Undergraduate Application Process for USA and UK

Undergraduate Application Process for USA and UK

Written by Overseas Education Consultant and Study Abroad Career Counsellor in Mumbai, Karan Gupta



The US is still the top choice for most students. More than 60% of all students applying overseas from India apply to the US.

The greatest advantage US universities offer is the flexibility to choose your own program at the undergraduate level. High school students at the age of 16 and 17 should not be expected to make a career choice. In India, if you chose engineering and after a year decided that you do not like engineering, you will not be able to change your major and if you do, you will lose a year. In the US, you can apply for a major called ‘undecided’ and after two years of taking classes in various streams, you can declare specific major. If you choose engineering and then change your mind and decide to study Philosophy, you most likely will not lose any time and will graduate in the same time period. Remember, this flexibility is available mainly at the undergraduate level only.

Similarly, if you like two streams, say engineering and psychology, you can major in both and get two degrees in the same time period, which is not possible in India. 
When you graduate with a US degree, you will have knowledge not only in your field of graduation, but in other fields as well. For instance, an engineering student will have to take a few classes in business or humanities and a business student will have to do some basic science classes in order to complete all requirements to graduate. 

The US attracts students from all over the world and you will get to study with international students and will learn about different cultures and societies. Hence, your overall learning experience cannot be compared to what you will learn in an Indian institution.

Of course, a US education is expensive and you will have to look at funding for 4 years, since Bachelor degrees in the US are of four-year duration. If you are an academically bright student, score well in your SAT exams, and have a strong application, you may qualify for funding from US universities. The average tuition fees for Bachelor’s degree courses are around $40,000 per year. Living costs vary from city to city and are approximately $12,000 per year.


The UK for the past few years has been vying Indian students with scholarships and work permits. The UK education system is very similar to ours and students can earn most Bachelor’s degrees in three years. On average, the tuition fee in a UK university is about 18000 pounds per annum. If you stay in an expensive city like London, your living costs are bound to be high. With the current Rupee-Pound exchange rate, the UK may seem like an expensive proposition, but keeping in mind the duration of the programme, the UK may not be that expensive in the long run.

For admissions to the Bachelor’s degree programme, students need the TOEFL or IELTS only. Having a SAT score respectively may not enhance your profile.


The SAT is the exam needed by undergraduate students who wish to study in the US after the 12th grade.

For more information on the SAT including test information, free tests and tips and tricks, please click here


For more information on the TOEFL including test information, free tests and tips and tricks, please click here

The TOEFL is needed by all students who wish to study in the US or UK at both the undergraduate as well as the graduate level.


You should ideally start your application process one year ahead of when you want to go and study. You will then have ample time to finish the entrance tests required by the universities. The selection process of universities is based on several criteria and the final choice of university depends on the comfort level of the student applying. Each country generally has its own ranking system which lists the top universities in each faculty. Rankings are just one of the criteria you should use in determining whether or not you want to apply to a particular university. Instead rely on information from alumni and current students. Remember, no matter which country you are applying to you must adhere to their rules and regulations and carefully follow all the application instructions.

Before you start applying is it imperative to do research on the potential universities you are considering. Each school is different and it is important finding the school where you will fit in and feel comfortable. Once you have a concrete list in hand the next step is getting all the documentation ready. Once all these documents are ready, compile your application and you are now ready to mail out your applications. In most cases, the entire application process can be done online. However, if you need to send any physical documents to the universities you can use a courier service. Many courier companies offer students special discounts and your application packets will reach the universities in 48 hours.

The good news is that the UK application process is the simplest of all developed countries. After you have been through the mind-boggling process of applying to US universities you will find the UK application child’s play. Undergraduate students or students applying for Bachelors degrees, only need to fill out one UCAS or Universities and Colleges Admission Service form.


Karan Gupta is the leading international education and career consultant in Mumbai, India. Since 1999, he has given career counselling and has helped thousands of students with study abroad and get admission and visas to universities and colleges in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore and EU and also helps them get scholarships, loans and financial aid. In addition to aptitude tests and career counselling, his firm also provides training and coaching for the GMAT, GRE, SAT, ACT, TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE exams. Karan Gupta is the best study abroad career counsellor, consultant and career guidance expert in Mumbai.

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