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Admissions Timeline for 2013-14 and Beyond

1 Years Before Enrolment (Spring/Summer at the End of Year 12/ Lower Sixth) or Before Application checklist Check out the Why Study in the US section and make sure that study in the US is right for you Investigate the degrees on offer. Confirm whether you want to complete a two-year Associates or four-year Bachelor's degree Start researching and choosing the 4-6 universities which you will apply to in the autumn Attend an Undergraduate Study Seminar, where Fulbright advisors will cover everything you need to know to apply for US universities - the application process, admissions exams, choosing the right institution and funding opportunities Decide whether you need to take an admissions test and register. (Scores are valid for up to five years.) Key Dates Admissions test dates 1 October 2011 (registration deadline 9 September 2011) - SAT testing date 22 October 2011 (registration deadline 16 September 2011) - ACT testing date 5 November 2011 (registration deadline 7 October 2011) - SAT testing date - generally the last SAT testing date for early deadlines 3 December 2011 (registration deadline 8 November 2011) - SAT testing date 10 December 2011 (deadline 4 November 2011) - ACT testing date 28 January 2012 (deadline 30 December 2011) - SAT testing date 11 February 2012 - writing section not available (registration deadline 13 January 2012) ACT testing date 10 March 2012 - no SAT subject tests offered (deadline 10 February 2012) - SAT testing date 14 April 2012 (registration deadline 9 March 2012) - ACT testing date 5 May 2012 (deadline 6 April 2012) - SAT testing date 2 June 2012 (deadline 8 May 2012) - SAT testing date 9 June 2012 (registration deadline 4 May 2012) - ACT testing date Dates and registration for the autumn SAT and ACT tests will be available in June 2012. Note they will follow a similar pattern with tests in: SAT: October, November, December, January, March, April, May and June ACT: 27 October 2012, 8 December 2012, 9 February 2013, 13 April 2013, 8 June 2013

If you require additional or one-to-one support, consider meeting with a test tutor or educational consultant 10-12 Months Before Enrolment (Autumn/Winter) 1 August 2012 - Common Application (used by 450+ universities) and most other university's applications become available online Attend USA College Day Late September or Early October 2012 (Central London, Kensington Town Hall) - the UK's only US study fair. Visitor registration will open in August. Attend an Undergraduate Study Seminar if you have not already If you have not already, register for and sit an admissions test Narrow your choices to the 4-6 universities which you will apply to in the autumn Request a transcript from your school and 2-3 reference letters Begin drafting your application essays Alongside your admissions applications, apply for funding from US universities and external funding bodies, alongside the application process Mid-October/early November 2012 - Application deadlines for Early Decision (legally binding) and Early Action deadlines Students should plan to take the ACT by the October date or SAT by the November date, but check with universities to confirm. Mid-December - Receive unconditional admissions and university funding decisions by post or e-mailif applied Early Decision/Action January to March 2012 - Regular application deadlines, with most in January Students should plan to take the ACT by the February date or SAT by the January date, but check with universities to confirm. From March: Receive unconditional admissions and university funding decisions by post or e-mail if you applied for the regular application deadlines Lead up to Enrolment (Spring/Summer) Typically by 1 May 2013: Notify universities of your decision and pay a non-refundable deposit to hold your place Late spring / early summer 2013: After accepting your offer, begin visa application process Read the pre-departure section of our website to prepare for your arrival in the US Complete our pre-departure survey to win great prizes Summer: Complete your visa interview at the US Embassy in London or if applicable your home country Mid-August/early September: Attend new student and international student orientations before classes begin

