Why Study In USA
U.S.A. is a land of cultural and geographical diversities. It`s a society that is still absorbing immigrants, making it a very dynamic place to live and study. Studying in US will be a great experience as you will be able to share your knowledge with best brains and interact with communities from different sections of the society within campus. Your long-term career prospects will be enhanced and the experience will develop self-confidence, independence, and cross-cultural skills, which are sought after by employees world-wide.
USA has world`s top ranking Universities and colleges. It has one of the world`s finest education systems, with outstanding programs in virtually all fields. The degrees that are awarded at graduate and undergraduate level are recognized throughout the world. US Universities will expose you to some of the most up-to-date developments in technology, being the hub of various technological developments. You will be able to meet, interact and even study, with the leading scholars in your chosen field
Academic freedom is one of the hallmarks of a U.S. university. Higher education system has variety of subjects in ever area of study. Being at the forefront of technology and educational techniques, US universities facilitate their students with the best possible equipment and resources. Opportunities are given along with flexibility to specialize in any subject of study and tailor your course work to fit your specific needs. Professor student interaction is quite informal, which motivate students and fosters a personal approach to the curriculum.
International Student Support
International students are most valued in U.S. universities as they bring new skills and ideas to the classroom. Most Universities in the US have international student associations which help foreign students to settle down in their new environment. Help will be extended in every step, from orientation programs at the beginning to assistance with resumes as you graduate. If you a graduate student, help will be extended by professors in the form of teaching or research assistant, which will help finance your education. This close interaction with the professor will prove useful in your future career and may give you insights into your field that would not be possible through course study alone.
Understanding the education system
Primary school consists of five years of education, from first through fifth grades. In all a child spends 6 years in the Primary School which includes one year in Kindergarten.
After the fifth grade, children advance to secondary school. Secondary school consists of a total of seven years, from sixth through twelfth grades, after which they are awarded the high school diploma.
The undergraduate school begins after completing 12 years of primary and secondary schooling. Foreign students who would like to attend an American college or university must have obtained qualification equivalent to an American high school diploma. An Indian student who has successfully completed class XII is eligible for the Undergraduate school in USA.
A student can opt for either a two-year associate degree or a four-year bachelors degree in a specific course of study. That specific course of study is called the major. Students are required to select (or declare) a major by their second year in the college.
Admission to a graduate school usually requires a minimum of 16 years of formal education. That is, 12 years of primary and secondary schooling and further 4 years of undergraduate education.
The traditional three year degree (BA, B.Sc, B.com) holders from India must complete an additional year of degree program for eligibility.
Graduate School Consists of:
-Master`s degree which is a two-year program. Students are sometimes admitted to a master`s degree program only if they have a bachelor`s degree in a closely related field. A student can change the majors (which he had taken in undergraduate school)in graduate school by taking additional basic courses for the new subjects. These courses are called Pre-requisite courses.
Certain courses of study ( law, dentistry, and medicine)are only available at the graduate school level in America.
-PhD( Research Degree) is the highest degree awarded in research-oriented academic disciplines to prepare a student for University level teaching and research. It usually requires three to six years of full time study after the Master’s degree depending on the course of study and the thesis that the student has selected. The thesis is a very intensive research paper that must be completed prior to earning the degree. Indian students with a Master Degree can apply for PhD.
For More info click: http://educationusa.state.gov/graduate/about/degrees.htm
Fall Semester (September/October)
This is the main intake and almost all programs are offered at this times. More financial aid is also available for this semester and as funds are allocated for the entire year during this time
Spring Semester (January/February)
This is the mid-year intake. There is limited financial assistance available for this semester as most universities allocate funds to projects in the Fall semester.
Summer School (July)
Some Universities and colleges offer students the opportunity to develop their skills to highest possible level. A student can opt for summer programs to earn enough credits to fulfill pre requisite criteria for advanced courses.
Pre Application Procedure
-Calendar and Checklist: Student much begin the search for colleges at least twenty four months prior to the Semester for which admission is intended.
-Short listing Colleges:Explore college sites on the web. Talk with family, friends, and acquaintances who have studied in the US. Write to 10-15 schools for information.
Procuring Application Form
-Send inquiries about the colleges at least 15 to 18 months before the proposed date of admission.
-Many schools create their own admission applications. Contact the school to request a copy. You can request application forms from the universities website by filling up a request form on line.
-You can also send a request by airmail for application material. The request should contain a brief description of your educational background, academic objectives, source of financial support, English proficiency and standardized test scores.
-Many universities have a ready to print versions of their application forms on their website. This can be used as a regular form.
-There is also a common application/universal application form for selective, independent colleges and universities for admission to their undergraduate programs. Many of these institutions use the form exclusively and give equal consideration to the common application and the college’s own form.
-Look out for your shortlisted schools having a two-part application form. You would need to submit Part I containing basic information such as name and address, as soon as possible. The school will only send you Part II after reviewing Part I.
