5 Steps To Apply For International Admission At Schools In US And Canada 

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Seeking to study at a university in the US or Canada but do not know how to go about it? Wondering what the application process for schools abroad entails? This article will provide a step-by-step process for applying for admission to schools in Canada and the United States in a detailed manner.

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5 Steps To Apply For International Admission At Schools In The US And Canada 

For many students who desire to study abroad, the first step is to know what the application process entails. It is important to also get the necessary documents you need during the process and ensure that they are accurate without any errors. It is also important that as you go through the process you do not make mistakes as this can cause delay, so as much as possible get assistance from proven educational consultants who will help you through this journey. 

However, the application process to schools in the US and Canada includes: 

1. Research and know the requirements

Generally, there are different requirements and documents that the students who seek to study abroad need to provide. Although these documents may vary according to the requirements of the school, the generally accepted documents international students need to provide include: 

Transcripts and Diploma

Schools in the US and Canada will require grade 10 and 12 transcripts and diploma certificates during the application process. While Master’s students on the other hand will need to submit a copy of their post-graduate transcripts or diploma certificates. Students who are unable to provide any final academic transcript or diploma certificates may offer a letter of enrollment for the time being until they can get the required documents from their respective schools. 

Additionally, it is important to note that some schools will expect students to mail the transcripts physically using envelopes, usually after they have filled and completed the online application. If your school requires this, they will let you know and also include the time frame you have to do this. 


Aspiring students must have their international passport before starting the application princess as it is an important document they are supposed to provide. They must have a copy before proceeding the the application process as there is no exception. For countries like India, it is also expected that they provide the page of their passport. 

English Proficiency Tests 

It is expected that international students take standardized English language tests like IELTS and TOEFL. The minimum SAT score for schools in the US and Canada is between 1100 to 1300. However, if you are applying to top schools in the US, you should aim for a high SAT score like 1500. Alternatively, the minimum TOEFL score for schools in Canada is between 80-100 while in the United States, it should be a minimum of 100 with each candidate scoring at least 25 in each section. However, some countries are English-exempt and candidates from these countries may not need the scores to apply. Some examples include Nigeria and Kenya.

2. Prepare the necessary Documents

In addition to the documents listed below, some schools also require additional documents, but this is dependent on the school and the course you are looking forward to studying. Some of these documents are:

Letters of recommendation

Students who want to apply for their Master’s degree will be required to also submit a letter of recommendation. These documents come in two types: academic and professional.

Academic letters of recommendation are written by the previous professors of the applicant while the professional one is written by the employers.  It is a document that contains the strengths, weaknesses, work ethics, and accomplishments of the applicants. These letters must be signed and carry the letterhead of your reference or their organization for it to be valid.  The competitiveness of master’s programs has made it such that providing a letter of recommendation can improve the applicant’s chances. 

List of references

Some schools will request references rather than letters of recommendation. They will expect the applicant to submit between three to four names of previous professors or employers. They would then personally reach out to these people to get information about the applicant’s abilities and previous accomplishments. Some schools also make decisions based on the feedback from these references. Aspiring international students must find out if this is required from his/her proposed school to prepare adequately.

Statement of purpose

Statements of purpose are written in the form of an essay and it describes why applicants chose that particular program and school and why the program would be an excellent choice for his/her career. It is important to include previous activities and studies that facilitated your motivation for the course you are applying for. Additionally, schools often use this to measure the sincerity and enthusiasm of applicants, and students who have an excellent statement of purpose stand a high chance of gaining admission. 

Read also: How To Write A Winning Statement Of Purpose (With Samples) 


There are two reasons why a resume/CV is required during the application process. They are:

  • If the applicant has a prior work experience
  • If the applicant has an unusual study gap.

Some programs require that applicants have prior work experience before they apply for them. Moreover, resumes should include your academic achievements and your career objectives in the best way possible. 

Employment letters

Sometimes, employment letters are requested for if the applicant has a previous work experience. These letters should include your organization’s letterhead. It should also be signed and dated with the official stamp of the organization. Additionally, the body of your letter should include your employment date, job title, your responsibilities, and other important details. 


International students seeking to study creative arts and design programs will need to create a portfolio. A portfolio is a collection of your previous projects/work. These programs would require that students have a background in this field like previous projects or work experience. Schools use it as an evaluation measure too. The portfolio requirements differ according to what the schools want. 

