Applying for US colleges is a time and effort consuming task and thus requires preparation in advance. Basically, the best time to start the application process is two years before your high school graduation at the beginning of your second year of high school, in order to enable you to attend college in the autumn right after your graduation. The detailed timeline of preparation is as follows.
Start preparing for the TOEFL exam in the first semester of the second year of high school. Do TOEFL preparation first because it is easier than SAT prep. Moreover for many colleges the SAT is not required so you can decide whether you need to take SAT or not after you’ve decided what colleges you want to apply to based on your first TOEFL scores. www.introamerica.com is a great free online resource.
Take the TOEFL test in the winter break of the second year (one and a half years before graduation). Pick your target colleges based upon your first TOEFL score, and measure how much the score could be improved in the next one year, and decide whether you need to take the SAT’s.
Start preparing for the SAT in the second semester of the second year.
Take the first SAT Test during the summer break of the second year (one year before graduation). Use your first TOEFL and SAT scores to guide you in your college search using www.introamerica.com
Take the next half-year to improve your test scores, and make contact with target schools in the first semester of the third year in high school (less than one year before graduation). Submit the applications as soon as you’ve received satisfactory test scores.
You should be finishing all the applications and essays by the winter break of the third year (no later than February)
Accept an offer in the second semester of the third year (no later than May). Note that you should reply to all the colleges that sent you admission letters even if you decide to turn them down.
Make a visa interview appointment after graduation… in May or June.
Fly to the US and enjoy your college life!
Timeline for preparation to study in theUS