About United States
The U.S. is a country of 50 states covering a vast swath of North America, with Alaska in the northwest and Hawaii extending the nation’s presence into the Pacific Ocean. Major Atlantic Coast cities are New York, a global finance and culture center, and capital Washington, DC. Midwestern metropolis Chicago is known for influential architecture and on the west coast, Los Angeles' Hollywood is famed for filmmaking.
Study in USA
Known for its ground-breaking innovation and research, the United States is a coveted destination among international candidates which ranks third in the order preceded by students looking to study in Canada and the UK. Every year, the country welcomes more than 1.1 million aspirants (Institute of International Education [IIE]) seeking to study in the USA to pursue an advanced degree from one of the globally renowned institutes of the world.
While it is next to impossible to find the real factor that drives the student’s passion towards the country, there are several reasons that contribute in the favor of the United States and make it a preferred destination among international applicants. From being home to the top 13 institutes out of the major 20 top universities in the world (Quacquarelli Symonds World University rankings) to an endless variety of courses, diverse environment and employment opportunities to choose from, the USA as a country is a package that offers it all.
As per the SEVP “SEVIS by the number report”, India is in fact one of the largest contributors of the student population (251,290) in the US after only China (478,732). A survey conducted by India Today in April 2020 reflects that 70% of Indian students prefer an international healthcare system amongst which the US stands at the 3rd most sought-after choice with 18% votes. This reflects that even though the current pandemic across the world would suggest otherwise, the charm and fascination to study in the US is still highly intact among the international applicants.
Some salient points to be noted when hoping to study in the USA are as tabulated below.
|Visa Acceptance rate||80% (currently differs due to COVID-19)|
|Average Study Cost||35,000 to 40,000 USD|
|Minimum TOEFL score||85 IBT|
|Minimum IELTS score||6.5|
Why Study in USA?
Choosing a country to study miles away from home is a dream for some and a lifelong investment for many. In this context, the USA has been a favored destination for higher education among candidates across the globe for ages. According to the U.S. News & World Report, out of the 100 Global Universities, around 48 top universities are in the United States. There are 3 categories of schools and colleges to choose from that is, Community Colleges, 4 - year Private and Public Institutions.
From offering an endless choice among the courses to providing great student service and offering help at all the complicated steps of the application process like immigration and pre-arrival, the US institutes do it all. To learn what makes the USA such a hit among the students, let's discuss the advantages of studying in the USA in detail.
- Top Universities: The United States of America boasts of a lion’s share when it comes to some of the high ranked universities for higher education across the world. Times Higher Education ranks 15 American universities among its world’s top 20 universities. MIT,Stanford, Harvard and Caltech are the top 4 universities in the world according to QS World Ranking
- Practical world experience: The amazing part of the US-based academic curriculum is that it is highly practical based and focuses primarily on experiential learning/. From co-ops, internships, to real-world experience, strong opportunities for healthy future employer relationships, the nation offers it all on a platter.
- STEM OPT: USA provides a plethora of degrees that are ‘STEM eligible’ which allows international candidates a confirmed opportunity of staying back in the country for additional two years post completion of their degrees to gain practical training, beyond the standard allowance of one year, while students can simultaneously work for a US-based organization.
- Flexible Education System: The Credit transfer system allows greater flexibility in the US education system. Students at an undergraduate level are motivated to explore various domains and choose a major of their choice by the end of the second year. From offering a range of conventional and non-conventional majors and minors to the flexibility of choosing which, when and how many classes to attend each semester makes for a highly strengthening system that allows each individual to grow and adjust as per their strengths and weaknesses.
- Diverse Range of Courses: The country offers over 2 million of programs through 4- and 2-year institutions providing Bachelors, Masters, Doctoral, Vocational, Associate and Certificate courses.
- Cultural Diversity: Around 1.08 million international students apply for American universities every year. About 350,755 are only Chinese, 186,267 are Indian and 58,665 are Korean students.
- Research and Innovation: USA is at the forefront of Research and Development in the world. According to NSF, total money spent on research and innovation by Universities was around 22 billion dollars in the year - 2015.
- Funding opportunities: International candidates receive a range of financial assistance like full or partial tuition-fee waivers, scholarships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, graduate assistantships, paid internships or part-time work opportunities at most of the universities in the USA. Students can opt for work while studying, and work 20 hours a week.
- Employment Prospects: After the degree completion, 62% of international students secure job/placements in the USA. Since the country prepares its students for the real world by offering them global opportunities at every step of the way, this fact attracts top employers from across the globe who are looking to hire smart, adaptable, experienced and candidates familiar with multiple cultures and languages. The median salary range after a four-year degree in the USA is nearly 61,000 to 1, 20,700 USD at the mid-career level.
Top universities for international students
|Rankings (US News 2020)||Name of the Institute||Acceptance Rate|
|3 (tie)||Columbia University||5.9%|
|3 (tie)||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||6.7%|
|3 (tie)||Yale University||6.3%|
|6 (tie)||Stanford University||4.4%|
|6 (tie)||University of Chicago||7.3%|
|6 (tie)||University of Pennsylvania||8.4%|
Popular courses to study in USA
While the US offers a diverse array of programs in almost every possible and imaginable field, there are few favorites among the international candidates which top the list of almost every aspirant. The list majorly includes STEM courses but other programs are equally unparalleled and are highly favored by many.
Some of the top courses that you can apply for if you are an international applicant include:
- MS in Computer Science
- Electrical and Electronics Engineering
- MS in Mechanical Engineering
- Masters of Business Administration (MBA)
Other courses of art form mainstream choices include Political Science, International Law, Psychology, International Relations, among others.