Bank statements and financial declaration forms

Furthermore, students who want to study in America might need to provide bank statements or submit financial declaration forms. These documents are used for the Form I-20. Some schools in America require that the applicants should have a certain amount of money. Additionally, bank statements are often used as a measure to know if the student will be able to handle the tuition and living expenses. 

Release and authorization forms

Release and authorization forms are used to get the applicant’s consent and signature to release information about their application to a third party. For instance, if an educational consulting firm submits an application form on behalf of a student, the student will have to sign a release or authorization form. This allows the school to contact the firm or release information about the student’s application to the firm. 

Proof of residency via study permits and visas

Additionally, applicants who seek to study in specific schools in Canada or the USA will need to provide a copy of their student permit or visa. However, this happens when the applicant is already studying in these countries and wants to apply to another institution. Such applicants are to provide a copy of their current student permit, visa, and passports. 

3. Gather your documents

As soon as you know the requirements your school specifically requests, it is important you gather the documents together before you start the application process.  This will help you meet the deadlines and will make the application process faster. This can be quite an overwhelming task but the steps below should guide you on what to do: 


Once you have picked the school/schools you want to apply to, check out the requirements of the specific program you are going in for. It’ll give you a direction in which you are to go. You can check the school’s website for the necessary information you need. 

Draw up a list

Additionally, once you know what is required of you, draw up a list and prioritize according to importance. This will help your preparation easy. Documents like your academic transcript and IELTS should be part of the top priority. Also, documents that take time to process should be of priority so you’d work towards getting them first before going about how to get the other ones. 

Arrange, review, and finalize 

When you have been able to compile your documents, arrange them properly according to the order in which they were asked for, and go through them once again to ensure that they are complete and do not contain any errors. It is best to do this before the submission stage as there is still room for corrections. Label them properly too so that you’ll not be confused when it’s time to submit them. 

Since it’s a scanned copy you’d need to scan the documents and have it on your device, go through the scanned version to ensure they are clear and need no corrections. It is also advisable to save each file with the name of the documents to avoid any form of confusion. 

4. Beware of Mistakes 

There are certain mistakes applicants make that can affect their chances of getting accepted into the institution they desire. It is important to avoid any form of mistake at all during the application process. However, some of the common mistakes applicants make include: 

Unclear scans

Sometimes, applicants submit scanned copies that aren’t as clear making it difficult for the school to access them. This is because they’re either too dark or sometimes blurry. The admission team needs to examine many documents in a day, so it’ll be in the applicant’s best interest to submit legible and visible documents for the team. 

Submitting repeated files

The application process requires the submission of multiple documents. Sometimes, students submit a particular document twice and this can affect their standing. You can number your pages, or rename them and put them in a folder so that they’re easily accessible. 

Fake documents.

It is very important to double-check all documents and ensure that none is fake. Schools have a template to check fake documents, and once they check the applicant is immediately rejected by the school. Sometimes, applicants forge documents like fake transcripts, fake IELTS, and plagiarized statements of purpose and this ruins their chances of getting admitted into the university of their choice. Ensure that all your documents are authentic and without error before proceeding to start the application process. 

5. Begin!

Once you have compiled the necessary documents, and you have the application fee (for schools that require this) you can begin the application process. The advent of technology has made it easy for applicants to apply from the comfort of their homes using their smart devices. Visit the website of your desired school/schools and begin filling out the online application form. You will also be required to submit scanned copies of your documents which should be made ready before you begin. Additionally, don’t forget to double-check all of the information you’ll be submitting online to ensure that they are free from errors. 

Let’s help you

Wondering how to go about your admission processing into schools in the US and Canada? Don’t worry! We’ve got your back! Enrolling in the top universities in the world can increase your chances with employers. Unfortunately, it can be quite expensive to study abroad due to the current economic crisis. But this shouldn’t limit you as there are other options you can explore to enhance your career. 

MPower Finance and Prodigy Finance are some of the best student loan providers for international students. They also do not require any cosigner or collateral before application. At EdXtra Associates, we can help you with your loan application process. We also provide educational consultancy services for international students to help make your journey easier and faster. You can reach out to us, as we’d love to guide you through this journey. 

Read also:

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5 In-Demand STEM Programs In Canada For International Students 

Universities In The US That Do Not Require Application Fees?

How To Write A Winning Statement Of Purpose (With Samples)