Everything you need to know about studying in the USA | campus.sg

Planning to study in the USA? Now’s a good time to start preparing for your journey with college fairs and info sessions so that you’re armed with enough information to choose your ideal university. Let’s not forget that you’ll also need to prepare for your entrance exams (ie. SATs/ACTs).

If all of this sounds overwhelming, relax. You can pick up a FREE copy of our ‘Study in the USA’ guide which you can pick up from our distribution outlets or from EducationUSA’s Singapore Advising Center. Or read it online here. Topics covered in the guide include:

  • do you need TOEFL/IELTS?
  • admissions essays
  • costs of tuition, room & board, etc
  • types of schools (for O/A level students)
  • application process
    … and many more!
‘Study in the USA’ special inserted in our Campus issue

Here is a rough outline of the application process, which is also included in the ‘Study in the USA’ guide:

January – April

This is a crucial time to attend info sessions, like EducationUSA’s U.S. College Fair 2020, where you can find out the colleges that best fit you and what you have to prepare for in terms of tests, budget, etc:

EducationUSA U.S. College Fair 2020 (register here)
March 14, 2-5pm
Stamford American International School (map)

This is also the time to prepare for standardised tests like SATs or ACTs, as students need an average of 3 months to study for it. You can take test preps for free on sites like Magoosh, Testive, and Khan Academy.

May – July

You can take your SATs or ACTs during this window. This is also a good time for you to start drafting your admissions essay(s), which are a requirement for school admissions across the U.S.


Once you’ve gotten exams out of the way, start narrowing down your list of schools, and find out if you need to take an English proficiency test (ie. TOEFL or IELTS). Don’t forget to assess your finances and budget.


Speak with your teachers/counselors for letters of recommendation which may help with your application. Some schools have early admission (October or November); however, it’s only advisable to apply at this time if it’s the only school you’re interested in.


If you’ve just finished A-Levels, you won’t be able to get your scores in time for application – try and get predicted scores if your intended school doesn’t accept O-Levels.

November – December

Admission deadlines are usually by 1 January. You can send multiple applications, and acceptance letters are usually mailed out by March/April. Applications can be made directly to the university of your choice, or via a shared application portal.

To apply, you’ll need your school transcripts (JC/poly), national exam results (A Level, IB, Diploma), standardised test results (SAT or ACT), admissions essay, and if required, English proficiency test results (TOEFL or IELTS) and recommendation letters.

March – April

Decision letters will start coming in, and they will come with an I-20 or DS2019 form for you to apply for your student visa.

June – July

This is the crucial time to get your student visa; apply no earlier than 120 days before (and no later than) the start date on your I-20 or DS2019 form. While the application process seems long, most applications will be approved and processed within 3 working days for Singaporeans:

• Received your I-20/DS2019
• Pay your SEVIS fee; print receipt
• Complete D-160 Online Visa Application form; get barcode
• Pay the US$160 application fee at SingPost, SAM Kiosk, or SAM Web; print receipt
• Make your U.S. Embassy appointment online with your barcode and payment receipts
• Bring all your documents for the interview (your receipts, transcripts, I-20/DS2019 form, proof of finances, a recent passport photo, and valid passport)

Once that’s done, you should attend a pre-departure orientation session with EducationUSA.


You can only head to your university no more than 30 days prior to the start date indicated on your I-20!

All info compiled in collaboration with EducationUSA Singapore