A Guide To Applying To US Colleges From Years 10 to 13

2 Minute Read

Embarking on the journey to be admitted to a US universities can initially seem overwhelming. Yet, with proper planning and guidance, you can seamlessly navigate the intricate maze of applications, tests, and decisions. At A-List, our aim is to demystify the process, offering insight and guidance at each pivotal stage. So, let’s lay out the roadmap of US college application preparations.

When to Start?
The question isn’t just about ‘when to start?’ but ‘how to strategise?’ While it’s possible to start preparations during Year 13, it’s  a stressful route. Instead, we recommend beginning your planning in Year 10, which allows you to spread out your responsibilities, making the process more structured and manageable.

Year 10: Setting the Foundation
Course & Extracurricular Selection: Consult a US university advisor regarding the GCSE courses you’ve chosen and the extracurriculars you wish to pursue. Setting these early goals ensures you stay on track.

Family Discussions: Talk with your family to determine if a US university education aligns with your collective aspirations. Given the significant investment—both in time and finances—it’s essential to make an informed choice.

Summer Programs: Consider enrolling in a US university summer program. It’s an excellent way to familiarise yourself with the US education style and campus life. Our A-List advisors can guide you to the most suitable programs and assist in your application.

Year 11: Building Momentum
Guidance Meetings: Regularly meet with your US college advisor. Review the application process, discuss your progression in extracurriculars, and strategise on leadership roles, internships, and more.

Course Decision: Delve into the nuances of A-Level or IB courses. It’s essential to understand that not all courses are equally recognised, making this consultation crucial.

Summer Break: It’s an opportune time to take a diagnostic SAT/ACT test, gauge your strengths, and consider college tours. Our advisors are at your service to help plan your itinerary. Opt for an initial diagnostic test, and we’ll offer a detailed analysis of your performance along with suggestions for the most effective preparation route.

Year 12: Action-Packed Year
Test Preparations: Begin tutoring for the SAT/ACT. By December, aim to take your first test. Taking the test multiple times, like in March (SAT) or April (ACT), is standard, but limit your trials to ensure productive use of time.

Holistic Engagement: Invest time and effort into extracurricular activities, showing genuine commitment and passion—traits US universities value.

Crafting Essays: Begin as soon as colleges release essay requirements (usually by July). Unlike the UCAS statements, US essays demand introspection, showcasing your personality. Our essay workshops are available to hone your skills.

Year 13: Final Stages & Decision Time
Final Touches: Finalise your college list, polish your essays, and consider early application strategies. SAT/ACT reattempts and SAT Subject Tests should also be on your radar.

Regular & Early Decisions: Complete your Common App for January Regular Decision deadlines. If you’ve opted for Early Applications, await your results. Accepted? Congratulations! But remember to make your deposit promptly.

Making the Decision: As Regular Decision results trickle in, collaborate with your advisor to evaluate your offers. By May 1, your decision is due.

Starting College: By the end of August, you’ll be setting foot on your chosen US campus, ready to embark on an exciting new academic journey.

Support from A-List Education 

The US university application process, spanning four years, might appear extensive, but with A-List Advisors, it becomes a streamlined experience. Our dedicated admissions advisors and private tutors ensure you meet critical benchmarks, bolstering your chances at securing spots in top-tier US institutions.

In 2023, our students were awarded 288 acceptances at 100 institutions globally, with 81 in the US alone. Including 41 Ivy League acceptances, with all eight Ivies represented, as well as acceptances at MIT and Stanford. What an achievement! To simplify your journey to US higher education, contact our team today by filling out the enquiry form below, or email info@alisteducation.co.uk.