Want to study in the USA? IELTS can help you get there!

Each year, thousands of US colleges and universities accept hundreds of thousands of students from around the world. If you want to study in the USA, IELTS can help. IELTS is the world’s most popular English test for people who want to live, work or study in another country. Accepted by more than 3,300 institutions in the US, your IELTS test score can help you achieve the goal of getting a place at a US college or university.

 Major institutions all over the USA recognise that IELTS gives an accurate reflection of your ability to understand, read, write and speak English. IELTS is:

  • trusted by the USA’s top 25 universities.
  • accepted by all Ivy League colleges.
  • used by programs at the top 50 US universities with the most international students.

Where do you start if you want to study in the U.S.A?

Making the decision to study at a U.S. college or university is an exciting one, but knowing where to start can be a challenge. So below, we’ve gathered expert information and resources to help you choose the best institution, pick a course and submit your application.

In general, to study in the United States, you will need to meet 3 basic requirements:

 1. An acceptance confirmation from an educational institution

 2. Sufficient funding to study

 3. A valid student visa

If this seems overwhelming don’t worry! With a bit of time, research and planning you can achieve this by following the tips below:

One: Decide where you want to study

There are thousands of places that accept international students in the U.S. so you need to think carefully about where you would like to study.

The great thing about having so much variety is that you can choose a college or university that not only meets your educational needs, but also your social interests.

Below is a list of thing you will want to consider when starting your research:

Where would you like to go? The U.S. has a great diversity of weather, culture and environment and you should consider these when looking at locations to study

What kind of qualification do you want to achieve?

What subject would you like to study?

What kind of finance will you need? (See step two below)

Which institution will best suit your personality?

It’s recommended that you only consider accredited U.S. colleges and universities. A searchable list of accredited institutions is available through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Start your research 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.

Two: Decide what finance you will need for your studies

 The next step is to think about how much it will cost to study in the USA. You want to think about:

Accommodation costs

Living costs including food and travel

The cost of admission and other school fees

Remember, these costs can vary greatly from each institution and also in different areas of the country. Some areas in the United States are more affordable to live in than others, so make sure you research this.

Fortunately, there are a lot of options for getting financial aid to study in the U.S. For example:

A scholarship from the institution where you want to study

U.S. Government funded programs

 Awards and funds from other organisations

Three: Prepare your application

There is no standard application process for studying in the USA. Each college and university sets its own specific requirements and you need to make sure you know the application process for each institution you want to apply to.

These may include:

Specific qualifications


Personal, professional or teacher recommendations

Extra-curricular experience

Choose between 6-10 institutions to apply to where you feel you have a chance of being admitted. Make sure you find out the application deadline for your top choices so that you have plenty of time to gather the information you need to apply.

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.

 Four: Make sure you have a valid visa to study in the U.S.

 Once you have been accepted by an institution you will need to apply for a student visa. While this does take a bit of planning, it doesn’t have to be a complicated process.

Make sure you’re familiar with the type of visa you will need, and the information you need to make your visa application.

In this article you can read about the type of visa you will need to study in the U.S. as well as resources to help you apply.

Five: Get your IELTS score to help you apply to a college or university

To study at a college or university in the United States, you will need to show that your English is good enough to meet their acceptance requirements.

IELTS is the most popular English test for people who want to live, study or work in another country. It’s also accepted at more than 3,300 institutions in the U.S. An IELTS test score can improve your chances of being accepted to study in the U.S.

How can you get a scholarship to study in the U.S.A ?

When you are accepted by an institution to study in the United States, you will need to show that you have enough funds to support you through at least one year of study.

This funding might come from:

  • Personal or family funds
  • Private scholarships
  • Governmental funding
  • College scholarships or assistantships.

Generally, there is more financial aid available to students who are applying for graduate study rather than undergraduate study in the United States.

Financial aid for international students:

In 2012-2013 more than $8.8 billion in financial support was given to international students studying in the USA. Most of this aid comes directly from the colleges and universities. However, there are other options that might also be available to you:

What Visa do students need to study in the U.S.A?

If you want to study in the United States, you will typically need to apply for one of the following visas. You would apply for your visa from the U.S. embassy of consulate in your country.

Student visa options:

  • F-1 intended for students who wish to study at an accredited U.S. college or university or intensive English language institute. This is the most common type of visa.
  • 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 apply for your U.S. student visa:

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.

Help with your U.S. student visa application:

EducationUSA has a lot of detailed advice on how to prepare and apply for your visa to study in the U.S. Visit their site to find out more about applying for your U.S. student visa.

Can Students work while studying in the U.S.A?

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) which 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 Resources are available to help you understand the options work and studies.