If you're looking for leading research and innovation opportunities in the field of neuroscience, climatic changes and other trending domains, the bacheors’s programs at universities like MIT, Yale, UCLA, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Colorado Denver and Washington State University shall definitely form the part of your list.
How to study in USA: 6-Step guide
A 6-step application process along with before and after measures are as compiled below.
- Research the options: Since the USA is home to some of the great and most prestigious universities in the world, it is highly essential that you do thorough research regarding the factors that matter the most to you while making this vital decision. The factors may vary from rankings, expenses, prestige, availability of the program of your choice to average acceptance rate and admission requirements of that organization.
- Plan your finances: The cost of education in the USA depends on the program, type of institute (private or public) and level of study like Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD. Whereas pursuing a bachelor's from the USA will cost you around 15,000 to 55,000 USD per year, the master’s program may require a fee of 15,000 to 30,000 USD per year.
- Prepare your application: Plan your application way in advance and notice the trends as to what factors influence the admission process at the institute the most. Work on your overall student profile and give major emphasis to letters of recommendation, personal essay, statement of purpose and interview process.
- Look for standardized exams to study in the US: International applicants need to submit proof of their English proficiency in the form of IELTS/TOEFL or equivalent. Other test scores like GRE/GMAT or SAT/ACT might also be required depending upon the course and level of program you choose to opt for.
- Apply for a visa: A valid visa is required to study in the usa for international candidates. Once a candidate has successfully received an offer of place from the university along with anI-20, the immediate next step is to apply for a student visa to the nearest US Embassy or through the consulate.
- Be ready for departure: once the visa is approved, pack your bags, inform your university and get ready for a flight to your dream destination.
When to study in USA: Application Cycle
US universities observe a semester-wise application cycle for applicants seeking to study in the USA. Admissions take place in 3 semesters.
- Fall semester
- The semester starts late in August and ends in December or early January.
- Many universities offer selected courses only during the fall semester.
- Most of the Scholarships and job opportunities are available during this time only.
- Spring Semester
- Spring Semester starts in January and ends in early May.
- Applications are considered comparatively less than those during the fall semester.
- Spring applicants do not meet the eligibility for most of the applications.
- Summer Semester
- Summer semester is the shortest of all semesters.
- It's two months long. Starting in June and ending in July.
- Special summer programs are taught this semester.
Cost of Accommodation to study in USA
The basic cost of living and tuition fee break down to provide an estimated cost of expenses required to survive an academic year at the institute is as tabulated below.
|Tuition Fees||Amount (in USD, per year)|
|Average tuition Fees( UG)||Public 2-year colleges||3,570|
|Public 4-year colleges||9,970|
|Private 4-year college||34,740|
|Average tuition Fees (PG)||Public institution||25,000|
|Health Insurance||2,000 to 36,740|
Cost of living
Other additional charges that form the list of expenses for international students comprising the cost of living in the USA is as follows:
|Type of Expenditure||Cost (in USD, per month|
|Food||250 to 1,200|
|Transportation||120 to 250|
|Gas and Electricity||165|
|Books, Supplies and other Learning material||200|
|Accoomodation||450 to 1,200|
|Living expenses for 1 year as Guarantee||80,000|
Universities in the US are highly generous when it comes to offering financial aid to the academically bright and deserving candidates. Since there are a range of options to choose from, the country offers a perfect match for every budget and background.
The scholarships available for international students to study in the USA are broadly categorized as merit and need based which are discussed as follows:
- Merit-based scholarship: Offered to meritorious students with excellence in the field of academics or non-academic. Impressive GPA and tests scores like SAT/ACT and TOEFL/IELTS also from the ground for these awards.
- Need-based scholarships: Provided on the basis of financial need to the outstanding students whose family income is insufficient and couldn’t cover the educational costs of the institute.
While the number of need-based aid available for international students might be limited, there are many merit-based awards for the world’s brightest to study in the USA with a scholarship.
Scholarships for International Students
Some of the top studentships available for candidates seeking to study in the USA are as mentioned below.
|Name of Scholarships||Administered by||Benefits/Requirements||Amount|
|Federal Student Aid||US Department of Education||Offers scholarships, loans and work while study jobs||Depends upon the federal funds available|
|AAUW International Fellowship Program||-||Given toWomen pursuing graduate and post-graduate studies in USA onDemonstration of academic excellence||18,000 USD – 30,000 USD|
|Fulbright Student Program||Bi-national Fulbright Commissions or US Embassies||Operated in more than 155 countries worldwide, requirements differ across countries||Tuition fee, airfare, health insurance and other expenses as per federal funds|
|Joint Japan World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program||-||Students pursuing a master’s degree in a topic related to ‘Development’;Citizenship of World Bank Member Developing Country||Full tuition fee, airfare, monthly living stipend and health insurance|
|Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Program||-||Awarded on a 50% grant and 50% loan basis to students pursuing masters in the USA;Applicants should be a national of a developing country||Assists in covering living cost and tuition fee|
To conclude, every country has its perks and disadvantages and the USA is no exception. Even though the pandemic continues to rise across the globe and with political scenarios worsening across the country, the United States has managed to keep its prestige alive and is always counted under the top 3 sought-after destinations for studying abroad.
Because let’s face it, there is only one Harvard, Princeton and Stanford and these are not just the names but a brand in the world of academics. Hence, if you are an international applicant hoping to enroll overseas, the United States of America can be a fine choice to be considered in your list of worthy destinations for higher education.