Requesting Application Materials
Requesting Application Materials

Because of the work, and the costs, involved in putting together a good application, most students limit their applications to between four and seven colleges. However, you can request information from as many universities as you like, keeping in mind any postage costs you may have to pay. You may have a clear idea of exactly which schools you will be applying to and request information only from those. Or you may prefer to request information from between 10 and 20 schools that you believe meet your needs, and then narrow down your list once you have read through the catalogs, application forms, and other information you receive.

If you have access to the Internet, you will find that many U.S. universities also put their college catalogs onto their websites, and some have even stopped printing paper copies. Many also have on-line application forms that can be completed on the computer and sent back to the university electronically, or the forms can be downloaded and printed. If there is an on-line application, you should use it. This is the quickest method for submitting your application. If you can download the application, appropriate parts of the catalog, and other information from a college's website, you will not need to contact the school directly. Also, college websites increasingly offer other features, such as video tours of their campuses.

If you do not have access to the Internet and need printed copies of application materials and catalogs, contact each university by writing a letter or by sending a fax or e-mail request separately to each school. Include the information detailed in the section below, "What to Include," in your written request. Or, you may prefer to submit a preliminary application form instead; contact your nearest EducationUSA information and advising center for copies of these forms.

Due to the cost of mailing to other countries, you may receive a shortened version of course listings, and you may be asked to pay if you require the entire catalog. Check to see if your information or advising center has copies of catalogs you need. If you do not receive, or cannot find, all the information you require, write or e-mail again to the international undergraduate admissions office and ask the specific questions you wish to have answered.

E-mail is an easy way to obtain an application and other materials, and U.S. universities are usually quick to respond. However, sometimes you may need to make a telephone call to follow up on a particular item. In that case, send a fax or e-mail ahead of time, telling the appropriate person that you will be telephoning, when you will call, and what you wish to discuss.
When to Send Your Inquiry

Send your first inquiry approximately 12 months before you plan to enroll. Give yourself sufficient time for possible delays in international mailings, especially if you are posting applications or requesting information in November or December when the high volume of holiday mail will often double the length of time mail takes to reach its destination.

Where to Send Your Inquiry

Address your requests for information to the Office of International Undergraduate Admissions. Be brief but clear in your request. Be sure to include the full zip (postal) code for the institution on the envelope to ensure that your letter reaches its destination as quickly as possible. You may also send these inquiries by e-mail.

What to Include
  • name, address, age, and nationality (always be consistent in the spelling of your name and address);
  • your secondary school diploma or examination results that you have obtained or that you will obtain;
  • any postsecondary study you have undertaken (if applicable);
  • the degree and subject you would like to major in (if known), and the proposed starting date;
  • how you expect to finance your studies — if you need financial assistance from the university, inquire about the possibilities;
  • results of TOEFL, the ACT, the SAT, and any other admissions tests, if already taken.