Your Roadmap to U.S. Colleges

InQuire Higher is a college consulting company made up of current admissions and financial aid professionals with over 10 years of higher education experience. Their mission is to help students get into their dream school with little to no debt while educating and preparing them to maximize the value of their college experiences.

The process of preparing for college in any country takes many shapes from country to country, and the United States of America is no different. It can be complicated, but proper planning can make attending college is the U.S. a dream come true. Check out our checklist for international students who are thinking about getting a degree in the States:


Admissions Checklist:

English Proficiency Score - International Testing

Each college has a different minimum accepting score. What happens if your score falls below the acceptable score?

If you have time, you can retake the test. The school may offer a “conditional acceptance” in which you would take an English course before or during your first semester.


What are some types of English Proficiency Tests that are accepted at U.S. colleges?

IELTS - International English Language Testing System

TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language


I-20 Form

The I-20 Form is a U.S. government form that allows you to study in the country as an international student. You will need to obtain your I-20 form in order to move through the admissions process.


Transcripts and GPAs

Not all schools accept foreign transcripts without proper translation of the language and GPA. In this case, it is important to get your transcripts evaluated through an outside company such as World Education Services (WES). Not all schools calculate foreign GPAs in the same way. Again, WES is a great company for foreign GPA calculations as they have a great amount of experience in this area.



Essays are just as important as grades. The tricky part is that the American English is a very tricky language. Be sure to get your essay reviewed by an American college essayist. Small errors such as “favourite” versus “favorite” or mixing the use of words such as “tuition” in place of “school” will definitely stand out. This isn’t a deal breaker BUT you want to make sure you can write in American English, and the essay is the perfect time to showcase that!


Bank Statements

You may have bank statements that are only available in your native language, so be sure to contact the school’s admissions office to ensure yours are not lost in the pile of “no name” statements. These are often needed to show that you have sufficient funds to pay for school. Without proof, you risk your admission being delayed or declined.


Scholarships and Grants

Since international students are not eligible for U.S. federal aid, they have to rely on scholarships and schools for additional funding. If you take the previous steps to prepare a stellar application, the schools may offer a grant specifically for international students. You can also find outside scholarships, and we recommend International Student’s scholarship search engine as a great resource.


Be Early and Ask Questions!

International documentation tends to take a while to reach the U.S. By asking questions and getting your documentation sent early, you can help your admissions process run smoothly!