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Pre Application Procedure
-Calendar and Checklist: Student much begin the search for colleges at least twenty four months prior to the Semester for which admission is intended.
-Short listing Colleges: Explore college sites on the web. Talk with family, friends, and acquaintances who have studied in the US. Write to 10-15 schools for information.

Procuring Application Form
-Send inquiries about the colleges at least 15 to 18 months before the proposed date of admission.

-Many schools create their own admission applications. Contact the school to request a copy. You can request application forms from the universities website by filling up a request form on line.

-You can also send a request by airmail for application material. The request should contain a brief description of your educational background, academic objectives, source of financial support, English proficiency and standardized test scores.

-Many universities have a ready to print versions of their application forms on their website. This can be used as a regular form.

-There is also a common application/universal application form for selective, independent colleges and universities for admission to their undergraduate programs. Many of these institutions use the form exclusively and give equal consideration to the common application and the college's own form.

-Look out for your shortlisted schools having a two-part application form. You would need to submit Part I containing basic information such as name and address, as soon as possible. The school will only send you Part II after reviewing Part I.

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Main Exams

SAT Reasoning Test
SAT Reasoning Test is a standardized test required for admission to undergraduate programs of most US universities. It measures critical thinking skills, problem solving skills and communication skills that are needed for academic success in college. It assesses how well a student uses the skills and knowledge he has attained in and outside of the classroom.
The SAT is owned, published, and developed by the College Board. The College Board states that use of the SAT in combination with high school grade point average (GPA) provides a better indicator of success in college.
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SAT Subject Test
SAT Subject Test measures the knowledge and skills of a student in particular subject areas, and their ability to apply that knowledge. Many colleges use the Subject Tests for admission, for course placement, and to advise students about course selection. These tests give colleges a very reliable measure of how prepared a student is for college-level work in a particular subject.
The SAT Subject Tests offers an additional opportunity to show colleges the applicants strength in a particular subject.

ACT assessment measures high school students general educational development and their capability to complete college-level work with the multiple-choice tests covering four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science. The optional Writing Test measures skill in planning and writing a short essay. Specifically, ACT states that its scores provide an indicator of "college readiness", and that scores in each of the subtests correspond to skills in entry-level college courses in English, algebra, social science, humanities, and biology.
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TOEFL (Test of English as Foreign Language)
The test uses a multiple choice and essay format to measure student`s ability to understand North American English required to communicate in colleges and universities. The TOEFL is accepted by 6,000+ institutions in more than 130 countries (PDF).

You can take the Internet-based Test (iBT) or the Paper-based Test (PBT), depending on which format is offered at your test center.
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GRE (Graduate Record Examinations)
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) has been developed by Educational Testing Service (ETS) to evaluate the verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning , critical thinking, and analytical writing skills that are not related to any specific field of study. The scores of this standardized test helps any accredited graduate, business or professional school, or any department or division within a school, to assess the advanced study potential of their prospective students and to supplement undergraduate records and other qualifications for graduate study. The Institution may require or recommend that its applicants take the General Test, a Subject Test, or both. Non-accredited institutions, approved by the GRE Board, can also receive the scores of the applicants.
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GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)
Graduate Management Admissions Test or GMAT is a Standardizes test for MBA aspirants. This test is designed to evaluate the potential of students by assessing their mathematical, verbal and analytical writing skills. GMAT test, initially prepared for use by the Institutes/Universities of U.S. offering programs in management and business, is now used as a criterion for allotting admission to students globally by more than 1700 universities/institutes.

The GMAT is designed and administered by Pearson Vue at the behest of Graduate Management Admission Council or GMAC. It is Pearson Vue which reports the test score to the universities and institutes.

LSAT (Law School Admission Testing Program)
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a half-day standardized test required for admission to LSAC-member law schools, most Canadian law schools, and many non"ABA"approved law schools. It provides a standard measure of acquired reading and verbal reasoning skills that law schools can use as one of several factors in assessing applicants. The test is administered four times a year at hundreds of locations around the world.

The LSAT is designed to measure skills that are considered essential for success in law school: the reading and comprehension of complex texts with accuracy and insight; the organization and management of information and the ability to draw reasonable inferences from it; the ability to think critically; and the analysis and evaluation of the reasoning and arguments of others.
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MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), in conjunction with its member U.S. medical schools, develops and administers the MCAT exam and owns all aspects of it. The exam has been part of the medical school admissions process for more than 60 years, and today all medical schools in the United States and most in Canada require applicants to submit recent MCAT exam scores. In addition, many other health professions and graduate programs accept MCAT exam scores in lieu of other standardized tests.
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Documents Required

Students who are applying for a Bachelor program or another undergraduate course would be required to submit a secondary school report and transcripts (report cards) of the final exams. The report form should be filled out by a school official like the principal, counselor or headmaster. This form should introduce you in the context of your whole school experience in relation to the other students in your class. Admission committees will be interested in learning how you have performed in your own educational system. The school report should talk about your accomplishments and provide a prediction of your chances for success in university-level studies.

Since there is a variation between the styles of scoring used abroad and the ones used in India, ask your school to include a guide to the grading standards used in your educational system and your school. If your school ranks students by their level of academic achievement, make certain that the ranking is included with the other details. Also send the school / junior college leaving certificate as and when it is available.

If the transcripts are in a language other than English, then it must be translated into English only by the issuing authority or university otherwise it may not be acceptable

Statement of Purpose
The Statement of Purpose is the single most important part of the application form that will introduce the applicant to the admissions committee. It will also give a brief of the applicant`s current career path and professional interests and goals for the future.

Letter of Recommendation
One of the most important elements of your college application is the Letter of recommendation. It is a signed statement from preferably a teacher who knows you well and has taught you in a subject that is related to the course you are applying to.

The letter should list your positive and negative qualities, useful skills (e.g., computer, statistical, or interpersonal skills), related experiences (extracurricular, work experience, clubs, volunteer work), information about the student that can portray a true picture of the candidate to the reader. A good letter might also provide information about the student`s development and achievements over time. Therefore you need to choose a teacher who knows you well to write your letter.

Most students who receive assistance usually do so in the form of an assistantship, i.e. a cash stipend sufficient for their living expenses, and/or tuition waiver. To get this, they have to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week. This work normally consists of teaching and research activities. These are usually for graduate courses. Teaching assistantships are more likely to be in universities, which have large undergraduate classes whereas research assistantships tend to be more common in those fields and universities in which considerable research is in progress. Information brochures of most universities give this information. Often, teaching and research abilities must be proved before assistantship is granted. Hence, many universities grant this only after the first semester. You may also be required to take TSE (Test of Spoken English) to qualify for a teaching assistantship.

University Scholarship/University Financial Assistance/Waivers
International Education Financial Aid (IEFA) scholarship search is the premier resource for financial aid, college scholarship and grant information for international students wishing to study abroad. They offer both a basic and premium search to find scholarships all around the world
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