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Admission requirements for studying in the USA
Bachelor's or master's degree, semester abroad or summer sessions? Finding the right study program is not easy. Especially not in the USA, where prospective students are between more than 4,500 accredited universities have to decide.
The admission requirements for studying in the USA can be a point of reference when choosing a university and course of study. Applicants can use this to better assess their chances of admission to the university of their choice.
Due to the decentralized structure of the US study system, the Universities theApplication processlargely determine yourself and decide autonomously about the admission of applicants.
As different as the admission requirements for studying in the USA may be, the following applies to all US universities Allocation of study places non-discriminatorythat means regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, family status, disability, religion, skin color, ethnic or social origin.
Academic minimum requirements according to type of study
Language tests are often part of the admission requirements to study in the United States. Good preparation increases the chances of getting a place at the dream university.
Although the exact application process varies by university and college, most accredited colleges in the United States base their formal minimum academic requirements on specific standards.
Bachelor in the USA
In order to be able to start a bachelor's degree in the USA, applicants must have a university entrance qualification. This can do that High School be, but often that is enough University entrance qualification.
In the United States, students typically graduate from high school after 12 years and have access to college. Applicants from Germany who obtained their Abitur after 13 years may apply credit for the 13th school year. Through the so-called Advanced standing The study can be shortened by one academic year, so that students study three instead of four years in the USA. The US universities check on a case-by-case basis whether a shortened study period is an option.
Postgraduate and master’s degree in the USA
With a Undergraduate degree - in most cases a bachelor's degree - applicants are usually eligible for postgraduate or postgraduate studies in the United States. Since a bachelor's degree usually takes three years in Germany and four years in the USA, there are occasional problems with recognition.
Prospective students should not be discouraged by this, because the host university in the USA leads in these cases Case studies by. The responsible university staff check which courses the applicant has taken during the bachelor's degree. They also include application documents such as letters of recommendation or essays in the decision.
The university may give an acceptance, but requires that the applicant additionally bachelor courses in the USA occupied in order to close existing knowledge gaps.
Depending on the type of master’s program, the admission requirements for studying in the USA may vary:
- Academic Master: For scientific courses, applicants sometimes have to have a bachelor's degree related to their subject and prior technical knowledge. However, many master's programs are open to students from other disciplines.
- Professional Master: In the case of job-related master’s programs, the field of study often plays a minor role. It is more important that applicants have a certain level of work experience in a relevant field. This is especially true for MBA programs as well as for courses in education or engineering.
PhD in the USA
A prerequisite for studying for a doctorate in the USA is usually a very good to good master’s degree. For some vocational courses, one is sufficient Bachelor's degree. In addition, at some universities there are combined Master / Ph.D programs to which Bachelor graduates have access. Achievements from the master’s degree can then often be credited towards the Ph.D. degree.
Many colleges bet for you Doctoral Degree a GPA (Grade Point Average) from B, which corresponds to grade 2 in the German grading system. However, it is difficult to make generally valid statements about the required average grade. Especially at the doctorate level there is large differences in the admission requirements for studying in the USA.
The way to a university place in the USA does not always have to be arduous. Applying for a semester abroad is often very easy, as is the case at the CSU San Marcos.
The exact selection criteria depend not least on whether students apply for a scientific doctoral degree such as the Ph.D. or for a job-oriented Professional Doctorate, for example the Juris Doctor (J.D.), decide.
From semesters abroad to summer sessions: short-term studies with low entry barriers
Many American semester and summer programs have low admission requirements and are therefore particularly popular with international students. Even for an Academic Gap Year, a “taster course” for high school graduates, the entry barriers are similarly low.
As well as "Study Abroad"Programs and summer sessions as well as for"Gap year“Programs, that is enough in many cases Abitur or advanced technical college entrance qualification out. Some universities also apply Minimum age for participation, which is usually 17 or 18 years of age.
In addition, there are semester and summer programs that are only aimed at enrolled students. Admission criteria are then, for example, one or two completed semesters. In addition, higher admission requirements sometimes apply to master’s students: Who Master courses would like to prove is required frequently technical prior knowledge. With help of a Transcript of Records Applicants can prove that they have attended courses with comparable content at their home university.