Application Timeline - 18 Months Before


Research various colleges and universities programs to see which programs will best fit your academic and professional goals Thousands of American colleges and universities open their doors each year to international students like you. As you begin your research, visit How Do You Start Your Decision Process? You can start your search of possible schools in the U.S. using collegesearch software or reference books. Keep in mind that these types of reference books are often updated every year, so you will want to make sure that you have the most up-to-date information available. Students seeking an undergraduate level of study should use software and reference books that may be available at your school library or U.S. educational advising centers. A few good Web sites for the initial search are: http://www.internationalstudent.com/school-search/ http://www.collegenight.com/ Applicants to graduate study need to study college catalogs and Web sites to find suitable programs and identify faculty who share that academic interests. You should use software such as Petersons Grad Search, and reference books such as the GRE/CGS Directory of Graduate Programs, available at U.S. advising centers. A few good Web sites for the initial research are: http://www.collegeboard.org http://www.petersons.com http://www.review.com Once you have narrowed down the colleges in which you are interested, read anything you can find about them. If possible, talk to or correspond with alumni of these institutions or parents of students studying there. Confer with faculty and academic counseling staff at your own school. A good list of your selected programs can only be made if you are well informed. Register and prepare for required entrance exams Undergraduates should register and prepare for the TOEFL and SAT exams. Graduate students should determine whether they will need to register for the GRE and/or GMAT exams. Please visit our section on standardized tests for more information on standard tests you may be required to take. Keep working at your subjects at school. Good grades in the courses you are taking will count heavily in the admissions process. Test Overview Most U.S. colleges and universities will require that both undergraduate and graduate students applying for admission take one or more standardized admission tests. They are intended to provide a common measure for comparing the abilities of students who come from a variety of educational backgrounds and institutions. Scores from these tests will be sent with your application packets, along with your college applications, essays, references, transcripts, work experience and other information you prepare for consideration. Universities generally determine the ability of an international student after reviewing all of the criteria above, including whether his or her English skills are sufficient to successfully complete their academic program. Some schools may place more weight on students test

scores than others. Various factors complicate the interpretation of standardized test scored for international students. For example, the degree of English proficiency may affect test performance. Moreover, school officials must consider the cultural and educational backgrounds of international students, since the tests were developed for students who were educated in the United States. The level of skills required for success in undergraduate or graduate studies varies by field or department. Institutions often look the separate components of test scores because there may be significant differences between them. For example, one student might score low on the verbal measure but high on a math measure of a test, while another student might score the opposite. An English department and an engineering department would consider these students differently. Institutions might also look at separate measures on English proficiency tests such as grammar, listening, reading, speaking and writing. Some departments might consider it crucial to have high scores in listening and speaking; others might feel it is important to have high scores in reading and writing. Since may graduate students serve as teaching assistants, some departments expect graduate students to have high verbal scores. Types of Standardized Tests Most undergraduate and graduate programs will require the TOEFL exam for all international students to ensure that they have adequate proficiency in English to succeed in U.S. colleges. All standardized tests listed here are given in English. For undergraduate admissions, required standardized tests usually include: Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) For graduate and professional admissions, required tests usually include: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Test of Spoken English (TSE) Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) for liberal arts, science, math Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) for business schools/study for MBA (Masters in Business Administration) programs Law School Admission Testing Program (LSAT) for law schools Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) for medical schools Dental Admission Testing Program (DAT) for dental schools Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) Optometry Admission Testing Program (OAT) Some schools may also require additional admissions tests not listed above, placement tests to determine where to place you in the program of study (introductory-level classes or advanced), or tests that they have developed locally for their institutions. Test Preparation and Fees Test Preparation Once you know which tests you have to take, it is important to find out when and where they are offered in your country. Telephone numbers and Web site addresses for each of these programs can be found online through www.google.com. Millions of students are tested each year, so it is important that you register for your tests as soon as you know which ones are required. Early registration will ensure that you get a testing appointment, and that your scores will arrive in time to meet your application deadlines.

Regardless of which tests you are required to take, it is essential that you become familiar with the test itself. Important questions to which you need the answers: How much time is allowed to take the test? What is the test formatpaper or computer? What sorts of directions are provided? How many questions are on the test? What types of questions are there (multiple choice, essay questions, etc.)? Are you allowed to bring in a calculator? Free publications and sample practice tests are available to help you become familiar with the questions used in the tests. First use the practice material included in most test bulletins before you determine what additional test preparation you may need. Sample questions are also available on some test Web sites, including: TOEFL (www.toefl.org) GRE (www.gre.org) GMAT (www.gmat.org) SAT (www.collegeboard.org) MCAT (www.aamc.org/students/mcat/) In addition to the practice material included in most test bulletins, a variety of test program materials are available for purchase directly from the testing companies during registration, on the Web sites, at local bookstores, from participating USIS offices, and educational advising and bi-national centers. Test preparation materials produced by commercial publishers are also available at many bookstores. Additionally, many local educational institutions, American schools, and English-language speaking schools offer test preparation courses, as do commercial test preparation companies. Self-study materials come in books, audiocassettes, or CD-ROM versions. Courses usually involve a book and practice tests, as well as classroom instruction. For some computerized tests, like the GMAT, you can make an appointment to visit a testing site and take a practice test for a fee. If you score poorly on a test, you can take the test again. Some tests send out all previous scores on a score report to an institution, but some do not. You can find out the score reporting policy for the test you are taking and if it is possible to cancel a poor score. Some schools average all of your scores, some just look at the highest score, and some consider only the most recent. Contact the university directly to determine their policy. Test Fees Each testing company charges a fee to take a standardized test. In most cases, payment of the fee allows you to send your test scores to a limited number of schools. For an additional fee, you may have extra copies of your reports sent to other institutions. Test fees vary by programs. They usually range from $22.50 (USD) to $160 (USD), but are subject to change each year.

