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Study US: Admissions process explained!
Pushpinder Bhatia
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September 30, 2008

Part I: Education system and academic calendar

Today we take a look at what is required for admission in an undergraduate or graduate course of study in the USA.

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Before applying for admission, make sure that all the documents mentioned below are included in your application:

Time involved in the admission process
Given below is the flowchart explaining the time involved in applying to universities in the United States. It is sometimes possible to complete the process quicker than estimated, but an early start is always recommended.

Planning ahead gives you sufficient time to make successful applications to the colleges of your choice especially if you want to apply for scholarships. Moreover, generally the deadlines for scholarships are earlier than the university ones.

The ideal time to start the admission process is at least three or four months prior to the starting date/ relevant academic session. Further, it is to be noted that the time frame mentioned is to be counted after all the academic documents, standardized test results, other certificates etc have been obtained. As mentioned in the previous article, normally there are two major academic sessions ie Fall intakes in August-September or Spring intakes ie January-March.

It is always advisable to consult a reputed and trusted counselor who can take you through the following steps

Steps involved

~ Identify the course of study as well as the educational institute / university. Advice can be taken from friends, seniors already studying in US, or some trusted educational counselor. Once you have carefully done so, start preparing the required documents.

~ Submit the required academic documents as per the checklist mentioned above and apply for an offer letter. Generally, an application fee has to accompany the same.

~ Receive the answer: The University / institute assesses and answers the application in around 3-4 weeks. After gaining acceptance, the student should start arranging/ organising finances, finalising housing arrangements and medical insurance with your university.

~ Accept the offer letter: Next, the student needs to accept the offer letter and pay enrollment fees. Moreover, at this stage financial documents also need to accompany the acceptance.

~ Receive I-20: Once the university is satisfied that apart from fulfilling the admission requirements, the student or his sponsor has sufficient funds to pay for the studies and living expenses, the I-20 is issued in around 2-3 weeks.

~ Pay the visa fee and schedule interview: After receiving the I-20, the $131 SEVIS fee has to be paid at any designated branch of HDFC bank [Get Quote]. The visa fee receipt is activated within two working days. After that, the interview is to be booked online at Depending on the rush at the consular office, a student generally gets an interview date 2-3 weeks later. 

~ Attend the VISA interview: Interestingly, the decision is instant / on the spot.

~ Pay the tuition fee: Generally, the minimum of one semester fee, health insurance, accommodation expenses have to be paid as per the invoice issued by the university / institute.

~ Fly to USA!

Have you heard rumours that a US Visa is not easily obtained? If yes, watch out for the next article on "Obtaining US Visa" and clear all your doubts and fears.

Part I: Education system and academic calendar

If you have further queries on studying in the US, join us for a chat on Friday, October 3, at 4 pm.

The writer is CEO of PAC Asia Services, a leading Study Abroad Consultant of the country & the sub continent. He has 12 years of experience in guiding the students aspiring to study abroad. For more information, one may visit or call at 011- 41668383                   

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