Please click any of our most commonly asked questions below, to reveal its answer.
If you don’t see the answer you are looking for, please Contact Us
and we’ll be happy to clear up any questions you may have.

FAQ: Questions about the College Mastermind experience

What does a university admissions consultant do?
A college admissions consultant is a trained professional who advises students on creating a very competitive application.  This increases your chances of being accepted to your top choice. College Mastermind helps you with every aspect of the application!  Click here to see how.
Why should I work with College Mastermind?

College Mastermind is the leading company for university admissions for international students coming to the United states.  Our experience and quality of services is on par with US admissions companies that charge starting rates of $50,000 to $85,000 USD.  

We offer the same great services at a fraction of the pricing, and we specialize in international students.

Which college admissions consultant will I work with?
In all of our Complete Programs  students will be given an entire support team based on your needs and levels.  This team will help you from start to finish in your application cycle.  For our ACT, TOEFL, Essay Review, and Interview Preparation, you will be matched with a group or private teacher based on your needs and levels.  
When should my child start working with College Mastermind?

Many college programs only offer admissions once per year.  We recommend you start working on your admissions process 8 months before you wish to apply, but we can get you through the programs more quickly if you want to apply sooner.

I want to do private tutoring. How many hours will I need?

Because different students have different needs, we offer several flexible hourly packages for our clients.  As a general note, most students need 12-20 private hours for ACT, 15-25 private hours for TOEFL, 12-15 private hours for Essay Support, 3-6 private hours for interview preparation, and 5 hours for general application support.  

Contact our sales department for a free consultation to determine the number of hours right for you.

I would like to schedule a consultation as soon as possible. How soon can I get an appointment?

You can schedule an appointment by emailing us at

Do you offer tutoring services?

We offer ACT and TOEFL tutoring.  We also offer coaching and support for University Essays and Interview Preparation.

Do you only work with students applying to Ivy League and other top-ranked schools?

Not at all. We pride ourselves on finding the best fit for each individual student.  We help you apply to any school you would like, and we give you support to find a good university that is right for you. 

FAQ: Questions from international students applying to university in the US

How can I find the best university for me?

College Mastermind offers free university selection coaching to every student who enrolls in any of our programs.  We will find colleges that suit you based on location, field of study, and your academic abilities.

I received my degree in a non-English speaking country. Can I still apply to a University Study school?

Yes.  There are many universities that are interested in students who have good grades from non-English speaking countries. 

I have not taken an English test such as TOEFL or IELTS. Can I still apply to a university in the United States?

Yes.  Most universities will ask you to take one of these English Language tests as part of the application process.  You should take this test before applying, or you may be offered a conditional acceptance.  Many US universities will not allow you to apply without this score.  


Need help studying?  Click here to be directed to our TOEFL prep options.

I am sponsored by the Saudi Arabian government. Do you have universities that are SACM approved?

Yes.   Students from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who work with us only receive SACM approved colleges on their list.

I am currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program and I would like to transfer to another university. Is this possible?

Most universities are very interested in undergraduate transfers for students with a strong GPA. 


To receive application support to start your transfer, please visit our Pricing page

What documents are needed to apply to a university?

Most universities require school transcripts in English, proof of graduation, passport copy, financial statements, letters of recommendation, and college essays. College Mastermind will help you with all the needed documents.

Do you offer any guarantees?

We work very hard to help each student create an outstanding profile and submit compelling applications.  We guarantee that you will be accepted to a US university.  If you are rejected from your top choices, we will not stop working until you have an acceptance letter from a US university that is appropriate for your level.

Questions about Studying in the Us:

How do I choose a college or university?

With over 4,000 accredited institutions in the United States, there is much to consider.  The reason we support our students with university selection is because there is so much to consider.


Some particularly important factors include: 


  • Field of Study – Not all US universities offer programs for the fields of study that interest you.
  • Cost – Tuition and fees differ dramatically from one university to another, and livings costs are highly dependent on the city and state you choose.  Private universities tend to be more expensive than public universities, but it does not necessarily mean they are better.  
  • Location – The climate varies dramatically by region.  Some universities are located in urban, suburban, or rural areas.  
  • Acceptance Rates – Some universities in the U.S. are so selective, that you have to have an exceptional application to even be considered.  You want to make sure you are aligned with a university that is appropriate for your abilities. 
How are universities in the US different from universities in the middle east?
  • Books – In the US, you pay for every single textbook that you use.  These are not included in the cost of attendance.  On average, students pay $1,200-$1,400 USD for books every single year.
  • General Requirements – Many US universities require you to take coursework outside of your field of study as part of a “well-rounded” education. 
  • Services are extra – you pay for requests like transcripts and other reports from universities 
  • 5-year programs – some universities offer a combined bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in a 5 year track.
  • Tuition costs – many universities range in price from $8,000 per year to $90,000 per year.
  • Admissions requirements – US admissions requirements are a lot more vague than other countries’ requirements.
Are all universities in the U.S. the same?