Application Timeline - 12 to 14 Months Before


Choose the schools to which you will apply By now, you should have your definitive list of the schools to which you would like to apply. Your list should contain the following: 1 or 2 institutions that you would like to attend, but that may not accept you 2 institutions where you feel you have a decent chance of being accepted 1 or 2 institutions where you are quite certain that you will gain admission Prepare a folder for each of the schools you select in which you will keep copies of all correspondence, application materials and other information. Obtain all necessary information and forms for each school Contact each school to obtain information and an application packet. Many colleges and universities in the U.S. (but certainly not all) have application materials on their Web sites. Be aware that some Web sites carry only applications for institutions that subscribe to that site. Determine what you will need to apply to each college and/or university on your list of potential programs, as requirements are different at every school. Note carefully the deadlines on each application. Graduate students should send a letter to the director of graduate admissions with a copy to the chairman of the department to which you seek admission. Now is also the time to inform institutions if you will need financial aid, as you will need additional forms. Take required entrance exams You should take the necessary entrance exams at this time. Undergraduates will need to take the TOEFL and SAT exams; graduate students may be required to take the GRE or GMAT exam. Please visit our Standardized Tests section for comprehensive information about these tests.

Application Timeline - 10 to 12 Months Before


Request any forms and information again, if necessary If you have not yet received the application forms you requested via mail from institutions in the U.S., send another letter repeating your request. International mail is slow and sometimes unreliable, so keep careful records of all dates in which you contact your schools of choice. Always use airmail when mailing materials to the United States. Identify your references and supply them with required reference forms Identify 2 or 3 teachers or other people who know you well and ask them to write recommendation letters for you. Let them know what type of program to which you are applying, and give them sufficient time to prepare a good recommendation. It will be helpful for your references to have a written summary of your academic (and other relevant) accomplishments over the past few years. For undergraduate applicants, your best references are teachers or counselors who know your academic performance and achievements. Family friends, religious counselors and others should be pursued only if they know you very well and can provide unique or significant information that is relevant to your academic goals and promise. Graduate students should obtain letters from teachers or professionals in your field with whom you have worked. Your references should be able to attest to your academic promise, as well as your strengths and accomplishments in your field of study. References should be authentic and original. If you send references with an application form, you should ask the person completing the reference to place it in a sealed envelope, with the references signature over the sealed flap of the envelope. This assures the U.S. institution that no one has tampered with the documents inside. Request transcripts from your school/s Ask the schools and universities that you have attended to prepare your transcripts (documents which show the courses you have studied and the grades which you received in those courses). As with references, transcripts must also be authentic. It is best if transcripts are sent directly to the U.S. institution from your school in an envelope bearing your schools college seal. Write your application essay (also called a personal statement) Most institutions require undergraduate applicants to write an application essay; it is an important piece of the application packet. It should reflect who you are and what you feel is important. Try not to repeat information that you have provided in other parts of the application. Instead, work to make the essay unique and personal. Graduate school applicants may be required to provide a statement of purpose in their application. A good statement of purpose will show that you are a focused student. You should demonstrate how your studies in the United States will serve as a logical stepping stone to your career plans. You should be as specific as possible about your research interests and experiences.

This written portion of your application will also demonstrate your command of written English skills. Ask a teacher for assistance if you have trouble expressing what you wish to say in English, and also to check for any mistakes you might make. Please visit the Essay Writing Center for all the help you need with this important part of your application. Retake entrance exams if scores were unsatisfactory If your previous TOEFL, SAT, GRE or GMAT scores were not satisfactory, take the test again. These tests should be taken no later than January if you seek admission in August/September (December if you are applying to very competitive institutions), and no later than June if you seek admission the following January.

