The U.S. universities application process is different from those of others countries, so having an idea about what goes on after one’s graduate school application is submitted is helpful.
This way you would know what to expect during the process and the time it would take to receive admission decision.
One of the previous articles about how graduate school application is reviewed will give you an idea on what major factors are considered by U.S. universities when admitting new students.
Even though the flow chat is from San Francisco State University (SFSU), this admission process also applies to any U.S. university as well as any college/university departments.
Grad School Admission – Flowchart
The U.S. Universities Admission Process
As you can see, when an international student submits an application, it normally first reaches the graduate school admission office.
There are some universities that will ask students to send the college application packet directly to the concerned department, as in SFSU.
In such cases, you have to submit 2 application packets for the same university (one for the department and another for the grad school).
Graduate School Review
If the student doesn’t have the minimum requirements like
- GRE scores
- TOEFL (IELTS)
- Bank Balance
An application will be denied by the graduate school even before department gets to review your package.
If all the documents were submitted, along with other requirements, then application will be forwarded to the department for review.
If university doesn’t receive any application fee, they will not start the application processing. It’s always good to pay via credit card to speedup the process.
The computer science department at a university will evaluate applications from candidates. If the department feels that the student doesn’t have adequate academic credentials, admission will be denied.
There are some instances when students with bachelor’s degrees, for example, in electrical engineering, who applied to take M.S. in computer science and have good credentials, will be conditional admission status, where they must take a few pre-requisite courses, before taking actual M.S. courses.
University-Specific Admission Process
Every university in the U.S has slightly different admission process, but the above flowchart gives a general idea on how international students are admitted to a program.
However, the actual factors that each university uses to grant admission might vary, but the flow of documents will almost be the same.
Department – Grad School – International Office
The above chart doesn’t show what happens after a department sends the acceptance form to the graduate school.
When the graduate school at a university receives the acceptance letter from the department, the bank statements in the student application and other details will be forwarded to the international office, which will then issue a new I-20 to the student.
Some schools will mail the acceptance letter and I-20 only through regular mail (not FedEx or DHL courier service), so it will take 2 to 4 weeks to reach new students from the different parts of the world.
If you have additional questions, do leave a comment below or read the related posts below.