The United States of America (USA) hosts the greatest number of international students in the world. Quality education, a unique curriculum, a multicultural environment, and abundant opportunities are just some of the reasons why many Indian students want to study in the US.
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. Similarly, for your graduate studies, you can choose your preference and when you progress for your dissertation, you can focus on the ideas you want to emphasize upon.
Biotechnology, computer science, and electronics are some of the most popular courses in the USA. Other specialized postgraduate courses in streams like medicine, cosmetic surgery, para-psychology, diabetes, and genetics are also popular.
Some of the US institutes have three academic years/admission cycles for students. But mostly admissions happen during the fall and spring semesters. The curriculum comprises short- or mid-term assessments for students, with assignments to complete. The overall performance of students is based not on the final exams, but on how they perform in each assessment.
USA universities place great significance on diversity, meaning classes will consist of students of different ages, religions, and ethnicities. This provides a stimulating and interesting learning atmosphere that motivates cross-cultural understanding and socializing.
Most classes will have no more than 20 students and the faculty member will take the time to get to know students and their strengths. Interactive and practical learning is the basis of American teaching. Professors are usually willing to spend time outside of class to offer further support. Campuses in the US also offer an active social life with many clubs and organizations for students to meet other students with similar interests and further career opportunities.
Most American universities and colleges commence their classes in August/September usually known as the Fall session. A few others also provide a January/February intake, called the Spring intake that goes on till April. In fact, a Summer intake is also available for limited programs and colleges between the months of May and August.
The duration of each course depends on the university and specialization. Most bachelor’s degrees take three to four years, master’s take one to two years and doctoral degrees may take four to seven years. The academic year at many colleges comprises of two terms called the semesters. Some may have a three-term calendar where it is referred to as the trimester system.
The cost of studying in the USA could be quite expensive at times, for some international students. Community colleges cost $17,000 (along with transport and other living expenses). A four-year public college for international students can cost $39,890, and private non-profit four-year institutions can cost $49,000 (along with transport and other living expenses). Food and living expenses in the USA normally range between $8000 and $12000, barring the cost of transportation and other expenses.
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 local laws. All leading institutions conduct a Student Orientation Programme, which helps the student acclimatize to life in the USA.
Most US institutions offer some flexible programs for all students, which help them find their interest before deciding on a major. This means students who are unsure about their course choice in the first year of the undergraduate program can get adequate time to choose their major. Also, students can opt for a double major, i.e., a degree in two different subjects.
Most US colleges are well equipped with advanced technology and facilities. Also, they have plenty of clubs and societies where students can engage themselves, outside classrooms. Extra-curricular activities allow students to develop their hobbies.
So now you have all the basic information about studying in the USA. Do let us know if we can guide you further. Studying in the USA has been a dream of many international students for years. You can achieve it too!
Part-time in the USA
During the first year of studies, students cannot accept off-campus employment at any time. Under certain circumstances, the US Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant permission to accept off-campus employment after one year of study, but this is very rare. F-1 students may accept on-campus employment in your university without seeking prior permission from USCIS.
Students cannot work more than 20 hours per week. During holidays, breaks, and summer sessions, the student may work up to 40 hours per week. The student can work for a commercial firm that provides services to the college, such as a bookstore or cafeteria. Working for more than 20 hours will lead to problems involving the reinstatement of student status to deportation.
Off-campus employment like hotels, motels, gas stations, liquor stores, etc is illegal. If caught, that could possibly lead to deportation or problems during future immigration-related work authorization.