secondary and senior secondary exams through open examinations do not qualify for degree courses in the United States irrespective of the stream or discipline.
PROOF OF PROFICIENCY IN ENGLISH (TOEFL)
Unlike countries such as Japan, China or South Korea, prevalence of English medium schools in India has ensured that Indian students are acquainted with the English language at a very early stage of their life. This helps them to both understand and converse in English. However, to get admission in a U.S. college or University, one not only has to know English but also its Americanized version with fitting accent and slang.
Any student, before going to the U.S. for higher studies has to compulsorily obtain a certificate in TOEFL (Test of English as Foreign Language). The TOEFL scores required for admission may vary from one university to another. The minimum TOEFL-iBT score may start from 60 and may go up to 100. The requirement of TOEFL is the usually lower for community colleges than in 4-year institutions.
PROOF OF DEGREE FROM A GOVT RECOGNIZED UNIVERSITY (Graduate Students)
In India, Universities Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) are some of the government recognized bodies tasked with providing accreditation and recognition of Universities, courses and professional certifications.
Any student who wishes to pursue a post graduate course in the U.S. must have obtained his or her degree from a university or institution recognized by some of the above-mentioned bodies among others.
PROOF OF FINANCIAL SOUNDNESS
Education is very costly in the U.S., especially for international students. The cost of a regular 4-year degree course may go well be approx. Rs 50 Lakhs. This means that not all students can afford to go to the U.S. for higher studies. It is due to this reason, that before getting admitted to a university or college in the U.S., one has to show his or her ability to pay the tuition fees for at least one semester of the course in which he or she has taken admission.
There are several scholarships available for international students which can bring down the cost of education quite considerably. In some cases, meritorious U.S. students may secure scholarships that not only waive off the tuition fee but also provide living expenses. Others take student loans such as Student Cover’s SC Marvel, SC Excel, SC Crown and SC Beat to finance their education and stay in the U.S.
MANDATORY HEALTH INSURANCE
It is compulsory for international students going to the U.S. for higher studies under F1 and J1 visas to have some form of health insurance. While it is mandatory for the U.S. citizens to buy college sponsored insurance, Indian students can opt out of it and can purchase insurance from other places.
Student health insurance plans such as Student Cover’s SC Standard, SC Medium and SC Superior are quite popular among those Indian students going to the U.S. for higher studies. It not only gives them freedom to choose from among the University accepted plans but also saves them from paying very high premium of University health insurance plans.
COURSE AND DISCIPLINE SPECIFIC ADMISSION TESTS
Like IIT-JEE, AIEEE, NEET, CAT or MAT in India, there are several course and discipline specific tests which a student is required to undertake before getting admission in an educational institution in the U.S. The minimum marks required in these tests to get admission in those institutions may vary from one institution to another. Some of the popular tests are the following:
GMAT – The Graduate Management Aptitude Test or the GMAT is an internet-based test for assessing a student’s writing, comprehension, analytical and reasoning skills. Most business schools in the U.S. require a student to submit their GMAT score to consider their application for management courses.
GRE – The Graduate Record Examination or the GRE is one of the most widely accepted admission tests in the U.S. The purpose of this test is to assess a student’s verbal and quantitative analysis capabilities along with critical thinking skills. Students applying for post graduate level courses or for fellowships and doctoral courses including those in management subjects are required to undertake GRE exam. A GRE Test score has a validity of 5 years.
At times, banks and NBFCs seek students’ GRE scores for approving student loans. It is mandatory for students applying for loans under Student Cover’s SC Marvel, SC Excel, SC Crown and SC Beat plans to have a GRE test score of at least 90 in order to get their loan approved by the financer.
SAT – Known previously as scholastic assessment test, it is a computerized test which not only measures a student’s ability to read, write or to solve high school level mathematical problems. They are generally undertaken by students who have just passed out or about to pass out of school and seek admission in graduate level courses in the U.S. They are globally recognized and one of the oldest admission tests in the world.
LSAT – Law School Admissions Test or LSAT is required for admission to law colleges in the United States. It is a three-an-a-half hour test whose score has a validity of 5 years. And although the test does not include questions specific to THE U.S. laws, it nevertheless measures one’s ability critically assess and analyze problems that require critical thinking.
MCAT – Like law schools, Medical colleges in the U.S. too require students to undertake admission test such as Medical College Admission Test or the MCAT to admit students for medical courses. Other than thinking and writing skills, the test measures a student’s understanding of basic concepts in science especially biology.
ACT – Known earlier as American College Testing, the ACT is another important admission test for admission to graduate courses in colleges and universities in the U.S. The test measures a student’s skills in reading and writing in English as well his or her mathematical problem-solving capability.
OTHER SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS
In addition to the above-mentioned requirements, some colleges and universities may also require a student to furnish the following at the time of admission.
REFERENCE LETTERS – In case of students applying for post graduate courses, doctoral degrees or fellowships, colleges and universities in the U.S. ask the students to present at least 2 reference letters from their mentors either at work or in educational institutions. They could either be teachers or professors in colleges and universities or seniors at work.
CHARACTER CERTIFICATE – Some colleges and universities also seek character certificate from educational institutions from which a student has graduate.
We hope that the prospective students will find the above mentioned information useful in their quest to pursue higher education in the U.S.