For More info click: https://www.commonapp.org/CommonApp/DownloadForms.aspx
SAT Reasoning Test
SAT Reasoning Test is a standardized test required for admission to undergraduate programs of most US universities. It measures critical thinking skills, problem solving skills and communication skills that are needed for academic success in college. It assesses how well a student uses the skills and knowledge he has attained in and outside of the classroom.
The SAT is owned, published, and developed by the College Board. The College Board states that use of the SAT in combination with high school grade point average (GPA) provides a better indicator of success in college.
For More info click: http://www.collegeboard.com
SAT Subject Test
SAT Subject Test measures the knowledge and skills of a student in particular subject areas, and their ability to apply that knowledge. Many colleges use the Subject Tests for admission, for course placement, and to advise students about course selection. These tests give colleges a very reliable measure of how prepared a student is for college-level work in a particular subject.
The SAT Subject Tests offers an additional opportunity to show colleges the applicants strength in a particular subject.
ACT assessment measures high school students general educational development and their capability to complete college-level work with the multiple-choice tests covering four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science. The optional Writing Test measures skill in planning and writing a short essay. Specifically, ACT states that its scores provide an indicator of “college readiness”, and that scores in each of the subtests correspond to skills in entry-level college courses in English, algebra, social science, humanities, and biology.
For More info click: http://www.act.org
TOEFL (Test of English as Foreign Language)
The test uses a multiple choice and essay format to measure student`s ability to understand North American English required to communicate in colleges and universities. The TOEFL is accepted by 6,000+ institutions in more than 130 countries (PDF).
You can take the Internet-based Test (iBT) or the Paper-based Test (PBT), depending on which format is offered at your test center.
For More info click: http://www.ets.org
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations)
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) has been developed by Educational Testing Service (ETS) to evaluate the verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning , critical thinking, and analytical writing skills that are not related to any specific field of study. The scores of this standardized test helps any accredited graduate, business or professional school, or any department or division within a school, to assess the advanced study potential of their prospective students and to supplement undergraduate records and other qualifications for graduate study. The Institution may require or recommend that its applicants take the General Test, a Subject Test, or both. Non-accredited institutions, approved by the GRE Board, can also receive the scores of the applicants.
For More info click: http://www.ets.org/gre
GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)
Graduate Management Admissions Test or GMAT is a Standardizes test for MBA aspirants. This test is designed to evaluate the potential of students by assessing their mathematical, verbal and analytical writing skills. GMAT test, initially prepared for use by the Institutes/Universities of U.S. offering programs in management and business, is now used as a criterion for allotting admission to students globally by more than 1700 universities/institutes.
The GMAT is designed and administered by Pearson Vue at the behest of Graduate Management Admission Council or GMAC. It is Pearson Vue which reports the test score to the universities and institutes.
LSAT (Law School Admission Testing Program)
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a half-day standardized test required for admission to LSAC-member law schools, most Canadian law schools, and many non”ABA”approved law schools. It provides a standard measure of acquired reading and verbal reasoning skills that law schools can use as one of several factors in assessing applicants. The test is administered four times a year at hundreds of locations around the world.
The LSAT is designed to measure skills that are considered essential for success in law school: the reading and comprehension of complex texts with accuracy and insight; the organization and management of information and the ability to draw reasonable inferences from it; the ability to think critically; and the analysis and evaluation of the reasoning and arguments of others.
For More info click: http://www.lsac.org/LSAT/about-the-lsat.asp
MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), in conjunction with its member U.S. medical schools, develops and administers the MCAT exam and owns all aspects of it. The exam has been part of the medical school admissions process for more than 60 years, and today all medical schools in the United States and most in Canada require applicants to submit recent MCAT exam scores. In addition, many other health professions and graduate programs accept MCAT exam scores in lieu of other standardized tests.
For More info click: http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/start.htm
Students who are applying for a Bachelor program or another undergraduate course would be required to submit a secondary school report and transcripts (report cards) of the final exams. The report form should be filled out by a school official like the principal, counselor or headmaster. This form should introduce you in the context of your whole school experience in relation to the other students in your class. Admission committees will be interested in learning how you have performed in your own educational system. The school report should talk about your accomplishments and provide a prediction of your chances for success in university-level studies.
Since there is a variation between the styles of scoring used abroad and the ones used in India, ask your school to include a guide to the grading standards used in your educational system and your school. If your school ranks students by their level of academic achievement, make certain that the ranking is included with the other details. Also send the school / junior college leaving certificate as and when it is available.
If the transcripts are in a language other than English, then it must be translated into English only by the issuing authority or university otherwise it may not be acceptable
Statement of Purpose
The Statement of Purpose is the single most important part of the application form, that will introduce the applicant to the admissions committee. It will also give a brief of the applicant`s current career path and professional interests and goals for the future.
Letter of Recommendation
One of the most important elements of your college application is the Letter of recommendation. It is a signed statement from preferably a teacher who knows you well and has taught you in a subject that is related to the course you are applying to.
