How to Apply to an International University in the U.S. in 2023 -

How to Apply to an International University in the U.S. in 2023

The United States has over 250 universities and colleges listed in the latest higher education rankings created by Times Higher Education, US News, and TopUniversities.

Whether it's the attraction of living the American dream, or simply the irresistible idea of finding success in "the land of the free and home of the brave", around 1 million international students choose to enrol at a university or college in the USA.

Find Masters in the US

But, how can you make sure that you will be accepted at one? Below I will run through some of the steps and approaches to selecting a university, and making sure that you have what it takes to be admitted.

1. US universities to consider for your studies

Here are some top US universities you should consider for your study abroad adventure:

You can also choose an online Master's degree from universities based in the US. Here are just a couple of examples:

students in usa.jpg

2. Prepare to apply

  • Most universities give you the option to apply directly on their websites.
  • Be sure to read the requirements carefully when applying to American universities. Some will require standardised tests (e.g. GRE, GMAT, MCAT, LSAT), and others will ask for different documents (writing samples, portfolio, list of patents) as part of the application process.
  • Most students apply to 3-5 universities to increase their chances of being admitted.
  • University application fees are usually between 75-100 USD, depending on the university. If you have trouble paying your admission fee, contact the university or programme directly.
  • Non-US students may be required to supply proof that their English-language skills are proficient enough to attend classes. Be sure to have your IELTS Academic, PTE Academic, C1 AdvancedTOEFL iBT, or Duolingo certificates available.

The US doesn't currently have an application system for all universities. Local and international students should apply directly through the university. Use the links on the university websites, and follow the instructions carefully.

3. Language requirements for US university applications

To ensure that you are able to effectively learn and participate in your classes, you will need to show that you have good enough English-language skills to apply for admission to a U.S. university. The minimum scores will depend largely on the programme and the university. Most U.S. universities will accept one of these tests:

Double check the university and programme requirements to see the minimum score they expect from applicants.

Find Masters in the US

4. Required university application documents

Different universities and programmes will require different documents. However, these are the items you are most likely to need if you apply to a university in the US:

  • Transcripts or records of grades (high school and/or university)
  • Résumé/CV
  • Test scores (SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT)
  • Proof of English-language proficiency
  • Motivation letter or statement of purpose
  • Application fee
  • Writing sample
  • Passport photo

5. University application deadlines in the US

If you are applying for an undergraduate (Bachelor's) degree in the US, universities will typically offer two application deadlines - early admission and regular admission.

  • If you're applying for the fall (autumn) admission, early deadlines will be between October and November, the previous year.
  • If you're applying for the fall (autumn) admission, regular admission deadlines will be between February and March, the same year.

If you are applying for a post-graduate (Master's or PhD) degree, your American university application deadline will depend on the semester in which you are enrolling (spring intake or fall intake).

  • If you are applying for the fall admission, your deadline can be anywhere from January to March.
  • If you are applying for the spring admission, your deadline is probably anywhere between July and September, the previous year.

These deadlines can vary drastically depending on which programme you are applying for or which university you wish to attend. Be sure to contact the programme itself if you're not sure about the correct deadline.

university in usa.jpg

6. Final steps after receiving the university acceptance letter

Congratulations on getting your acceptance letter!

  • If you aren't a US citizen, you will need to use your acceptance letter to apply for the F-1 student visa.
  • Be sure to take some time to apply for funding and scholarships. You can also check out the Studyportals Scholarship to get some help on financing your studies abroad.
  • Check whether the university you applied to requires an enrolment fee to secure your spot there.
  • Celebrate your victory of being admitted at the university of your dreams!

Once you have finalized which US university to pick, the next plausible step is to arrange your student housing on time. And for that purpose, you can either opt for on-campus accommodation or go for a more popular option, off-campus accommodation. Whether you shift into student housing in Chicago or student accommodation in D251451as, you will find a safe and cozy place to live; moreover, freedom and independence to relish your student life to the fullest, which tends to be somewhat restricted in university dormitories. 

Interesting programmes for you

Explore more than 90000 Master's programmes from all around the world with Studyportals.

All disciplines
United States


Go to your profile page to get personalised recommendations!