Application documents

List of Documents Required for Applying in US Universities

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Sumeet Jain
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Congratulations for coming this far! Is it time to gather all the documents that you would require for admission to the top universities in the USA? Well, this is a comprehensive guide. Make sure to read to the end to get all your questions answered. 

But first, a word of caution: only list it out and prepare the paperwork with the help of experts. No compromise. In the long run, your career will be determined by these documents. Furthermore, the financial paperwork is extremely important and cannot be flawed.

And who else can assist you better than Yocket’s experts? Begin your study-abroad journey today with Yocket’s end-to-end assistance for everything you need. Explore Yocket Premium Services Today!

Table of Contents

Documents Required for Application to US Universities - Masters & Undergraduate Programs

Here is a brief checklist of the documents needed for admission to US universities before we get into detail about them. The list has been separated into two subsections: documents needed for US MS programs and documents needed for undergraduate university applications.

Documents Required for Masters in the USA

To apply to the various master’s programs at US universities, you require the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae
  • Transcripts
  • Marksheets and pass certificates
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • Letters of Recommendation (LOR)
  • Entrance Exam Scorecards - GRE/ GMAT/ LSAT/ MCAT
  • English Language Proficiency Test Scores
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP)
  • Experience Letters (if any)
  • Application confirmation copy
  • Essays
  • Certificates for extra-curricular activities
  • Proof of Funds
  • Research proposal/ Portfolio/ Project Description (for specific courses)

Documents Required for UG/Bachelors in USA

To apply to the various bachelor’s programs at US universities, you require the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae
  • Marksheets and pass certificates
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Entrance Exam Scorecards - SAT/ ACT
  • English Language Proficiency Test Scores
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Essays
  • Work Experience Letters (if any)
  • Certificates for extra-curricular activities
  • Application confirmation copy
  • Proof of Funds

Suggested: 5 Best States in USA for Indian Students 2022

Note that the requirements of the aforementioned documents could vary by university and course. Said that, let us now briefly discuss the 14 standard documents required for admission purposes for international students.

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14 Essential Documents Required for Applying to US Universities

Discussed below are 14 documents that must be kept handy before beginning the application process for foreign universities in general. However, here we have discussed them as per the US universities' requirements.

  • Passport

The most crucial document needed to study overseas is this one. Please apply for a passport well in advance if you don't already have one. Before scheduling your admission examinations, have it ready. Additionally, copies of the passport's initial and last pages must be kept handy. Ensure that your passport will still be valid six months after the date you intend to return.

  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume

The details included here will include your goal, educational background, internships (if applicable), previous employment history, milestone scores (yearly totals and final aggregates for the 10th and 12th grades), projects completed during your undergraduate studies (as well as during your internships and full-time jobs), and any mention of co-curricular and extracurricular activities.

Suggested: How to Write a Graduate Resume?

  • Transcripts

One of the most crucial documents needed for an MS at a university in the United States is a transcript from a previous school/college. A transcript is a document that an organization issues. It includes the concerned student's scores in addition to comprehensive, succinct information on the undergraduate courses you took. Students submitting applications in their senior year must have all of their results from the 10th standard.

For instance, the transcript for engineering students should include information from semesters one through six. The transcript should include the grades from each year of the bachelor's program for applicants planning to pursue further education.

In the US, how many transcripts are required for MS? For one university, a student must provide a minimum of two copies of their transcript. Every one of them ought to get an attestation from the relevant institution.

  • Marksheets and Pass Certificates

Copies of the necessary grade reports and pass certificates are also required from the students. For instance, Indian applicants for master's degrees require their 10th and 12th-grade transcripts, as well as all semester grades and passing certificates. Every application needs a minimum of one set of copies, frequently two. Every single copy should be attested.

  • Letters of Recommendation

A letter of recommendation (LOR) that describes your abilities, accomplishments, and experience at the collegiate or professional level must come from your professors or managers. Usually, there should be three or more recommenders. It is among the most crucial documents needed when applying to undergraduate and graduate programs at US colleges.

