Teachers who have taught you in class can write a recommendation letter for you. Usually, colleges ask for two to three letters of recommendation. Letters should be from your most recent teachers who have taught you.

It is crucial to know the application components while applying to U.S. colleges and universities. Sending unnecessary documents or missing important documents could convey wrong signals to the institutions you are applying to. The application to U.S. colleges and universities consists of five essential elements. Additional materials may be required to apply to more competitive institutions, especially ones that offer good scholarships. Remember that all components of your application, whether submitted electronically or by mail (or a combination of both), must reach the college before its deadline date.

Application Form
A college or university’s application form can be easily downloaded from the college or university website free of cost. Please make sure that all the information you write on the form is valid and correct. Colleges use the information on the form to generate the I-20. Thus you must fill the form neatly (either typed or in very clear handwriting) so that the admissions officers are able to review what you have written. Many colleges have online application forms which you may submit electronically.

Application Fee
The application fee is a non-refundable processing fee for each college and it ranges from $20 - $100. This fee may be paid in the form of a dollar draft payable to the college you are applying to. If you have severe financial hardship and are unable to pay the application fee, you may be able to use an “application fee waiver” which is an explanatory letter written by your school Principal or school Guidance Counselor. Please use this option only if you are truly unable to afford the application fee, else your application may not be reviewed.

Attested Transcripts
In Nepal, most students receive only one set of original mark-sheets and supporting documents. Hence, in order to present your academic credentials to U.S. colleges and universities, you can send copies of your transcripts and certificates which are attested by USEF-Nepal or by your issuing Board Office.

Financial Documents
Generally, colleges and universities ask for a bank statement and sponsor letter. A sponsor is someone who is able and is willing to pay for your education. In the case of Nepal, it is usually the parents who sponsor their child. Any other sponsor should have genuine reasons to pay for your education. The willingness to pay for your education is shown by a letter which the sponsor writes. The sponsor must be able to provide a bank statement which should contain a minimum of one year’s cost of attendance at that college or university. If a student is applying for scholarship, then the statement should reflect at least the amount that the sponsor is willing to contribute per year.

TOEFL Score Report
The TOEFL score report will not be physically present in your application packet. You will need to arrange for the TOEFL program to send an official score report to the colleges you are applying to. Note that some colleges also accept IELTS.

With the above five components, you can apply for admissions to some colleges. However, if you are applying to competitive colleges or to colleges that offer good scholarships, you will most likely require these additional materials:

Additional Standardized Test Scores
SAT/ ACT and SAT Subject Tests may be required for undergraduate applicants. Please note that you must order score reports to be sent to the colleges or universities via each testing program.

Application Essay
The application essay is a very important component of the application packet. Many times, it is the application essay which makes or breaks your successful application. The application essay is like an interview with the admission office. It is one of the only components in your application packet which is not in numbers and which shows the college more about who you really are. Spend a lot of time and effort on your application essay. Sometimes, it may take several weeks to produce an excellent application essay. To learn how to write an excellent application essay, students can use the outstanding collection of reference books at the USEF library and attend USEF’s specialized advising session called “Tips on Writing an Application Essay” offered monthly.

Letters of Recommendation
Teachers who have taught you in class can write a recommendation letter for you. Usually, colleges ask for two to three letters of recommendation. Letters should be from your most recent teachers who have taught you. A strong recommendation letter from your teacher providing explanations about how you performed in class can be very helpful. It should give a clear idea about the type of student you were and what kind of activities you participated in. Recommendation letters carry a lot of weight; students should think carefully about who to choose as their recommenders.

Supporting Materials
This can mean a resume or any form of creative work you have done. For example, if you are good at playing a musical instrument, you can send a recording on CD. Supporting materials can also mean valuable certificates or awards you have received. You can attest these certificates from the issuing institution. Send only those certificates that are very important to you and those that will make you stand out in the application pool. Also, there will be a space on the application form to write about the different activities you have participated in.

For detailed information on the application components, please contact USEF-Nepal at Gyaneswor, Kathmandu. Connect with USEF and find out about USEF’s upcoming events on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/usef.nepal.