It is very important to begin the admissions process as early as possible. Syrian high school students who wish to pursue their university studies in the USA should begin the application process as early as 11th grade. Graduate students should also allow at least one year for the application process.
1. Research Your Options: 12-18 months prior to enrolling
- First, you should define your priorities and ask yourself what you want to study, and how much you can afford to spend per year.
- You will want to search for different universities and create a shortlist of potential universities. You will want to visit the school’s official websites to gather more info about deadlines, requirements, programs, etc. It is important to make sure you stay organized, so make sure you use this worksheet (PDF 271 KB) to keep track of all the important info.
- Prepare for standardized tests. You will definitely need to take the TOEFL. Undergraduate students will likely need the SAT, and graduate students will probably need the GRE or GMAT.
- Research financial aid: Scholarships usually need to come directly from the universities, as external scholarships are limited. Make sure to research scholarship opportunities for international students at each university. You should also check out IIE’s Syria consortium for Higher Education in Crisis as there might be additional universities available through the consortium that you could add to your list.
- Make a short-list of your top choices (6-8 universities).
2. Complete the Applications (6-12 months prior). Universities have different deadlines, so it is important for you to be aware of these. The deadlines for most undergraduate programs that begin in the fall will be in January. Each school has different requirements as well, but generally, most require the following:
- Online application
- Essay: An essay will be required for most universities Follow the instructions carefully. U.S. universities take these essays very seriously because they provide personal information about students that may not come through in the regular application. You should answer the questions directly, give specific examples and help the university get to know you as a individual.
- Transcripts: For undergraduate applications, original or certified copies or your high school transcripts along with your baccalaureate exam will be required. For transfer or graduate students, original or certified copies of your university transcripts are required. If they are in Arabic, you will also need to submit translated copies certified by a translator.
- Letters of Recommendation: 1-2 letters of recommendation will be required from teachers or professors.
- Standardized Test scores: You will need to have your test scores sent directly by the testing agency to the universities you are applying to.
- Application fee: Most universities require an application fee that is paid online via a U.S. based credit card. If you are unable to make such a payment, feel free to the contact the EducationUSA Advisor to see if there might be a fee waiver.
3. Finance Your Studies
- Scholarship applications: Some universities have separate applications for scholarships, and others will automatically consider you for one. Make sure you follow the directions and deadlines closely!
- Explore sources of funding: Speak to family members and friends who might be willing to sponsor you.
4. Apply for the student visa: Once you have received the I-20 form and an official letter of admission from a university, you are ready to apply for the student visa. Syrian students may apply for non-immigrant visas at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate, and the same standards under U.S. law and policy apply at each Embassy and Consulate where one applies for a visa. Please follow the appropriate link for more information about applying for a nonimmigrant visa in Amman or Beirut. For more information about student visas, please visit: www.travel.state.gov