US University Application Timeline for UK Students

Applying to US universities may initially appear somewhat daunting and perplexing to UK-based students: there are significant differences between the admission process timeline for applications to US universities versus that of British universities. We’ve compiled a condensed timeline of each stage of the process, helping you prepare and keep on track of your university applications.

Year 11

  • The year before starting A-Levels, students can begin reviewing the application process for US universities and are encouraged to start participating in a diverse range of extracurricular activities if they haven’t begun so already, ensuring they build up a strong CV.
  • Before and during the summer prior to entering Sixth Form, students should spend a significant amount of time considering the subjects they plan to take at AS- and A-Level, as your final selection of subject choices will play an important role in the different types of university courses you may apply to. It is also recommended that students sit practice SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) and ACT (American College Testing) tests to determine a baseline and the level of work which will be required to ace these tests.

Year 12

  • Upon entering Lower Sixth, students may commence regularly practising for the SAT/ACT. Around this time, students are also encouraged to start building up a list of potential universities they may apply to.
  • March marks the month during which most students sitting the SAT take the test whilst April is the target month for most students taking the ACT.
  • During May and June, students may consider potentially retaking the SAT/ACT if they wish and/or sit SAT subject-specific tests.
  • Over the course of the summer before the start of Upper Sixth, students should complete their personal statement and supplemental essays, as well as take intensive SAT/ACT practice courses if need be.

Year 13

  • When starting Upper Sixth, in September, students should have a finalised university list and begin the process of requesting reference or recommendation letters from teachers and other members of their school staff such as counsellors.
  • The date for submitting Early Action/Early Decision applications is in November. The admission decision results for these applications tend to be released by mid-December.
  • Regular Decision, the application deadline which most prospective university students aim to meet, tends to be set around early January (usually 1st January). The admission decision results for these applications are released towards the end of March/early April.