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 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.
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|UNIVERSITY||THE 2018||QS 2018||US World 2018|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology - [MIT]||4||1||2|
|University of California - [UCB]||13||28||4|
|The University of Chicago - [UChicago]||10||9||14|
|California Institute of Technology - [CalTech]||5||4||6|
|University of Pennsylvania - [UPENN]||12||19||16|
|University of California Los Angeles - [UCLA]||-||32||-|
|Johns Hopkins University||12||21||12|
|University of Michigan||21||20||-|
|University of California - [UCSanDiego]||30||41||41|
|University of Washington - [UW]||28||66||10|
|New York University||27||43||28|
|University of Wisconsin - [UW-Madison]||43||53||49|
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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)|
|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|
Even though the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic brought a halt to the world and has severely impacted the global economy, the one thing that it couldn’t touch was the spirit and passion of international candidates looking to study in the USA. A report by PIE News (April 2020) revealed that around 70% of Indian students still want to continue their studies abroad. While 9% of candidates chose to defer their admissions, only 1% of the total students wanted to stay back in India and start their studies.
A similar report published in June 2020 by Vigo Stacey said that only 2% of the total South Asian students were considering to totally give up on the idea of studying overseas, with around 90% still seeking to pursue higher studies abroad. However, the rising concerns among the candidates also reflect a different story which has been explained in detail in the graph depicted below.
Since the zeal of the students around the world has been untouched, US universities have also taken all the preventive measures for the smooth functioning of the academic world and have kept their end of the deal. Some measures that have been taken by almost all the institutes of higher education in the US to prevent the spread of COVID-19 include moving of all the classes online; since the local IELTS/TOEFL/PTE centers were temporarily closed, universities endured to offer pre-sessional English courses online to the students in need; strict safety, health and hygiene measures; 24×7 student support.
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 or Undergraduate: In the USA, a Bachelor’s degree course is regarded as an UnderGraduate (UG) course. Usually, the duration of the UG courses in the USA is four years. The first two years of study comprises 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 in the US choose a community college to complete the first two years of UG prerequisite courses. These students obtain an 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 or a Graduate: International students from only a limited number of countries are allowed to pursue Master’s courses in the US. Usually, the duration of the 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. For admission to a gradation program, applicants are required to sit exams such as GRE or GMAT, LSAT for law, and MCAT for medical programs.
Level 3 – Doctoral Degree: Usually, the duration of PhD in America is three years. However, for international students, a Doctorate degree may take up to five or six years to complete. Students can enter 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.
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.
Some of the renowned institutes for studying in the US reputed across the globe along with their acceptance rate are as tabulated below.
|Rankings (US News 2020)||Name of the Institute||Acceptance Rate|
|3 (tie)||Columbia University||5.90%|
|3 (tie)||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||6.70%|
|3 (tie)||Yale University||6.30%|
|6 (tie)||Stanford University||4.40%|
|6 (tie)||University of Chicago||7.30%|
|6 (tie)||University of Pennsylvania||8.40%|
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:
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.
A 6-step application process along with before and after measures are as compiled below.
US universities observe a semester-wise application cycle for applicants seeking to study in the USA. Admissions take place in 3 semesters.
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.
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