International Office

of Zaporizhzhia National University

How to Enter USA Universities

07.06.2012 11:31:00

Every Ukrainian student at least once thought about studying abroad. But many of them stop themselves considering education abroad to be the prerogative of geniuses or rich people.


Enter an American university one can right after leaving school in Ukraine. However that doesn’t mean that you have to apply only after your last year at school. By no means! The procedure of applying to the educational establishment in the USA can take from 9 to 12 months, that’s why to start his or her preparation one should 1-1.5 year before the beginning of study. Academic year in the USA starts in August-September. If you want to apply for a Master course you should start in the middle of your third year of study and no later!


Of course, first of all you have to choose the university you want to study at. It can be a 4-year college, or a classic university. In both cases you can get B.A. and M.A. Then what is the difference? The main distinctive feature is that colleges provide just a limited amount of courses (usually in the context of one scientific field). And moreover universities have larger number of Master courses in different subjects.

To find a suitable university for B.A. one can at,,, And M.A. courses are disposable on,,,, Experts advise to choose 10-15 universities and check their official web-sites.

Another option is to contact consulting center EducationUSA ( or In this center’s data base there are catalogues of American educational establishments. There is also a large data-base of scholarship programs as well.


Requirements for admission are different in different universities of the USA that’s why it is necessary to write to the establishment you’re applying to in advance to ask them for a list of documents required.

As a rule, documents for applying are the following:

1. Application form

2. Application Letter (their number and topic varies depending on the university)

3. Recommendation Letters (2-3 as a rule)

4. CV (for M.A. students)

5. Documents about previous education background (certified translation)

6. Certificates: TOEFL, SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT (depending on the course you’re applying to).


You have to pay to the university to have your documents considered. This fee varies from university to university and in general it can be $40 or even $200.


As a rule application deadline is November-February. The student gets his or her response in March or May.


Of course, one of the most important part influencing the decision of the selection committee is the results of tests TOEFL, GRE, GRE Subject, SAT, SAT Subject, ACT and GMAT.

TOEFL – test of English as foreign language. To register, check the dates and the results you can on the official web-site Maximum you can get is 120 for 4 parts of this test: reading, writing, auding and speaking. The results are valid only during two years.

. – SAT (Fee - $75, Credits – 600-2400) or ACT (Fee - $49, Credits – 200-800).

TESTS for M.A.



: stated above tests are valid for 5 years.


The USA is one of the most expensive countries for studying. One year of study (B.A. as well as M.A.) costs $5000—35 000. So if there wasn’t scholarship programs available for students from all over the world there would be no possibility at all for Ukrainian students to study there.

To get to know about this or that scholarship one should address directly to the American university. Every student depending on his or her academic achievements can apply to these kinds of financial support: merit-based or need-based scholarship. Concerning M.A. students they have more choices – they can apply for assistantships (either as a tutor assistant or a research assistant, work in a laboratory).

There are partial scholarships that cover only certain part of costs. “Opportunity program” ( for instance can pay only for documents consideration and certificates, visa costs and return tickets. Application process for this program runs during the whole year. To compete for this scholarship one should get in touch with EducationUSA (full list of Ukrainian offices is available at


This program provides students with an opportunity to study for one year in American college or university. See the official web-site – Application process starts in autumn and it runs for only one month. Candidates have to go through selective procedure: 1) application form; 2) interview in English; 3) TOEFL.

Final results will be announced at the end of April. Already in August successful students leave for the USA. Competition is quite severe; every year 20 Ukrainian students go to the USA to study. The program covers the following costs: return tickets, medical insurance, university fee, accommodation, food, moreover students get monthly scholarship.


This academic program is aimed at under-graduates or those on their 3-rd or 4-th year of study willing to get their Master Degree in the USA (1-2 year programs). For more information see their official web-site – Scholarships are available practically for students of all the subjects. Application process runs every year from early spring till May 16th.

Selection procedure:

1. Application form, essays consideration; 2. Interview in English; 3. TOEFL and GRE. Already in April-May the names of successful candidates are announced. BTW the participants can specify three American universities they would like to study at.

Classes start in September. Scholarship covers all the student’s costs (university fee, study materials, visa costs, return tickets, medical insurance, TOEFL and GRE fee). Moreover the student gets monthly scholarship in the amount of $1500. Every year 20-25 Ukrainian students are provided with the opportunity to get Master Diploma in the university of the USA in the context of Fulbright Program.


This is another M.A. program that lasts 1-2 years. See - In the context of this program one can study MBA, Law, Government Administration and Civil Politics. Application process starts every year in October and the students have to meet deadline already in November.

Selection procedure:

1. application form; 2. interview in English; 3. TOEFL, GRE or GMAT. Final results are announced at the end of April. Scholarship covers: return tickets, university fee, medical insurance, study materials, and monthly allowance in the amount of $1000 or even more depending on the university the student will be studying at. Every year 15-20 Ukrainian students go to the USA to study.


1. USA students have the right to choose the subjects to study

2. There are no classic lectures (as they are in Ukraine). Students attend them already prepared: just to discuss the topic and to ask additional questions.

3. Manuals differ from those in Ukraine. They contain more practical information, illustrative examples.

4. One should study a lot! Students are to read at least 300 pages a week! Systematically! As opposed to Ukrainian system of education excellent results on exam are not enough. One must work hard during the whole semester.

5. There are a lot of subjects that are common for American students and that are completely alien for Ukrainian ones. Be prepared for a lot of new stuff to get to know.

6. Plagiarism is strictly forbidden in the USA. Student can be even expelled.

9. Students pay for manuals, library ticket, sport facilities ($1000-1500 per year) and also student insurance for the period of study ($200-500).