Most colleges require hard copies of letters of recommendation, especially for Master's program applications; however, some prefer recommenders to email the letters online directly to the graduate admissions department.

The LOR's contents must be printed on the organization's header paper, sealed within the formal envelope, and signed on the seal using stamps. This demonstrates that the letters are confidential and were not revealed to the applicant.

  • Entrance Exam Scorecards

Universities in the USA require students to take certain entrance exams for admission. Check for the program you are applying for, and keep your score ready before applying to the universities of your choice. Some important entrance exams are:

  • SAT: Almost all universities in the USA accept SAT scores for applying to undergraduate programs.
  • ACT: It is another important exam while applying for undergraduate programs in the USA.
  • GRE: It is mandatory for most of the MS-level programs in the USA, including Business Management programs.
  • GMAT: It is required for admission to  B-Schools in the USA.
  • MCAT: This exam is to be taken by students interested in pursuing medical studies in the US.
  • LSAT: It is necessary to apply for admission to Law schools in the USA

Similar to standardized scores, universities abroad also require international students to submit English proficiency test scores.

  • English Proficiency Test Scores

Students coming from non-native English-speaking countries are also required to produce scores on an English language proficiency test. This is important because you will study in the US in English, and universities need to ensure that language won’t be a barrier in your studies. The most popular among these tests are TOEFL and IELTS.

GRE/GMAT/SAT and TOEFL/IELTS scores have to be sent online to universities through the ETS website. Apart from that, one can keep a few copies of the scores for safekeeping.

  • Statement of Purpose

The submission of an online Statement of Purpose by applicants is optional. If it needs to be sent by courier, please make sure it is printed on high-quality paper and has your name, user ID, and the application program you want to apply for in the header. The university website will specify the recommended font size and spacing.

  • Work Experience Letters

Please include your experience letters from any internships or jobs you have held, as verified by the relevant organizations.

  • Application Confirmation Copy

You will be directed to a confirmation page and will receive a confirmation email as soon as you submit your application and pay the university's online fee. One of the two copies needs to be sent.

  • Essays

In the US, many universities could request that applicants write an essay.  The essay may be on a subject of the candidate's choosing or one that highlights their interest in the program or field. The majority of colleges require one to three of these essays.

  • Proof of Funds

To evaluate your capacity to pay for your education and establish your eligibility for financial aid or scholarships, universities require proof of funds. Some universities request a declaration from the bank statement for this reason. Your bank will issue this statement, and the copies must be certified by the same bank.

Sending a loan letter with this is not necessary. You do not need to disclose your application for an education loan to the colleges.

  • Research Proposals, / Portfolio / Project Descriptions

Universities may also request a research proposal, portfolio, or project description from students enrolled in some highly specialized, research-based programs. One of the documents needed for research-related master's degrees in the United States is the project description. Writing a thesis is typically required for these programs.

Applications for master's programs in the arts, design, and architecture must include a portfolio. This facilitates the evaluation of your experience and aptitude in your subject of study by the relevant university or college.

  • Certificates for Extra-Curricular Activities

If you are doing very well in extracurricular activities, be sure to include the appropriate certifications to back up your statements. Copies of the awards, participation, volunteer work, technical papers, certifications, and published papers must also be submitted. This can enhance the overall attractiveness of your application to the foreign university of your choice.

Suggested: Best Courses in the USA for Indian Students

From the Desk of Yocket

Gathering all the documents within a timeline can be challenging. But with the help of an expert, you can have the entire process streamlined. The most important documents have been discussed above, and you must ensure they are neatly placed together. 

University-specific requirements may differ for couriers. Verify the list again on the internet before forwarding any needless paperwork. And don't worry if you get stranded somewhere, because our Yocket experts are always here to help.

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Frequently asked Questions about Document Requirements for US Universities

Which are the top universities to apply to the US?

Do US universities ask for certificates?

How many copies of academic transcripts are asked by the US universities?

What is included in proof of qualification?

What supporting documents can be asked for in your university application?

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