'University of Denver Buchtel Tower and the University of Denver Sturm Law School Tower' photo (c) 2010, Great Degree - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Are you planning to go to a university in the United States? If you are, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed about the how to even begin the process. This blog is dedicated to giving you some basic advice to guide you along the way. However, remember to ask many questions to each university that you are interested in. Each school should have an international student advisor who can help you become more familiar with a process that may be different that what you would expect in your own country.

When choosing a university, you must first decide what are the most important factors for you:
Cost – Is there a price range that you have to work with? Be sure to look at what the tuition is of the universities you are looking at. Remember that when there is a difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition, international students have to pay out-of-state tuition unless some special arrangement is possible with the school. While federal financial support is not available to students on student status, other types of financial support may be available such as scholarships offered through the university.
Location – Maybe you want to study near family or friends. Maybe you prefer a certain climate. Or maybe you are concerned about the cost of living or tourist options in different cities.
Program – If the ranking of the program or school is important to you, you should ask the schools that you look at how they compare to other programs and schools.

As you are looking at university websites, find both their international admissions page and the page that related to the degree you are seeking. Read everything you can and contact the university to ask more questions. This will also help you decide where you want to go.

Apply now! Go ahead and apply to each of the universities you have identified as possibles. You do not need to wait until you have all of your other requirements ready. This starts a dialog between you and the university.'classroom' photo (c) 2009, velkr0 - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Each university sets its own requirements for entry and these can usually be found detailed on their websites. However, these are the common things that you can expect .

1. Proof of English language proficiency. Exams are the most common form of this. There are many out there that universities use (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, MELAB) and they each set their own minimum scores for acceptance. While taking test preparation courses can be helpful, the best way to prepare for this exams is simply to develop your English ability, specifically for academic purposes.

2. Transcripts from Previous Study. These are definitely required if you are applying for a masters degree. High school transcripts may be requested when applying for undergraduate degrees. Often, universities will require that you have an equivalency report created by a company like World Education Service.

3. Vaccinations. If you cannot get proof of these from home you will most likely need to have these done again.

4. Other exams. When applying for an undergraduate degree, you may be asked to take the same exams that American high school students take prior to going to university (SAT, ACT). There are also many exams that you will most likely be asked to take for a graduate program depending on the type of degree you are seeking (GRE, MAT, GMAT, MCAT, LSAT).

The main thing is to get started on your research and start putting your materials together. Stay organized and be willing to put some extra time into this. It’s worth it to make sure you make a choice that you will be satisfied with in the years to come!