US University Applications
Entry requirements for each university are different, but most involve either completing an admissions test or essay, the SAT or ACT admissions tests, and providing recommendation letters from teachers. On top of this, most universities ask for a transcript of your grades and a personal statement.
Typical Application Requirements
- A completed application form
- Application fee ($50-100 per university)
- Admissions exam scores
- 2-3 essays
- 2-3 letters of reference
- Interview (for some universities)
English Language Requirements
- Undergraduate Applicants
- Graduate Applicants
Universities will offer a variety of application deadline types. Most universities offer one early deadline type (early action, restrictive early action or early decision) plus regular decision deadlines. However, always check the university’s admissions page for full details.
- Rolling admissions – Students can apply over a set period of time (typically August to spring), and admission decisions will be made on a rolling basis. It is still suggested that applicants still apply early (October/November) if possible. This type of deadline is non-binding and non-restrictive.
- Regular decision – Students typically apply by 1 January in anticipation of an admissions decision by 1 April. This type of deadline is non-binding and non-restrictive. Students may apply to as many universities in the US as they choose under regular decision policies.
- Early action – Students typically apply by 1 November in anticipation of an admissions decision by 15 December. This type of deadline is non-binding AND non-restrictive. Students may apply to as many universities in the US as they choose under early action policies.
- Restrictive early action (Harvard, Princeton, Stanford and Yale) – Like early action, students typically apply by 1 November in anticipation of an admissions decision by 15 December. This type of deadline is non-binding.
- However, check for restrictions in the university policies on whether you can apply to other universities while you have a restrictive early action application out. Generally speaking, you can only apply to one university restrictive early action, and this will be your only early application in the US. There may be exceptions in the university policy (check on their admissions page) such as allowing you to apply early to state universities with a non-binding, rolling admissions policy or to universities where the university application is considered for scholarships must be submitted earlier than 15 December.
- Early decision – There are two early decision deadlines, ED1 in November and the slightly less common ED2 in January. These are more common at private liberal arts colleges. Like early action, ED1 students typically apply by 1 November in anticipation of an admissions decision by 15 December.
- Early decision applications are binding. You should think very carefully before applying to a university early decision. You, your school and your parents will sign an early decision agreement, certifying that you understand the terms of early decision: The early decision university should be your first choice (worldwide) and if accepted, you will withdraw all other applications (worldwide) and attend that university. The only exception is if you apply for financial aid and do not receive sufficient aid to take up your offer.
- You may only submit one early decision application in the ED1 and/or ED2 rounds. You should certainly apply to other universities in the UK at the same time to keep all options open, but know that you will need to decline your UCAS offers if admitted early decision in the US.
- Early decision is also somewhat restrictive in that, you cannot apply to more than one university early decision, but you may be able to apply to others early action at the same time. (Unless as stated above, the university you would like to apply to via early action has restrictions.)