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[h=1]Want to study in the USA? IELTS can help you get there![/h]Over 800,000 students from over 200 countries & territories enrolled at thousands of colleges and universities in the United States in 2012-13. IELTS, the world's most popular English test for education and global migration, is accepted by more than 3,300 of those U.S. institutions.



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[h=1]Where to start?[/h] With the great diversity of institutions and programs, as well as the vast differences in weather and culture you should consider when choosing a location, selecting a course can be a significant challenge. The U.S. Department of State’s EducationUSA network provides students considering the United States excellent tools to navigate the complex college and university admissions process in Your 5 Steps to U.S. Study. You can use these free resources to help narrow your choices. In particular, within Step 1 (Research Your Options), there is a comprehensive self-assessment tool, Define Your Priorities, to identify what is most important to you in your search for the right school/program.
To help you understand and find your way through some unfamiliar terms and concepts in U.S. higher education admissions, EducationUSA has a useful Frequently Asked Questions section available in eight languages including English.

How are top U.S. universities ranked?

The U.S. federal government does not rank its colleges and universities. The decentralized system of the United States’ diverse higher education landscape makes an “official” ranking impossible. With more than 4500 accredited post-secondary U.S. institutions the number of quality programs and courses available is on a different scale than any other country. Just think if your parents would be happy if you chose to attend a U.S. college in the top 10%, that would mean 450 institutions might meet that standard.
There are several media outlets that publish unofficial rankings of U.S. colleges and programs, e.g. U.S. News & World Report. Historically, U.S. colleges and universities are at or near the top of all international rankings (QS, Times Higher Education, Shanghai). Academic quality and reputation of U.S. institutions has consistently been a prime motivation for students to study in the United States.

What are the requirements to study?

There is no centralized Ministry of Higher Education that regulates or standardizes admissions policies to colleges and universities in the United States. As a result, each institution sets separate standards and requirements, which makes your search more complicated.
As a rule, you should consider only accredited U.S. colleges and universities. A searchable list of accredited institutions is available through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
In general terms, there are 3 basic requirements every student must meet to be able to study in the United States:

  1. Be admitted to an institution
  2. Have funding to study
  3. Secure a student visa
Specific tests, deadlines, essays, recommendations, and other items may be required, so be certain to research your top choices!

Reach out to those individual institutions (via their websites) to determine what will be required. Importantly, you should connect with local resources that have knowledge of the U.S. higher education system, including the EducationUSA advising center in your country. Also, be sure you know where your local IELTS test center can be found.
Our best advice for you:
Start your research a minimum of 12-18 months before you intend to begin studies as an undergraduate, or at least 24 months prior to beginning a graduate program. EducationUSA provides detailed timelines to help you identify where you are in the process.
Choose between 6-10 institutions to apply to where you feel you have a chance of being admitted.
Prepare far in advance of each college’s published deadlines to make sure all test scores, transcripts and other application materials are received in time.
Be sure to ask questions!

What do students say about IELTS & studying in the USA?

While this information helps you see what you will need to do to make your goal of study in the USA a reality, you probably want to hear from students like you, who have recently gone to study in the United States.
Meet IELTS Candidates
International Students in the U.S. Share Their Experiences
Additional resources are available to help you begin your search.

  • The IELTS Guide to Studying in the USA (PDF, 819 kb)
  • IELTS US Recognition List_November 2014 (XLSX, 733 kb)


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[h=1]Are there scholarships for study?[/h] When you are admitted to an institution in the United States for study, you will need to document through various ways (personal and family funds, private scholarships, governmental funding, college scholarships/assistantships, etc.) that you have enough funds on hand for at least one year of study. In general terms there is more aid available to students applying for graduate study than undergraduate study in the United States.

The good news is that in the last year, international students studying in the USA received over $8.8 billion in financial support from U.S. sources. Much of this aid comes directly from the colleges and universities. While there are some U.S. government funded programs like the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, there are many more types of aid that you may qualify for if you are willing to do the research:

  • The Institute of International Education has a fairly comprehensive database, Funding U.S. Study, listing institutions that offer financial aid to international students.
  • EducationUSA also produces a Weekly Update that includes 4-6 current scholarship posts every Monday from U.S. colleges. You can view these posts in a searchable database on the EducationUSA site.
  • Your home country may have special scholarship/aid programs you can investigate as well.

Additional resources are available to help you search for funding.


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[h=1]What visa do students need to study in the USA?[/h]
International students intending to study in the United States typically receive one of three types of visas: F-1, J-1, or M-1 from the U.S. embassy or consulate in their country.

  • F-1 intended for students who wish to study at an accredited U.S. college or university or intensive English language institute, is the most common.
  • J-1 exchange visas are typically given to students on a short-term exchange program.
  • M-1 student visas are for students enrolling in non-academic or vocational training programs in the U.S.

Before you can apply for your student visa to study in the U.S. you must receive either an I-20 or a DS-2019 form from the college or university where you have been admitted and documented funding for your first year of study. With the I-20 or DS-2019 in hand, you can then apply for your student visa.

EducationUSA advising centers work closely with the U.S. embassies and consulates around the world, and often have sessions with the consular officers who give the visa interviews to help dispel some of the common myths about the interview. Review the step-by-step guidance provided by EducationUSA in Step 4: Apply for Your Student Visa.

Check out this U.S. Department of State site for specifics on the different visa categories. Be encouraged that over the last 3 years the U.S. State Department has approved approximately 86% of student visa applications.

Additional resources are available to help you understand work and study options.


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[h=1]Can Students work while studying in the USA?[/h]
Depending on the college or university where you are, you may have the opportunity to work on campus up to 20 hours per week during school term in the first year of study. Holidays and summer vacation, when there is no class, you can work up to 40 hours per week.

Remember that these jobs are not guaranteed and, in general, they pay between $ 7-10 per hour.

After the first year of study, you may be eligible to apply for a Training Course and / or Optional Practical Training (as an F-1 student) or Academic Training (as an exchange student J-1) whic allows you, if approved, to take a paid internship in your field of study.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has a great website, Study in the States, which will provide more detailed answers to questions related to work in the United States.

Additional Resource are available to help you understand the options work and studies.


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[h=1]Why IELTS for USA?[/h] Unless English is your native language, or has been the language of instruction for the majority of your education, almost all U.S. institutions will require proof of your English ability to begin academic study. IELTS is:

The world’s most popular English language test for higher education and global migration – with over 2 million tests taken last year
The most widely accepted English language test that uses a one-on-one speaking test to assess your English communication skills
Accepted by over 3000 higher education institutions in the U.S. including the top 50 colleges and universities with the most international students
Check out what current students also say about the benefits of IELTS in this short video.

What can we do for you?

  • The British Council is the first choice of many test takers for preparation, courses, resources and testing. We offer
  • face-to-face English language and IELTS preparation courses
  • over 2,000 teachers in 80 teaching centres around the world
  • a wide range of IELTS preparation materials online
  • special arrangements for candidates with special needs organised by our experienced test centre staff

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