Irrespective of problem-areas, the United States of America (USA) will (most probably!) be the hottest destination for Indian and international students. It is not difficult to determine why. The quality of education, wide-ranging specialties, flexibility, large campuses, friendly professors, funding and international opportunities are only but a few of the reasons for attracting the elite students from throughout the world. It is not so easy to dislodge the pre-eminent position of US as the ‘land of opportunities’.
There are more than 3,800 universities and colleges in the USA, offering right from short-term certificate programs to Post-Doctoral level degrees. Most students prefer to study in the USA at either the Bachelors level or Masters and beyond.
Master’s level is the most popular among Indian students who would like to chalk their career plans for higher education. More than 78% of Indian students apply for Master’s level programs in US universities.
At this level, Engineering and its specialties (MS) are most popular, followed by Management (MBA) and other subjects like Pharmacy, Public Health, Physiotherapy and other programs. Each of the specialization has its own typical requirements for application, admission and all aspects further education in USA. Through the links on this pages and elsewhere on our site, Nexus will demystify the process of studying in USA.
USA, the country which has experimented with democracy for more than 200 years is strong economically as well as culturally today with the base being the immigrants.
The United States has more institutions of higher education than any other country, but despite the numbers it is the quality of education provided by these academic bodies which is acknowledged worldwide. The teaching forces of these institutions are leading authorities in their respective fields. The quality of the research program along with the resources available and the faculty ensures that the institutions have high standards.
More than 4000 institutions offer undergraduate, masters and doctorate degrees in many different specializations. The USA education system has strong academic & social environment which fosters academic, professional and personal development of individuals.
The education definitely falls in the category of value for your money. USA education is the best investment for the future. A wide spectrum of tuition fees, accommodation options & financial help from the institutions in the form of scholarships, fee waivers, aid etc. makes USA education affordable.
Technology & Research:
USA is known for its latest technologies and advancement which gives the student a very good chance to make his/her future in these fields. USA has always been a hub of inventions. Students therefore have first-hand knowledge about cutting edge technologies coupled with excellent research opportunities.
The USA education system is flexible in terms of choice of courses within a college or university. During the course of study, a student can transfer from one course/stream to another or one institution to another. This aspect of the USA education system makes it distinct from other countries.
International students from all over the world choose to study in the USA because an American education is the best preparation for their future. It becomes all the more within your means with financial aid, scholarships and assistantships on hand. At the same time students are allowed to work 20hr/week during their course and 40hr/week during vacation which helps them to earn and learn.
Top Ranking Institution:
Amongst the top ranking colleges world-wide, majority of them are in USA. These colleges and universities rank high in world rankings because of their infrastructure, technological advancement and top quality of education provided by them.
The best approach of the USA education system is that it allows one to learn and earn. This not only gives one, a thorough knowledge of the subjects, but also teaches one to have a practical & professional approach. It gives better growth prospects worldwide.
USA has the world’s most flexible education system, students can study their area of interest as specialization. As the education system of USA is not centralized each institute can determine its program and admission standards. Lateral movement in the education system is possible any time.
The GPA system is followed throughout the United States to judge student’s performance. It is graded on the scale of 0 to 4. Following is the evaluation of GPA
Grade Points Grade Points Equivalent
US universities have 3 intakes
1. Spring: January/February
2. Fall: August/September
3. Summer: April/May
Major intake is the Fall intake, but most of the universities are open for Spring and few of them for summer & winter intake too. However all subjects commence in Fall and only some in Winter and Summer intake.
Eligibility Language Requirement
All students must have the required English language proficiency with regards to the course. TOEFL score of 80 or above for Postgraduate and 79 above for Undergraduate studies is a decent score. IELTS score of 6.0 or above for Undergraduate degrees and 6.5 or above for postgraduate degrees is required. Over 2500 institutions in USA recognize the IELTS exams including several top ranked institutions.There are several universities which do accept IELTS 6.0 band, few schools accepts TOEFL / IELTS with low scores, students need to complete English programme on successful completion of English programme student can go ahead with Undergraduate and Graduate studies.
Entry Requirements + Eligibilbity
State-affiliated institutions financially supported by public taxes, usually large in size. All levels of degrees with different fields of study are offered. Public colleges and universities are relatively easy on the pocket for residents of a state where the schools are located. Foreign students pay “out-of-state” tuition, which is higher. There are many notable public universities across the country just a few examples: Pennsylvania State University, Ohio State University, University of California, Kansas State University, and University of Texas, California State University.
Private Institutions run without the control of the Government entity. Tuition fees of these institutions are higher but the international as well the domestic students pay the same amount of fees. The notable private institutions are Long Island University, George Washington University, New York University, Carnegie Mellon University.
These are schools emphasizing principally on engineering and science they are known for their research and graduate programs. Most International students who attend these schools are of graduate level. Undergraduates admitted to these schools usually have incredibly strong backgrounds in math and sciences, as witnessed by grades and standardized test scores (e.g. SAT or GRE). M.I.T. (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Cal Poly (California Polytechnic Institute), Georgia Tech (Georgia Institute of Technology), NYIT New York Institute of Technology) and W.P.I. (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) are a few of the noted schools.
