Ready to study in the United States? Start by reviewing the admission requirements for each of the programs the student is interested in. To gain admission, students need to satisfy the academic requirements of the course and demonstrate the level of English language proficiency required by the institution.
Exact admission requirements vary from institution to institution and from program to program. Requirements for the same programs can also change over time. Always check the admission requirements before applying.
Admission into a study course depends on the student’s past academic performance. Each institution specifies the minimum grades/marks or cumulative averages (GPAs) it will accept. In come cases, students also need to have completed one or more required subjects previously, known as prerequisite subjects.
Language Proficiency Requirements
Since English is the primary language of instruction in the US, students applying from a non-English speaking country need to demonstrate English proficiency through an English language test as part of the admission process. Standardized English language tests evaluate students on their reading, listening, speaking and writing skills.
Language test score requirements vary by institution and program. Some institutions only look at the overall scores, while others have cut-offs for scores in each of the four skills sections. Typically, students applying to an undergraduate course need one of the below:
- TOEFL (internet-based test, iBT) scores between 60.0 and 100.0 overall
- IELTS scores between 6.0 and 7.5 with no band less than 6.0
Language requirements are stricter for some postgraduate and professional programs. Always refer to the admission requirements for the specific course on the ApplyBoard Platform for the most accurate information. Learn more about the English language courses in the Education Pathways for International Students section of this guide.
Colleges in the US offer students one of the following options for applying to an institution:
- Regular Decision (RD): A regular decision is for students who are not 100% sure where they would like to apply. This option allows students to take more time to complete their application or retake their ACT or SATs.
- Early Action (EA): Early action is for students who are unsure about attending a particular school. Students are able to apply to multiple institutions through early action.
- Early Decision (ED): Early decision is for students that know where they would like to go. If a student selects EA, it can be difficult to back out as that can lead to negative consequences as the application is a binding contract.
- Rolling Admission (RA): Rolling admission is an option for students that apply to a school through EA and decided they wanted to attend another one. This option is also available if students finish their application early. Schools can provide students with acceptance quicker through RA.
Each institution is different so it is important to research and learn their policies to ensure students apply right the first time. If students are applying through regular decision, they will submit their application in early January (dates vary per institution). Students will hear back regarding their admission status from March to April. Students applying through early action and early decision have similar deadlines in early November (dates vary per institution). These students will hear back in December. The big difference is that if students are accepted through an ED, they agree to enroll in the institution that accepted them. Rolling admission is more flexible and has a bigger window of time to apply. Applications can be submitted from the fall to the spring of the respected intake year.