Students who plan to come to the United States for the first time should begin arrangements for a visa at least 120 days before the registration date. June, July and August are the busiest periods for visa applications.

Therefore, it is recommended to start the visa application process in mid-to-late May.

There are two types of visas for studies in the United States: “F” and “M” visas. The “F” visa is issued to students for academic study in the United States (i.e. the “F1” visa). The “M” visa is granted to students for non-academic or vocational study.

  • Valid passport
  • Confirmation page of Form DS-160, which can be found at the Chinese Embassy Site for Online Filing
  • 1 photo (taken within the last 6 months; 2” x 2”; 51mm x 51 mm; color; front-facing; white background)
  • Two-couplet receipt of visa fees from CITIC Bank
  • Form I-20

Tuitions of American schools and programs will vary depending on the type, level and location of the university. In general, the tuition of a private university is over $25,000/year, and for the more prestigious universities such as Harvard, Williams or Yale, the tuition can be up to $40,000/year. The tuition of a public university is typically $15,000 to $20,000/year. In addition to tuition, students will also have to pay about $10,000/year for living expenses. However, top-level American universities generally offer certain scholarships to international students. In addition, universities also often provide part-time job opportunities during the academic year.

Generally, the following basic conditions must be met for an international applicant to successfully apply for an undergraduate program in the United States:

  • Completion of a high school education or equivalent in China
  • A specified level of English proficiency (TOEFL and other test scores)
    • Preparatory courses are available to reach the qualifying score needed
  • Application materials and forms requested specific to each university

Theoretically, yes. However, the GRE is typically more difficult than the SAT. Most universities do not give additional points to an applicant for a GRE score. The SAT score is also an important determining factor for a scholarship. Therefore, it is not recommended for high school students to study for the GRE exam.

For most American universities, international students may be admitted only for the fall semester. Applications for fall admission generally start at least one year in advance. Of course, spring semester admission is available for some universities, but the quota is typically more limited. As a large amount of information may need to be provided during the application process, the preparation period may take up to two years in advance.

Admission to American universities differs from that of China and some other countries in that it does not evaluate students based on one test. American universities value the overall quality of a student from a holistic perspective. Academic performance and standardized testing are key factors, but extracurricular activities and personal interests are equally as important. Application essays, letters of recommendation, interests, internships, and more are important factors to consider, along with traditional academic achievements.

It’s not too difficult for ordinary American universities, with admission rates generally around 30%. However, the admission rate for the top 50 American universities (especially for international students) is very low, given the high number of applicants and extreme competition.

During the admissions process, the admissions officers at an American university will comprehensively examine the student’s academic, personal and extracurricular achievements. They will consider the student’s application forms, essays, letters of recommendation, interviews and other data points before making a decision. Generally, admissions at an American university is managed by an admissions committee, where there is sometimes a special sub-committee responsible specifically for the admission of international students.