Language courses in the USA are also easily accessible to international students. Some courses are aimed at enrolled students, others Language courses are not admission restricted at all. In this case, applicants only have to 17 or 18 years old and bring along a minimum level of language skills. Still other language programs are academically oriented. After successful completion, course participants can often join a regular course of study at the university, provided they have the academic requirements fulfill.
Opportunity for applicants without a high school diploma: Community colleges in the USA
Even prospective students without a high school diploma can fulfill their dream of studying abroad in the USA - and that without university admission. Almost half of all US students first study at a community college in the US, thereby gaining access to the American higher education system.
After successfully completing the two-year associate degree at a community college, graduates can in many cases switch to the third year of a bachelor's degree at a college or university. For studying at a community college, the Middle school leaving certificate in combination with a two-year vocational training course.
Language admission requirements for studying in the USA
Regardless of the type of study, the following applies: applicants whose mother tongue is not English almost always have to prove their knowledge of English to study in the USA. Much of the American universities and colleges use the Participation in a standardizedLanguage test ahead.
Most applicants have the choice between Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Depending on the type and subject of study, applicants must achieve a certain minimum number of points in order to qualify for the degree.
Those who do not achieve the required number of points still have the option of doing one of the semester and summer programs Placement test on site to participate. It may then be necessary to take an additional language course in the USA.
Alternatives to TOEFL and IELTS for a semester or summer sessions
When applying for a Semester abroad or a summer school In the USA, applicants often have alternatives to IELTS and TOEFL. For example, some universities accept the DAAD language certificate. Many students prefer this language test because it is usually carried out at their home university and is cheaper than other language tests - sometimes even free of charge.
At some colleges and universities it is also possible to obtain a Certificate from the home university to be submitted confirming the required language level. Sometimes a specific one is sufficient Grade in high school graduation as proof. There are also universities which, for example, completely waive a formal language certificate for summer session applicants from the German-speaking area.
Typically USA: Academic admission tests
What seems strange to applicants from Germany is widespread in the USA: academic admission and study aptitude tests. in the Undergraduate- as well as in GraduateRange, there are a number of standardized tests that US universities use to conduct the Check the applicants' analytical skills and professional suitability.
- SAT and ACT: If you want to start a bachelor's degree in the USA, you need a certain test result at some universities Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or American College Test (ACT). Both tests consist of linguistic and mathematical tasks, with the ACT being more scientifically oriented. Transfer Students are usually exempt from taking the test.
- GMAT: The Graduate Management Admission Test, GMAT for short, is probably the best-known aptitude test of American origin. In many countries it is now one of the admission requirements for a MBA degree to. In the GMAT, mathematical thinking as well as linguistic-analytical skills are to be demonstrated.
- GRE: As an alternative to the GMAT, the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), whereby the GMAT is mainly used in the business sector. Similar to the GMAT, the GRE is used to test the academic skills of prospective Masters and PhD students.
- MCAT and LSAT: In addition to the general study aptitude tests, there are various subject-specific aptitude tests in the USA. In these, the suitability of the applicants for a certain degree is explicitly checked: in the case of the MCAT for a Medical degree, in the case of the LSAT for a legal studies.
Good to know: Students from Germany with a high school diploma can be enrolled in some colleges in the US get exempt from the SAT or ACT. It is therefore advisable to consult the host university in advance about the extent to which it is necessary to take a test.
Further admission requirements for studying in the USA
In addition to the educational qualification, the language and aptitude tests, other factors often determine admission at US colleges and universities. Especially for graduate studies are common very good to good grades required.
Also for Transfer StudentsThose who switch to a university in the USA during a bachelor's or master's degree may have different application requirements than those for first-year students. For example, in addition to the professional requirements, some universities value a specific one GPA. For other universities it is enough if Transfer Students have already studied at a university for a certain period of time or have already studied Minimum number of credits be able to show.
In addition, letters of motivation and / or recommendation are very often part of the application documents for Bachelor and Master applicants. Typical for the USA are Essays. At Bachelor level, these usually have the function of drawing a personal picture of the applicant. At Transfer Students The letter of motivation, on the other hand, is usually used to justify the change of university and the choice of the future university. Master's and Ph.D. students, on the other hand, mainly deal with technical aspects in an essay.
There are colleges and universities in the US that also offer a semester Letter of motivation and recommendation request. However, the majority of universities do without it. This is one of the reasons why a semester abroad as a free mover is so popular in the USA.
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