How to Apply for Colleges in the US: A Step-by-Step Guide

Summer signals the start of a reviewing frenzy for college applications. If you’re a students, why not widen your options and try applying to the US?

There’s nothing wrong with the universities here if you’ve got your dream school and your dream course all planned out. However, for students like me who still aren’t sure about what course to take, the liberal arts universities in the States may sound like a dream.

That’s just one reason for wanting to study abroad, though. Applying to US universities isn’t like it is back here where you simply fill out a form, take a test and wait for results.

It’s a whole lot more complicated. Here are the steps to help you get through it.

How to Apply for Colleges in the US: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Do Your Research.

There are thousands of colleges in the US and you have to weed out the ones that suit you. Do you prefer a big school or a small cozy school? Do you work best in the city or in the country? Can you stand the cold or would you prefer a state with a warmer climate?

That’s just the beginning. Applying for colleges abroad is radically different from applying to colleges in the Philippines, and figuring it all out takes a lot of time.

Starting your research as early as now would pay off later on.

College Admissions Mentors for Peers (CAMP) and College Confidential are two great resources to check out.


Applying for Colleges in the US

CAMP understands what it’s like to be a Filipino applying abroad and their mission is to help Filipino students going through the process of applying for schools abroad. It consists of a whole network of people you can ask about what you need and want to know, whether it’s about how to get a transcript from your current school or about campus life in the university you’re interested in. There are also tips and guides there on how to tackle the application process, all of which are worth reading.

Applying for Colleges in the US

College Confidential was helpful to me because the information in the forums saved me time from filtering through Google search results. There are student’s experiences, ratings, and other little details for certain universities in College Confidential. It also has forums for other aspects of the application process.

There’s also a Coursera course called Applying to U.S. Universities, which I also tried. It really helped me understand the entire process, and if you have the time for videos, you should try it, too!

Step 2: Plan Ahead and Stay Organized.

Get a planner and fill in the dates for all the important deadlines. It’s important to be mindful of all the important dates, whether it’s for the Common Application or the SAT. Set deadlines for filling out the applications. It’s possible to apply for five colleges all with the same deadline, but all with five different requirements. Doing all of them last minute obviously means the colleges won’t get the best version of your applications possible.

Applying for Colleges in the US

A sample of my notes.

Step 3: Find a Support Group.

Applying to colleges is generally a stressful experience, but having a nice team of family and friends by your side to help you out can make things so much easier. They can remind you about deadlines, could read your essays, check your applications for any errors, and even cheer you on. You’ll also have someone to celebrate with when you get accepted!

Whatever you decide to do, applying to colleges is going to take a lot of preparation, be it abroad or here in the Philippines. Remember: slacking off isn’t going to get you any acceptance letters, so preparing as early as now would be a great idea to lighten your load.


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