To apply to universities in the USA, you will need to:
Choose a degree programme - there are many to choose from, so think about what you enjoy and what you want to do in the future for a career.
Choose a university/college - with over 5,000 universities and colleges to choose from, it can be difficult to know which ones are right for you. Our guide will help narrow down your choices.
Contact the international admissions office at each university you wish to apply to, where you can check your eligibility and their application process
Gather the required documents. This will usually include a college admissions essay; references from two or three teachers; a TOEFL test if English isn't your first language; a written piece of work marked by a teacher; a ACT or SAT test.
Unlike the UK, where UCAS limits students to only 5 universities, you can apply to as many universities as you want in the U.S.
However, we recommend you try to limit your choices to no more than 10, otherwise it can become a very expensive and time-consuming process!
Can I get a university scholarship in the USA?
Most colleges in the US offer scholarship programs specifically for international students attending the institution, so it's always worth contacting them directly to see what's available.
Our Scholarships guide has lots more information and advice on where to find funding for your degree and how to apply.
How much does it cost to study in the US?
On an average, a student spends approximately $10,000–$12,000 per year on living expenses.
However, this amount entirely depends on the location where a student is studying, as big cities will be more expensive than smaller towns and rural areas.
According to research by College Board, published tuition fees for 2018/19 at state colleges are an average of US$10,230 for state residents, and $26,290 for everyone else (i.e. international students).
This compares to an average of $35,830 at private non-profit colleges.
What are the cheapest US universities?
Currently, the cheapset universities are as follows:
Sitting Bull College, ND $938
South Texas College $1,317
University of Texas-Pan American $1,646
Indian River State College $2,138
California State University-Dominguez Hills $2,451
California State University-Los Angeles $3,263
Elizabeth City State University, NC $3,335
Palm Beach State College, FL $3,490
Haskell Indian Nations University, KS $4,302
CUNY Lehman College, NY $4,335
Louisiana State University-Shreveport $4,364
Chipola College, FL $4,568
CUNY John Jay College Criminal Justice, NY $4,568
Texas A&M International University $4,594
Bellevue College, WA $4,749
Middle Georgia College $4,809
Oglala Lakota College, SD $4,871
California State University-Fullerton $4,874
University of Louisiana at Lafayette $5,042
University of Hawaii-West Oahu $5,201
University of Texas at El Paso $5,224
Dalton State College, GA $5,309
Oklahoma Panhandle State University $5,434
College of Coastal Georgia $5,449
Midland College, TX $5,471
However, remember that cheap does not always means you will get a good education! Check the course content carefully if you are considering studying at one of these institutions, and try to visit in person if you can, and/or speak to the tutors and admissions office for more information about what they have to offer.