How to Study in the United States: Ultimate Guide for International Students

Are you thinking about studying in the United States? Then you should keep reading! The US has some of the best universities in the world, but there are also things to consider if you’re coming from another country to study here. This guide offers advice on how to study in the United States based on an international student’s perspective, so you can get all the necessary information before you make your decision to study in the US.

How to Study in the United States: Ultimate Guide for International Students
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There are plenty of reasons why you might want to study in the United States, studying in the United States can open up an entirely new world of opportunities, from lifelong friendships to leadership roles in your field of study. Living and studying in the United States can be an unforgettable experience, and if you’re lucky enough to get into a prestigious school, it could also be one of the most academically challenging things you ever do. However, as an international student, you may find that there are some things about college life in the U.S. that can be confusing or difficult to navigate at first.

The United States has long been the destination of choice for international students looking to gain an American education, and the same holds true today as never before. With a growing number of foreign students studying in America each year, it’s more important than ever to understand how to go about studying in the United States as an international student, from how to apply to your visa requirements and work opportunities after graduation. This ultimate guide will help you learn everything you need to know to study in the United States as an international student so that you can start your new life in America right away!

Are you thinking about studying in the United States? Then you should keep reading! The US has some of the best universities in the world, but there are also things to consider if you’re coming from another country to study here. This guide offers advice on how to study in the United States based on an international student’s perspective, so you can get all the necessary information before you make your decision to study in the US.

Why Study in the United States?

To answer this question, we will go through some of the reasons international students tend to always choose the United States for their education. They're as follows:

1. Academic excellence

The USA is home to some of the best educational institutions in the world. US degrees have an excellent international reputation. US Universities continue to maintain top spots among the best-ranked education institutions in the world. This is due to the high academic excellence and standards that these universities administer to their students. Also, the United States has one of the world's finest and most versatile university systems with excellent programs in nearly all fields.

2. Diversified educational opportunities

There are several universities in the US and almost every one of them diversifies itself in certain aspects. The educational system in the US has a lot to offer to each student. American universities and colleges offer a myriad of courses and programs to choose from. You have the freedom to not only select the course content, but also the structure. At the undergraduate level, you have the liberty to pursue different courses before they you declare your major at the end of the second year. This helps to explore your subject interest and then decide without much hurry.

3. Excellent support facilities

In an effort to make your transition to American universities smoother, these institutions offer plenty of support to prepare international students for their classes. They understand the struggles of international students and therefore conduct regular orientation programs, workshops and training to offer assistance. In fact, the international student office helps students like you to get accustomed to a new kind of lifestyle – whether it is an academic query, cultural or social, the staff will be there to assist you round the clock.

4. Excellent support system for international students

American universities understand the struggles of international students and therefore conduct regular orientation programs, workshops and trainings to offer assistance. In fact, the international student office helps students like you to get accustomed to a new kind of lifestyle – whether it is an academic query, cultural or social, the staff will be there to assist you round the clock. Moreover, most universities in the US offer international students financial aid to study in the country. They offer international scholarships to academically outstanding and deserving students.

However, there are several other benefits of studying in the United States that we won't be able to mention here. You can always check out our other posts for more information.

Education System in the US

After completing their high school (12th standard), the students in the United States go to colleges and universities to pursue higher education. Higher education in the US compared to others around the world, is largely independent of government regulation and is highly decentralized. In other words, the education system in the United States offers an excellent diversity for international students. 

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Students can pick from public or private schools, schools with small or large student populations, or religiously affiliated schools. However, there are about 4,500 accredited higher educational institutions in USA that offer three types of degrees. Here are the different types of programs that are offered in the USA.

Associate degree program:

An associate degree program is a degree taken at an undergraduate level. It is equivalent to a diploma and is offered by community colleges in USA. It is of 2 years duration. It is designed for students interested in learning a skill or trade and typically takes two years to complete. This degree option is ideal for individuals who want to enter the workforce quickly or are looking to change careers. Associate degrees are usually offered at local community colleges where tuition is cheaper and access is easier.

Bachelor's degree program:

Bachelor’s degrees is a full-time undergraduate degree which is referred to as a Bachelor’s degree in USA. The duration of the degree is 4 years. They are offered at nearly every university in the United States. Acceptance into a bachelor’s program is more competitive than an associate’s program and often requires a student to demonstrate prior academic achievements, including standardized test scores.

Graduate (Master's) and doctorate degrees:

Master’s and doctorate degrees are the most competitive degrees and require that a student has completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree program prior to applying. A graduate or master’s degree mostly covers 2 to 3 academic years in the universities of USA. A doctorate degree takes a total of 5 to 8 years to complete. During their studies, master’s and doctorate students often gain practical experience and stipends via teaching opportunities through the university.

How Much Does it Cost to Study in the United States?

Tuition fees in the United States can be expensive. Studying in the USA can be expensive but planning your budget smartley can help you get a hold on your finances effectively. Tuition fees can vary greatly from school to school. Universities are divided into two categories in the US; Public and Private. Tuition fees at a public university is lesser than that of a private institution. Moreover, tuition fees also vary greatly depending on programs. Therefore, you will need to check how your program costs before applying.