The letter should list your positive and negative qualities, useful skills (e.g., computer, statistical, or interpersonal skills), related experiences (extracurricular, work experience, clubs, volunteer work),
information about the student that can portray a true picture of the candidate to the reader. A good letter might also provide information about the student`s development and achievements over time. Therefore you need to choose a teacher who knows you well to write your letter.
Fee & Expenses
US Universities fall under two major categories: public (state supported), and private (independent) institutions. International student’s tuition expenses at state schools are based on nonresident costs, which are still usually less expensive than those of private universities. It`s important to note that the cost of a program in a US school does not necessarily affect its quality.
The tuition fee is different for different universities and varies widely with courses. It can vary from as low as $ 5000 a year for state universities to as much as $ 30000 per annum for some private universities. For more specific details, please contact the universities
The approximate annual living expenses are about $10,000, which includes accommodation as well as other daily expenses. The expenses will differ depending on the lifestyles and this is just a rough idea. The main expenses can be split up as:
Rent $ 400 per month
Groceries $ 100 per month
Utilities $ 100 per month
Phone $ 100 per month
Sundry $ 200 per month
Depending on your life style, your expenses can range from $700-$1000 a month. You can share apartments/houses to save on the utilities, fixed charge portion of phone and to some extent on groceries.
You must submit a financial aid application if you intend to seek financial assistance for your studies abroad. The policies regarding financial aid vary considerably. The profile of a college usually indicates the type of financial aid it offers. For aid, Undergraduate students have to submit the institution`s own financial aid forms, as well as the Foreign Student`s Financial Aid Form, which is provided by the college and administered by the College Scholarship Service of the College Board. A bank statement will also often be required. Some details, usually asked in these forms are :
– Your total personal annual income
– Total annual income of your Parents
– Your average annual living expenses
– Some details of your and your parents’ assets
– Sources of funding for your education other than from the University
This means that the student does not have to pay the tuition fees at the university. However, general fees (for the use of university facilities like the library, computers, and sports and health services) usually have to be borne by the student. A tuition waiver is frequently awarded in conjunction with a scholarship or teaching/research assistantship.
As you begin to think about funding sources for your educational and living expenses in the United States, remember that you cannot count on working in the United States unless you have been granted a teaching or research assistantship. When you submit evidence of your financial resources, you cannot reply on potential income. The income on which you base your application must be assured, and it must be equal to or exceed the costs of the first year of your studies.
Immigration regulations are very strict with respect to working while carrying a student visa. F-1 status, which is the most common status for full-time international students, allows for part time, on-campus employment (fewer than 20 hours per week.) J-1 student status allows for similar employment, with similar restrictions, as long as permission is given by the exchange visitor program sponsor. Visit our working in the USA pages for more information on employment opportunities and restrictions for F1 students. M-1 visa holders for technical and vocational programs are not permitted to work during the course of their studies.
Jobs available on campus typically do not pay much, certainly not enough to finance a university education. Do not count on this kind of a job for anything more than a supplement to other funds.
International students are not eligible for U.S. government-backed loans like Stafford Loans or Plus Loans, but international students are eligible for private international student loans to study in the USA. As long as you attend an approved school, and have a US citizen or permanent resident to co-sign for you, you can borrow as much as you’ll need. Be careful about taking on too much debt, you should only borrow what you truly need to cover the cost of studying and living in the US.
Scholarship / Fellowship
This is usually an outright grant based on the student`s academic ability and performance. Hence, Only a truly outstanding student may be considered for this type of award, before enrolling at the university. A full scholarship would pay for a student`s entire living expenses at that university, whereas a partial scholarship would require additional funds from the student.
Most students who receive assistance usually do so in the form of an assistantship, i.e. a cash stipend sufficient for their living expenses, and/or tuition waiver. To get this, they have to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week. This work normally consists of teaching and research activities. These are usually for graduate courses. Teaching assistantships are more likely to be in universities, which have large undergraduate classes whereas research assistantships tend to be more common in those fields and universities in which considerable research is in progress. Information brochures of most universities give this information. Often, teaching and research abilities must be proved before assistantship is granted. Hence, many universities grant this only after the first semester. You may also be required to take TSE (Test of Spoken English) to qualify for a teaching assistantship.
University Scholarship/University Financial Assistance/Waivers
International Education Financial Aid (IEFA) scholarship search is the premier resource for financial aid, college scholarship and grant information for international students wishing to study abroad. They offer both a basic and premium search to find scholarships all around the world
For More info click: www.iefa.org
F-1 Student Visa
The F-1 visa is for full-time students enrolled in an academic or language program. F-1 students may stay in the US for the full length of their academic program plus 60 days. F-1 students must maintain a full-time course load and complete their studies by the expiration date listed on the I-20 form.
For More info click: travel.state.gov
J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa
The J-1 visa is issued for students needing practical training that is not available in their home country to complete their academic program. The training must be directly related to the academic program. The J-1 visa obligates the student to return to their home country for a minimum of two years after the end of their studies in the US before being eligible to apply for an immigrant (permanent residence) visa.
For More info click: travel.state.gov