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Study in USA

Study in the USA

The United States of America has been a global leader in the field of education and boasts of a lion’s share of top-ranked universities according to all major international rankings.

Few countries offer as many high ranked universities and noble laureate academia, as the USA does. As a matter of fact, nearly 50 of the top 200 universities in the world are based in the USA.

Universities in the USA are also credited for innumerable patents and ground-breaking innovations, offering a chance to study and compete with some of the finest minds in the respective fields.

The flexibility of applying to different fields of study and a wide variety of Research-Centric Science and Technology Courses are the distinguishing features because of which aspirants strive to get admission in the USA.

Education System in USA

US Education System

Many students who are going to pursue their higher studies in the US must be surprised to know that the US has no educational system.

The Federal government can influence education only by the funding it offers, but this is limited. Unlike CBSE board examinations in India, there is no national high school graduation examination. There are, however, state graduation examinations, and students must pass these.

Different stages covered in Indian Education System are:

  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Higher secondary
  • Graduation
  • Post-Graduation/Masters

Major stages covered under the US Education System are:

  • Elementary school
  • Middle School
  • High school
  • Post-secondary (college)

Both countries spend a large chunk of their country’s GDP income on education.

However, there is a huge difference in the US education system, they consider extracurricular activities vital for students’ overall development and give weight to sports and other activities apart from the main subjects.

In the US more stress is given on exploring and understanding the practical aspects of the concepts. In the US the focus is more on discussing the issues and creating new ideas.

Even many colleges/universities offer flexible schedules to students for their convenience.

Study Programs in USA

US universities offer various kinds of degrees catering to every student’s needs and interests. Students can study at any of the following levels to earn the following degrees.

University level first stage:

  • Associate Degree (AA)
  • Bachelor’s Degree (BS, BA)
  • Post-bachelor’s Diploma/Certificate

University level second stage

  • Master’s Degree (without thesis) (MS, MA, Meng)
  • Master’s Degree research (with thesis)(MS, MA, Meng)

University level third stage

  • Doctorate (Ph.D.)

Higher Education Institutions in USA

Types of Higher Education Institutions

The United States of America offers a wide variety of institutions for students at all levels.

Public universities:

These are state-affiliated bodies run with the support of public taxes. All levels and degrees are available along with the widest variety of subjects.

These universities are inexpensive for those living in the state. For overseas students, the tuition fees are higher. The popular names under this category are the University of Texas, Pennsylvania State University, University of California, California State University, etc.

Private Universities:

These are not sponsored or supported by any Governmental organization. The tuition fees for native and international students are at par, although the fees are higher.

Some notable universities under this category are George Washington University, Carnegie Mellon University, New York University, etc.

Ivy League Schools (Universities):

The eight universities in this group focus on undergraduate education of liberal arts, and also have associated professional and graduate schools under them.

Admission is very competitive with steep tuition fees. Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Cornell, Brown, Columbia, Pennsylvania, and Dartmouth are the universities in this group.

Small Liberal Arts Colleges:

With a stress on undergraduate courses, these colleges offer humanities, sciences, and social science courses. These bodies have smaller classes and focus on individual attention.

They have extremely tough admission standards. Swarthmore, Manhattan, Amherst, etc., are some of the colleges under this category.

Technical Schools:

These schools offer engineering, science, and research programs. Graduate-level students with a strong background in science and maths attend these colleges. Some schools under this category are Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), California Polytechnic Institute, and Georgia Institute of Technology.

Community Colleges:

These colleges offer higher education, granting certificates, diplomas, associate degrees, and lower-level tertiary education. De Anza College and Bellevue Community College, among others, fall under this category.

Why Choose USA For Study?

Why Study in the USA

American universities are widely known for the quality of their teaching and research. The United States is the number one and largest destination for international students seeking higher education overseas.

The education system in the USA is the most versatile and flexible higher education system for international students in the world. Today about 30 percent of all current international students in the world are studying in the United States.

Have you ever wondered what makes U.S. higher education so popular in the world?

