Applying to USA universities can be a lengthy process for international students. It is also more complex than applying to a South African university. Therefore, the decision to begin an application can seem daunting - but we're here to help! In our blog today, we take you through a step-by-step guide on the actions you need to take to apply to a US University. First, let's look at the documents you will need to complete a US university application.
Before you start with the online application, ensure that you have all of the following documents and information on hand:
- Grade 9 to most recent report cards
- Standardized Test Scores (SAT/ACT/TOEFL)
- Letters of Recommendation
- Detailed Parent Information
Step 1 - Complete the Online Application
To begin your USA University Application process, first search for the Apply Now button on your desired University's website. Create a profile, and then click through to start your application. Make sure you answer the questions to the best of your ability, and above all, truthfully. All universities have a student portal, so make sure you save your login ID, username, and password and visit the student portal on a regular basis to make sure that your application is on track at all times.
Step 2 - Report Cards
American universities will consider your academic school marks from Gr 9 -12 for university admission. All subjects across these four years have equal weighting - therefore, grade 9 counts just as much as your matric year. It is important to ensure that you submit English copies of your report cards using the method the university requires. There are three possible ways of submitting your report cards:
- Upload to the student portal
- Send via email
- Courier certified copies to the Admission office.
On some occasions, the university will require your report cards to be verified by an independent verification body in the United States. We recommend that you make use of ECE or WES to verify your report cards. If you are attending any institution within the NAIA, Incred is the preferred option as it automatically links up with your NAIA Eligibility Account.
Step 3 - Standardized Tests
The USA University Application process often requires standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT. The most well-known test is the SAT, which consists of an English and a Maths section. The less common ACT includes Physical Science, English and Math sections, and both tests have an optional essay. Aspire Atlantic recommends students take the SAT. The SAT has a simple registration process, and many venues at which you can take the test. South Africa also has many experienced SAT tutors who can help you achieve your potential, and has more readily available materials, so is therefore easier to prepare for.
Your SAT scores will be available two weeks after you write the test. Your official score report will be issued in the 4 weeks following that. Simply log into your college board account, navigate to the score report tab, and send your score reports to all the institutions that you are applying to. You should also send your scores to the league association you will be competing in - either the NCAA or NAIA. The cost for sending your score report will be $12 per institution.
The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) might be required for students who will be looking to join a Junior or Community College. You will be able to send your TOEFL score report straight to any Universities you are applying to from your TOEFL account, at a charge of $20 per institution.
Step 4 - Letters of Recommendation
Universities would like to gain insight into the type of person you are, in order to see if you will be a good fit for their student body. Letters of recommendation from teachers will give the University an indication of who you truly are. Ask your teacher or your coach to write you a good letter of recommendation for your application that reflects your positive impact on the school community. The recommender might be required to send the letter of recommendation directly to the University.
Step 5 - Financial Information
A big part of deciding to go to a university is being able to afford it. Once you have received your athletic scholarship, you will need to submit proof of funds in order to show that your family can afford the remaining shortfall on your university fees. This can be in the form of bank statements, payslips, trust funds or annuities. Each University will have its own process here, so make sure you take note of their rules and follow them as best you can.
Studying in America can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Beginning your USA University Application process is just the beginning of a long but unique experience that will benefit you forever. Although it can seem daunting, the time spent is worth it! If you have any questions about the application process, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Aspire Atlantic! We are always here to help. Remember: it is always the right moment to begin your journey to studying at the school of your dreams. Sign up here today for a free consultation with one of our expert recruiters!