Applying to U.S. Universities

The mission of the University of Miami Intensive English Program (IEP) is to prepare international students to enter a university. To do so, one-on-one admissions advising is provided to all IEP students interested in applying to a U.S. university or college. Here are just a few of the ways the IEP works directly with students on their applications.

  • Explanation of university admissions policies and procedures
  • Review of your undergraduate and graduate applications
  • Support as you determine your major and/or career path
  • Assistance on your university application essays
  • Understanding immigration requirements
Open All Tabs
  • What should I know about applying to U.S. universities?

    Each university and college in the U.S. has its own admission standards, so it is important to review the application process and requirements at each institution. Though the application process may differ between institutions, many U.S. universities and colleges use the Common Application and have similar requirements. Here are those requirements:

    • English proficiency test:  Tests such as TOEFL, IELTS, or DET are used by U.S. institutions to determine the English proficiency of international applicants.  The acceptance of language proficiency tests and required scores vary depending on the university, so it is important to review admission requirements for each university to which you are applying.
    • Educational credentials: Universities generally require transcripts and diplomas to be evaluated by a third party who will translate, evaluate, and certify your documents. First year applicants will need to submit high school transcripts, and transfer applicants will need to submit university transcripts and may also need to submit high school transcripts. 
    • Letters of recommendation: A letter of recommendation is typically written by a current or former teacher, school counselor, principle of your high school, personal tutor, or a supervisor.  Recommenders should be carefully selected since they will be writing about their first-hand experience with you and providing insight on your potential to succeed at university.
    • Essay or personal statement: This is your opportunity to tell the university about your accomplishments, interests, long term goals, and strength. Because institutions look favorably upon students who are well-rounded, this is one of the most important parts of your application. It shows universities who you are outside of your academic achievements and gives them a glimpse into who you are as an individual.

  • What is the Common Application?

    The Common Application, often referred to as the Common App, is a college application shared by hundreds of universities and colleges across the U.S. You simply fill out your application and select the schools to which you want your application submitted. 

  • When should I apply to university?

    Applications for the fall semester at U.S. institutions are usually due January 1, while spring semester applications are typically due in November. Application deadlines vary depending on institutions, so it is important to know the admission requirements for the universities to which you are applying and to have all of your required documents submitted by that deadline.

  • How many universities should I apply to?

    It is important to plan for your future and to carefully consider your future university. While some experts claim that students should apply to up to 15 colleges, it is always within the best interest of applicants to apply to more than one university.

  • What tests do I need to take?

    International students are typically required to take a language proficiency test such as the TOEFL, IELTS, or DET. Universities require English language proficiency tests to ensure a student’s language proficiency allows them to excel in the classroom. For students who do not meet the language proficiency requirement of their preferred institution, many universities have English language programs to support them in gaining proficiency while transitioning to their undergraduate or graduate studies.

    While a handful of schools may also require applicants to submit their scores from a standardized test, such as the SAT or ACT, most U.S. institutions do not as they have begun to adopt a test-optional admissions policy. Again, it is important to research the university or college to which you are applying and to become familiar with their requirements.

  • What is the difference between early action, early decision, and regular decision?

    Early decision (ED) plans are binding. This means that if a student is accepted as an ED applicant, they must attend the university or college. Applicants can apply to only one university or college through early decision.

    Early action (AD) plans nonbing. This means that students will receive a university’s decision on their application earlier than regular decision applications.

    Regular decision (RD) is the most common application, allowing applicants to take more time to complete their application. However, applicants who apply RD will also receive their decision later than those applying early decision or early action.

  • What is the difference between a university and a college?

    Universities and colleges are both institutions for higher education. Universities are often larger institutions that host both undergraduate and graduate degree programs, whereas colleges are usually smaller and offer associate and bachelor’s degrees.