To many parents, the US application process can be daunting and long winded. Find out more the US education system and its admissions process!


The US is without a doubt the most sought-after destination for higher-level education.

From rankings produced by various agencies, US universities dominate the board for top 50 universities in the world.
  • The level of academic teaching and research are also unrivalled anywhere, with the Federal government committing billions of dollars into universities to encourage research and development in science and technology.

  • The US is also by far the most popular destination for international students from China, India and other major countries.

  • As of the most recent report, there were more than 1 million international students studying in the US for the academic year of 2017. For the same year, more than half of the students were from either mainland China or India. California and New York are two of the most popular destinations for international students within the US.

Compared to the UK admission process, however, the US admissions process is far more complex. While it is true that the common app is able to simplify the admissions process by enabling students to use one application for multiple universities. The fact remains that most universities in the US requires additional supplementary essays of all kinds. Without a uniform platform to mediate between the various different deadlines and requirements, students are left on their own to navigate through the complex system in the US.

For first time applicants and for parents and students with minimal experiences in the US education system, the US admissions process will prove to be extremely user-unfriendly.

Here at UNIKEY ACADEMY, we wish to provide services that will make the entire process much more enjoyable and simple by setting down clear plans and deadlines for our students to meet so that once the real deadlines approaches, all the relevant documentations are ready to be submitted. The number of universities in US are also daunting. Unlike many other countries, the US has public and private universities.

Additionally, it also has many famous liberal arts colleges that only confer bachelor degrees. From such a wide variety of different types of higher education institutions, students may be unsure as to where they truly want to attend.

With experts here at UNIKEY ACADEMY from many top universities, such as UC Berkeley, the University of Chicago, and various other East-Coast universities, we are best situated to give students advice on setting down target and safety universities.

How Does the US Admissions Process Work: An Overview

Similar to the UK UCAS system, the Common App platform allows first-time applicants to apply to multiple universities at the same time. Generally, the Common App opens on August 1 of every year for students to fill out their information and complete their profile. However, it is not recommended that students begin their preparations as late as August. Most students begin preparations for the Common App during the summer before their final year in high school. To fully prepare for a strong profile, students are recommended to start as soon as possible, and plan ahead when they first enter high school. For the Common App essays, there are seven prompts each year, and students have a word-limit of 650 words for each essay. Unlike the UK system, the Common App essays are more personal in nature, and are generally used to demonstrate personal growth, personal motivations, and the well-roundedness of the candidates.

As such, students are recommended to have a variety of extracurricular activities that touches on several areas, such as sports, music, and social volunteering activities.

A strong candidate generally will also need to demonstrate leadership qualities and leadership positions in school organizations, such as having positions in the student council or charity organizations. Being part of an official sports team in high school or outside high school will also prove to be a significant factor that will benefit a student’s application. Demonstrating achievements in these areas will make candidates stand out.

Apart from the Common App, each individual university may also have supplemental essays that are specifically designed for certain faculties, majors, and etc. Similar to the Common App, students are also required to demonstrate personal awareness, personal growth, and mature introspection. Admissions officers in US universities believe that reflective and well-rounded candidates are individuals that will best excel in US classrooms and educational environments. This stems from the deep education philosophy in the US, where students in undergraduate programs are recommended to partake in a variety of courses, such as in literature, arts, and sciences that are not directly linked with his or her particular major. This mindset to how education works is what students and parents must bear in mind when applying to US universities.

Students are also recommended to contemplate whether or not this style of education truly fits their personality and the way they learn.

These are all questions that we at UNIKEY ACADEMY are happy to answer. With our support, students and parents will receive the best advice on and insights into the US admissions process and US university life.

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