No.  No university in the U.S. is like another.

What are the best universities in the U.S.?

There is no official list of “the best universities,” but there are some different categories of universities that differentiate the “best” from the others.

Ivy League- The oldest and most famous universities in the U.S. belong to something called the “Ivy League.”  The eight institutions that belong to the Ivy League are Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University.  

There are four other universities that are considered as good as Ivy League: Stanford, MIT, University of Chicago, and Duke.  These are the considered the “best” universities in the U.S.


Top Tier – There are so many universities that offer an exceptional education and that have a very strong reputation.  These universities are still well-known in the U.S., and employers value degrees from these universities more than from other institutions.  

Private and Public Universities – Most of the most elite universities in the U.S. are private universities, and come with a very high cost.  Public universities are subsidized by the government, making the cost of attendance lower.  Some of these public universities have become extremely competitive and offer an educational equivalent to selective private universities.  

Rankings – There is no official list of “the best universities,”but private companies create their own lists.  Here is a website if you would like to see a general list of the rankings:

What grades do I need to be accepted into U.S. universities?

The range of universities in the U.S. makes it challenging to give a definitive answer to this question. 


Highly selective universities want an A average in all of your academic subjects.  This is equivalent to being in the top 5% of your graduating class. 


Selective universities want an A-B average.  This is equivalent to being in the top 10% of your class.


The least selective universities only require that you have a secondary school completion.  


Every U.S. university requires the TOEFL or IELTS, and many of them require the SAT or ACT.

When should I begin applying to U.S. universities?

If possible, begin at least one to two years before you plan to start your program. The U.S. academic year begins around the end of August and ends around May.  Applications typically start at the beginning of November (although some even start in the middle of October).  

Mid-year admission to begin classes in January or February  may also be possible, but not for the most selective colleges.

Have you gotten a late start? Some schools offer more flexible “rolling” admissions and will accept applications at any time.

In the United States, you also aren’t required to begin an undergraduate program immediately after secondary school graduation

If you need to wait a year because the deadline of the school in which you’re interested in has passed, you can.

When are application deadlines for U.S. universities?

The majority of universities in the United States end their admissions cycle in the first few days of January.  

Have you gotten a late start? Some schools offer more flexible “rolling” admissions and will accept applications at any time.

If you need to wait a year because the deadline of the school in which you’re interested in has passed, you can.

What admission tests will I be expected to take to attend university in the U.S.?

Universities in the U.S. require international students to take the TOEFL, IELTS, or other language test to show their English proficiency.  All coursework in US universities is taught in English (unless it is a foregin language course), and the universities want to make sure you are able to maintain your grades and academics while attending. 


The ACT and SAT are also very common admissions tests in the U.S. that test your academic knowledge.  These are standardized tests that every American takes the year before applying for college.  The most selective and popular universities are extremely competitive with these scores.  Students who want to attend the best universities spend a lot of time, money, and effort to get high scores on these tests.

What is a good TOEFL or IELTS score for applying to the U.S.?

Generally speaking, universities want to see a score of 80 or higher on TOEFL, and 6.5 or higher on IELTS.  If your scores are lower than this, then you want to do some kind of preparation and study

What is a good ACT or SAT score for applying to the U.S.?

Unlike the TOEFL or IELTS, the ACT and SAT scores vary dramatically between universities.  It all depends on how selective or popular the university is.  

The ACT is scored out of 36 possible points, while the SAT is scored out of 1600 possible points.  

To be considered at the most selective universities, you will need nearly perfect scores on either of these tests: a 35-36 on the ACT (1530-1600 on the SAT).

To be considered at a highly selective universities, you will need a 30 or higher on the ACT (1380+ on the SAT)

To get accepted at a selective university, you will need a 27 or higher on the ACT (1260 or higher on the SAT)

If you want help raising your scores click here

If you want guidance about your current scores, and aren’t sure what to do, click here to schedule a free appointment 


“I need help understanding my ACT or SAT scores”

What are the requirements to apply to a U.S. university?
  • ACT or SAT Scores (not required at every university)
  • Personal Statement (also known as a university admissions essay)
  • Resume (CV) 
  • Letters of Recommendation from secondary school teachers (offically translated)  
  • Professional course-by-course equalization of transcript on a 4.0 scale
  • Certified translation of official transcripts 
  • Copy of Passport
  • List of activities, work, volunteering, and community involvment
  • Financial Support statement- a bank account with at least 1 year of tuition and living expenses
  • Interview by the university
Where I can find more information on choosing and applying to U.S. universities?
You can find all of the information you need on this website.  If there is a question you still have, please Contact Us and we will support you.