Academic Excellence

The U.S. has one of the world’s finest education systems, with excellent programs across all disciplines.

At the undergraduate level, outstanding program options are available in conventional subjects as well as professional fields.

At the Master’s and Ph.D. level, students regularly get the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the finest researchers in the world. Qualifications awarded by U.S. universities are recognized throughout the world for its academic brilliance.

Diversity of Education Opportunities

The U.S. higher education system has lots to offer every student.

The program structure lays equal emphasis on building a strong theoretical base along with importance on practical, employment-related skills.

If you are looking at studying an unusual or specific program like gerontology you will have more than one program to choose from in the U.S.!

Cutting-Edge Technology

U.S. universities are world leaders in terms of technology and scientific techniques, and are committed to providing the same resources to students.

The emphasis is to acquaint students with the latest in the field of science, engineering, and related fields. The end result is work-ready graduates with appropriate skills using the most recent technology.

Opportunity for Research, Teaching, and Training

In the U.S., at the graduate level students gain valuable experience in research and teaching through the many assistantship programs available.

These assistantships also help students finance their higher education in the USA. The practical experience gained is extremely useful for future careers in teaching and research.

Flexibility

The U.S. higher education system offers many course choices within a program and the opportunity to change majors or opt for multiple specializations.

At the advanced stages of an undergraduate program, a student can tailor the program to meet specific career aspirations like combining courses in contemporary jazz music with engineering!

At the graduate level, you can make your own timetable and complete course credits at a comfortable pace within the stipulated time frame.

Examination & Grading System in USA

While the numerical grading system is widely accepted in the world, the US grading system is different. Instead of numerical grading, students are evaluated on a credit/ alphabetical grading system.

The grading system that most universities in the US follow is the one in which a specific number of credit hours are allotted for each course that a student undertakes. Usually, there is a course load of 6 to 12 credits per semester.

The scale most widely used is a 4 point scale. At the bachelor’s level, the minimum passing grade is C, while at the master’s level, it is B.

An IP (In Progress) grade means that the student has not completed all the portions of the subject that is taken over multiple semesters to earn the regular grade. The IP is changed to a regular grade once all the portions are completed.

An NC or NIC (Not Complete Or Incomplete) grade indicates that the student has missed some exams, assignments, or homework that are important to evaluate performance.

A W (Withdrawn) grade indicates that the student has decided not to enroll for the course after attending the classes for more than a predetermined period.

The final GPA that a student graduates with, is not a simple average of scores, it is a weighted average. The weight is the number of credit hours. It is predetermined by the faculty, based on the course contents and is displayed in the course schedule.

The final GPA = letter grade value * credit hours/ credit hours.

For International Students, who get percentage scores, there are many ways to convert it into a GPA score. Some of the most common ways have been mentioned below:

Method 1 to convert percentage score into GPA

70 -100 = 4.0 (A)
60 – 70 = 3.0 (B)
50 – 60 = 2.0 (C)
40 to 50= 1.0 (D)
Less than 40 = F

Method 2 to convert percentage score into GPA

Divide by 100 and multiply by 4.

For Example, if someone gets 90 percent, then, the GPA is, 90 divided by 100 and multiply by 4. which comes out to be 3.6

Method 3 to convert percentage score into GPA

Many Universities take the percentage score as the GPA score, with the only difference that they change the scale. So, if you get 8 points out of 10, your GPA would be 8, and scale would be 10. Similarly, if you get 80%, your GPA would be 80 and the scale would be 100.

Application Process to Study in USA

Step One: Gather Application Information

The Study in the USA Application will require the following information. Gather this information before you begin the application so you can complete the application efficiently.

  • Personal information—Include your name, age, address, family background, birthplace, citizenship, and so on.
  • Academic information—Your most recent level of study as well as test score information.
  • Financial information—Most applications will ask where you will be getting the majority of your funds to pay for your tuition and expenses.
  • Visa information—Schools want to know what kind of visa you intend on getting. Most likely you will need an F-1 visa.

