The United States provides a number of options for Iranians to attend tertiary institutions. These include state and private universities. State universities, although charging less than private institutions, have limited entrance capacity. Private universities tend to have low acceptance rates and are more competitive to enter.
Forms of Higher Education
Colleges: These are educational institutions that provide two or four year programs that lead to an Associate or Bachelor degree.
Universities: Apart from providing Associate and Bachelor programs, universities also provide extensive research facilities and thus can also confer Masters and PhD degrees.
Types of Degrees in United States
Associate degree: This type of degree requires two years of study at a College after a high school diploma.
Bachelor degree: This type of degree requires four years of study after high school diploma. The academic requirements vary depending on the individual academic institution; in general however the following is required: High School Diploma, SAT/LSAT scores and TOEFL, recommendation letters and a letter of intent.
Master degree: A two year degree that follows the bachelor degree in a related field. The academic requirements vary depending on the individual academic institution; however in general the following is required: Bachelor degree, GRE/GMAT/MCAT and TOEFL, recommendation letters and a letter of intent.
PhD degree: The capstone in academic degrees can be conferred within 4-5 years of research, although its length can vary depending on the nature of the PhD. The academic requirements vary depending on the individual academic institution; however in general the following is required: A Bachelor or Masters Degree, GRE/GMAT/MCAT and TOEFL, recommendation letters and a letter of intent.
Types of Standardized Tests for Entry into US Universities
There are a number of standardized tests that are required for entry into US Universities and these are based on the depth of the degree and program of choice. They include:
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) tests the ability to read, write and comprehend the English language.
Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is the main college entrance examination in the United States.
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) tests the ability to handle graduate-school level work through verbal, quantitative, and analytical reasoning questions.
The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is used to measure academic ability based on verbal, quantitative, and analytical reasoning questions.
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is used to measure the readiness and ability in critical reading and analytical thinking skills necessary for law school.
The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is used for students who wish to apply for medical school in the United States.
Required Steps for Acceptance into US Universities
1. Student Visa
2. Official Transcript (High schools, college or university degree)
3. Standardized tests such as TOEFL and GRE
4. Essay for admission process or scholarship application*
5. Application forms for universities
6. Recommendation Letters
7. Financial Records (To show ability to cover tuition and living costs)
*Your essay is important factor in admission into university and applying for scholarships.
Taking the initial steps:
1. Research and select universities*
2. The availability of your field of study to the desired degree level
3. The quality of the instructors at the university
4. Application fees of the university
5. The required documents for the application and their deadlines
6. The minimum grade required for your desired field of study
*Please note that the university you are considering should be on the list of accredited institutions by the Higher Education Ministry of Iran.
*The following are a list of key words that can be used in search engines such as Google and Yahoo: Application, Prospect Students (Future Students), International Students, Admission Requirements, Dates and Deadlines, Scholarship and Finances.
University Tuition and Living Costs in United States*:
1. Application fees and transportation costs to United States
2. Tuition Fees
3. Housing and Living Costs
4. Books and Supplies
5. Personal Expenses
*The above cost will vary depending on choice of university and its location.
Student Visa for United States
Student visas are considered non-immigrant visas and are composed of three main types:
1. F1: This type of visa is the most common visa that is issued to incoming students for an academic program or to learn English as a Second Language.
2. J1: This type of visa is issued to students who need to have practical training as part of their academic program.
3. M1: This type of visa is issued to a student who is going to attend a non-academic institution such as a vocational school.
Required Documents for Student Visa
• For F1, J1 and M1 the D-160 form is required
• For F1 and M1, the I-20 form is required
• For J1, the DS-2019 form is required
• Proof of payment of the visa application fee
• A passport that is valid for at least six months post the completion of studies
• Recommendation Letters from professors and work colleagues
• Acceptance letter from the host university, with details on tuition and living costs
• Bank Statement and other proofs of financial ability to cover all costs of the studies
• Proof of intent to return to your home country, eg: proof of ownership of assets in home country
• Resume and prospects for future employment
• TOEFL and GRE scores
• Birth certificate and national ID card
• For men: documentation of exception or completion of military service
Types of Financial Aid
1. Fellowship: Financial support provided to students in return for providing services such as research, teaching or other services to the university.
2. Scholarship: Financial support is provided to the student based on academic excellence and does not require any service in return.
A Selection of Financial Aid for Iranian Students
Fanni Reunion Foundation (Hami Award in Engineering)
Fanni Reunion Foundation (FRF), founded in 1993, established the Professor Hami’s Award for Excellence in Engineering Education. FRF is an association of graduates, faculty, and staff of The School of Engineering (Fanni), of Tehran University. By 2008, 10 graduate students have been recognized by Hami Award.
Deadline: Please check with directors.
Major Requirements: Received either a BS or MS degrees at University of Tehran, and continued advanced education in the United States.
Website: Click Here
H.A.N.D. Research Foundation (Two Scholarships in Economics)
The H.A.N.D. Research Foundation, founded in 2003, promotes research and a deeper understanding into Iran's economy. This foundation offers two scholarships to students to undertake PhD studies in economy, with one scholarship reserved for Women and the other not reserved.
Deadline: April 1
Award: Up to $30,000 per academic year
Website: Click Here
Iranian American Scholarship Fund (Scholarship in any Field)
The Iranian-American Scholarship fund was founded in San Diego in 1997 and has awarded over 75 scholarships to date.
Deadline: April 1
Major Requirements:: Be of Iranian heritage, Undergraduate (sophomore or above), Graduate (Masters Program or equivalent), maintained a GPA of 3.5 or above, and demonstrate a financial need.
Website: Click Here