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What are the Requirements to study in the USA?

10 min read
Blog Summary Learn about the essential requirements for studying in the USA as an international student. Prepare for your academic journey in America.

The USA is one of the popular destinations among international students planning to study abroad. The country has a vast population of international students, with over 3000 students from Sri Lanka alone. The eligibility criteria to study in the country are not rigid, and you may easily get into a good American university if you have an excellent academic record. The requirements asked for by the universities strictly differ from one to the other and are also based on the programs and courses chosen. Additionally, you will need a good English Proficiency Test score, subject-specific scores etc., to get admission. The USA has some of the most prestigious universities in the world. It will definitely do you good if you study there. Also, a degree from the USA has very high regard not only in the country but also in the rest of the world. If you wish to study in the USA and want to know more about it in detail, you can read the blog further.

Reasons to Study in the USA

There are several reasons behind international students choosing the USA as their preferred study destination. The number of international students in the country is steadily increasing after the slight decrease during covid-19. Even though there are other popular English-speaking countries worldwide, what makes the USA stand out? That is what we are going to see now. The following points will tell you what is special about the USA.

  • Outstanding international recognition
  • Student support programs
  • Cultural diversity
  • Flexible learning environment
  • High employment rate
  • Plethora of courses
  • Scope for research
  • Scholarship options

Requirements for Studying in the USA for Non-Native Speakers

For international students who wish to study in the USA, the requirements are different. All non-native speakers must prove their proficiency in the English language to study in the USA. Though there will be universities that do not ask for English Proficiency Test scores, it is always better to have one, as most prestigious universities ask for the scores even now. Also, having a good English Proficiency score will widen the number of universities you can apply to. You can take the Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)International English Language Testing System ( IELTS) or English Language Proficiency (ELP).

The test scores accepted will differ according to the university, course and program. It is better to contact the university to know the minimum score requirement. Some universities do not accept some tests. Knowing whether the university accepts the score before taking the test is essential. IELTS is one test that almost all universities accept.

Requirements to Study in the USA- Choosing a College

The first thing you should know before you study in any country is the course you want to take. You should know what you are capable of and what you are interested in. This will help you find what you want. If you are confused about the course you want to take, you can get help from several educational consultants who can help you find the right course. They will help you narrow down your decisions after you present your options.

You can even contact aecc for the same. Each student needs a tailor-made program that can help them achieve their goals. It will also help you have your dream career. One mistake in course selection may result in losing your time, effort and money. As such, it is better to choose what you need.

How to Apply to an International University in the USA?

  • All universities receive applications online, which makes it easier for the applicants.
  • The eligibility criteria differ for each university, and you should go through the requirements each university asks before proceeding to apply.
  • You should create an account with the university and start the application process.
  • It is advisable to have all the academic and unacademic documents in hand so you can apply easily.
  • Almost all popular payment methods are also accepted. You can complete the application by paying the fees.
  • You will receive an offer letter from the university once your application has been selected.

Need Help? Get FREE Assistance with aecc

Key Academic Aspects Worth Considering

The USA does not have a central accreditation agency that approves all the country's institutions. A system of voluntary accreditation is done by non-government accrediting organisations. They ensure that all colleges and universities adhere to the standards set. All institutions offering degrees or holding an accreditation form do not legally require an accreditation legally. Thus, checking if the university degree will be recognised in your home country before joining is essential.

It is also important to check whether the certificate will be recognised by all the relevant professional associations, employers, companies, and ministries. If you plan to shift to another university during your degree program, you should ensure that your credits and degree are recognised by other institutions, both in your home country and other countries. You can take help from the educational information and advisory centres to learn about the accreditation of universities. You can also know whether other counties will accept your institution-degree.

Admission Requirements

The admission requirements for each university depend on the course, program and university. You should look for the requirements before applying to avoid making any mistakes. The following table shows some of the common conditions asked for by most universities. There may be changes to it, and you should look for the same first.

Study Level

Entry Requirements


IELTS - 6.5/TOEFL - 100, grade 12 certificate


IELTS - 7.5/TOEFL - 90, GRE - 300, SOP, LOR, good score in Bachelor’s


IELTS - 6.5/TOEFL - 100, GMAT - 556, LORs, SOP, CV, work experience, good score in Bachelor’s


IELTS - 6.5/TOEFL - 90, GRE - 320, SOP, good score in Master’s

Documents Required for the Application Process

If you wish to study in the USA, you must satisfy a few requirements and must submit a few documents. Not all universities ask for all of these documents, and you can consult with the respective universities to know in detail about the requirements. A few general academics and unacademic documents asked for by most universities are listed below.