Step 2: Complete Application

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices to three to five schools (start with this many; you may apply to more schools later), click the ‘APPLY’ button on the school’s profile page. Remember, you can save your favorite schools using your StudyUSA account!

Enter the required information and pay the application fee (if required). Once completed, the application is sent directly to the school’s admissions office.

Step 3: Pay Fee and Submit Application

Once you’ve filled out the required information you will pay the application fee (if required). The completed application is then sent directly to the school’s admissions office.

Step 4: Your Application Begins Being Processed

Once the school receives your application, admissions will begin processing it. The school should send an email a few days after your application was submitted.

If your school doesn’t contact you within a week, please contact StudyUSA.com It would also be wise to follow up with the admissions office to make sure they have received your application.

Step 5: Send Additional Documents to School

The school will contact you with further instructions and will require you to send additional documents. Follow the instructions from your school carefully.

You may be required to send the following:

  • Copies of your passport
  • Copies of your bank statements
  • Official transcripts and test scores
  • You may also be required to write a personal essay and/or send letters of recommendation

Step 6: Send Required Documents

Send the required documents to the school and pay the required fees as soon as possible.

Step 7: Apply for Student Visa

Congratulations, the school has accepted you for admission! Keep your acceptance letter. You will need this for other forms and your visa interview.

Your SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) approved school will send you an I-20 form to complete. Make sure that your name and spelling is the same on your I-20 form, acceptance letter, and passport.

This is very important! If there are errors, inform admissions of the corrections and ask for a new, corrected I-20 form.

You will need to bring your completed I-20 form to your visa interview.

Step 8: Make Travel and Living Arrangements

Work with the school to arrange your travel plan and living arrangements. They will help you and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Advantages of Studying in USA

1. Great and all-rounded experience

In the USA, you will study a wide range of subjects before choosing to specialize. You will be given core knowledge of every subject with proper guidance from your professors.

2. Improves your employability

There are lots of employers that prefer graduates that have carried out a degree in America. This is because most of the universities in the USA are held in high regard. Better the degree you get from a respected US university, the higher are your chances.

3. Broad range of programs

The universities in the USA offer a broad range of programs for undergraduate and graduate degrees. So it is very easy for you to choose a program of interest.

You will be able to study some of the most innovative subjects. Also, you will be able to interact with well-known scholars who will guide you during your study.

4. Recruitment straight from the University

You will be directly recruited from the university while studying. In universities of the USA, the recruitment process is much faster and they will be looking to actively recruit you.

This allows for better job prospects and higher wages.

5. People and Culture

Studying in the USA will not be tough if you have hospitable, friendly and generous people around you. Of course, there are a few exceptions as in any country but these are not the norm.

Visa Requirements for Studying in USA

USA Study Visa:

The USA continues to be the top choice for students planning to study abroad. If you are among the few who aspire and have already got admission into your aspired university, applying for Student Visa is the next important step to realizing your Study in the USA dream.

This Students Visa Guide examines briefly the various types of visas and attempts to give a detailed process of applying for the F1 Student Visa – applicable to students planning to take up their bachelor’s as well as master’s in the USA.

Apart from this, candidates should also know the reasons why their US Student Visa gets rejected?

Types of USA Study Visa

There are three types of student visas to the US:

1. F1 Student Visa

Students applying for a program that requires more than 18 hours of study in a week require an F1 visa. This includes all undergraduate programs as well as graduate programs like MS, MBA, etc.

Spouses or children accompanying F-1 visa recipients will travel on an F-2 visa. Please note that spouses are not able to work but may accompany and/or apply for their own visa to the U.S. to work or study.

2. J1 Exchange Visitor Visa

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa is for students, visiting scholars, or lecturers pursuing an exchange program. For example, Fulbright scholars and many students on short-term study abroad programs from Indian universities will travel to the U.S. on a J-1 visa.

J1 visa is usually sought by a working professional who goes to America on an exchange program, hence the name Exchange Visitor Visa.

These may include a 10-month vocational training or some research fellowship, etc. Whichever be the case, the applicants would be notified for the same by the respective institutions.

