College in the US is a dream destination for many students from all over the world. There are over 5000 universities in the States, including many of the top global colleges; hence the quantity and quality of higher education opportunities available here are unparalleled. There are two types of universities in the US: National Universities and Liberal Arts Colleges. The major difference between the two is that Liberal Arts Colleges offer only undergraduate or Bachelors programs, whereas National Universities offer Bachelors, Masters and PhDs as well.

Most universities and colleges, require the Common Application, which encompasses several forms as well as an activity list and an essay section. As of 2015, 500 universities use the Common Application. In addition to the uniform requirements of the Common App, almost every university asks for supplements to this application, in the form of essays. Students applying must send in high school transcripts and TOEFL/IELTS scores if they are unable to demonstrate proficiency in English. Candidates, in the case of most colleges, must also submit scores for the SAT Reasoning Test, and much more rarely for the SAT Subject Tests. Early Decision applicants must apply before 1st November, while for regular applicants; the deadlines for submissions vary from 1st- 15th January. Admission decisions are dispatched in March and April.

Some of the top universities (Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Dartmouth, and Amherst) are need-blind, even for international students. Need-blind universities do not consider an applicant’s financial situation during the selection process. There are select universities that are need-aware – they will take into account the applicant’s financial need as a factor in giving them a decision – but state that they will meet the full demonstrated financial need of students if they are accepted. There are also various forms of financial aid available and may include – albeit rarely – need based, and merit-based scholarships. These often require separate applications.

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