First, understand that the word, “college” in the US refers to study after high school, which is the first twelve years. After that, there are a number of choices. You can go to community college for two years and receive an “AA” or “AS” degree. You can go to a four year school and receive a “BA” or “BS” degree. Or, if you have a degree from your country, you can go to post-graduate school, seeking an “MA”, “MS” (typically one or two years of additional study) or even a PhD degree (typically three or more years.)
There are many qualifications, however. Beginning students must first present evidence that they have graduated from high school. Next, they may be required to take a standardized tes, such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or the American College Test (ACT.) This test documents the student’s academic ability. It is normally taken by high school students who want to go on to college.
Foreign students, whose native language is not English, face an additional hurdle. They must take the “Test of English as a Foreign Language” (TOEFL) test. This is a long exam that measures the ability of the student to use higher level English. Each school sets its own “passing” score. Many will take students who score less than “passing” with the condition that they also take some ESL courses along with a modified academic schedule.