Spouses or children accompanying J-1 Visa recipients will travel on a J-2 Visa. Please note that spouses are able to work when permission is obtained in advance.

3. M-1 Vocational/ Non-Academic Student Visa

The M1 visa is a type of student visa which is reserved for vocational and technical schools. While the process for applying to the F1 visa and M-1 is similar, the difference is that on entering, the M1 visas are time-stamped and students cannot overstay their visit.

Documents Required for F1 Student Visa Application

USA Study Visa Process: Student visa requires you to carry a lot more documents than you would for a tourist visa, by comparison.

You need the mandatory documents along with supporting documents of financial and academic records. Make sure you refer to this checklist before going to the consulate for the visa interview.

  • A valid passport with a validity date at least six months beyond your period of stay.
  • A printed copy of DS-160, the online application form
  • Interview appointment letter (original and copy)
  • Form I-20 sent by the college (where you are going to study)
  • Visa fees payment confirmation receipt
  • Bank statement for at least three years showing that you have enough assets to pay for the first year (could be of parent or guardian)
  • Pay/salary slips
  • Original mark sheets/provisional certificates
  • Score sheet of exams like TOEFL, GMAT, IELTS, etc.

Financial Requirements for Studying in USA

Sources of Financial Support

Your sources of financial support can include personal funds; personal assets or pieces of property that are readily convertible to cash; pay from work that you do as part of a fellowship or scholarship; or specified funds from other persons or organizations.

As part of the application process, you will need to gather documents that will supply evidence of the existence of these things. For example, you might show evidence of:

personal or family funds, such as copies of bank statements or stock certificates. Combine this with a list summarizing your total cash assets.

Note that if a bank statement shows a recent deposit but a low average balance, the U.S. government will want an explanation.

Attach something in writing (your own statement or an official document showing the source of the new cash) to the copy of the bank statement.

Your goal is to overcome any suspicion that the money was borrowed from a friend to pay the account and make the financial situation look better than it is.

the employment status of family members who will support you, such as a letter, on company letterhead, from their employer (explaining the person’s job title, salary, and that it’s a permanent position); or copies of their income tax statements.

Support From Non-Family Members

If individuals who are not members of your family are willing to support you, use any of the types of evidence mentioned above for family members, including a Form I-134 Affidavit of Support.

The person who decides whether to issue your visa will wonder, however, why someone who is not related to you will want to pay for you to get an expensive U.S. education.

For that reason, non-family members should also write a sworn statement explaining why they are so willing, able, and motivated.

The statement should mention that the person understands that he or she is not just a “backup” if other sources fail, but will be immediately responsible for paying all or part of your tuition, fees, and expenses.

Health Insurance in USA

Health Insurance Requirements by School

When researching schools, you will find that many—such as the University of California, Berkeley—require international students to sign up for the school’s health insurance plan.

These schools will automatically enroll international students, and then charge them for the student health insurance plan.

Other schools—such as Southern Methodist University—allow international students to submit a waiver to decline the school’s insurance plan.

But they must prove that they have sufficient medical coverage through another plan. Waivers must be submitted within a specific time frame, which is typically six weeks from the start of the semester. Then your school must approve them.

At some schools—such as the University of South Carolina—international students can select the campus health plan or choose to buy their own health insurance.

If you need help choosing a plan, talk to the International Student Office. They often have health insurance specialists who can help you compare plans. You will want to weigh each plan’s costs against the overall breadth of coverage.

Cost of Living (COL) in USA

The estimated living cost for the US is around $10000 to $12000 per year, which averages around $700 to $1000 per month. This includes your accommodation costs, room, and board, food, travel, textbooks, weather-appropriate clothing and entertainment expenses as well.

