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Key Requirements for Studying in the USA

Updated on 01 April, 2024

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

The important requirements for studying in USA include the following: 

1. Completed application form and proof of completion of secondary school or 12 years of schooling. 

2. Certification of English language proficiency which is usually the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score. 

3. You also need evidence of financial support which is needed for the I-20 Form. 


The TOEFL requirement is mostly lower for community colleges in the USA as compared to the four-year course institutions. The community colleges may even admit the student into the ESL (English as a Second Language) program if the TOEFL score is a little less than the entry threshold. Completing this ESL program will open up newer study avenues in the community college and offer better academic pursuits thereafter.

Some colleges may require international students to appear for an admission test. This may usually be the SAT I or Scholastic Assessment Test I or even the ACT (American College Testing) assessment. Some may also require scores of SAT II Subject Tests. You should check in advance for particular testing requirements at colleges and universities. 

The SAT exams are held multiple times in every session with registration material readily available at advisory centers and with test administrators themselves. The following details should answer your questions about how to study in USA and the key requirements. 

Read More: Cost of studying in USA

Requirements for studying in the USA for non-native speakers

The requirements for studying in USA should be carefully noted if you are a non-native speaker of English. US colleges and universities will get you to appear for the English language proficiency test before obtaining admission into any degree program. Almost all institutions in the USA will require scores of TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language). Some may accept scores from other English Language Proficiency (ELP) examinations or their in-house examinations.

You should carefully check the requirements to study in USA as outlined on the official websites of colleges or universities. Contact the admissions office for discussing your situation before finalizing your plans. Every institution sets its standards for English language admissions. Some may also grant conditional acceptance with an understanding that the student will attend English language classes before starting the degree course. The TOEFL is accepted by institutions worldwide and is usually taken on the computer. The paper-based version is used in some cases. 

Read More: Part Time jobs in USA for international students

Requirements to study in USA- Choosing a College 

Each student has unique attributes, temperaments, and skills. Your decisions should be based on all the factors that are vital for your lifestyle and educational preferences. There are many educational information and advisory centers in almost every country including the USA. They may be a good starting point for your research. There are private academic consultants who can help you narrow down to the best colleges/universities  in the USA and put together the application for your admission.

These private agencies and consultants are often US college graduates or people who are committed to promoting the benefits of the country’s education system globally. You may also consider platforms like upGrad Abroad for choosing uniquely tailored programs. These help you save greatly on costs while enjoying a greater degree of flexibility and convenience. You can also get a one-stop solution for visa applications, admission, coaching, and more. 

Read More: Study in USA from India

Key academic aspects worth considering 

The United States of America does not have any dedicated central government authority for issuing approval to educational institutions. Rather, it has a system of voluntary accreditation implemented by non-Government accrediting organizations. They ensure that all colleges and universities adhere to stringent academic standards.

There is no legal requirement for accreditation of institutions offering degrees or holding a specific accreditation form. Due to such complex aspects, there is a need to carefully check if a degree from the institution that you are applying to will have recognition from the government in your home country. 

You should also check whether it will be recognized by all the relevant ministries, professional associations, companies, and employers in your home country or other countries as well. If you are considering transfers from one college in the US to another during your undergraduate program, check whether other US institutions will recognize degrees/credits from the college that you are considering currently. Educational information and advisory centers in the USA may guide you about the recognition of degrees in your own home country while informing you whether there is suitable accreditation for a degree-offering institution in the US.

Important Link to Study in USA
University of Chicago Acceptance Rate for International Studentsthe Johns Hopkins UniversityJobs in USAHubert H Humphrey Fellowship
Acceptance Rate of Columbia UniversityCalifornia Institute of Technology Acceptance RateMassachusetts Institute of Technology Acceptance RateUniversity of California Berkeley Acceptance Rate

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

We are a dedicated team of study-abroad experts, ensuring intensive research and comprehensive information in each of our blogs. With every piece written, we aim at simplifying the overseas education process for all. Our diverse experience as journalists, content writers, editors, content strategists, and marketers helps create the most relevant and authentic blogs for our readers.

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