Research at an American college: the right way to apply, step-by-step

Translation of transcripts, English test, visa application… To enter a university in the United States, it’s best to start early and prepare well. Here is a user guide taken from the book “Leaving to study outside” by Sophie Collet.

In the United States, you will be spoiled for choice in your studies (as long as you can afford it). But, to choose well, identify your training and prepare for its arrival, institutions recommend contacting them a year in advance. If you go alone, outside the exchange program, count eighteen months.

Choose your establishment and complete your form

“There are 4,900 universities in the United States, so don’t focus on the well-known ones!” recalls Céline Ouziel, adviser to the Franco-American Commission, the official structure for promoting American studies in France.

If you are going to do an exchange, your university will offer you a choice of institutions. Check their website for student numbers, campus facilities, exact location, etc.

Read too: 5 good reasons to study at a small American university

If you go alone, in “free mover”, you will have to select the establishments where you will apply. The French-American Commission’s documentation center offers a directory of universities. If you are unable to travel to Paris, the Commission can also provide information by discipline on the Internet.

Expect to spend some time researching during this phase! Once your institution has been selected, you will need to write to the board of admissions via email to request a brochure for your course and an admissions file. Today, all universities allow these documents to be downloaded from the Internet.

Read too: Traveling abroad alone or on exchange: what are the differences?

Pay close attention to all ordered parts. You will need to translate all your transcripts, provide a letter of motivation, letters of recommendation, a certificate of personal resources, but also a description of your extracurricular activities… Proceed in stages.

mandatory english test

One obvious thing to remember: impossible to be admitted to an American course without a sufficient level of English. The degree of requirement of an establishment is indicated in the admission process. Register for the required test as soon as you receive this package, at least six weeks before the exam.

Read too: Going to study in New York, instructions for use

mission visa

According to Céline Ouziel, you don’t have to worry about the visa: “99% of students get it if the form is complete”, she says. The US Embassy website details all supporting documents to be provided, depending on your situation. Tell anyway two months late and a mandatory interview in Paris.

Heads up : the visa application can only be made from the moment you are admitted to an American institution, because immigration services require the “certificate of eligibility” (certificate of admission) to accept your application.

Pay attention to social security!

In the United States, a visit to a GP can lighten your wallet by €150! Therefore, consider taking out supplementary health insurance, in addition to French Social Security. “American colleges sometimes impose their own private insurance plan,” observes Céline Ouziel. Otherwise, it will be up to you to choose the solution that suits you. Student mutuals offer them, as do large traditional private insurers.

social Security number

Oblivious to your social protection, contrary to your title, this registration number will often serve as a real identity card in the United States (to open a bank account, sign a telephone signature, etc.). Nonetheless, if you’re not working, it’s usually not necessary. Please feel free to inquire about the steps to follow to obtain it from your US institution’s admissions office.

FOR MORE
To discover in Éditions de l’Etudiant:
“Going to study abroad”,
by Sophie Collet.

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