US University Application Timeline

US University Application Timeline
US University Application Timeline

Many people want to to the US university application timeline. In this post, we are going to talk about the complete US university application timeline and all the things you need while applying for college in the US. And we will also tell you how you can plan this process step by step in detail.

This application process is painstakingly long and expensive. So you need a good plan in place to get everything right. You don’t want to waste your money and precious time in this process. We know a lot of people who had to postpone their plans for a semester or even for a year because they couldn’t get that dream admission or that scholarship since they missed the deadline. If you don’t want to be one of them, then you should read this post carefully and make a timeline that works best for you.

Admission Deadlines:

The admission deadlines mainly depend on which semester you would be going for. The priority deadlines, which means the deadlines to be considered for scholarships would be-

  • Around December and January for fall semesters and,
  • Around August and September for the spring semesters.

If you would be going for fall right after your graduation, then you will have to start thinking about this process in your final year of under-graduation itself. The first thing you need to decide on is which semester you want to apply for.

Fall or Spring Semester:

We have already made a detailed comparison between the Fall and spring semesters above.

In a nutshell, most people go for the Fall semester to have a continuous education without any gaps. But if your main goal is research or you are going for an undergrad or a Ph.D. program, then you can choose either the Fall or Spring semester based on your convenience.

If you are applying for a Master’s program, then most colleges require you to have a four-year undergrad degree or 16 years of education. So make sure you check this requirement if you’re in a three-year undergrad program.

Preparing for GRE Exam:

Now the next thing is to start preparing for the GRE exam. We think on average, six to eight weeks is a good time to prepare for GRE. Understand the pattern of the exam and give a mock test within the first week of your preparation itself to understand your strong and weak areas.

Focus more on increasing the score. And it is very much possible to increase your score by at least ten to 15 marks by putting efforts in the right direction while you’re preparing for the GRE. Like one month into the preparation. Start writing your SOP so that all those fancy GRE words are still fresh in your mind and it can help you to work on your story-building skills for your writing.


In the last two weeks Write as many timed mock tests as possible. Like writing your main exam plan. Your TOEFL or IELTS exam is also within the next one or Two weeks after your GRE.

Because the writing and reading in GRE will be helpful for your TOEFL or IELTS as well. And you will just have to practice the listening and speaking sections. Also, don’t forget to make your own template for your TOEFL exam.

While preparing for your TOEFL exam, you can simultaneously finalize which universities you want to apply to. Because the university selection would mostly be based on your GRE scores. You can start looking at the colleges based on your mock test scores and finalize them after your main exam.

So by the time you are done with your TOEFL preparation, you would be ready with the list of colleges you want to apply to and also the TOEFL requirements. Most of the colleges have overall cutoffs, but some may have sectional cut-offs too. Like you have to score this much in reading and that much in listening, etc. So you will understand how much you need to score.

How Many Colleges Should I Apply to?

People usually apply to six to eight colleges, like two to three in safe, two to three in moderate, and two to three in ambitious range. So do good research and finalize which college you want to apply to, mainly based on their curriculum, your background, and your scores. Don’t just listen to some consultants, your counselor.

This is your future and you need to decide which college to apply to. Spend the next couple of weeks completing the first draft of your SOP and LORs and get them to proofread multiple times.

If you’re applying for a Ph.D. program, then keep at least a month to reach out to the professors and have back-and-forth communication with them while you finalize your college.

Prepare Resume and Order Transcripts.

The next thing is to prepare your resume and order the transcripts from your university. Typically, the resumes can be multiple pages, so put all the relevant projects and experiences at it. The transcripts should be officially signed and sealed by your university, so do not tamper with the seal and send them in a sealed envelope.

Many people get confused between transcripts and mark sheets. Well, mark sheets, as the name suggests, are the individual mark sheets that you get for every semester or for a new year. Whereas the transcripts are like the consolidated sheet that shows all your marks for all the semesters together. Along with them, you will have to send the original degree. You can send them a provisional degree if you haven’t received your original degree by that time.

In case your final semester grades are not declared yet, you can send the transcripts up to your 7th semester. That’s totally fine. And you can submit them after you start college in the US too.

Most US universities follow international grading systems, but some of them are not. So you have to check and compare the grading system clearly whether it is the same or not. And in that case, they might ask you to go for a WS evaluation for your transcripts.

Again, very few colleges in the US are asking for WS evaluation these days. And you can probably avoid applying to those colleges unless that is like a dream university. Because again you will have to pay more money and you must be already feeling that you are putting way too much money into this.

What is WES?

WES stands for World Education Services. And what they do is review your transcripts, courses, curriculum, and grading system and take a few other factors into consideration. And convert your GPA from a ten-point system or percentage system that is usually followed in some countries (like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) to a four-point grade system which is a US equivalent.

So this has both good and bad. Like if you have good grades already, your WES GPA is going to be really high. Since it is converted into a 4.0 and high chance it will end up getting 3.5 or even higher.

But in case your GPA is low since your college grading system is very difficult and WES doesn’t know about it, then it might not give you good results. So if you end up going for WES then keep these things in mind. They have two different evaluations, document by document and course by course.

Verify which one your prospective university needs. They need a sealed transcript copy to be sent to them for evaluation and they would send the results directly to the college. So you might end up paying some more in case you are reporting them to multiple colleges.

Also, keep a few buffer days to get the report from Wes. Some colleges just accept everything online. You can upload everything in their portal, pay the application fees and you would be done. But some colleges need you to send them the hard copies as well.

What Goes Inside the Admission Packet?

You would report your GRE and TOEFL or IELTS scores directly to the college. But you can still keep their hard copies in the admission packet. You can also keep copies of your SOP resume and LORs which is optional again, but mainly the sealed and signed transcripts.

So you will have to order the sets accordingly. You can also keep the financial documents like your bank statements, loan letters if any, or affidavit for them to process your I-20 ASAP. But in case they are not ready, you can upload them to their portal later.

People usually use FedEx for DHL and UPS also has some very good deals. So to find the one that suits you the best check them out.

So for the timeline of the application process, this is what it looks like-

  • Six to eight weeks for GRE,
  • One to two weeks for TOEFL or IELTS,
  • Two to three weeks for SOP and LORs,
  • One week for resume, transcripts, and WES if needed, and
  • One week to send the admission packet.

So in total, it would take about 15 to 16 weeks. That is about four months. So if you’re going for the fall semester, you should start at least by August and for the spring semester at least by May.


Bottom Line:

Hope you read the post clearly, to know more you can also check the university’s websites and keep researching, and if you have any questions then put them in the comment.

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