Steps to Apply for U.S. Study

Steps to Apply for U.S. Study

Steps to Apply for U.S. Study

1. Research Your Options

At the undergraduate level, some but not all universities accept the Common Application (only at the undergraduate level). This is convenient as you only have to fill out one form, which you can send to as many universities as you like, so check whether institutions you are interested in may accept it. See

To help you locate universities please use search sites such as those listed below. Take the time to research and learn from these sites, and individual university sites, as much as possible: CollegeBoard or Peterson's College Bound

At the graduate level, keep in mind that in the U.S., you don’t necessarily need a master’s degree to apply to a Ph.D. program. It is possible to apply to Ph.D. programs with your B.A. (Kaarshenaasi) degree. If you plan to go on for a Ph.D. eventually, take the time to research programs available at both M.A. and Ph.D. levels. Good search sites include—

Peterson's Grad School Bound and/or

For specific fields of study:

To locate programs in engineering and computer sciences go to: ABET

For business fields & MBA click here or check

To search art fields use:

We strongly encourage you to apply to more than one university to increase your chances of being admitted as well as your options for U.S. study. The institutions should vary in how selective they are, and often students apply to ten or so top choices.

Especially because there is a fee for each application and financial transactions from Iran are restricted, be sure that each is truly an institution that you would be happy to attend. If you have difficulty paying application fees, you can send a request to universities asking that fees be waived and explaining your financial and other relevant circumstances.

2. Seek Funding if Needed

First, try to find out if the university has specific financial aid forms for international students as well as whether and how much aid they can offer international applicants.  Your overall GPA and test scores are important in order to be granted scholarships and financial help. The university that you are applying to is the most likely source of financial aid as well as a major source of information, so please do not hesitate to contact the admissions office directly for this important part of your journey.

You can also search for other scholarships. Search through the following websites and see if you qualify:

3. Take English Language and Other Tests as Universities Require

Proof of English language proficiency, generally through specific standardized tests will always be required, such as the TOEFL and the IELTS. Some institutions will accept high SAT Verbal scores from undergraduates as proof instead. For more information about TOEFL, watch TOEFLtv.

Some free test preparation is provided on these sites and can also be found for other tests, for example for SAT see

4. Write your Personal Statement & Request Letters of Recommendation

When writing your personal essay or statement talk about your interests and why you are a good fit with the university to which you are applying. If you are applying at the graduate level and have work experience, include your Curriculum Vita (résumé).Most institutions may need you to have two or more letters of recommendation from teachers who are familiar with your educational background and know you well.

5. Once you have an I-20, pay your SEVIS fee and apply for a visa

Once you are admitted to a university, they will send you an official letter and the I-20 form.  Once you have that form, you can make your appointment at a U.S. embassy. The EducationUSA Iran website has a section with a wealth of information and tips on visa application; see

Study Requirements for U.S. Undergraduate Entrance

In order to start your studies at a U.S. four-year university, you’ll need to have your Iranian Pre-University (Pish-daneshgaahiCertificate, which indicates that you have completed 12 years of study.

While you are continuing your studies in Iran, you may start applying to U.S. programs, and indeed you will want to since most deadlines are in the fall or winter prior to the fall when you would enter a program. However, you’ll still need to send evidence of completion of the Pish-daneshgaahi once you are done.

If you will not complete the Pish-daneshgaahi certificate but only the diplom indicating completion of 11 years of study, you may be able to start a program at a U.S. community college in a two-year associate degree program, depending on the admissions requirements of the particular community college. (This type of study is also an option if you do complete pre-university studies in Iran.)

If there are unusual circumstances because of which you cannot fully demonstrate completion of 12 years of study even though you have successfully completed them, discuss the matter with U.S. university admissions offices and show them whatever evidence you can. While it will be difficult for them to deviate from their normal policies, some may be willing to make an exception.

Please note that most colleges have their own specific curricular requirements for entrance, which vary from school to school.  The best way to find out each school’s requirements is to contact the school directly and/or examine their admissions Web pages. Check into course requirements such as English, math, geometry, and calculus. Some schools might need laboratory science background (biology, chemistry, physics, or earth science, for instance); social studies; and some credits in a second language.

U.S. Undergraduate Study: Making Basic Decisions

Determining which accredited universities fit you is one of the most important decisions to make.

Questions to ask yourself beyond whether the university offers the field you want might include the following: Where do I want to live? Should I apply to college or a technical college? Do I want to attend a single-sex school? Should I look at small or large colleges, and which one would be suitable for me? How selective a college is appropriate for me? What about financial aid? What services and activities do I need/want? Should I apply to a minority-serving institution or religiously affiliated college? One that is internationally diverse or one where I will stand out among a largely U.S.-based student body? How can my studies contribute to my future growth and the development of my country in the long run?

Our goal is to help you make an educated U.S. study choice that will allow you to achieve your academic and career ambitions.
In addition to EducationUSA Iran, another good source of information and guidelines is the National Association of College Admissions Counselors. See

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