GRE Guide - Guide Me!

Guide Me!

The application procedure to be followed when applying to Universities in the US involves a number of steps. Listed below are some of the most important things you need to be aware of when applying for University study.

1. Passport : A valid passport serves as a primary means of identification to gain admission to your test centre. If you don't have a passport then apply for one as soon as possible, as you cannot appear for the GRE without it.

2. GRE Registration : Register for the test at least three months in advance to be assured of obtaining your preferred testing date.

3. TOEFL Registration : International students who haven't studied in a country where English is the primary language, have to appear for the Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) in addition to the GRE. Find out about the TOEFL by visiting

4. Preparation : Preparation for the GRE should begin at least six months before you plan to appear for the exam. Check out what study material is available to help you prepare by visiting the Books & Software section.

5. GRE : You are expected to arrive at your test centre at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start of your exam. You are expected to bring the following items with you to the test centre :

  • Acceptable Identification (Passport + Driving License/College Id Card)
  • Names of 4 Colleges to which you want ETS to send your scores

At the end of your test, you can specify up to 4 colleges to which ETS will send your scores for free. Therefore, before appearing for the exam, prepare a list of your first choice colleges, by anticipating the range of your likely GRE score. The charges are $13 for every additional college you send your scores to.

6. Choosing Colleges : When preparing a list of colleges to apply to, take into consideration the following factors :

  • Your Academic grades
  • Your GRE score
  • Reputation of College
  • College's minimum requirements
  • College fees
  • Availability of Financial aid
  • Location of college (e.g. East coast or West coast)

Choose about 3 to 4 'dream' colleges, 3 to 4 'average' colleges and another 3 to 4 'safe' colleges. Go through the college websites for information regarding each univ - Colleges

7. Pre-Application : Pre-application involves emailing the colleges of your choice, requesting them to send you the application forms by mail. Mention the following in your pre-application letters :

  • Your name & address
  • Degree sought
  • Undergraduate Academic grades
  • GRE & TOEFL scores
  • Any additional qualifications that you may have

Many colleges often inform you there and then about your chances of gaining admission into their college. By doing this you can often save the cost of the application fee by knowing before hand which colleges are likely to accept you or not.

8. Transcripts : Request your college to provide you with transcripts of marks obtained for all four years of your undergrad study completed. Make sure that all the copies of your transcripts are attested and certified as true copies of the original.

9. Financial Documentation : Along with your application, it is required that you attach a letter from your bank indicating sufficient funds to finance your education in the US. It is recommended that your bank certificate show proof of funds amounting to approximately $30,000. - Sample Bank Certificate

10. Recommendation Letters : Try to get about 3 recommendation letters from professors at your undergraduate university who are familiar with your course work. Learn how to write a good recommendation letter by following the tips given here - Recommendation Letters

11. Statement Of Purpose : The statement of purpose is often regarded to be the single most important factor, which can decide the outcome of your application. It is a letter addressed to the college you are applying to, stating your reasons for wanting to pursue graduate study, among other things.

Your statement of purpose should include the following points :
  • Reason for pursuing higher studies.
  • Research and academic interests
  • Goal in life
  • Personal strengths and weaknesses
  • Academic and other achievements
  • Related experience / projects undertaken
  • Reasons for applying to a particular university

Spend as much time as possible over your statement of purpose because it is the only means that you have to actually 'speak' to the college authorities, in order to convince them that you really deserve to be admitted to their University. Refer to the Personal Satement section for detailed information.

12. Application : Send your applications to colleges at least six months before you hope to begin your study there. Based on personal experience, I can assure you that the earlier you send your applications, the better your chances are of gaining admission into universities. Also, the earlier you apply, the sooner you get your replies, and so you have more time to decide which college to finally go to. - Sample Application Package

13. Visa : If you are an international student, you have to apply for a student VISA to the US. At the time of applying for a VISA, you have to have to prove to the VISA officer that you have sufficient funds to support your study in the U.S., as well as enough reasons for returning to your home country after completion of your education. Find out more about the visa procedure at Visa Information

14. Final Preparation : Contact students who are currently studying at the University you are going to, for information regarding what to expect once you get there.