Studying in the US: A basic guide, Part 3. All about your qualifications

Studying in the US: A basic guide, Part 3. All about your qualifications

In order to be accepted into any University, you must be qualified. The United States operates under a standardized system. At the undergraduate level, most Universities in the United States require scores from the SAT examination.

The SAT examination is a paper-based standardized test. As an international student you must connect with a school or company in your home country who offers SAT courses and exam. This exam is offer 4 times annually outside of the US and 7 times annually inside of the US. This means that you must get registered early so that you don't miss deadlines and have to wait out a year. The exam itself is usually 3 - 4 hours long and has two sections. Section 1 is mathematics, this exam is on a 200-800 point scale. Section 2 is critical reading and writing, this exam is on a 200-800 point scale. This means that the total exam is scored on a 400-1600 scale. 1600 is the highest score a person can receive so you need to aim to score along this side of the scale.

This exam will be the main thing that your prospective University checks and is definitely the difference between acceptance and denial. Apart from your SAT score, you might need a few other things that support your application. Below you will find a list of things your prospective school may ask you for.

List of requirements: adapted from Harvard University (One of the top 5 Universities in the US)

  • Common Application, Coalition Application, or Universal College Application
  • Harvard College Questions for the Common Application, Coalition Application, or the Universal College Application Harvard supplement
  • $75 fee (or request a fee waiver)
  • ACT or SAT (with or without writing)
  • 2 SAT Subject Tests (recommended, except in the case of financial hardship. International students in particular may wish to learn more by visiting their website.)


  • AP or other examination results
  • School Report and high school transcript
  • Teacher Report
  • Mid-year school report
  • Final year school report

Now that you know what is need from the school, you can start ensuring that you are performing at a level that will allow you to get accepted. When selecting teacher for the teachers report you must make sure that the person is qualified in their respective fields. It would also help if they can show a direct like to you outside of their classroom. For instance, you worked on a research project with them or volunteered outside of school per their recommendation.

The journey to university is not easy but it will be worth it.

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