Since the 1950s, the US has been the leading destination for international students, and it continues to host an increasing number of students and scholars from around the world. The shift in USA’s world share as a host of international students over the past decade is due to multiple factors like,
The schools, the universities and the institutions in the US offer excellent and quality education, and hence make the US a hot destination for education.
Apart from the quality, the variety of courses offered in US schools / colleges is quite high, which make it an attractive destination for students willing to super-specialize in a certain field.
Industrial Training and Research:
Learning in an American school means not only confined to classes and attending lectures or doing experiments in the laboratories but also having real industry experience. The university colleges and institutions in America have collaborations with employers and researchers in different study fields where students can gain real work experience. This gives an edge over others when after college your work life begins.
The education system in the US is very flexible. Classes are offered under the semester scheme, and course is divided into credits. A student can choose the number of credits he / she want to earn in a semester or quarter, and the electives and the optional classes he wishes to take.
The United States of America is located on the continent of North America. There are 50 states in the U.S. Forty-eight of the states form the contiguous United States. The U.S. borders on Canada to the north, and Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. On the east coast, the U.S. is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the west coast it is bordered by the Pacific Ocean.
To the northwest of Canada is the state of Alaska. The state of Hawaii is located in the Pacific Ocean, southwest of California.
In addition to the 50 states, the U.S. has several territories and possessions, located in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
The US has more than 3000 colleges and university institutions where nearly 6 million International students study in different courses for various programs.
Because the US attracts talent, and the best brains from all over the world, people with a hunger to learn, enjoy the US as a study destination. Because there are no cultural boundaries, people are also fortunate enough to learn about different cultures of the world, as they find communities from different sections of the society within the campus.
USA is a leader in technology. This simply translates into an advantage, which gives the students who study here, an edge over others, in real life. Hence a US degree is beneficial in several aspects and preferred over others.
Education System in USA
Education in the United States is mainly provided by the public sector, with control and funding coming from three levels: federal, state, and local. Child education is compulsory.
The American educational system comprises 12 grades of study over 12 calendar years of primary and secondary education before graduating and becoming eligible for college admission. After pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, there are five years in primary school (normally known as elementary school). After completing five grades, the student will enter junior high or middle school and then high school to get the high school diploma.
Students completing high school may apply to attend an undergraduate school. This may be a community college (one that offers two-year degrees, usually to prepare students to transfer to state universities), liberal arts college (one that concentrates on undergraduate education), or part of a larger research university.
Bachelor’s level education in USA normally starts after the completion of 12 years of primary and secondary education. Hence, education beyond class XII is also known as ‘post-secondary’ education, in USA.
Bachelor’s programs are of four years duration, and are offered by different types of colleges.
Liberal Arts colleges offer a general education in Arts and Sciences that develop general knowledge and reasoning ability. Most of these types of colleges are privately owned and have limited number of programs.
Upper-Division colleges are those that offer the last two years of undergraduate programs, which are specialized.
Community colleges are those that offer Associate Degrees of two years duration. On completion of such two-year Associate degrees, students join either upper-division colleges or universities to complete the balance two years for obtaining the Bachelors degree. Most community colleges are publicly owned ones and offer technical programs that prepare students for entry into job market, with Certificate and Diploma programs of six months to one year.
Specialized programs like Engineering are also offered, that are equivalent to the first two years of a bachelor’s degree. These are known as ‘transfer’ programs.
Universities offer a broad range of both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The size of universities varies greatly – right from a two-bedroom apartment to campuses in thousands of acres!
The range and diversity of programs offered are quite large. It is only possible to take up research work in universities and not in any other types of colleges.
While the universities/institutes in the US offer both, scholarships and study loans to International students, and students are allowed to work on part time basis to meet the study and stay cost, it is still important for students to evaluate their funds and come to a conclusion only after that. According to the Web site for NAFSA: Association of International Educators- ‘81 percent of international students studying at the undergraduate level in the United States receive no assistance to pay for their education. At the graduate level 47 percent must fund their own education’.
Most colleges provide admission opportunity to international students without any prejudice. While make admission decisions, some may consider Early admission for those who have not yet completed their 3rd year bachelor’s degree.
Some colleges/universities offer an Early Decision admission, for which the admitted students need to commit to enroll at the college. Normally, such colleges take ‘Early action’ in notifying the students of ‘Early Decision’ based on which the students have to accept the admission offer and make a deposit.
In addition to very good academic background from Class 10th to 12th, international applicants are expected to have very good scores in TOEFL/IELTS and SAT, for admission into decent US universities at the bachelor’s level, for master’s level international applicants also should have good academic background and expected to have very good scores GRE/GMAT and TOEFL/IELTS.
Some better universities require even scores, before they make an admission decision. For more details on these tests, please visit required sites.
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Cost of Education
Bachelor’s level education in USA is costlier than Master’s level. Students are expected to take more credits per semester, which leads to an increase in costs.
Average cost of tuition and fees is approx. 10,000-20,000 $ per year, depending upon program, institution and location.
Living expenditure would add up to another 8,000-10,000 $ per year, according to the student’s lifestyle.
Financial Aid is very rare for Bachelor’s level international students. While there are several options like Federal Stafford Loans and others for domestic students, such facilities are not available for non-domestic applicants.
Since Bachelor’s is a four-year program, the costs tend to be very high overall. This is one of the reasons why most students prefer studying from the Master’s level in USA or elsewhere. Of all the international students, only 19% of them went for the Bachelor’s level as against 79% for Master’s level!
It is not easy to support oneself with part-time employment since the program is intensive and students hardly find time to work beyond their study schedules. Also, Teaching and Research Assistantships are available for Master’s level and not for the Bachelor’s. Thus, part-time employment options are limited and returns from the same, meager.
In order to offset the costs, IELTSguru assists for approaching and applying for educational loan programs. For more details about this, please contact us
TAccreditation of colleges/universities is very important in choosing the right institution, since that ensures uniformity in curriculum, proper designing of courses, meeting the infrastructure needs, proper faculty and facilities etc.
Six Regional Accrediting associations provide accreditation in six regions of USA – Middle States, New England, North Central, Northwest, Southern and Western.
Whereas, National Accrediting Associations such as ACICS, AABC, ATS, DETC etc., provide specialized accrediting for various programs in technology, biblical studies, distance education etc.
Applying for a visa
After securing admission into the University one must start with the visa formalities.
Visa process for USA is relatively simpler, and yet, tough to obtain! For those who are fully prepared with the required documentation and interview preparation, the process becomes easy. However, professional guidance and careful planning of the whole process is very important for success!
For a personalized plan of action to obtain your F-1 visa and do your Education in USA, the resources at IELTSguru are second-to-none. Visit our offices, contact our counselors in person, online or by phone and we will be pleased to help you join the big league.
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Work After Study
Most international students in the United States hold an F-1 visa, which is the U.S. non-immigrant student visa. F-1 students are allowed to work in the United States, but only under certain conditions and in accordance with complex guidelines and restrictions issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).