  1. CV/Resume: If you have done internships or work before, you can include that in your resume. Not all courses require a resume. It is an MBA or PhD program that asks for one.
  2. Entrance test scores: A few programs require subject-specific scores. For instance, GRE for Master's, GMAT for MBA, MCAT for Medicine, LSAT for Law etc. You should check the minimum score requirement and submit the score.
  3. English proficiency test score: Almost all famous universities ask for English proficiency test scores. The score requirement can vary depending on the course, university and program. You can take tests like TOEFL, IELTSPTE, Duolingo etc.
  4. Passport: You should have a valid passport to study in the USA. You should also check the passport's expiry date and ensure it is not expired. You can renew it from the USA if it expires during your stay there.
  5. Letter Of Recommendation (LOR): A good LOR is considered a requisite for many programs like MBA, PhD etc. It should be written by your professors and other similar people and should list your skills.
  6. Academic transcripts: You should have all your academic records, starting from your school level.
  7. Statement Of Purpose (SOP): An SOP explains your aim behind choosing the course. It is considered a vital document by most universities.
Work experience letters: A few programs like PhD and MBA ask for work experience. In that case, you should produce the same.

English Proficiency Test Requirements to Study in the USA

Almost all universities ask for a good English Proficiency Test score as part of the eligibility requirements. Not all universities accept all the scores. So, you should check if the university accepts the test score before proceeding to take the test. Almost all universities accept IELTS. On the other hand, not all universities accept Duolingo sore. The minimum score requirement may also vary depending on the chosen university, course and program. A few popular tests are given below.

Cost of Studying in the USA For Sri Lankan Students

There are both public and private universities in the USA, and the tuition fees for both these institutions are different. The public ones tend to be cheaper. The tuition fee is dependent on the chosen university and course. The approximate tuition fee for each program is given in the table below.


Average Annual Tuition Fee (in USD)


USD 20,000 - USD 40,000


USD 20,000 - USD 45,000


USD 28,000 - USD 55,000


USD 60,000 - USD 1,00,000

English Language Studies

USD 700 - USD 2000 (a month)

Documents Required for F1 Student Visa Application

Getting your student visa approved is one of the most important aspects of studying in the USA. You should apply on time so that there is no delay made in the processing of your visa. You should submit a few documents for the visa application. They are listed below.

  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • A passport with a validity of six months beyond your period of stay
  • Original scorecards of tests like IELTSPTETOEFL etc.
  • Visa fee payment receipt
  • Offer letter from a recognised American university
  • Fully filled visa application form
  • Form I-20 sent by the institution
  • Proof of sufficient funds in the home country
  • Salary or pay slips
  • All original academic documents

Financial Documents Required for F1 Visa

You should submit a few financial documents to get your F1 student visa processing done completely. You should prove that you have sufficient funds in your home country to support you in the USA. You will come across several expenses like tuition fees, living expenses etc. in the country, and there should be enough funds to cover you. The USA asks for evidence of financial documents that can support you all through your period of study in the USA. The documents that you need to produce are

  1. Original salary/pay slip
  2. Letters of employment
  3. Education loan approval letter from the bank
  4. Tax returns for the past three years (Form 16)
  5. Scholarship letter (if you have received any previously)
  6. passbook/bank statement for the past three years
  7. Statement from certified CA:

We hope that this blog helped you clarify your doubts. If you have any further doubts about studying in the USA, you can contact aecc anytime. We have trained counsellors to help you and clear all your doubts. Feel free to contact us!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to study in the USA for international students?
The tuition fee at an American university can be between USD 20,000 to USD 1,00,000, depending on your course, program and university.
What exams are required to study in the USA for international students?
You should take English proficiency tests like TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, Duolingo etc., and subject-specific tests like GMAT, GRE etc. based on the requirement asked by the university.
How do I know if I am eligible for university in the USA?
You should check the eligibility requirements, including the cutoffs of IELTS, TOEFL, SAT, GMAT, GRE etc., so that you can prepare accordingly.
How much bank balance is required for a US student visa?
There is no minimum bank balance requirement for a US student visa. However, you must have at least USD 10,000 to get the F! student visa.

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