Application to US
Applications to universities in the United States fall into two categories – centralized college application and direct to the institution. While over 600 colleges are part of the Common Application, many colleges still have their own applications or require supplemental essays.
Prospective students should consider location, student population, the possibility of financial aid and the graduate prospects when choosing a university. Using college finders, college search websites, guidebooks, ranking lists, and, if possible, campus visits can be helpful when narrowing down a list of potential colleges. Each university will set their own application deadlines and fees, as well as admissions requirements. Each college also has its own financial aid requirements and processes, which will need to be completed alongside your application.
Those applying directly to an institution will need to complete an application form and pay an application fee, between 50 and 100 dollars, to each university. Prospective students will be, first and foremost, evaluated on their transcript, their standardized test scores, their recommendations, their personal essay, and any extracurricular activities. Applications will also require admissions exam scores, a number of essays, and, in some cases, an interview. An integral part of the application, particularly to competitive schools, is the college application essay, which gives students the opportunity to share interests, aspirations, and views on the world, and thus making them more than just a list of exam results on a page.
Those applying through the Common Application, or the somewhat less popular Universal College Application, will not have to fill in an individual application for each college. Although this process is less time consuming, students should still compile necessary information in advance. Through the application websites, prospective students will need to create an account and input their school transcripts, academic and non-academic extracurricular activities, test scores and dates from their SAT entrance exams, and guardian information. The Common Application also requires a College Application Essay, with students provided with a selection of standardized essay questions to choose from. Keep in mind that many colleges request supplementary information, including additional questions and essays, and still carry an application fee. Ivy League schools, as well as other top schools like Stanford, University of Chicago, and Caltech, accept the Common Application. The Common Application website also offers a search tool, giving students the opportunity to find universities based on their name, location or application deadline. Alongside this, applicants may get acquainted with entry requirements, including individual college deadlines, the cost of applying, the required tests and recommendations.
The number of colleges you should apply to depends on your specific situation. On average, prospective students apply to about 6-8 colleges. If you apply early decision, as offered by top US universities, you will submit your application in November and should receive a decision by December, before the application deadlines for most other colleges. If accepted by early decision, candidates must withdraw all other applications and attend the college. Most colleges typically have a January deadline, but researching college-specific deadlines is crucial. Regular application decisions are normally announced in early April.