Ideally, the process of applying for undergraduate study in the US will begin 1-1½ years before enrolment. For most students, this is during the spring/summer at the end of 5th Year. Do not panic if you are in 6th Year and are only getting started now. You simply need to work at a faster pace! Click here for further detail.
Choosing a University
In the US, there are both public (state-funded) and private universities.
Public universities are state-funded institutions and are usually large in size. Foreign students pay out-of-state tuition, which is often higher than that paid by in-state residents. However, tuition fees at public universities are generally less expense than private universities.
Private universities are supported by tuition fees, private donations and grants. They typically have a smaller student body and are more expensive to attend. However, private universities often have better facilities on offer and more funding set aside for international students or students with a household income less that €30-35,000.
Associates & Bachelors Degrees
At the undergraduate level, US universities offer both Associates and Bachelor's degrees. Please note the type of degree that is best suited for you depends entirely on your individual needs and strengths.
Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Science (A.S.) or Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degrees are offered at two-year colleges (also known as community or junior colleges). Associate degrees often focus on vocational or technical skills. Upon completing an Associate degree, students can either pursue a Bachelor's degree by transferring to a four-year university, or competitively enter the workforce.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degrees are usually four years in length. Bachelor’s degrees in the US, follow the liberal arts philosophy and generally include core required courses, a major and electives.
Use a university search engine to narrow your search to 10-20 universities meeting your criteria (see below)
Once you've narrowed it down, visit each college website - for the most up-to-date information
Begin with the admissions page for information on their selection criteria, application process, deadlines and selectively
Then read the financial aid page for information on costs and funding options
The student services and international students pages will provide you with information about campus life and activities
If you know your intended major, you may also wish to check out the department's website as well.
Search Engines - Independent websites allow you to search for institutions by the subject you are interested in studying, by geographic preference, or by a range of other criteria that you specify.
As a general rule, US universities will expect to see a similar type of qualification and results as Irish universities of a similar level of prestige and competitiveness. The following are all taken into consideration when applying to universities in the US.
Academic Performance - Your academic abilities will be evaluated in the first instance by your results from Junior Certificate to your Leaving Certificate year
Admissions Tests - Your academic aptitude will also be assessed through your performance on SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT
Extracurricular Involvement - US universities are looking for well-rounded candidates and will be interested to learn about activities such as: paid and unpaid work experience, volunteering, sports, school activities, interests in the arts, hobbies, etc.
Compelling reason for attending an institution - We recommend that students compile a thoughtful list of reasons why they believe each of their chosen universities is a good match for them, as well as why they are a good fit for the university, and refer to these lists when writing admissions essays and responses to short answer questions.