Study in USA: Complete Guide for International Students
The United States of America or the USA has emerged as a popular hotspot among students around the world for studying abroad. With numerous top-ranking Universities, the country hosts over a million international students every year for their study abroad in US college plans.
If you are wondering- “Can I study in USA?”. Then the answer is Yes! However,
planning on pursuing your higher education in the USA, then you need complete guidance on the applying and admission process. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Why Choose the USA?
There is not one, but many reasons why study in USA for international students is a better alternative. Here are a few of them:
● Historical Backdrop: With a rich history, the United States of America makes one of the best places to learn.
● Social Development: The USA is known for its unique social composition. Making it a great spot to expand your knowledge and grow.
● Diversity: This nation is home to all-encompassing demography and cultural diversity. The quality makes it stand out from other contenders.
● Hi-Tech Country: After WW2, the USA emerged as a prominent name in the Technology and Science domains. Global-leader brands like Intel, Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc. were born here.
● Economic Dominance: As we all know, the United States of America is the largest economy in the world. It has diverse industries ranging from aerospace to pharmaceuticals and more.
Education System of USA
If you have made up your mind that ‘I want to study in the USA!’, then the first step towards this goal is to understand the Education System of the country. In US, the setup is divided into four levels:
- Middle School
- High School
- Higher Education
The last level, or Higher Education, is further categorized into:
● Associate Degrees
● Bachelor’s Degrees
● Master’s Degree (Professional/Academic)
● Doctoral Degrees
Among these, the Associate degrees, equal to first 2-years Bachelors, for study in USA are generally job-oriented. This means that the candidates will have to apply for jobs, right after completion of their course.
While the Bachelor’s Degree is considered an academic route and has a duration of 3-4 years, depending on the course selected. It is the first step towards applying for a Master's Degree.
Furthermore, the Master’s is divided into Professional and Academic degree options. The former has a duration of 1-3 years and the latter can be completed in 2 years. Lastly, the Doctoral Degree requires students to perform research-based studies under faculty supervision and lasts for 5-8 years.
Top Courses for Study in United States
Now, before we start with other important subjects. It is time to check out top course choices for study in United States. International students prefer undertaking the following courses:
- Business Management
- Social Sciences
- Physical & Life Sciences
- Maths & Computer Sciences
USA is a Safe Study Abroad Destination
The United States of America is recognized as one of the best study abroad destinations for global aspirants. It also offers a safe working and study environment for the students. There are strict regulations applied to every aspect, which the candidates have to comply with in order to settle in quickly.
Apart from major authorities, there are also proper guidelines on student conduct that should be followed. Most university campuses have their own security teams, to ensure inclusive student safety.
Work Permit in USA
Applicants are allowed to work while studying in the US. However, they will have to comply with a strict list of requirements. There are 4 ways a student can work during their stay:
- On-Campus: Most courses offered by the US institutions come with on-campus working opportunities. These are the best options for students as they are very flexible and accommodative. Most students in the first semester prefer taking these jobs.
- Off-Campus: If a student wishes to work outside the campus, they are allowed to do so only under special circumstances. They are granted permission usually due to financial requirements or semester completion.
- Optional Practical Training: This is another work opportunity for any student. However, applicants may require permission from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. There are also special eligibility criteria for this.
- Curricular Practical Training: The last option for students is to opt for CPT. It is a full/part-time temporary employment approval provided to F1 Visa-holder international students. A student can only apply for 3 CPT throughout their degree program. Only after completing full-time work under this before graduating, will make you be eligible for OPT.
PR Opportunities for International Students
Gaining a Green Card for the US can be obtained if the student receives:
● Permanent Resident Relative/ US Citizen Sponsorship
● Offer for Permanent Employment in the Country
● Asylum Application
● A Refugee Designation
● Employment Creation & Investment
Students can apply for a U.S. Permanent Residency after completion of their course. However, the eligibility criteria require the applicant to have exceptional command over their subject. Initially, a Conditional Green Card will be provided to the applicant for 2 years. After which they can apply for their permanent PR and renew it every 10 years.
Tuition Fees in USA for International Students
For study in United States, International students will have to pay a higher tuition fee as compared to domestic applicants. Since the fee depends on the university’s funding model, providing an average amount can become a challenge. However, here is an estimated tuition fee charged to international students:
● Public University: 39,890 USD per annum (for a 4-year course)
● Private University: 49,320 USD per annum (for a 4-year program)
Top Universities to Study in USA
Whether you wish to study business in a US college or gain specialization in some other field, universities offer numerous course options to all students who wish to study in US. But, before you settle for one, make sure you have chosen the right one. Consider the following questions:
● Do I need a Community College or Major University?
● Private or Public- Which College should I choose?
● Where do I feel comfortable- in Big City, Countryside, or Small Town?
● What Course or Program do I want to enrol in?
● What are the University On-Campus activities, Clubs, Student Organizations, etc.? Which one should I join?
For the top most popular University or College options, international students pick the following to study in United States:
- University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
- The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Champaign, IL)
- Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN)
- New York University (New York, NY)
- Columbia University (New York, NY)
Point to Remember- Regardless of whether you opt for a Bachelor study in USA or apply for a Doctorate Degree, the admission process and specifics may vary in different institutions. Therefore, make sure you have double-checked everything before applying.
American University Admission Requirements for International Students
Students need a defined set of documents and papers to apply in their preferred course. These are:
Undergraduate Student Applications
● General Test Grades for
● SAT or ACT
● Proficiency in English
● Copy of Passport
Few colleges may request Proof of Funding, especially in the case of international applicants. Students may also be required to appear for an interview with the Alumni or Staff.