Top Universities in the USA

There are many top universities in the United States that excel in their teaching standards and contribute to the overall development of students. Here are the best universities in the USA and their 2022 global ranking as well as their annual tuition fees.

University

Rank

(QS World Ranking 2022)

Annual tuition fees
Massachusetts Instituite of Technology 1 $50,000 - $55,000
Stanford University 3 $25,000 - $55,000
Harvard University 5 $25,000 - $51,000
California Institute of Technology (Caltech) 6 $44,000 - $57,000
University of Chicago 10 $55,000 - $59,000
Yale University 14 $58,000 - $60,000
Columbia University 19 $58,000 - $78,000
Princeton University 20 $56,000 -$58,000

Cheapest Universities in the United States

Moreover, here are the most affordable American Universities for international students:

University Annual tuition fees for international students (undergraduates)
Arizona State University $12,200
Eastern Michigan University $13,000
Wichita State University $15,000
University of New Orleans $15,200
California State University $16,500
Cleveland State University $16,800
University of Wyoming $18,000
Indiana State University $20,150

How to Study in the United States of America

There are 5 basic steps you must follow and complete in order to study in the United States of America. There are as follows:

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1. Research your options

The first step to studying in the US is researching your options to find a college or university that best fits your needs. There are a variety of options available to you. It's not about finding the best university, rather you should find the school that matches you and your priorities and long-term goals. The best university is the one that best for you and meets your requirements (academic, financial, and personal). 

Moreover, you should begin your research at least 12 to 18 months prior to the academic year in which you hope to study in a US university. Meanwhile, to help you with your research, you can start by answering these basic questions such as the reason you want to study in the US, which universities will meet your needs, where you want to live in the US, etc. Furthermore, you must only apply to schools that are certified by the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Keep in mind to verify if the US university of your preference is certified under the SEVP.

2. Finance your studies

You should know by now that studying in the United States can be expensive. But the cost of living and studying depends on the institution, your course of study, and the area you reside in. The cost of living and studying vaires across the US. Which is why researching your options is the first step in this guide. If you make a proper amount of research and planning, studying in the United States can become very affordable. 

Meanwhile, as an international student in the US, you have access to certain funding sources. Each year, international students receive significant amounts of financial assistance for their studies. However, competition are usually high. Also, applications for financial aid go together with applications for admission. You can find funding sources such as exchange programs administered by the US government, scholarships and grants offered by international organizations, and even funding from your home country's education authorities. Here's a list of scholarships in the USA for international students.

Moreover, keep in mind that location matters, The United States is a large country and the cost of living varies greatly from place to place. Assess your funding and what you are able to spend on your education and living expenses when making your research.

3. Complete your application to study in the United States

After completing your research and planning of your studies in the US. Then, next step is to complete your application. This covers the general application requirements to apply for your study program. Applying to US university can take a lot of time and concentration as each application stage is different and involves writing essays, collecting recommendations, etc.

However, you will have to contact the Office of Admissions at each school and apply for your preferred course of study. You will only get the details about the requirements and application process when you make this contact. Moreover, you will also need to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), as it is required by most schools to ascertain the level of your English language skills.

4. Apply for student visa

Once your application to a US university has been accepted and offered admission to study in the United States. Then, your next step is to apply fora US student visa. You will receive a document known as the I-20 form form the US university upon acceptance. The I-20 form will be required during the US student visa application.

An F1 visa allows international students to study full-time at a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) approved university in the US. However, working part-time is very restricted on an F1 visa. You may be able to work on-campus at your chosen university, but working hours are limited and jobs are in high demand.

Moreover, before you apply you will need to gather the necessary documents. Here's a list of documents you may need for your student visa application.

  • Certificate of Eligibility for non-immigrant student (I-20)
  • Receipt from your SEVIS fee
  • Receipt from the online visa form (DS-160) for a non-immigrant student
  • Passport with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States
  • Any old passports you may have
  • Documents that prove your financial situation or any financial support you will have during your studies
  • Two recent color photos of yourself, one physical, one digital. These must also meet US immigration's image requirements
  • Transcripts, test scores, qualifications, or certificates from schools you have attended

Furthermore, you can get more information about US visas and travel on the US Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website and the US Department of Homeland Secutity's Study in States.

5. Prepare for your departure to the USA

Once you've completed the steps above, the final step is to start preparing for your departure. There's nothing much here, the key components include making your travel arrangements, gathering pre-departure materials and documents for arrival, etc.

Is it possible to work in the United States while studying?

The answer is yes, this is a god way to earn some money for your expenses as well as get valuable work experience while studying in the US. Just like we said earlier, international students in United States are allowed to work a certain number of hours which is 20 hours per week.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, US higher education institutions are known worldwide for the quality of their programs, faculty, and facilities. Just like any other country, the United States of America has its advantages and disadvantages. Along with the benefits of studying in the US. There are also certain aspects that might mot favor you. Nonetheless, the United States is one of the finest countries to be considered among the best study destinations for international students. Proceed with the link below to visit the official US study guide website.

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