Here is a range of costs that have been considered while estimating the living expenses-

1. Books and study material costs around $500 to $1000 per year
2. Travel costs within the US will be from $300 to $700
3. Accommodation will cost between $5000 and $7500 per year
4. For living off-campus, the cost of renting an apartment will be between $300 and $600 a month but could be higher depending on the location of the school.
5. Meals should cost around $2500 a year if you do not eat out too many times
6. Shopping for clothes will cost more than $500 annually if you are in a cold country
7. Personal and variable expenses will be around $2000 per year

Here are some costs of monthly average expense :

Accommodation $200
Electricity $20
Groceries (home cooked meals) $150
International Calling cards $15
Home Internet $15
Cell phone $50
Restaurant meals $75
Entertainment $100
Car Insurance $100
Petrol for car $75
Weekend activities $100
Shopping $100

Accommodation in USA

6 Essential Tips for Finding Student Housing in the U.S.:

1. Choose which student housing option suits you

Types of student housing range from shared dormitory (dorm) rooms in university-run halls of residence to private apartments.

Choosing what kind of room will work best for you usually depends on the availability of rooms and of course, your budget.

A lot of international students prefer the social atmosphere of shared housing to help them make friends in their new city, but whether you want to share a college a dorm with other students, rent a private apartment with roommates or find a place by yourself, there are plenty of options available.

2. Research the area and find the BEST location for you

It’s up to you whether you prefer to be in the middle of the action on campus or live a short walk or bus ride away from college.

The great thing about living off-campus is that you have a new area on your doorstep to explore, yet you’ll only be a quick journey from the hub of the college.

If you choose university residence, you’ll have easy access to all the college study amenities and no commuting costs to consider.

Many students opt for on-campus university housing for their first year and then move into a private apartment or houses with friends for the remainder of their degree, once they know which areas appeal to them.

3. Pick a price that suits your needs

Student housing is the number one expense at university. Whether you choose to save money on rent by living further out of the city center, or spend a little more on a private, ensuite room, making the right decision is important.

University dormitory-style rooms tend to be the cheapest, but what you save in rent, you may pay for in lack of privacy.

Opting for catered housing is often a good idea to save money as your meals will be provided, meaning you’ll (hopefully) eat out less.

4. Picture your ideal experience and work backward

Who you live with at university has a big impact on how much you enjoy your college years.

If you are looking for a fun, social atmosphere, it’s a good idea to make this known when enquiring about a dorm, an apartment or a house share.

You should picture how you want to spend your time outside college and work backward from that vision.

Culture & Language of USA

American Culture

For many international students, adjusting to American culture can be difficult and at times frustrating.

American customs and values might be very different from those of your home country, and you might find them confusing.

You will probably want to familiarize yourself with American culture before your departure, in order to make the transition as easy as possible. American culture encompasses the customs and traditions of the United States.

“Culture encompasses religion, food, what we wear, how we wear it, our language, marriage, music, what we believe is right or wrong, how we sit at the table, how we greet visitors, how we behave with loved ones, and a million other things,” said Cristina De Rossi, an anthropologist at Barnet and Southgate College in London.

Language

There is no official language of the United States, according to the U.S. government. While almost every language in the world is spoken in the United States, the most frequently spoken non-English languages are Spanish, Chinese, French, and German.

Ninety percent of the U.S. population speaks and understands at least some English, and most official business is conducted in English.

Some states have official or preferred languages. For example, English and Hawaiian are the official languages in Hawaii.

The Census Bureau estimates that more than 300 languages are spoken in the United States.

Climate in USA

Climate in the United States of America

Being a huge country, the contiguous United States is home to a wide variety of climates. However, in general, it has a continental climate, with cold winters (often frigid) and hot summers (sometimes very hot), with a different season duration depending on latitude and distance from the sea.

Since there are no obstacles to cold air masses from Canada, almost all of the country can experience sudden cold waves in winter, but they have different intensity and duration depending on the area.

Cold spells last a few days in the south, where the temperature drops a few degrees below freezing (0 °C or 32 °F) in winter, while they are intense and sometimes long in inland areas, in the highlands and in the north-east.

The summer heatwaves can be intense as well, especially in inland areas. In general, the western half of the country is arider than the eastern one, with the exception of the north-central coast of the Pacific, which is rainy.