Applying to US universities

Students can apply to universities and colleges in the USA using either colleges own application procedure of unique form or The Common Application website. Unlike UCAS, each college application has its own unique requirements, and each application attracts its own fee. Students can apply for as many colleges and universities as they want.


The requirements and deadlines for US universities vary. It is extremely important that students check each university admissions page for entry requirements, especially for those students who are not US citizens.

Most universities will require:

  • Transcript of Grades (A level, AS level, BTEC, EPQ, GCSE...)
  • Admissions Test (SAT, ACT)
  • Recommendation Letters (academic and non-academic)
  • Essays (personal statement and supporting essay(s)

The following sections have been designed to guide you through the US application process.

At this point, you understand the admissions process, how universities evaluate your application. You understand yourself. Your strengths, weaknesses, and what you want in a school. And you understand the schools, primarily how you fit as well as their admission requirements.

Now, we're going to go through the eight pieces of your application one by one.

As a reminder, those eight pieces are the application form. 

You started to create an application plan. Each one of these pieces that we're going to discuss needs to have a place on your application plan. 

  1. Application form
  2. The academic documents
  3. Test scores
  4. The essay
  5. Letters of recommendation
  6. School forms
  7. Your activity list and/or Resume
  8. Other requirements.

You will need to get started early and ensure that you discuss your application(s) with your counsellor (AKA Stowe’s careers advisor) and our resident Harvard Scholar. They will be able to advise you on the best ways to prepare your competitive application.

We have outlined a structure on these pages to help you research and prepare to apply to the US.


Below are two videos you should watch to help you better understand how to prepare a competitive US college application. 

Some resources to help you start your research.