Student Visa - USA
Study in USA
For over three generations, the USA has been the preferred destination of choice for students from India and other South Asian countries. This is no surprise considering the fact that American institutions consistently feature in the top universities of the world.
Education system in the USA
1. Universities - Normally, universities offer a range of graduate programmes, including doctoral programmes. Universities are usually larger than colleges in terms of sizes and opportunities. There are two types of universities in the USA - public and private. Public universities are funded by the US state government. These universities are often rooted to their local communities, thus making themselves dynamic and vibrant. State/public universities have a variety of courses on offer and are home to a large number of students from all over the world. These types of universities are usually located in both, large cities and small towns. And the tuition fees at public universities are lesser when compared with private universities.
On the other hand, private universities are run by student tuition fees, research outcome, donations and other funding sources. These universities are not owned by any government body. Since these are not state-funded, private universities have the flexibility to choose their funding scheme and how to invest the funds towards research opportunities.
2. Community colleges - Community colleges are small community-based two-year colleges that offer vocational and certificate programmes to students. They work closely with some employers and also offer pathways programmes to help students in easy transition to jobs or higher education at another institution. Class sizes in community colleges are relatively small. International students can choose such colleges to opt for any bridge programmes or enhance specific skills before taking it to the next level.
3. Liberal arts colleges - Liberal arts colleges in the USA emphasise on providing undergraduate degrees in liberal arts and sciences. These colleges could be either private or public institutions. Compared with a usual vocational or technical or professional degree, a liberal arts degree lasts for four years of full-time study.
Some of the US varsities have three academic years/admissions cycles for students. But mostly the admissions happen during fall and spring semesters. The curriculum comprises short- or mid-term assessments for students, with assignments to complete.
The overall performance of the students is based not on the final exams, but on how they perform in each assessment.
Why study in the USA?
The value of the dollar
The USA is made up of 50 states and is one of the largest countries in the world in terms of land mass and size. The country covers different time zones and the climate varies from the freezing cold of Alaska to the pleasant tropical climate of Hawaii.
Being the world's most powerful economy, changes in the American economy dictate the global economy. Be it the Great Depression of 1929 or the latest recession, it is the American dollar that dictates terms in the modern world.
With breath-taking natural beauty from the Grand Canyon to the Niagara Falls and man-made marvels like the Statue of Liberty, The Golden Gate Bridge, Disney Land, The Smithsonian Museum, The Library of the Congress and much more; the country offers a lot for a traveller.
With a fair mix of people of Caucasian, African and Asian origin; the USA is a land of opportunities that offers shelter, support and success to those who work hard and persevere.
Overall, the people are friendly, open-minded and very frank and they love speaking to others. This is unlike life in the UK, where conversation among strangers in public places is rare.
Law and safety
Post the horrific attacks of 9/11, the law enforcement agencies have become extremely strict. It is advisable that students travel in groups for the sake of safety in numbers. It is important to keep one's official documents like passport, visa and identity cards safe. It is best to avoid any flashy jewellery and accessories. It is wise to keep your friends and local guardians informed of your travel plans.
Life as a student in the USA
As a student in the USA, it is important that one is aware of one's rights and the local laws. All leading institutions conduct a Student Orientation Programme, which helps the student acclimatise to life in the USA.
It is best for students to stay on-campus as it offers quick access to learning resources and the company of friends. Participating in the extra-curricular activities organised by the institution allows students to make friends and gives them a chance to develop their hobbies. Most institutions have hobby clubs and student organisations for hobbies as diverse as photography, computer games and spirituality.
A research by leading educational agencies and student recruitment firms suggest that the MBA and MS in computers, biotechnology and electronics are amongst the most popular courses in the USA.
Other specialised post-graduate courses in streams like medicine, cosmetic surgery, para-psychology, diabetes-research and genetics are also extremely popular.
Highly valued degree
With stiff competition from countries like the UK, Singapore and Australia; American institutions are going all out to woo students from Asian countries. The change in the value of the US Dollar and the poor performance of some Asian currencies are worrying factors that may lead to a decline in the number of students opting for an education in the USA.
But in spite of all this, the value of an American University education has not declined. A degree from a reputed American institute is valued highly all around the world and students who seek to impress employers should seriously consider studying in the USA.
Cost of studying in the USA
The cost of studying in the USA could be little expensive for some international students. Community colleges cost nearly $17,000 (along with transport and other living expenses). A four-year public college for international students can cost nearly $39,890, and private non-profit four-year institutions can cost nearly $49,000 (along with transport and other living expenses). The cost for food and living in the USA normally range between $8000 and $12000, barring the cost of transportation and other expenses.
Scholarships for international students
To meet the expenses and the tuition costs, you may apply for scholarships or financial help that are available for a large number of international students. Many international students opt for education loans, which should be repaid to the banks along with an interest rate fixed by the banks. Many US universities do allocate specific grants for international students to support their tuition and living costs.
Besides providing the common funding options, a few universities provide 'need-blind' admissions for the students with high merits, but who have little or few resources to support their education. Funding information is available at the university websites. You can also check our scholarships page for more details.
Some of the popular scholarships that you can apply for are
1. Fullbright foreign student programme
2. Aga Khan foundation international scholarship programme
3. ETS TOEFL scholarships
4. British Council IELTS scholarship award for Indian students
Benefits of studying in the USA
- Strong Asian community presence in the major American cities.
- The guarantee of a world-class education.
- The wide variety of research-centric science and technology courses.
- Job-oriented management courses.
- Large number of scholarships and fellowships offered by institutions and the American government.
- Part-time job opportunities while you are studying and career guidance after completion of studies.
- An American degree is highly regarded by many employers around the world.
- A vast country with varying landscape that offers a lot for the tourist and the nature-lover.
So you see, your American dream is not that hard to achieve, with carefully planning and taking the right decision at the right time. Studying in the USA has been dreams of many international students since ages. You can make it too!