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How to Apply to an International University in the U.S. in 2022

An international university is funded by the governments of many countries and thereby is controlled by the officials from the government of different countries. These universities are often formed by regional and international organizations.


The distinction between intergovernmental and international universities is similar to the one between intergovernmental organizations and international organizations. International is a rather open-ended term, while intergovernmental specifically refers to the fact that the participating parties or members are sovereign states and intergovernmental organizations. As a result, only intergovernmental universities are subjects of international law.


We found that for many students, it serves three particular functions: to gain decent employment, to achieve personal growth, and to contribute to improvement in society. But there were interesting variations in students’ views, which often corresponded to how much they had to pay for their studies.

How to Apply to an International University

The United States has over 250 universities and colleges listed in the latest higher education rankings created by Times Higher Education, US News, and TopUniversities.

Whether it’s the attraction of living the American dream, or simply the irresistible idea of finding success in “the land of the free and home of the brave”, around 1 million international students choose to enroll at a university or college in the USA.

But, how can you make sure that you will be accepted at one? Below I will run through some of the steps and approaches to selecting a university, and making sure that you have what it takes to be admitted.

1. US universities to consider for your studies

Here are some top US universities you should consider for your study abroad adventure:

You can also choose an online Master’s degree from universities based in the US. Here are just a couple of examples:

Walden University

Walden University is a private online for-profit university headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It offers Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Health, Education Specialist, Doctor of Education, Doctor of Business Administration, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

The university is owned by Adtalem Global Education, which purchased the university in August 2021.

Walden was established in 1970 by two New York teachers, Bernie and Rita Turner, who created a program for working adults/teachers to pursue doctoral degrees. In the summer of 1971, the first classes took place in Naples, Florida, focusing primarily on school administrators. The initial classes allowed students to form dissertation topics with their faculty partners before returning to work at their respective schools while completing their dissertations. In 1972, Walden conferred its first degrees: 46 PhDs and 24 EdDs at its first commencement in Naples.


In 1979, the Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Board licensed Walden to grant PhDs and EdDs in the state, and in 1982 the school moved its headquarters to Minneapolis. In 1990, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredited the University.

Sylvan Learning Systems, Inc., purchased 41 percent of Walden University in 2001, gaining a controlling interest in 2002. In 2004, Sylvan Learning Systems became Laureate Education, Inc. Former US President Bill Clinton was an Honorary Chancellor of Laureate International Universities from 2010 to 2015. President Clinton was the keynote speaker at Walden University’s commencement on July 30, 2011. Jonathan Kaplan served as CEO from 2007 to 2018. Mr. Kaplan previously served three years as an economic policy adviser to President Clinton.

On 2013, Laureate Education Inc. and GSV Capital, IFC, Learn Capital and Yuri Milner provided $43M in funding to Coursera to expand online education. In 2015, Ernesto Zedillo, former president of Mexico and director of the Yale University Center for the Study of Globalization, succeeded President Clinton as Laureate Education’s Presidential Counselor. In 2016, Looney and Yannelis (Brookings Institution) reported that Walden University student loan debt was the second-highest in the US, with 120,275 students owing $9.8 billion. While the 5-year student default rate was low (7 percent), the percentage of balance repaid on the loans was 0 percent.

According to The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

According to The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Walden University graduated the largest number of African American doctoral students from 2011 to 2015. From 2013 to 2017, the number of doctorates “awarded to Black people” from Walden University was 969, more than two and a half times the number conferred by Howard University, which awarded 344 doctorates during the same period.

It awards the most doctorates to African Americans among 377 accredited U.S. institutions, according to the National Science Foundation’s 2018 survey. Walden is the top granter of healthcare administration master’s degrees, Master of Science in Nursing degrees, and public health doctoral degrees in the U.S., according to the National Center for Education Statistics IPEDS database.

Walden University and its previous parent company Laureate International Universities were alleged to have a tie to former US Senator and Secretary of State (and Presidential candidate) Hillary Clinton, her husband, former US President Bill Clinton, and their Clinton Foundation. Daniel Runde formally debunked many insinuating claims made regarding the Clinton Foundation, Laureate Education, and the IYF.

