Cultural diversity and amazing study programmes are what makes the USA the hotspot for more than 1,000,000 international students. It is the preferred destination for international students who wish to broaden their education as well as their life experience. If you are planning to attain a bachelor’s degree, you need atleast 3-4 years of studying in the USA.
Dreaming to study in the USA and actually making it happen are both different things. You need to be completely prepared before you leave for the USA. It is a long process and most students do not know how to make the dream come true. If you are determined about studying in the USA, have got a complete guide that will cover all the details and steps you need to cover for having a successful academic journey in the USA.
Your journey will start by selecting the university where you wish to study and the study programme you wish to pursue.
Steps you need to follow for studying in the USA:
- Research the best universities and colleges
Check out the U.S. Department of Education College Navigator website where you can search for your associate’s, bachelors and advanced degrees. Another website you can try is College Board’s Big Future which will show you different study programs all across undergraduate US colleges and universities. Consider looking at college rankings if you wish to look for top colleges for international students. US has several private companies like U.S News & World Report’s Best Colleges that ranks colleges in several categories.
- Consult a college advisor
Talk to US higher education experts who can help you look for colleges that match your personal preferences, academic interests and professional plans. Shorelight has enrollment counsellors who offer sessions where they guide students regarding the US universities that are suitable to their needs.
You can also attend fairs in your town, city or school if you prefer to meet American university representatives in person.
- 3. Choose an ideal university program
Your study programmes are the most essential factor when picking colleges. You can also apply for a double major if you have multiple academic interests. Some of the questions you need to consider to get started:
- Where do I wish to study?
- Do I wish to attend a small college or a large university?
- Which student organisation or campus activities do I wish to join?
- Do I prefer a college that is in a small town, the countryside or a city?
Answering these questions will help you make an informed decision. Also consider looking at the location, climate, required tests (Duolingo test, IELTS), costs, scholarships, job placement rates and internships to target universities and colleges that meet your demands.
- 4. Apply to the University
After you have shortlisted universities, start applying for the preferred program t the US university by either through the school website or a third-party system like the Common App.
Generally, international student applicants require to submit the following documents:
- SAT or ACT scores
- English proficiency test scores (TOEFL, iTEP, PTE, IELTS)
- Research proposal
- Recommendations from professors
- Copy of a valid passport
- Statement of purpose
- Proof of finance
Applicants may also require to attend campus or video interview with the admission committee with the program’s admission committee. You can also consult Duolingo English test coaching centres who will guide you and prepare you for the test.
- 5. Understand the costs of studying abroad
The cost of college in the United States tends to charge annually which includes college tuition, books and supplies, living expenses and health insurance. Needless to say, studying at American universities is expensive. So check the price structure before applying to it.
- 6. Apply for the financial aid
If you are someone who has limited funds for your undergraduate or graduate degrees, make sure to speak to advisors of the colleges to understand the kinds of grants, fellowships, assistantships, and sponsorships available for international students in the USA. Also, check if the selected college offers any kind of financial aid for international students in the USA that covers certain expenses.
- Apply for the student visa
After you are done making the important decision of where to study in the USA, your next step is applying for a visa.
There are 3 types of student visas to choose from:
This visa allows international students to study at US institutes with funding from family, friends or yourself. You also have the permit to work part-time on campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week.
This lets you participate in the study and work-related exchange program at US colleges or universities organized by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
This student visa is perfect for those who wish to pursue vocational studies at institutes certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).
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- Check the availability of housing
Do not forget to check the housing options before departure. Some universities have on-campus housing in dormitories while others have both on-and off-campus options which include complexes, apartments, shared houses and more. Do your research and choose the housing option that suits your lifestyle.
Here is a complete guide that you can refer to if you plan to pursue your studies in the USA.