How To Apply To College In Europe As An American

Dr Mohammad Shafiq

How To Apply To College In Europe As An American?

How To Apply To College In Europe As An American?

Do you know you have to spend at least twice as much in the US than a European university to get a bachelor's or master's degree? Why shouldn't you get world-class higher education in Europe as an American while spending half or less?

Besides, you will have the opportunities to familiarize yourself with European cultures, visit neighboring countries, choose various unique courses, and learn new languages. But, knowing how to apply to college in Europe as an American is crucial. You need proper guidance for that. 

Researching European Colleges for American Students

Exploring Different Countries and Their Education Systems

When it comes to studying in Europe as an American, the UK, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, France, etc., are the top choices. There are many globally ranked universities in Europe. The education systems of European countries are well-known for their academic excellence.

Identifying European Colleges Suitable for American Students

There are around 2700 officially registered higher-education institutions in Europe. Shortlist your preferred college or university based on your interests and preferences. Also, you don't want to skip the following points:

  • Tuition fees and living expenses
  • Available courses and nature of the course
  • Majors and minors
  • Duration
  • Language
  • Internship and career opportunities

Evaluating the Reputation and Rankings of European Colleges for American Students

Select a European college that has a strong academic reputation and offers high-quality education. You can go through the websites of some higher education analytics firms, such as QS World University Rankings, Times World Education World University Rankings, etc. They consider various factors to rank universities, such as:

  • Academic Reputation
  • Employer Reputation
  • Academic Performance
  • Faculty / Student Ratio
  • International Faculty Ratio
  • International Student Ratio
  • Citations Per Faculty

Top 10 Best European Colleges for American Students

  1. University of Oxford (United Kingdom)
  2. University of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
  3. University College London (United Kingdom)
  4. ETH Zurich (Switzerland)
  5. Sciences Po (France)
  6. University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom)
  7. University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)
  8. Bocconi University (Italy)
  9. Technical University of Munich (Germany)
  10. Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)

Admission Requirements for American Students

Admission Requirements for American Students

General Admission Requirements for American Students Applying to Colleges in Europe

Each European college or university has its own specific admission requirements. But most of them have some common admission requirements:

  • To enroll in an undergraduate course, you must complete your high school diploma or equivalent education.
  • If you want to be admitted into a postgraduate course, you must have a Bachelor's qualification.
  • Some colleges or universities may mention special criteria, such as certain marks or grades, to be admitted into a particular course or subject.

Language Proficiency Tests

European universities and colleges ask for English proficiency test scores. They accept different English proficiency tests, such as IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic, CEFR, TOEIC, etc.

  • IELTS: The minimum IELTS score for European colleges for American students is 5.5 for undergraduate and 6.5 for postgraduate degrees. But it can be as high as 9 in some European universities.
  • TOEFL: You need a minimum TOEFL score of 80-90 to study in a European college. 
  • PTE Academic: American students need at least a 50-60 score to study in a European university. 
  • CEFR: You need a minimum B2 English score on the CEFR test to apply to a European college. 

Academic Qualifications

European colleges or universities will review your academic qualifications when you apply to them. They can consider various qualifications, such as transcripts, GPA, SAT/ACT scores, etc.

  • GPA: The minimum GPA to study in European colleges or universities ranges between 2.5-3.00. A higher GPA will help you choose a top-rated university in your preferred course. 
  • SAT: Students need around a score of 1200 to 1600. It will vary in educational institutions. Highly ranked colleges will ask for better scores due to higher competition.
  • ACT: The minimum ACT score to study in European colleges or universities can be anywhere from 19 to 39.

Supplementary Application Materials

Apart from the proof of English proficiency test and academic qualification, you must submit some supplementary application materials, such as an essay, recommendation letters, a portfolio, the latest Resume/CV, a motivational letter, a Statement of Purpose, etc.

  • Write the essay in a straightforward and well-organized way. Be factual and informed and highlight your personal and professional growth.
  • The recommendation letter should be concise and contain 1-2 examples or stories to highlight the student's character and the relationship between the student and the referee.
  • In your Statement of Purpose, clearly mention why you want to choose the specific course and how it relates to your career goal.

Application Process How to Apply to Colleges in Europe as an American

Application Process: How to Apply to Colleges in Europe as an American

Understanding the Application Cycles and Deadlines for European Colleges

European universities or colleges generally have two semesters in a year:

  • Summer Semester: April to September
  • Winter Semester: October to March

For the summer semester, the application deadlines start at the beginning of December and end in mid-January. In contrast, the application deadlines for the winter semester start at the beginning of May and end in mid-July.