The World Bank currently has invested $150 million in Laureate Education

The World Bank currently has invested $150 million in Laureate Education, Walden University’s parent company. Fact-checkers at The Washington Post concurred, citing the claims as conflated and inaccurate. Fact-checkers at PolitiFact.com also found the claims to be false. A story in the Sept 5, 2016 edition of The Washington Post also investigated Clinton’s role with Laureate and found many of the political claims to be false.

In October 2016, NBC News reported that the Minnesota Office of Higher Education was investigating a spike in student complaints. NBC News further reported that former students had filed a class-action suit against the school for prolonging their enrollments for years, “until they were left hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and still short of a degree.” In September 2020, Adtalem Global Education began the process of purchasing Walden University. In August 2021, Adtalem Global Education Inc completed its acquisition of Walden University for $1.48 billion. In July 2021, Paula R. Singer was appointed as the interim president of Walden University. The singer previously served as the Chair of the Board of Walden University.

2. Prepare to apply

  • Most universities give you the option to apply directly on their websites.
  • Be sure to read the requirements carefully when applying to American universities. Some will require standardized tests (e.g. GRE, GMAT, MCAT, LSAT), and others will ask for different documents (writing samples, portfolio, list of patents) as part of the application process.
  • Most students apply to 3-5 universities to increase their chances of being admit.
  • University application fees are usually between 75-100 USD, depending on the university. If you have trouble paying your admission fee, contact the university or program directly.
  • Non-US students may be required to supply proof that their English-language skills are proficient enough to attend classes. Be sure to have your TOEFL iBT, IELTS Academic, PTE Academic, or C1 Advanced certificates available.

The US doesn’t currently have an application system for all universities. Local and international students should apply directly through the university. Use the links on the university websites, and follow the instructions carefully.

3. Language requirements for US university applications

To ensure that you are able to effectively learn and participate in your classes, you will need to show that you have good enough English-language skills to apply for admission to a U.S. university. The minimum scores will depend largely on the program and the university. Most U.S. universities will accept one of these tests:

  • IELTS Academic (International English Language Testing Service)
  • TOEFL iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
  • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English)
  • C1 Advanced (formerly known as Cambridge English Advanced)

Double-check the university and program requirements to see the minimum score they expect from applicants.

4. Required university application documents

Different universities and programs will require different documents. However, these are the items you are most likely to need if you apply to a university in the US:

  • Transcripts or records of grades (high school and/or university)
  • Résumé/CV
  • Test scores (SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT)
  • Proof of English-language proficiency
  • Motivation letter or statement of purpose
  • Application fee
  • Writing sample
  • Passport photo

5. University application deadlines in the US

If you are applying for an undergraduate (Bachelor’s) degree in the US, universities will typically offer two application deadlines – early admission and regular admission.

  • You’re applying for the fall (autumn) admission, early deadlines will be between October and November, the previous year.
  • If you’re applying for the fall (autumn) admission, regular admission deadlines will be between February and March, the same year.

If you are applying for a post-graduate (Master’s or Ph.D.) degree, your American university application deadline will depend on the semester in which you are enrolling (spring intake or fall intake).

  • They are applying for fall admission, your deadline can be anywhere from January to March.
  • They are applying for spring admission, your deadline is probably anywhere between July and September, the previous year.

These deadlines can vary drastically depending on which program you are applying for or which university you wish to attend. Be sure to contact the program itself if you’re not sure about the correct deadline.

6. Final steps after receiving the university acceptance letter

Congratulations on getting your acceptance letter!

  • If you aren’t a US citizen, you will need to use your acceptance letter to apply for the F-1 student visa.
  • Be sure to take some time to apply for funding and scholarships. You can also check out the Study-portals Scholarship to get some help on financing your studies abroad.
  • Check whether the university you applied to requires an enrolment fee to secure your spot there.
  • Celebrate your victory of being admit to the university of your dreams!


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