Tips for Applying to US Universities: Timelines and Requirements

MAEducation provides international students from around the world with the opportunity to easily, quickly, and cost-free access both high schools and colleges in the United States. Today, we want to discuss in our blog the timelines and requirements to consider in order to study in the US without causing headaches for the student and their family.

Timelines and Requirements to Keep in Mind

If your intention is to study in a foreign country, you’ll need to organize and plan everything well in advance. In addition to analyzing which options align best with your preferences, you’ll need to fulfill more requirements than what are typically requested in your home country.

With MAEducation, you can have access to over 250 North American institutions in a clear and straightforward manner. Furthermore, you’ll have access to educational consultants who can assist you on this journey.

Below, we present an ideal chronological order of the requirements that US universities usually ask for. Keep in mind that to apply to the universities offered on our MAEducation platform, it’s not necessary to meet all of these points.

  1. Research and Analyze Universities: A year before sending applications, you should conduct a thorough analysis of the universities that interest you. Consider their programs, location, costs, scholarships, and more. Whenever possible, it’s advisable to visit some institutions and take guided tours. Through MAEducation, you can access information on over 250 institutions and receive assistance from experts if needed.
  2. Extracurricular Activities: Working on your extracurricular profile is essential if your goal is to gain admission to the most prestigious universities in the country. Setting yourself apart from other students is key to securing a spot in that 1-3% of students admitted to Tier 1 or Top 50 universities. Activities like volunteering, personal projects, academic competitions, and research are some examples that enhance the profiles of these students. But don’t worry! For universities with a national ranking above the top 100, this isn’t considered essential. The institutions we work with at MAEducation also don’t require these types of experiences.
  3. SAT and TOEFL Tests: About 10 months before applying, you should take the SAT exam for the first time and take an English proficiency test, usually the TOEFL, which is accepted by all US universities.
  4. Letters of Recommendation and Academic Transcript: Around 6 months before sending your applications, you can gather different letters of recommendation from your teachers and counselors. We recommend having about three letters written in English, signed, and sealed.

Your academic transcript from the last 3 years of school should be provided, signed, sealed, and officially translated into English if your school doesn’t provide it in English. The transcript for the last school year, since you’re completing it during the application period, will be submitted once it’s finished. By then, you might already have a possible admission.

  1. Personal Essay and Prompts: Some universities require a general essay on a topic that has impacted you or one through which you can define yourself as a person and student. You might also be asked to respond to short questions or prompts, such as explaining why you want to study at their institution.
  2. Final University List and Second SAT Test: About 3 months before, it’s advisable to have a clear list of the universities to which you’ll apply. Taking a second SAT test to improve your score is highly recommended; don’t settle for your first score! Most students manage to raise their score by 200 points on a second attempt.
  3. Review Your Applications: 1 month before, ensure you have all the requirements that each university asks for.
  4. Early Action, Regular Admission, Rolling Admission: In the US, you can choose to apply to a single institution in advance during the early action period. Students applying through “early action” have a higher chance of being admitted, as this indicates their top priority is getting into that institution. Regular admission is the standard application period within a specific window, typically from November to January. Lastly, rolling admission means they accept applications continuously at any time.
  5. Send Your Applications! It’s time to submit your applications. Make sure you haven’t forgotten anything and send them in.
  6. Await Admissions. Some universities will take weeks or even months. Don’t lose hope and wait for your admission letters. Once you receive your admission letters, you can proceed with the enrollment process at the university of your choice.

As you can see, there are various requirements and a preparation process to access US universities. With our platform, we summarize this complex path in 3 steps: Select your favorite institutions, complete the required documentation, send your applications, and await admissions.

The vast majority of MAEducation universities only require your academic transcript and an English proficiency certificate. Nonetheless, the more information you provide, the better. Letters of recommendation, personal essays, and extracurricular activities can facilitate your admission process. If you still have doubts about planning your process of accessing an American university, we advise you to contact us to receive the best assistance from our team of experts. Don’t wait any longer – reach out to us!


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