Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Standardized Tests for Admission to American Universities and Colleges

Students who are targeting admission to American universities and colleges in 2011
and 2012 have to begin planning on completing various components of the
application process.

One important component is the standardized tests that are invariably required
as part of the application package. These could range from a single test
(TOEFL) to as many as three. Students should verify which tests they need to
take and register for them in good time. Most 4‑year colleges and
universities in the US will require either the ACT (with or without Writing) or
the SAT I, but not both. Competitive universities and colleges usually will
also require SAT II, but many will fully or partially waive this latter
requirement for students who submit the ACT Plus Writing. Juggling them with
high school is a tough job, so proper planning to ensure there’s no clash with
other school events is important.

The ACT (American College Test) is a paper-based test conducted by ACT, Inc., at several locations around the world. The schedule for the next few months is:

International Registration Deadlines


Test Dates


Registration (online)

April 9, 2011

ACT & ACT Plus Writing

March 4, 2011

June 11 2011

ACT & ACT Plus Writing

May 6, 2011

October 22, 2011

ACT & ACT Plus Writing


December 10, 2011

ACT & ACT Plus Writing


February 11, 2012



In order to register for the ACT, go to: http://www.actstudent.org/

The SATs are paper-based tests conducted by College Board at several locations
around the world. The schedule for the next few months is:

International Registration Deadlines


Test Dates


Early Registration(must be received by)

Regular Registration (must be received by)

October 10, 2009

SAT & Subject Tests

August 19, 2009

September 9, 2009

November 7, 2009

SAT & Subject Tests

September 16, 2009

October 1, 2009

December 5, 2009

SAT & Subject Tests

October 14, 2009

October 30, 2009

January 23, 2010

SAT & Subject Tests

December 2, 2009

December 15, 2009

May 1, 2010

SAT & Subject Tests

March 10, 2010

March 25, 2010

June 5, 2010

SAT & Subject Tests

April 14, 2010

April 29, 2010

In order to register for the SATs, go to: http://www.collegeboard.com/

The GRE, GMAT and TOEFL are computer-based tests administered five days a week,
through the year at several locations around the world, so students can
schedule their tests more easily.

In order to register for the GRE, students can go to: www.ets.org/bin/getprogram.cgi?test=gre

For the GMAT: www.mba.com/mba/thegmat/scheduleagmatappointment

For a TOEFL appointment: www.ets.org/bin/getprogram.cgi?test=toefl

For more information and advice on admissions to US schools, please refer to Study in America: The Definitive Guide for Aspiring Students by Renuka Raja Rao, published by Pearson Education.

Monday, August 3, 2009

With the beginning of the Fall Season, universities and colleges across the US are gearing up to receive the studens enrolling for this semester.

Simultaneously, Admissions Offices begin to gear up for Admission Season 2010.

The Common Application 2010 is already available online at


Several universities have also put up their 2010 applications for graduate studies on their websites.

Students who are aiming to go to the US next year should begin their planning right away (many savvy students have started in January of this year!). Remember that successful applications are the result of meticulous planning and flawless execution of those plans.

Now is a good time for students to begin by familiarizing themselves with the application forms and requirements.

Renuka Raja Rao

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Book Launch

Study in America : The Definitive Guide for Aspiring Students was launched on the 16th of July at The Auditorium, WWF-India. Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor and former Infosys co-chairman and Unique Identification Authority of India chief Nandan Nilekani released the book. Here are some pictures from the event. You can read more about the book launch here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pearson Test of English Academic

Pearson will be adding an Academic English test called Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) to its portfolio of English language tests soon.

PTE Academic is a new international computer-based academic English language test, delivering real-life measures of test takers' language ability to universities, higher education institutions, government departments and other organizations requiring academic-level English. The new test will accurately measure the Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking ability of test takers who are non-native speakers of English and who want to study at institutions where English is the principal language of instruction.

PTE Academic is endorsed by Graduate Management Admission Council® (GMAC®) and it will be launched from October 2009.

For more information please visit www.pearsonpte.com. If you have any questions please leave a comment here with your name and email address and we will get back to you.

More about the book

It's important to understand that admission to American educational institutions is not difficult - it's different. The time lines are different, the required tests are different, the deadlines are much earlier than in other countries. This book explains the differences. Appreciating the differences helps students maximize their chances of admission.

I have spent a lot of time researching and compiling statistics on financial aid awarded to international undergraduate students and it is, in my opinion, one of the most valuable sections of the book. This does not mean that the same amount of aid is going to continue, but it's a good place to start if you require financial assistance.

A common mistake is to assume that high scores on standardized tests such as the SATs, GRE, GMAT assure students of admission. In fact, top universities regularly deny admission to students with perfect scores on their tests. International students should understand and appreciate the fact that Admissions Committees in the US try to get a multi dimensional picture of prospective students. A student from an unknown engineering school in Karnataka, with zero research experience and average grades, but a 1600 on the GRE is going to be passed up in favor of a student from an IIT or NIT, with consistently superior academic record, glowing recommendations and research experience, even if he only has a 1300 or 1400 on the GRE. As one of my friends, a professor at Purdue said, poor scores doom your application, but great scores dont translate into automatic admission.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Study in America: The Definitive Guide for Aspiring Students

There are several excellent books available for students applying to the U.S. colleges—but they are all written by Americans, for American students, from an American perspective. Further, although there is inexhaustible material available on the Internet, students find it hard to locate, and cannot be sure what is trustworthy, and what has to be discounted. Study in America: The Definitive Guide for Aspiring Students addresses these issues squarely.
In this guide the students will find authoritative, accurate, and invaluable information packed in an easy-to-read, student-friendly style. It includes step-by-step advice and unbiased information on the application, required testing, application essays, and financial matters. It also guides students on the all-important U.S. visa process. Sensitive to the specific needs of international students, this comprehensive guide shares information, anecdotes, and real-life examples needed to make a transition from one culture to another.

To know more about the book, visit the publishers website.