Do United States Universities Accept A Levels? – CV Nation

Do United States Universities Accept A Levels?

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Thousands of UK students enrol at universities in the US every year. With some of the most respected universities in the world, the US is a great place to study. But what are the requirements for UK students applying to US universities? Do universities in the Unites States accept A Levels?

US universities do accept A Levels. In fact, A Levels are often a key factor for many universities in the United States when it comes to admitting students from the UK. However, many US universities do not require UK students to have completed A Levels.

Each college in the United States has its own entry requirements. Some will specifically require A Levels for admission, while others will not require them at all. More selective universities in the US will require excellent grades at A Level. For example, Harvard University tend to require three or four A*-A grades at A Level, along with other requirements.

What are the entry requirements for UK students to US universities?

As we previously mentioned, US colleges have their own unique entry requirements. However, there are a number of standard entry requirements that are typical of US universities.

High School Performance

A Levels and GCSEs are often used to gauge your academic ability. Some colleges in the United States will take your UK grades and translate them into a new GPA to determine your eligibility

This doesn't mean students won't be accepted into US universities without A Levels. SAT performance is arguably more important than A Levels when applying for universities in the US.

Admissions officers in the US will take other aspects of your application into account when reviewing your application, including recommendations, official grade transcripts, essays and extra-curricular activities. So having no A Levels does not mean you won’t be accepted.

US universities also accept IB diplomas as part of international students’ applications.


Many universities in the US require a certain number of credits or units in specific subject areas. One credit or unit translates to one hour of study in the subject per week.

Typically, universities look for credits and units in mathematics, languages and sciences.


The majority of colleges in the United States require applicants to sit a SAT test as part of the application process. The SAT is a 3-4 hour, multiple-choice exam used by colleges to determine applicants' suitability for enrolment. The SAT also includes an optional essay.

Generally, a SAT score of around 1400-1800 is more than adequate for most universities.

English Language Test

Many universities in the US require students to take an English language test to show they possess the necessary language skills required to participate in their chosen course.

English language tests accepted by universities include the IELTS (International English Language Testing Service) test and the C1 Advanced test.

GPA and Credits

The entry requirements of many universities in the United States includes GPA and course credits.

Your GPA is calculated by adding together the numbers associated with your grades (A = 4, B = 3 etc). The total number is then divided by the number of classes you took to obtain these grades. The resulting number is your GPA.

In order to meet admission requirements for most universities, GPAs should generally be 2.0 or higher. To gain admission to more competitive colleges, GPAs should usually be 3.5 or above.

In many cases, universities in the US use the information in your application to determine your GPA.

Some universities in the US also use course credits - often referred to as course units - as a determining factor when assessing your suitability for enrolment. One credit or unit translates to one hour of high school study per week.

When colleges ask for course credits and units in this way, they’re not seeking to determine your academic performance. They’re simply trying to determine the amount of time you have spent studying key college preparatory courses.

Example Entry Requirements of US Universities

To give you an idea of the requirements for UK students applying to US universities, we’ve listed the entry requirements of a few colleges in the United States, according to the information stated on their websites.

The University of Miami requires UK applicants to have a minimum of five GCSE passes and one year of A Level study.

Boston University requires UK applicants to have completed two years of A Level study.

Brown University asks UK applicants to submit their predicted or actual A Level grades.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison asks UK applicants to submit their GCSE grades, as well as their AS Level and A Level grades (if taken).

The University of Alabama requires UK applicants to have a GPA of 2.75 or above. They should also have completed a college preparatory curriculum that includes four units in Languages, three units in Mathematics, four units in social studies and three units in natural sciences.

How to Apply to US Universities from the UK?

When applying for admission to universities in the US, you apply to each university individually. There is no UCAS-like organisation that operates the application process.

1. Research

Do some research to find the best colleges for you. Read about campus life and view student reviews to ensure you’ll be happy at the colleges you're targeting.

2. Prepare for your application

Get ready to complete your application. You will need your SAT score, English language test score, CV/resume and transcripts of your grades.

There is an application fee involved when applying to US universities. This tends to be between 50 and 100 dollars.

3. Start your application

Begin your application. You can apply to the large majority of universities on their website. The process is usually very simple.


Universities in the United States do accept A Levels. For many universities, A Levels are important when it comes to determining your readiness for university study.

However, many US universities do not require A Levels, instead using GCSE study, along with other factors, to gauge your readiness for college study.

US universities review applications holistically. They evaluate many different facets of applications, including extra-curricular activities, transcripts of grades, essays, CVs/resumes and SAT scores.

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