Applying to a US university requires a far greater investment of time, thought, money, and energy than applying to a UK, European or Australian university. Quite simply, a great deal is involved, and it is advisable to start the process early.
The most sought-after universities will expect applicants to have a very good academic record. They will need excellent school references, well-written application essays, and an interesting student profile showing initiative, leadership, and in-depth commitment to interests and projects outside the classroom.
They may also need to submit scores obtained on US standardised tests, and English proficiency test scores if not being educated in a curriculum where English is the primary language of instruction.
Many parents are scared off by the complexity of the US admissions process. In comparison to UCAS, where one application form is used to apply to five different universities, applying to US colleges is a lengthy and strenuous process.
US applications are read by admissions officers, not faculty, and each college or university sets its own individual admissions requirements and expectations, seeking to find the applicants needed to create an interesting and diverse student body. As such, an applicant’s profile needs to suggest that they are likely to both draw from and add to the college community. We guide students through the admissions process for both, but as private institutions, each US college or university sets its own requirements and ‘expectations’.
In our experience, there are three types of applicant to the US. First, we see the student with parents who have studied at a US college and rely on their own previous experience. As application systems and admission priorities shift over time, this knowledge may not be relevant today. Second, there is the student/family that relies solely on guidance from school. While knowledgeable, schools are often under-resourced and unable to provide personal guidance. Finally, there is the student/family that uses the support of an educational consultancy.