The Ultimate College Document Checklist for USA bound students

Study in the USA

Applying for study in the USA is one of the most important milestone in a student’s journey. There are several key stages and steps in each stage that one needs to take care of. If studying the states is your aspiration, this college application document checklist will give you a snapshot into the process and the documents needed. Regardless of where you are in your journey of studying in the USA, you will need to complete most of these documents as part of your process at some point in your journey.

1. The Pre Admission Pre Test stage of the College Application Document Checklist

The pre-admission pre-test stage of the college application document checklist will cover all the basics of planning for study in the USA. Here’s what you need to do to start right.

1. Do a basic research on all the universities/shortlist universities to send test scores for the 4 universities to apply from the test portal.

2. Decide your course of study based on parameters such as interest, academic background, time you have in hand among others.

3. Get a Passport  if you don’t have it already.

4. For most STEM(Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) courses you will need either a valid GRE or a GMAT score.

5. You will also need to give an English proficiency exam TOEFL Duolingo (US)


6. Use these score ranges to evaluate your score :

IELTS – 6.5 and above to be eligible for admission Max: 9, Average: 6.5 – 7, Good: 7.5 +

TOEFL – 85 above to be eligible for admission  Max: 120, Average: Above 85 Good: 100 or above

GRE – Average score is 290 however 300+ is recommended. 315+ is considered a good score with a maximum of 340,AWA(Analytical) out of 6, average score is 3.5 however 4+ is recommended Max: 6, Good: 4.5. Do remember, certain universities have sectional cutoffs for GRE.

GMAT – The average score is 630 however a score of 670+ is recommended. 700+ is considered a good score with a maximum score of 800.

Here’s a tip you could use, at the time of completing GRE and GMAT, you can submit your scores to 4 universities for free.


2. The Application Stage of the College Application Document Checklist

The next stage of the college application document checklist you need to tick off if post your tests. After you’re done with taking the tests, it’s time to apply to colleges.

1. Begin by categorising the university into Safe, Moderate and Ambitious based on the past admits’ average test scores and GPAs.

2. Make sure to take finances for study in the USA into consideration from this stage itself.

3. Apply online to the shortlisted universities through the university specific links

4. Make a checklist of documents for each university.

Here’s a list of basic documents you will need for study in the USA:

1. Marksheets – 10th, 12th 

2. Resume detailing out your college projects

3. Transcripts from your college of all your semester marks. Some universities require semester wise transcripts.

4. Get your Statement of Purpose(SOP) ready customised to the university and course you are applying to.

5. Request your Professors and Colleagues(If you have work experience) for Letters of Recommendation(LOR). Typically, you would need two LORs/ three(with work experience, 1 – manager, 2 – college profs).

6. Experience Letter from your company

7. Test Score Cards – GRE, GMAT, IELTS and TOEFL

8. Application Confirmation Copy

Be mindful of deadlines as each university and course has a separate deadline and include this in the lists as well.

If you need funding assistance, then keep these documents ready:

1. Aadhaar Card – One card which has all your identity details including biometrics

2. PAN Card – Essential for doing finances

3. Passport size photos

4. Academic Documents like 10th, 12th and Undergraduate transcripts(semester wise)

5. Resume/Work Experience Letter(s)

6. Passport

7. Financial Certificates of your co-signer including past income tax statements, salary slips and bank statements

8. Co-Applicants Financial Documents like ITRs, Salary Slips and Bank Statements 

3. Post Admission

If you’re at this stage and have received admits , well,  Congratulations!

Now we come to the final stage of the college application checklist. Your dream to study in the USA is just a flight away.


It’s time now to choose the university you want to go to and get your US Visa done.


To apply for a US Visa, here’s what you will need:

1. DS – 160 Form – This is basically the Online Non-Immigrant Visa Application form which is needed for every applicant

2. Recent Passport Size Photographs

3. Interview Appointment Confirmation Letter

4. Financial Documents

Prepared with these documents, you can now focus on getting the VISA interview slot, preparing for it and acing it.

And once you’re done

This college application document checklist will give you a fair idea about the kind of documents you will need to study in the USA. Do ensure to check individual university pages for last minute additional document requirements and other respective organisation pages for a final check.

Stay assured, you will get that dream admit.

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