Application Timeline - 10 Months Before


Complete and mail applications Make a checklist of the items required for submission with each application. Applications may vary slightly from one college to another, but they usually include the following: A cover sheet identifying the contents of the application packet The application fee - this fee is a non-refundable, one-time payment to the university, usually in the form of a check in U.S. dollars that can be cashed at a bank in the United States. Nearly all colleges and universities will require you to pay this fee in order for them to process your application. The completed application form, which you will be required to submit personal information along with academic credentials. Some of these forms can be long and confusing, so take your time and seek assistance if needed when completing them. Your application essay or statement of purpose. The theme is typically given to you by the university, but common themes include: Your academic and personal background Your personal abilities and/or academic goals Why do you want to study in the U.S.? Transcripts may be needed to verify that you have attained what you have stated in your application form. They may include previous test scores or academic certificates. Standardized test scores will often be required of you. Please visit our Standardized Tests Everything You Need to Know section for more information on this important part of your admissions application. Letters of recommendation, or references, are written about you by previous professors. In some cases, a reference may also be written by a recent employer. Required financial statements, such as notarized financial forms from the institutions, ban letters, etc. You must be able to show proof that you can support yourself while living and studying in the U.S. The schools that you wish to attend may ask that you submit other supporting material, such as pieces of your work (for art students), or documented evidence of your past work experience. Make photocopies of the applications and begin to fill in the required information on the copy. Your finished application will be your initial introduction to the schools of your choice, and you want to make a good impression. Type or fill in your final application by hand neatly and carefully. If questions confuse you, seek guidance from your school, or from the advisors at a U.S. educational advising center. Check to see if the application needs to be sent to a designated individual at the college or university to which you are applying. If not, send your completed application packet to the director of graduate admissions. Also, send a copy to the chairman of the department to which you hope to gain admission.

You will want to make copies of all applications and essays, keeping them in your folder, and mail originals to the institutions in the United States. Observe the deadlines! Applications must reach institutions before the application deadlines. Make sure that your recommendations and school transcripts have been sent. Remind your references and school officials of the deadlines if necessary. Upon receipt of your completed application, the college or university may begin corresponding with you. It is not unusual for institutions to request more information or resubmission of something you have already sent. Unless there is some delay with your application, you should expect a decision by April or May (if applying for August/September admission), perhaps even earlier. If you have intelligently chosen the programs to which you applied, met the admission requirements and deadlines, weighed advice and made choices that are right for you, an institution will send you a letter of acceptance along with the document you will use to apply for your student visa. Electronic Applications: An Additional Note If you hope to apply to a U.S. college or university using an electronic application on the Internet, please note that not all schools have that capability, especially for graduate applicants. Sometimes only certain departments within a university can offer electronic applications. As with paper applications, not all electronic applications are identical, although the information requested will be fairly consistent. These applications will take a lot of time and thought to complete. You are advised to download the applications you are planning to use, fill in the information in a rough draft first, then transfer the data to the on-line application before submitting it to the university. Few academic institutions are equipped to transmit transcripts electronically; they are traditionally sent through the mail. The same is usually true of recommendations, which require the same proof of authenticity as transcripts (a sealed envelope with the schools stamp or individuals signature across the seal). While electronic applications are convenient, remember that you may not be able to rely on the Internet for all parts of the admissions process.

Application Timeline - 3 Months Before


Apply for your student visa You can get a student visa application form from the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest you. When you apply for a visa, the consular officer may want to see the following: An I-20 or IAP-66 form from an accredited college or university Original documents evidencing your educational credentials for the previous four years Your test scores from the standard entrance exams that you have taken, such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE or GMAT Financial documents which show that you have sufficient funds in a bank to pay for the first year of your studies in the United States. In addition, you should be able to prove the sources of your academic funding for subsequent years of study. It is not sufficient to show assets. You must be able to prove income generated by assets, family business or property. Please visit our student visa information pages to find out all the information about what to do and how to get your visa. Research health insurance options for your time abroad With only three months to go before your departure to the U.S., you should be investigating and purchasing health insurance. Please visit International Student Insurance for all the comprehensive health insurance information you will need about insurance products in the United States. Make travel arrangements for when you arrive in the U.S. You need to make all the arrangements to fly to the U.S., schedule someone to meet you and pick you up at the airport and arrange temporary accommodation for your first night in the USA. Try to arrive at least 10 to 15 days before your schools orientation will begin, as this will give you time to get familiar with your new surroundings and acclimated to life in a new country. Our Travel Section contains all the tools you will need to book flights, make connections, reserve a hotel room, and more.

