In the United States of America, most of the students plan to go to college after completing 4 years of high school. To do this, they need to prepare an application, which they will send to the university they are applying to. The 8 most prestigious schools are called referred to as the Ivy Leagues. They are obviously very selective and a student who wants to be admitted in one of these universities must have a not only convincing, but brilliant application.
An application is composed of recommendation letters written by teachers, various essays and SAT or ACT scores. The ACT or SAT are standardized exams taken by the students at the end of their junior year. They are divided in different sections: some of them about mathematics and science and the others about English, writing, reading and grammar. These exams have the reputation of being very hard and require a lot of preparation before taking them. Here is an example of a Reading and Maths question.
Usually applications are sent to universities in December and the students know by April whether or not they have been admitted. A student can additionally choose to send an early application in November exclusively to one university, and in that case receives an answer sooner. Since American universities are very expensive (around 65,000 dollars for one year at Harvard University), it is possible to obtain a scholarship or financial aid by having an exceptional application. Going to college in the US therefore requires a lot of work and preparation, but the amazing universities make this work worth it.
by Hugo B.