More over known as County Colleges or City colleges, Community colleges provide higher education and lower level tertiary education, granting certificates, diplomas and Associates Degree. Some notable community colleges are Ohlone College, De Anza College & Bellevue Community College.
It is an academic degree awarded by the community colleges, junior colleges, business colleges and some bachelor’s degree upon completion of a course of study usually for two years (60 Credits). In USA , an associate degree is equivalent to the first two years of a four year college or university Bachelors degree. It is the lowest in hierarchy of post secondary academic degrees offered in USA.
Commonly known as Undergraduate degree in India. The duration of the bachelors course is 4 years. Students, who have completed a part of their undergraduate degree and want to go to the USA, can apply as a transfer Student. There are two types of bachelors degree: B.A or B.S. Some universities in the USA offer either of the degrees in all fields and at times both the degrees in some field. Students need to appear for SAT & TOEFL/IELTS exams for admission.
The duration of master’s courses may range from a year to two depending on the university & your area of specialization. The binding requisite for Masters is the 16 year of education criteria. Students with Bachelors in Engineering are qualified whereas the students with B.Com, B.Sc., and B.A need to complete at least one year of Masters, post graduate diploma is also accepted by some specific institutions for specific programs. While 16 years of education is the major criteria, few universities do accept students with 3 years Bachelors degree for certain Master programs. Exams required are GMAT for management related subjects / GRE for arts, science or any other subjects and TOEFL/ IELTS exams for admission.
Commonly known as PhD. Duration of the same may range from 3 years to 5 years. Students can take admission for a PhD only after completion of their master’s degree. PhD students need to submit a research proposal as well have to appear for GRE/GMAT & TOEFL/IELTS exams for admissions.
While it is easy for most domestic students to obtain some form of Federal (Government) Aid or university aid for their Bachelor’s level education, it is most often very difficult for international students to obtain aid in any form at Bachelor’s level. Hence, it is imperative that students who are financially sound or have brilliant academic background (including top-level scores in TOEFL/IELTS and/or SAT I and II) to consider further education at the bachelor’s level.
However, at the Master’s level, aid in several forms is available for international students. Almost 78% of students at the Master’s level in US universities get funding in some form or the other.
Most Doctoral level applicants get a complete tuition waiver along with a stipend or scholarship while pursuing their PhD programs in universities abroad. It is also possible for some universities to provide just the admission and no funding at all, based on their financial constraints and funding availability.
Applicants looking for aid are required to apply well before financial aid deadlines, with proper application material, College Application Essays, Recommendations, transcripts and other specified requirements, as prescribed by universities individually.
Many students are concerned with the high costs of studying abroad. The cost of education could be anywhere between USD 10,000- USD 50,000 per year, depending on the program, level and country you choose. In addition to the tuition fee, students also need to plan for funds towards living expenses, books, health insurance, air tickets, transportation, etc.
Finances are a major source of worry for students who wish to study abroad and their parents. However, there are several funding options available to students these days. Some of the options are listed below:
From 2008, USIEF has also introduced the Fulbright Master’s Fellowships for Leadership Development designed for outstanding Indians who are in the age group of 25-30 years, to pursue a Master’s degree program in select US colleges and universities in the areas of Public Administration, Economics, Communication studies and Environment.
For more details, see: www.usief.org.in
It is important for students to understand that financial assistance for international students is often based on merit and rarely on need.
Scholarships/Grants/fellowships are generally based on the student’s academic ability and his performance through the years. Hence, only an academically outstanding student may be considered for this type of an award. These are awards where there is no repayment involved or work to be done in return. These can be Private or Public and research grants. This type of aid is usually in the form of money for any purpose.
A Scholarship can be of two kinds:
A tuition waiver is a form of aid where the student need not pay the tuition fee. Again, the tuition fee may be fully waived or partially waived, depending from university to university.
If the tuition fee is waived, the student has to still pay for use of other facilities like, library, computer Lab, Lab services, etc.
Tuition waivers are generally awarded along with /Grants/fellowships. Tuition waiver is provided by the college/university in the form of Institutional Aid.
Assistantship is a financial aid given by the college/university. It is usually in the form of a cash stipend, sufficient for the student’s living expenses and/or tuition waiver, in return for which the student will have to work (generally not more than 20 hours per week).
There are two types of Assistantships:
1. Research Assistantship – it is usually granted by the respective departments in the university. The student will be assigned to a professor who will give him/her tasks related to a research project he/she is working on. 2. Teaching Assistantship – a student is asked to assist a professor in teaching. For this type of assistantship, the student should have good command over spoken English. Hence, his/her score in the Spoken section of the TOEFL is a very important criterion.
It can be understood that these types of aid are provided to students who have the requisite abilities in the respective areas of study/research.
This type of aid is provided to Master’s and Doctoral level students who are expected to teach undergraduate students or assist their professors in research.
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United States of America (USA) Student Application Procedure till student reaches University.