Applying to colleges and universities abroad may seem like an arduous task with all the documentation required to complete the application process. Truth be told, each institution may have its own specific or unique application requirements; however, the silver lining is that there are some common documents that are required for almost every application.

This list is a general guide to the information and documents you must have ready in order to complete an application to study in the United States as an international student. This list differentiates between items that are imperative to all applications and those that may be required as per each university’s admissions policy.

It is important to note that this list is not exhaustive and that you should collect international student application information directly from each university.   

Items required for the US college/university application process:

  • Admission application (you could use the SchoolApply online application)  
  • Official secondary school transcript (or college transcript, if applying for graduate school)
  • Test results for secondary school leaving examination, if applicable (GCE, GCSE, French Baccalaureate, etc.)
  • Attested translations of documents (if documents are not in English)
  • Test scores and dates of your college entrance exams (SATs, ACTs, SAT Subject Tests, GRE, GMAT or LSAT, MCAT, etc.)
  • English proficiency exam scores and dates (IELTS, TOEFL, etc.)
  • Student essay (a short essay explaining why you want to attend the school/program, your career goals, etc.)
  • Proof of funding (bank statements showing sufficient funds for one year)
  • Personal information (name, age, address, birthplace, citizenship, etc.)
  • List of extracurricular activities (club memberships, awards earned, sports experience, community service, leadership roles etc.)
  • Passport copies
  • Application fees

Additional items required as per the university’s discretion:  

  • Supplemental essay (topics provided by individual universities)
  • Portfolio (usually required if you are applying to a creative writing or arts program)
  • Attested copy of your diploma/certificate
  • Advanced Placement (AP) test results
  • Transcript Assessment reports from recognized organisations (WES, ECE, etc.)
  • Mid-year report
  • Teacher evaluations
  • Counsellor recommendation
  • Other evaluations/references
  • Items specific to your chosen program
  • Interviews for admission

You will find a lot more helpful information about studying in the United States in our blogs