Getting a higher education qualification brings a lot of benefits, including ample career opportunities, higher income, the ability to broaden and improve personal development skills, and a higher level of civic involvement.

Today, students can get their educations in numerous parts of the world by applying for a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or even Ph.D. degree online. Many international students are willing to get their degree in the US, one of the most popular destinations for higher and professional education.

However, they have to meet specific requirements to become a student of an American higher education establishment. If you are interested in applying for higher education qualification in the US, this article can help you find out what essential eligibility criteria you need to meet to become a student at an American university.

Basic Eligibility Criteria

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Admissions

The overwhelming majority of American universities require international students to take an English language ability test, such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), or the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS). Remember that you should complete these language proficiency tests at least a year before your application for an academic degree in the US.

Many US universities allow international students to apply for an early decision and a regular deadline. There is no restriction on the number of applications, so you are free to refer to as many universities as you like. However, it would be wise to narrow down your list to around 6-8 universities because of two essential reasons. First, American universities often charge an application fee, which can vary from around $50 to $100 (online applications can be cheaper or completely free, though).

Second, you should know what fields you are interested in by the time you make an application. In addition to your application form, personal essay writing, references, SAT results, and a transcript of academic achievements, you will also need financial statements to apply to an American university.

Funding

US universities offer two types of funding to their students, namely financial aid and scholarship. Financial assistance is needs-tested, meaning you will have to demonstrate financial need and be an eligible non-citizen. In turn, an award is a gift aid that rewards academic excellence. While both options are available to international students, much of scholarship funding is reserved for local students. Nevertheless, you can still secure university funding after the first year of study.

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To qualify for federal student aid, international students have to meet the following basic requirements:

  • You need to demonstrate financial need.
  • You must be an eligible non-citizen of the US.
  • You also need to have a valid social security number.
  • If you are a male, you must be registered with Selective Service.
  • You need to be enrolled or accepted for enrolment in an eligible degree or certificate program.
  • You need to maintain satisfactory academic progress.

While funding can help you cover some costs of tuition, it will rarely cover all of them, so universities may oblige their students to work for them as part of the funding agreement. Nonetheless, some colleges (e.g., Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Yale University) still offer full-based scholarships, which cover all the tuition costs to international students.

Visas

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As any foreigner visiting the US, you will need a permit. Currently, international students in the US can obtain one of the three types of visas, namely:

  • F1 for those wishing to study in the US (academic studies).
  • J1 for those who are seeking cultural or educational exchange opportunities (practical training).
  • M1 for those who are willing to enroll in vocational studies.

F1 visas are the most common for international students. With some exceptions, this visa will oblige you to return to your home country within 60 days of receiving your degree. Remember that your visa will be only valid to study at your specific university, meaning you will have to fill out more forms if you decide to opt for another higher education establishment. During a visa interview, you will be required to prove that you have enough financial resources to support your stay in the US. You will also be asked to demonstrate your strong ties to your home country through bank accounts, family connections, or any other adequate means.

Basic Eligibility Requirements for a Bachelor’s Degree in the US

  • You need to complete the international equivalent of US secondary education successfully.
  • You must have a diploma of graduation from High School in your country.
  • You need to prove your English proficiency by providing an official TOEFL score or any other relevant program score that will show your English language ability.
  • You have to demonstrate proven academic achievement that will prove your ability to succeed in higher education studies.

Basic Eligibility Requirements for a Master’s Degree in the US

Master’s Degree in the US

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  • You must possess an international equivalent of a US Bachelor’s degree program from an accredited higher education establishment.
  • If you have at least a three-year Bachelor’s degree, you will be allowed to complete a qualifying Pre-Master’s program first.
  • You need to have the official transcripts for all universities attended.
  • You have to prove your English proficiency by providing an official TOEFL score or any other relevant program score that will demonstrate your English language ability.
  • You need to provide at least two recommendation letters.
  • You must provide a CV for Master’s programs.

Basic Eligibility Requirements for a Ph.D. Degree in the US

  • You need to possess an international equivalent of a US Master’s degree program from an accredited higher education establishment.
  • You need to prove your English proficiency by providing an official TOEFL score or any other relevant program score that will demonstrate your English language ability.
  • You have to provide at least two recommendation letters.
  • You must provide a CV for Ph.D.’s programs.
  • You need to have the official transcripts for all your qualifications.

Remember that these are the most basic eligible criteria. You can find more detailed requirements on your university’s website. While the application process can be challenging, becoming a student of a US university is an excellent opportunity to receive a high-quality higher education degree, get to know a new culture, and build memories that last a lifetime. More information on applying for higher education in the US can be found at 15writers.com.