The United States of America has emerged as the number 1 global destination for higher education. An astounding 1 million international students are studying in various institutes in the USA, and Indian students make up 20% of this figure. However, pursuing education in this country needs thorough preparation. There are specific entry requirements to study in USA for Indian students that need to be fulfilled. As an aspiring student, your first step is to learn about the fundamental requirements that qualify you to apply for the program.
In this article, we will review the admission requirements, eligibility criteria and application process to pursue undergraduate and postgraduate programs in the USA.
Why Study in the USA?
From world-class universities to prestigious Ivy League schools, the United States of America is the Holy Grail for students and research enthusiasts. Superior quality education, cutting-edge infrastructure, multicultural hub, globally-acclaimed degree programs, and world-renowned academia are among the many perks that attract students to study in the USA. The programs are tailor-made to meet industry standards, and students gain practical momentum in the dynamic learning environment offered by the American institutes.
Additionally, students are presented with abundant opportunities for career advancements through project work and internship programs. You can apply for CPT (Curricular Practical Training), which allows you to undertake internships while on an F1 (student visa for the USA). After graduating, students can seek employment through OPT (Optional Practical Training) and gain valuable professional exposure. A degree from the US is sure to step up your career graph on a global scale.
Eligibility & Admission Requirements to Study in USA for Indian Students
To apply for a study program at a US university, students must meet the eligibility criteria and fulfil all the prerequisites outlined for the application process. In this section, we will go through the requirements for both undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) programs.
Bachelor’s Degree: Students have to complete 12 years of formal schooling from a recognised board in India to apply for a Bachelor’s degree. The UG programs in the USA need proof of successful completion of 12th grade in the form of transcripts of marks/grades and high school/higher secondary and intermediate school certificates.
Master’s Degree: Eligibility to apply for PG programs in the US is 16 years of formal education from an accredited or recognised university in India. Students must hold a 4-year Bachelor’s degree from a relevant field to apply for the PG program in the same or interdisciplinary stream.
Students from non-native English speaking countries should prove English language proficiency through standardised tests for undergraduate and postgraduate programs. The widely accepted language tests are:
TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language: TOEFL is a standardised test employed to measure the English language proficiency of non-native English speaking nationals who are seeking admission to English-taught programs in the USA. TOEFL is accepted by over 11,000 universities and educational institutes worldwide. The validity of the TOEFL test score is two years. You can visit the official TOEFL website for more details.
IELTS – The International English Language Testing System: IELTS is yet another internationally recognised standard test to measure the English language ability of non-native English speaking students. IELTS is accepted by over 3,000 academic institutes in the USA. The test is widely accepted by other countries like the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Europe. IELTS score is valid for 24 months. For more details, please visit the official IELTS website.
Students must complete essential entrance examinations for the respective programs. A valid score in these entrance exams is a determining factor for your admission to a US university. The most common entrance exams are outlined below.
ACT – American College Test: ACT is a multiple-choice entrance test administered for students who have passed out of 12th grade and are applying for Bachelor’s degree programs in the USA.
SAT – Scholastic Aptitude Test: SAT is another multiple-choice test for students who have completed their 12th and are applying for undergraduate programs in the United States.
GRE – Graduate Record Examination: GRE is the most common standardised test required for postgraduate programs in the USA. Most universities require competent GRE scores as eligibility criteria for MS programs, MBA, Law and other professional degrees and research programs.
GMAT – Graduate Management Admission Test: GMAT is a commonly accepted test for admissions to top business schools in the USA. GMAT score is a mandatory requirement for students aspiring to enrol for MBA and other professional business programs.
LSAT – Law School Admission Test: LSAT is a necessary test for students applying for law schools in the USA. All professional law programs at top US universities mandate an LSAT score of 150 and above.
MCAT – Medical College Admission Test: MCAT is a mandatory test for students seeking admission to medical schools. All universities in the USA offering professional programs in clinical medicine and other specialisations require an MCAT score of 150 and above.
Interview: Many universities in the USA require students to attend a virtual interview. It is a necessary step for professional degree programs and talent-based courses like acting, music, art and design.
Document Requirements to Apply for UG & PG Programs in the USA
Below is the list of documents that are required to apply for undergraduate and postgraduate programs offered by US universities:
- Curriculum Vitae
- Higher Secondary Transcripts (for UG)
- Degree Transcripts (for PG)
- Graduation Certificate (for PG)
- Mark sheets/grade cards (for both UG & PG)
- Letters of Recommendation
- Statement of Purpose (as required by the university)
- Essay (as required by the university)
- Language Test Scores (TOEFL/IELTS/PTE)
- Entrance Exam Scorecards (ACT/SAT, GRE/GMAT/MCAT/LSAT, etc.)
- Extra-curricular certificates
- Other certificates (internships, workshops, trainings, webinars)
- Professional experience certificate (if applicable)
- Project proposal (if applicable)
- Application copy
- Proof of funds
- Other requirements as specified for the program (check university website)
To Sum Up
The United States of America has dominated the global education sphere for the last few decades. A degree from a US university is recognised and respected around the globe. It is no wonder that thousands of Indian students are nurturing dreams to study in the USA. We have outlined the basic requirements to study in USA for Indian students to make the process easy. Please take the time to go through the essential prerequisites and begin your preparation for your academic voyage.