Planning and Organizing Application Materials for American Students

When it comes to studying in Europe as an American, you must gather all the necessary documents to apply to a European university. The following are the common materials you will need.

  • A Valid passport
  • Digital photo
  • A visa application form
  • Proof of organized accommodation
  • Proof of financial means
  • Proof of academic qualifications
  • Recommendation letters
  • Personal statements

Step-by-step Guide to Submitting Applications to European Colleges

  • The first important task is researching online and offline resources to find the best European university or college for an American. Also, you want to give special attention to your preferred available courses and programs based on your interests and career plans.
  • Next, visit the official website of your preferred European site to learn about the admission procedure. Carefully read the instructions to learn how to submit the application forms online. Take help from an expert who has already been admitted to a European college.
  • Collect and organize all the application materials one by one. Fill out the application form carefully and cross-check the information. Submit all the scanned documents.  
  • Navigate to the 'Application fee' page and submit your payment electronically on the website. You can use a credit or bank card to pay the fee.
  • Now, wait until you get a confirmation message from the university. The authority will review your application and documents to determine whether you are eligible to study in their college or not.

Must Read:

Financing Your Education: Studying in Europe as an American

Exploring Scholarships and Grants for American Students Studying in European Colleges

European universities offer a wide range of scholarships and financial support schemes for American students. Some scholarships cover only a fraction of tuition fees, whereas many cover both tuition fees and living expenses. The following are the most popular scholarships in European universities:

  • Erasmus Mundus Scholarship
  • ETH Excellence Scholarships
  • Amsterdam Merit scholarships
  • Radboud Scholarship program
  • DAAD scholarships

Researching Financial Aid Options Available in Europe for American Students

Apart from scholarships, European universities provide various financial aid for international students, such as grants, loans, bursaries, etc. A limited number of students can get this financial assistance. However, there are strict rules and regulations to get this financial aid. The applicant must fulfill all the conditions to claim this financial support.

Considering Part-time Work Opportunities for American Students Studying In Europe

American students can do part-time jobs to cover their tuition fees and living expenses. A wide range of Part-time Work Opportunities is available, such as retail jobs, hospitality and food service, tutoring, research assistant, campus jobs, language teaching, etc. However, they must stick to the specific rules and restrictions for part-time jobs. Students are allowed to work only a limited number of hours per week.

Visa and Immigration Procedures for American Students

Visa and Immigration Procedures for American Students

Understanding Visa Requirements for American Students Studying in Europe

American students who want to enroll in a long-term course, like an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, must apply for a student visa to study in Europe. There are mainly two types of student visas:

  • Temporary Long-Stay Visa: Valid for up to 6 months
  • Long-stay Study Visa: Valid for up to one year or multiple years

However, some short-term courses are visa-free. You will still need an ETIAS travel authorization.

Gathering Necessary Documents and Applying for a Student Visa

Your first job is gathering all the necessary documents for the visa process and submitting them to the particular country's embassy in the US. Go through the official embassy website to learn what materials you need to submit. The following are the common documents an American student must submit. 

  • Letter of acceptance from the European university
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Proof of sufficient funds
  • Records of previous study and language skills
  • Valid, unexpired passport

Navigating the Immigration Process and Obtaining Residence Permits for American Students

Once you get the student visa, apply immediately for a student residence permit. It may take around 5-6 weeks. Submit all the necessary documents. You can find more information on the European Union website.

Adjusting to College Life in Europe as an American Student

Cultural and Social Aspects to Consider When Studying In Europe as an American

The cultures of America and Europe vary in different aspects, such as free expression, individualism, the role of government, morality, religion, etc. Make yourself mentally prepared to embrace new cultures and norms. For instance, European people have a greater sense of historical time and give more importance to spending time with family.

Finding Accommodation and Settling into College Life in a New Country

Begin looking for decent student housing as early as possible. Finding a suitable location to live is often challenging in some European study locations. Students have a lot of options to choose from, such as residence halls, university-owned accommodation, blocks of flats, etc.

Accessing Healthcare, Transportation, and Other Essential Services as an American Student in Europe

American students must pay a certain amount of money per year to get health insurance. Once you apply and pay the fee, you will get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your European college or university.

You have a lot of public transportation options in European countries, such as trains, trams, buses, metros, etc.

Besides, European colleges provide various essential services, such as language support, cultural integration programs, academic counseling, health services, networking events, career guidance, visa assistance, etc.


It is mandatory to know how to apply to college in Europe as an American if you plan to study in a European country. Studying in Europe will be a worthwhile experience for many reasons, such as quality education, cultural diversity, affordable education, travel opportunities, and career prospects. You can get in touch with a student counselor to receive more valuable information and advice about how to study in Europe as an American.

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