Application Timelines

Ideally, the process of applying for graduate studies in the U.S. should begin 12 to 18 months before enrolment. If you are late getting started in this process, you can still consider applying, but you may need to work at a faster pace! The following timeline is useful for a typical fall session applicant but the same logic will apply to a student who may want to go to the U.S. for a spring session as well.

12 to 18 months before enrollment

Decide if the U.S. is the right destination for your career and educational goals. Investigate and begin researching and short listing the universities to which you will apply.

10-12 months prior to enrollment (summer/early autumn)

Determine whether you are required to take a standardized test, such as the GRE or GMAT. If so, register for the exam and begin studying. Take advantage of USIEF library resources to prepare for these exams.

Finalize your ion of 4-7 universities. Visit university websites and note application requirements, deadlines, and funding options and make a personalized application timeline.

8-10 Months before enrollment

Begin by downloading admissions brochures and forms from the university websites. Start working on these admission forms and applications. Prioritize the areas you have least control over, such as arranging for reference letters or an academic marksheet or certificate. Search for and begin applying for external scholarships.

Submit your university admissions applications. Most deadlines will fall between mid-December and early January. However, deadlines will vary from program to program and may include an early and regular admission deadline. If you can do so, we recommend applying by the early deadline, especially if you are interested in applying for university funding. Financial aid deadlines generally fall early. 

Please note that applications for MBA programs usually have three rounds (Round One: October-November Round Two: December-February Round Three: March-April). We recommend students apply no later than by Round Two.

Lead up to Enrolment

Between February and April, you should receive admissions decisions by post or e-mail. Some degree programs, including certain PhD programs and competitive MBA programs, may request a phone interview before offering admission.

Depending on the deadline, you will need to notify the universities of your decision, pay a non-refundable deposit, and apply for your F-1 student visa. Apply for the F-1 visa appointment as soon as possible.

Attend the USIEF Pre-Departure Orientation session in July to prepare for your arrival in the U.S.


For any query on U.S. higher education, call us on our EdUSA toll-free hotline 1800-103-1231between 2pm and 5pm (Monday-Friday)