The USA is a country of 50 states covering a vast area of North America, with Alaska in the northwest and Hawaii into the Pacific Ocean. Major Atlantic Coastal cities are New York, a global finance and culture centre, and capital Washington, DC.
The United States is home to several thousand colleges and universities, over at least ten times as many campuses as in any other country. As a result, the higher education system in the U.S. has something for everyone. with over 3000 colleges and university institutions where nearly 6 million International students study in different courses for various programs.
As 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 Being the world leader in technology becomes advantageous as 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.
The Educational Structure – PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL
Prior to higher education, American students attend primary and secondary school for a combined total of 12 years. These years are referred to as the first through twelfth grades.
Around age six, U.S. children begin primary school, which is most commonly called “elementary school.” They attend five or six years and then go onto secondary school.
Secondary school consists of two programs: the first is “middle school” or “junior high school” and the second program is “high school.”
A diploma or certificate is awarded upon graduation from high school. After graduating high school (12th grade), U.S. students may go on to college or university. College or university study is known as “higher education.”
Types of Institutions in the U.S.
- Public Colleges & Universities
- Private Colleges & Universities
- The Ivy Leagues
- Community Colleges
A student who is attending a college or university and has not earned a bachelor’s degree, is studying at the undergraduate level.
It typically takes about four years to earn a bachelor’s degree. You can either begin your studies in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree at a community college or a four-year university or college. Your first two years of study you will generally be required to take a wide variety of classes in different subjects, commonly known as prerequisite courses: literature, science, the social sciences, the arts, history, and so forth.
This is so you achieve a general knowledge, a foundation, of a variety of subjects prior to focusing on a specific field of study. 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’.
Admission opportunities to international students are usually without any difficulties. While making 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.
Four Types of Degree are offered
Associate Degree : Academic degree of 2 years is awarded by Community Colleges. Completion of associate degree can lead to transfer to the remaining 2 years bachelors degree in high ranked university having an articulated agreement with the community college.
Bachelors Degree : It is Commonly known as Undergraduate Degree and the duration is of 4 years. For Eg : Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science
Masters Degree : The duration generally for all the masters course is of 2 years. Common examples of master degree are Masters of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), Master of Engineering (MEng), Master of Business Administration. But some courses like MBA, Executive MBA, law, the duration may be of one year also.
Doctorate : Commonly known as Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Duration may range from 3‐5 years. Ph.D. students need to submit a research proposal as well as have to appear
Standardized Test i.e. GRE/GMAT and TOEFL/IELTS for admission.
In the United States, Students with Bachelor’s degree may apply directly into doctoral program without first earning master degree in some majors.
Standardised Exams required
For MBA and Management Programs: • GMAT/GRE (Any One) • TOEFL/IELTS/PTE (Any One) For all Masters courses other than management programs: • GRE • TOEFL/IELTS/PTE (Any One)
USA Student Visa Guidance
Who requires a student visa?
Persons intending to take courses of study of less than 18 hours a week may do so with a tourist visa; otherwise a student (either an “M-1” or “F-1” class) visa will be required
Countries whose citizens may be exempted from tourist visa requirements, for stays of up to 90 days: Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay
What documents will be required?
- Application form 156
- 2 Color Photographs
- Application fee 2160/- in favor American Consulate General payable at Chennai.
- Visa fee Rs. 3600/- in favor American Consulate General payable at Chennai.
- Rs.300/- in favor of T.T.Services (if dropping at Hyderabad)
- Rs.200/- in favor of T.T.Services (if dropping at Chennai)
- 10th Original or Photocopy.
- Inter Original or Photocopy.
- Graduation Mark Sheets (All in original)
- Degree Certificate or Provisional Certificate or Course Completion Certificate.
- TOEFL Original Scores.
- GRE Original Scores.
- Bank Statement Original.
- Passport Original.
- CA Report.
- Valuation Report.
- Photocopies of all properties.
- Salary Certificates.
- Photocopies of all savings.
- Time required to issue visa:
- 3 weeks, average
What is the cost of a visa?
How long is the visa valid for?
Duration of course of study, or up to 6 months, depending on visa type
Under an F-1 student visa, work is generally not permitted