Graduate Student Applications
● Letter of Recommendation
● Academic Transcripts (Obtained after completing Undergraduate Course)
● General Test Grades for:
- TOEFL, IELTS, iTEP, or PTE Academic
● Statement of Purpose
● Research Proposal
● Copy of Existing Passport
PhD requirements in USA
- Properly Filled Application Form
- Copy of Original Resume
- Statement of Purpose
- Scores from GMAT or GRE Assessments
- Letter of Recommendations
- Application Fee
- Proficiency in English Test Results
- Transcript of Degrees & Courses Completed
Furthermore, Proof of Financing might be needed if the applicant applies for fellowships or assistantships separately. Also, they will have to clear a Video or On-Campus Interview with the Admission Committee of the institution.
Apply for Study Permit in USA
Apply for Course
To start with your Masters or Bachelor study in USA, you will have to first select a course. The America Universities are known to offer a plethora of program options to all their students. Therefore, selecting one can become a challenge for you.
But by fixing your search to one field, you can view all the available options easily. Now, based on your education level, you will have to prepare an Admission Application. It should be attached with all the above-mentioned documents.
Receive Acceptance Letter
Always remember the deadlines. Usually, the application submission starts around 10 months prior to the session start. This means you will have to prepare and submit your application by October or November (Spring Semester). Staying early can give you a head start and higher chances of getting selected.
While for the Fall Semesters, the deadlines are around January, which is approximately 7 months before the session resumes. After applying and being accepted, the University will provide the student with an Acceptance Letter. This is your cue to start applying for a Visa!
Applying for Student Visa
Getting a Visa is one of the most important steps in studying abroad. But, there are three main types of Student Visa offered by the USA:
● F1: Regular Student Visa that is applicable to students funding themselves with the help of family or friends.
● J1: Ideal for becoming a part of study and work courses offered by the universities or colleges.
● M-1: Visa for students applying in Vocational or Non-Academic programs.
Most students get a F1 Visa, however, it majorly depends on their academic preference. Here are general 5 steps to apply and get a Student Visa:
- Apply for your choice Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) at least 6-12 months before term begins & Get accepted in the Course/ University
- Pay the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee
- Fill your US Student Visa Application & Attach your recent Passport-size Photos
- Pay Visa Application Fee
- Schedule your Interview & Clear it to get your Visa
Health Insurance for International Students to Study in USA
Choosing the right insurance is very important for any aspirant planning to study in the USA. Always remember, that in case you fall sick or face and casualty, getting treatment from medical facilities here can be expensive. Furthermore, based on the situation, you may even have to face certain legal charges.
While this is not compulsory for applying for an F1 Visa. Educational institutions that accept international students to study in US make having health insurance mandatory. You should also review the university’s document requirements for admission before applying for this.
Cost of Living in USA
Apart from the Tuition Fees for study in USA for international students, they also have to plan out their expense budget for the course duration. On average, a student needs a monthly allowance of 800 USD, when living in a small town.
However, this increases to 1,500 USD monthly, if the student is living in a big city. Furthermore, the student’s accommodation choice and lifestyle determine the total. Perform a thorough search on local expenditure requirements before forming a budget.
Scholarships in USA for International Students
Another benefit of choosing USA for Study is that the institutions offer extensive financial aid to all students. While there are only a handful of government-approved grants, the Universities and Colleges have their own scholarship programs. Some of these include:
● UC Global Scholarship
● Foreign Fulbright Student Program
● University of Oregon Scholarships
● AAUW International Fellowships
● American University Scholarships
● Tata Scholarship
● Amherst College Scholarships
● Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme
Top Recruiters after Studying in USA
Thinking about how study in USA can help you find better job opportunities? In this section, we will provide you with names and quick descriptions of top recruiting companies, who are constantly in search of fresh talent. These are the top 5 businesses or brands that hire US graduates:
- Infosys Technologies Limited: Or Infosys is surely the first name in this list as they actively hire several international students that have completed their higher study in US. They have their branches in 50 different nations in varying industries.
- Tata Consultancy Services: TCS is another leading recruiter of international students. It is also one of the most valuable Information Technology businesses all over the globe.
- IBM Corporation: This brand offers tons of H1B job opportunities to fresh graduates. These include various computer operations and software-related occupations.
- Accenture: With 7th ranking in Visa Sponsors, Accenture is also a popular recruiter. They provide job opportunities in Science, Technical, Management, and Technology Consulting services.
- Amazon Corporate: The global leader e-Com platform, Amazon also provides tons of H1B job opportunities in Finance, Management, Analysis, and similar sectors.
Few other popular recruiters are:
● Google Inc.
● Capgemini U.S. LLC
● Larsen & Toubro Infotech
● Wipro Limited
● Apple Inc.
● HCL America
Weather of USA
The demography of the United States sets it apart from most other nations. From snow-capped mountains to breezy grasslands, the US has it all. With a continental climate, the massive island has super hot summers paired with freezing winters. The season duration, here, largely relies on the location’s distance from the ocean and its latitude.
In the Southern regions, cold weather does not last for long, but the low temperatures compensate for the duration. Going further inland, the summers are very intense. Furthermore, the North-Central Coast is less arid than the Western part of the nation.
American Way of Life
As mentioned above, students who plan to study in USA will be greeted by a uniquely diverse community here. You can find people from different parts of the world, with their culture and traditions, living here. Being an international student, living here will not be any less than an adventure.
With enriching ethics and values, the distinct cultural composition plays an important role in the overall development of the student. While you may find some things just like your home country, there will be tons of other things that are brought by people from other nations.
Transportation System of USA
Being a considerably large country, travelling and commuting play an important role, especially for an immigrant student. Whether you are living in the University Dorm or a Personal Apartment, getting around quickly will help in settling in with the bustling city life.
If you do not plan on purchasing a car, then there are other commuting options available for you. Some of these include:
● Trains or Subways