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What Does a College Application Package Consist of?

Getting into college in North America is subjective, meaning there is more to the process than just submitting your GPA and test scores. We'll help you figure out how to maximize your odds of admission.
By GPA Admin

What Does a College Application Package Consist of?

North American schools require that you submit an application for admission. They usually have an online or a paper form that you must fill out – and almost all schools use an online form nowadays. In addition to the form, you must also submit supporting documents.

For the application form, please read our article on application forms for more information.

Following are the most important supporting documents required:

Test Scores

Almost all U.S. colleges and universities require that international students submit a TOEFL or IELTS score. 

  • The most common level of minimum score required is 79-80 for the TOEFL iBT or a 6 for the IELTS.
  • If your score is slightly below these levels, schools may still grant you an admission, so don’t be shy about applying.
  • If you scores are significantly below these levels, you will likely be granted “conditional admission,” which means you will be required to take English as a Second Language courses for the first semester or year before being able to enroll in college courses.

Another standardized test that is often required, particularly if you apply for scholarships, is the SAT. Check our Schools listing to see if the SAT is required by the schools you are interested in. Schools don’t often set a minimum requirement for the SAT, but most will look for a combined score of 950 or higher for Critical Reading and Mathematics.

Inquire with Golden Path Academics if you would like assistance with SAT test prep courses.

Official High School Transcripts

All universities in North America require that applicants submit the official transcripts from their high school.

  • Find out from your high school if the school can submit your transcripts directly to a college overseas.
  • If not, you must request an official copy (or multiple copies if you apply to more than one school) in English or obtain an official translation.
  • You can scan the transcripts and upload them to online applications and send the original by registered mail with other application materials.
  • Please note that many U.S. colleges and universities now also require that applicants submit an evaluation by a Credential Evaluation Service. Please read Golden Path Guide’s article on Credential Evaluations for more information.

Personal Essays

Most schools - but not all - ask applicants to submit an essay as part of the application.

Please refer to the Golden Path Guide's articles on essays for more tips on how to write a good essay.

Letter(s) of Recommendation

Most schools – again, not all – ask you to submit one or two letters of recommendation.

  • They can be written by your teacher(s), principal, a counselor at school or someone who knows you well.
  • The letters are also meant to allow the admissions officers to learn more about you as a student and your ability to perform in a college environment.
  • Be sure to ask someone who knows you well in academic or professional setting, especially in the areas that you want to pursue your studies in.

Financial Forms and Bank Statement

These are usually the last documents you are expected to submit, and most schools will not ask for these until they have accepted you into their program. However, some schools ask you to complete these forms before an admission decision is issued.

The forms may vary, but they generally ask for your family’s financial information, including your parents’ sources of income, assets and savings as well as your own. The form must often be submitted with a bank statement showing a cash amount in U.S. dollars equal to the cost of the first year of attending the program. The bank statement must not be older than six months.

Please refer to our section on paying for college for more information.

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