The Top Universities In The World (And What It Takes To Get In)

04  The Top Universities In The World And What It Takes To Get In
Posted on: 18 Feb 2020

The best universities in the world are in the USA. So, if you’re looking to get world-class tertiary education, the home of the brave is where you’ll be aiming.

According to a report by the World Top 20 Project, the top universities in the world for 2019 were as follows: 

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA

  2. Stanford University, USA

  3. Harvard University, USA 

  4. University of Oxford, UK

  5. University of Cambridge, UK

  6. California Institute of Technology (Caltech), USA

  7. Princeton University, USA

  8. University of Chicago, USA

  9. Yale University, USA

  10.  The University of California, Berkeley, USA

Their list went up to 20 of course, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll deal with the top 10. For their full list and report, click here

There are some fairly obvious names on that list, and while some alumni would be keen to argue their position on the ladder, one would be hard-pressed to find someone who could refute their presence there. 

So, it is clear to see that the majority of the best universities in the world are in the United States, and barring the two exceptional standouts in the UK, if you’re looking to get a world-class tertiary education it’s the land of the free and the home of the brave where you’ll be aiming. 

Besides a visa or some form of documentation, however, there are certain qualifications and/or certificates that will not only widen the door for entry but some that will keep it from slamming shut altogether. 

This is what states most top universities will ask for from applicants:

  • Academic Official Transcripts indicating your secondary (12th Standard) results. If the result is not in English, it must be translated into English by the issuing authority. Grading scales should be converted to match the destination university requirements, or the authorities should provide a grading standard in the native education system.

  • School Report usually compiled by a school official like the Principal or Counselor. This report indicates your performance, experience, and candidature in the context of your past history at the school.

  • Letters of Recommendation from teachers who have taught you. The letters can provide a reliable third-party outlook of your candidature. Universities usually have their own recommendation letter format or specify particular information requirements from the recommender. The letters are usually sealed and communicated directly between the recommender and the admissions committee.

  • Statement of Purpose is not always a requirement when it comes to undergraduate studies. However, many universities may insist on the SoP to obtain a better assessment of the applicant. SoP is a personal essay reflecting your career goals, motivation to study at a particular university or program, and other details pertaining to the application.

  • Application Fee is usually a requirement. However, it may be waived upon request and/or demonstration of financial hardship.

  • Financial Aid letters may be submitted to make a case for financial assistance.

  • Standardised Tests are usually a must for most universities. The main ones are TOEFL to demonstrate fluency in English, ACT or SAT scores, and the less common SAT II Subject Tests, if the program so requires it.

  • Admissions Tests are asked for in many courses that don’t necessarily require a standardised test score. Testing also depends on the subject area of interest, such as the Sciences. Many universities also arrange interviews among the shortlisted applicants. This interview, in the case of international students, is often held over the telephone or internet.

There are a plethora of factors and requirements, but at the end of the day, a good academic record is a be-all and end-all. 

It is therefore vital that a student and ‘varsity applicant has gone through a rigorous curriculum which is focused on a competency-based approach to learning. What this looks like takes many shapes and forms, from traditional schools to home ‘schools’, distance and correspondence learning. But more recently, there has been a shift to a seemingly inevitable ‘classroom’ – the online classroom. 

The online classroom can provide the tailored and guided curriculum every individual student needs to get his or her grades to the appropriate level to even consider applying to their desired university. 

One of the key aspects of learning online is that no matter where you are, you can acquire the education and skills required to attend any one of the top universities in the world. And it all starts with one of the following qualifications:

  • Junior High

  • International GCSE

  • International AS-Levels

  • International A-Levels

Valenture Institute is a private online high school offering a curriculum recognised by the world's leading universities. Our students experience a highly engaging, inclusive and socially rich learning environment which is supported by expert teachers and mentors. 

Our unique approach includes integration with worldwide sustainability objectives and encourages the holistic development of every student towards their purposeful and impactful future.

Contact us at

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