The USA has the world’s largest international student population. Almost 5% of students enrolled in top universities and colleges across the country are international students. The number of students visiting the USA has been increasing over the years. The US is the leading study destination in the world for international students. Almost 150 universities in the US often feature in QS World University Rankings. These universities offer top class education, and the degrees offered by these universities carry a lot of value in the job market. There are varieties of universities in the US that offer a wide range of courses. Therefore, international students need not to worry, as they can find admission in the US universities. The US is a fast growing economy, and one can find employment opportunities in the US with excellent academic record and skills. Finding a job in the US with a degree from a top university there is not a difficult task.
The education system of the USA offers a rich field of choices for international students. The US higher education system can be broadly classified into three categories:
Level I – Bachelor’s degree: In the USA, a Bachelor’s degree course is regarded as an Under Graduate (UG) course. Usually, the duration of the UG courses in the USA is four years. The first two years of study comprises of a variety of classes in different subjects. The most common subjects that are being taught in the first two years of UG courses are history, arts, literature, science and social sciences.
May international students at the US choose a community college to complete the first two years of UG prerequisite courses. These students obtain AA (Associate of Arts) degree and then transfer to a four-year university or college.
Apart from the above mandatory courses in the UG, a ‘major’ is the specific field of study in which your degree is focused. In order to meet the degree requirements of the major course, you must take a certain number of courses in the chosen field. The major has to be chosen by the beginning of your third year of UG course.
One of the unique characteristics of the American education system is that you can change the major course multiple times. In simple words, the American education system is very flexible.
Level 2 – Master’s Degree: International students from only a limited number of countries are allowed to pursue Master’s courses in the US. Usually, the duration of Master’s courses in America is one year or two years. Most of the master’s courses are merely based on classroom teaching, and each student must prepare a long research paper called Master’s thesis or complete a Master’s project.
Level 3 – Doctorate Degree: Usually, the duration of Ph.D in America is three years. However, for international students, Doctorate degree may take up to five or six years to complete. Students can enter in Doctoral degree courses with a Master’s degree.
The majority of universities in the US enrol new students during the autumn. Therefore, international students can apply for admission during this season.
Calculating College Cost For Studies In USA
When calculating the annual cost of a US education at a particular college or university, add at least $6,000 Approx. to the published cost of tuition, fees, and room and board. The College Board publishes college costs, required admissions tests, and other useful information in The International Student Handbook of US Colleges.
When preparing a budget, you will need to account for the following costs:
If you bring other family members with you, assume that your annual expenses will increase about 15% or $5,000 Approx. for each additional family member.
If you wish to buy a car, assume that it will cost you around $4,000 a year.
If you will be traveling during the summer, assume a cost of $50 to $75 Approx. a day for touring. If you will be continuing your education during the summer, add half the figure you calculated for the full year.
Assume that your costs will increase by about 5% per year due to inflation. Do not forget to include an allowance of about 10% to account for changes in exchange rates.
The US is one of the few countries in the world which issues Work Permits for students attending US academic institutions, as well as having ample job opportunities. After completing your studies you may be able to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) of between 12-29 months, depending on the course you have studied. After this, students can apply for a work visa (H-1) which is valid for 3 years, renewable once, making the total work visa validity 6 years. Students can also apply for permanent residency (a “Green Card”) when they start working in the US. Make sure you seek advice before applying to maximize your chances of success with your student and post-student visa applications.
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