How to get into an American university The best American universities have a spending power their British counterparts can only dream of and dominate the international league tables. And the introduction of top-up fees and students' increasingly relaxed attitude to debt means that applicants are eyeing up university life across the Atlantic more than ever. Selecting a school Once you have nailed down the degree you would like to pursue, begin researching which universities offer it as a major. Do not rule out similar degrees in inter-disciplinary programs, however. One of the main differences between the US and here is that there is no central body that handles the admissions, as Ucas does in the UK. But all major universities in the US have their own websites for researching what courses are available. Ideally, you will be able to visit the US and tour some of your prospective schools, but there is an open day held in London. Most universities offer frequent tours of the campus throughout the year, as well as open days during the autumn. The Fulbright Comission's USeducational advisory service also contains useful dates and advice. Applying Most universities accept both online and hard copy applications. In most cases, a mission statement or applicant essay will be required, so be prepared to detail why you are interested in the field you have chosen. There is no limit on the number of universities you can apply to, but between five and eight is the norm, and it may prove difficult to apply to more while keeping an eye on quality control. Work samples may also be a requirement generally in arts-oriented fields. The samples would represent your level of experience and/or ability. American universities also require an official copy of your academic records, sent directly from the school(s) you attended. Required Examinations Universities in the US typically require SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) or ACT (American College Testing) examination scores in order to apply. Therefore, it is important for you to take one (or both). There are testing dates throughout the year, with registration deadlines generally a month prior. There are testing centres throughout the UK. Registering for the SAT through the College Board web site is swift and easy. Keep in mind these tests examine your math skills, and therefore it may be best to take them before you get rusty if you've given up the subject. Tutors Studying for these examinations is important. As A-level deadlines loom, another set of tests and unfamiliar ones at that can seem daunting. But there are many American students in the UK throughout the year, a large number of them seeking extra money by way of tutoring local university applicants. Take advantage of this lingering resource. Timing is also quite important during the university application process, so be sure you balance testing dates and deadlines and leave enough time for your A level examinations.

Deadlines Most deadlines for undergraduate application are in the middle of January. January 15 is quite typical, just as it is in the UK. However, be sure to check your specific university. The dates could fall anywhere between mid-December and mid-February. One thing to keep in mind is that US universities tend to offer early admission programs with earlier application deadlines. There are generally two examples of this. Early decision is for students who wish to make a commitment at the time of application to attend if admitted. This is a binding application contract with the university. Early action is a non-binding program adopted by some schools for students who wish simply to receive an early acceptance decision. Be sure to take note of whether the university to which you are applying offers early admission. Some schools, such as Harvard University, have begun to phase out these programs. Funding University in the US is quite expensive compared with schools in the UK. Additionally, private school scholarships are quite competitive, while individual state schools do not often offer financial support to foreign nationals. International students are not eligible for US federal or university need-based financial aid, or for federal work-study programs. There are fellowships and scholarships available to international applicants from both the Soros Foundations Network and Rotary International. The International Student Loans Centre, meanwhile, is a good place to start for private loans. A co-signer who has lived in the States for at least two years is required, however. Fulbright also offers a foreign student program, but it is limited to graduate students. The International Education Financial Aid (IEFD) web site is a solid and free database that can help you search for a variety of aid sources. Cornell University also offers a fellowship search engine, but for graduates only. There are alternatives for pulling money together beyond grants, scholarships and loans. Academic department fellowships are available in most cases, as are teaching and research assistant positions. On- and off-campus university-affiliated jobs are common as well. It can be difficult, however, to support yourself through employment of any kind due to the full-time enrolment requirements of your student visa. When you do secure funding, many universities will require evidence of financial support before issuing a formal letter of admission, or before the forms needed to obtain a visa can be issued. This support includes tuition fees and cost of living expenses. Generally, a bank-verified financial-guarantee letter is required, signed by an endorser with his or her accompanying address. This should be included with the general application in order to expedite the process.