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Applying for US Universities online

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Hi everyone,

I am planning to apply for universities in US and would really appreciate, if you could give me some tips abt the admission and application process in general.

Thanx in advance!

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Pretty much any school's website will have a section in their department website for Prospective Graduate Students. They spell out pretty clearly what they are looking for. It generally seems to be a completed application form, usually done online; a Statement of Purpose (called SOP on this board); a GRE score; transcripts from all postsecondary institutions you attended (with translations if they aren't in English; letters of recommendation, generally three; and for many programs, a writing sample. And an application fee, generally paid with a major credit card; the department generally says how much.

Some schools allow you to upload most of the materials, such as SOP and writing sample, online, so you will not have to pay postage. Others, you have to print out some of the materials (generally SOP and writing sample) in hard copy and mail it to them, which will be pricey (especially since you want to send it by registered mail or the like, rather than ordinary mail, lest you risk it getting lost). Transcripts will usually be mailed, and should be sent in sealed envelopes, with a stamp from your institution(s) across the front, so they know you did not tamper with them; but some schools allow you to upload a scan with the application form, but them mail the genuine hard copy later.

Generally, your professors will send/email the letters of recommendation themselves, but you may be asked to mail them, in sealed envelopes with the professor's signature across the seal (so they know you didn't forge the letter yourself).

So the steps would be:

1) Decide what schools you want to apply to

2) Check their requirements.

3) Write the GRE (you should do it SOON to make sure the scores reach the schools in time). On the GRE, you can ask it to send scores to up to four schools for free. For more than that, you have to pay, but you can request it online.

4) Start filling in the schools' application forms.

5) Order twice as many transcripts as you are applying to schools, as they generally ask for two copies.

5) Notify your recommenders that you want them to write letters for you.

6) Many application forms allow you to click a button to email the recommender with a request, if they have an email address linked to a university.

7) Write your statement of purpose for each school.

8) Write and perfect your writing sample.

9) Submit those.

10) Pay the application fees using a major credit card - if you do not have a Visa or Mastercard, get in touch with a good friend or relative who would be willing to put it on theirs and you pay them back.

That's generally it. Some schools and programs may have additional requirements, though. Always check the department's website and if necessary, call them, rather than rely on the advice of this board.

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P.S. Application fees range between $50 and $120 in my experience, but it may be higher for professional programs, and they are non-refundable - if they reject you, they keep your money. So applying to six or seven different schools, with the GRE fee and postage, can run you close to $1000 USD. If you are asking a friend to put it on their credit card, they should be aware of that.

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