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Application Timeline

Most international students enroll at a U.S. college or university in late August or early September. Here is how you should plan the steps in the application process:

18 Months before Classes Begin

Search for colleges that meet your needs. Use every resource: your parents, teachers, counselors, friends. Attend college fairs. Meet with visiting representatives from U.S. colleges and visit Education.Global. Consider size, location, institutional type, and cost, as well as your intended major, career goals, and degree desired.

12 Months before Classes Begin

Register to take tests (ACT, SAT I and II, TOEFL, IELTS, GRE) as needed for the institutions you are considering. Narrow your list to 10-12 colleges. Contact colleges indicating your interest.


Narrow your list to 5-10 colleges. Request recommendations from teachers and obtain transcripts from your school. Fill out and send admission applications. Take required tests.


You receive notification of admission and financial aid. From acceptances, choose and notify the college/university you wish to attend. Create a complete financial resources chart; arrange tuition payment method, choose housing, and assure funds for daily living.


Fill out SEVIS form I-901, which includes a processing fee. Apply for a visa at the nearest U.S. embassy/consulate. Make travel arrangements. Stay in touch via phone or e-mail with the college/university admissions office.


Attend a pre-departure orientation at your local EducationUSA center to get helpful tips that will assure your success from the moment you arrive in the United States.


Pack up and prepare to depart for the USA.

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