It’s better to start searching the place to live in the USA in advance! At least one and a half month before you come there. Many colleges and universities have their own dormitories and hostels that are situated on campus. But as a rule the number of students willing to have a room there is much larger than places available. That’s why one should have in mind several additional options just in case they are not provided with the place in the dormitory.

BTW accommodation fee on campus is not so cheap. One pays $500-1200 a month. Average cost for apartment varies from 500 to 900 USA dollars. To find a place to live one can at


(Gennadiy Kornev, Fulbright scholarship winner shares his experience)

To get scholarship to study Law was very hard and I succeeded only while trying the third time! The result occurred to be more than I expected and 1,5 years in the USA was worth fighting for. To start preparation one should with composing two essays – Personal Statement and Study Objectives. In the first essay one has to prove to the committee that there is a concrete distinctive plan of action for the whole period in the USA and also to describe how the knowledge gained abroad will be implemented into one’s work when back in Ukraine. Concerning the second essay there should be stated one’s certain expectations of the study in the American university and the reasons why one just must go there and execute research in his or her respective field of study.


I won a scholarship for a year of study in George Washington University. I got monthly allowance of $1450 out of which I paid $750 for accommodation. It wasn’t easy at all to study at the very beginning. Methods of teaching Law differ greatly from those in Ukraine. Taking American manual as an example, one won’t find there “raw” theory. It is composed of a number of legal court cases supported with theoretical author comments and notes. Only after reading a great number of these cases the student can picture him or herself the whole process of legal activity. I had also an opportunity to work as an assistant under the guidance of honorable patent attorney. In such a way I gained practical experience in my field. All knowledge I got in the USA became an excellent basis for my professional practice in Ukraine. At present I assist projects in the filed of intellectual Law and new technologies.


(Juilia Rashupkina, Edmund Maskie Scholarschip winner, is studying in the USA at the moment)


Almost everything depends on your essay! In the context of my program I had to write 2 essays: the first one – about my educational goals (Statement of Purpose); the second one – about the program of study (Program of Study). In the first essay one should answer the question “Why your choice of country to study in is the USA?”, “How the scholar sees his education process” and “How does it agree with one’s professional goals for the next 5-10 years?” (definite answers on this questions will help your essay sound serious and smart). My advice is to support every answer on mentioned above questions with examples from your life. In such a way I told in my essay that being the student of the 4th year of study I have already started working in one of regional social organizations which analyze local self-government authorities’ activity and holds in particular free legal consulting meetings for local activists, so that they can uphold their rights in different spheres of their social life. In the USA there are a lot of such organizations (analytic centers) that’s why there’s a lot to get to know.


After application process I had to sit the interview. During the interview members of the committee asked me about my future plans. They just wanted once again to make sure that I know the subject and I have a clear plan of development. And after that in order to pass the exams (TOEFL and GRE) I attended the courses of English language, watched films, listened to audio recordings, from time to time I met with my friend from the USA to practice my spoken English and also I sat exam samples I found in different manuals or in the Internet. That helped me to get used to English as a whole and to the tests format.


As a result I succeeded in all the stages of the selective procedure and I won a scholarship for one year of study in University of Nebraska at Omaha. Moreover I got $1260 per month for additional charges. It’s fascinating that in the USA students can choose the subjects to study. If the Ukrainian students have 7-8 courses per semester then the American student has only 3 or 4 of them. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easier to study there. Every topic is deeply studied and profoundly discussed. Students get a lot of tasks and they are without exception to meet the deadlines! That’s why stress level in American universities as for me is a lot higher than in Ukrainian ones. I enjoyed their approach to study process. There are no lectures as we used to see them in Ukrainian universities. You have to come to lecture already prepared, having read the material you were given and be ready to discuss. During exams you’re allowed to use your notes, but only because all the tasks bear practical component (for example, analyze Barack Obama politics in the sphere of Public Health from the point of view of Economics).


(Julia Serdjuchenko, Edmund Muskie scholar, is studying in the USA at the present)


I am an international economics expert and I would very much like to deepen my knowledge by studying my subject in the USA. In my first essay (Statement of Purpose) I built a logic chain of events that showed the members of the committee that I really lack American Diploma for my carrier development. As to my second essay (Program of Study) I got help from the scholars of E. Muskie program that had already took the course and came back to Ukraine. Thanks to them I succeeded in accurate argumentation of my courses choice and to describe it in my essay.


While on interview you have to prove to the members of the committee that you really know the subject, and you follow the changes in it. Everyone has to be prepared to answer a lot of questions concerning his or her field of study. To be aware and to keep update I constantly looked through international mass media, CNN and New York Times for instance. Moreover I made a list of possible questions that I could be asked during the interview, there were about 70 of them. To do this I read from cover to cover all of my documents and essays and ticked those parts that seemed not clear enough. Then I went through these questions with my English tutor. All that preparation made me feel myself self-confident and comfortable during the interview.


So I won a scholarship and went to study to Western Illinois University. Scholarship is enough to cover all the expenses I come across here in America. To talk about education, it was very hard at first time to adjust myself to a new life, new people, new rules and especially new system of education. For example I wasn’t used to dedicate 12 hours a day for studying. You have to read 100-150 pages of academic text a week. There is really a lot of homework, and knowledge gained in Ukraine is not enough. You have to catch up. However academic preparation of specialist is on a very high level. I managed to cope with everything only when in second semester. Rules in the university are very strict. There is a rule of two “Cs”. You cannot get two C grades for your final exams or you will be expelled.