University Selection in USA: Find Out How to Select University for MS in USA Image
Masters abroad: preps and steps

University Selection in USA: Find Out How to Select University for MS in USA

Yocket Editorial Team
10 mins read

As a student we have all been spoiled for choices. A couple of years ago, education was only a means of gaining good and well-paying employment. However, as time passed, we have achieved a better outlook and we are now looking for transforming knowledge from our education rather than just degrees. It is important that we get to the right place that fulfills all our requirements of education. The decision to be a part of a top university abroad can affect our career in the long run. Therefore, in this article we’ll help you with all aspects related to how to choose a university in USA.

Why Is It Important to Select the Right University for Studying Abroad?

Strategic university selection in USA is of utmost importance. The right university determines your life inside and outside the campus in the following ways:

  • Quality of Education & Skills:

Getting into the right university in US would mean getting access to high quality education and polishing your skills. These will significantly impact your employment in the future.

  • Campus Life:

The university you choose will significantly impact your years at the campus. Choosing the right university will ensure you get to interact with other highly motivated people. This will help in shaping you and enriching your campus life experiences.

  • Networking:

At the right university, you get a chance to build a strong network. You get opportunities to network not only with your peers, faculty members, but also get a chance to benefit from an alumni network. These networks can really help you find jobs and advance your career.

  • Long term job and Career prospects:

Finding internships and jobs can be relatively easier when you are at the right place. The reputation of your university can also impact your job applications. Studying at a top university like Stanford or MIT, will automatically put you in the lead.

Important factors for University Selection in USA

If you are wondering how to select university for MS in USA, it is important to note that merely checking the rating or a brand is not always the right deciding factor. Here are a few factors that can be considered whether you are choosing a university for in Masters, Bachelors and PhD courses -

  1. Courses

What you are planning to study must most definitely connect to the past you have studied and the future you wish to build. Do not try to change your line to something else because people say it has more ‘scope’ in it in the future. Read the course descriptions carefully. Look for the best course content and subject matter that suits your requirement perfectly.

If you are specifically looking into how to choose university for masters in USA, i.e for MS, or PhD, look for a course that compliments your past achievements and bachelor’s degree or work experience.

  1. Research Projects

Another factor to consider while deciding how to choose university for masters in USA, a look at the research projects is a must. Study the Department Website rather than looking at blogposts by random students.

Look into the research carried out by the faculty and their active projects. Universities in US mention the grants received by the professors on their websites. Read the Blogs and CVs of the professors mentioned on the websites. Keep yourself updated with regards to a professor if moving from one university to another.

  1. Internships

Availability of internships is also an important factor when you are thinking of how to select university for MS in USA. Several US universities have internships available in summer. You can work on Internships outside the campus in areas relevant to your course of studies after you spend 9 months or 2 semesters pursuing your higher education in US. All Universities allow you to undertake Internships if it is connected to your course of studies to enhance your experience in the subject.

At certain universities, Internships may be a mandatory factor and may be a part of your final grades. At some Universities, Internship is not mandatory but keeping good terms with professors can land you one. Internships help you build a rapport to gain a full-time job later after your course is over.

  1. Fees

Tuition fees vary from $8000-$20000 per semester for International Students for Graduate Level Courses. It is important to understand the return on your investment and value for your money rather than disregarding the course or university based on the high cost it has.

A low fee structure does not mean the quality of education is always bad and neither is it true in the opposite case. Some universities may have certain courses that are subsidized causing the fees to be lesser. In some cases, you might have to consider an education loan too.

SUGGESTED READ: Total Cost for MS in USA

  1. Scholarships

The meritorious students will always be given an opportunity to gain a good scholarship. There are ample opportunities which the students can avail of during application and also after they have started the course. Keep a lookout for:

  • Need-based financial aid offered by your university or by the Department: The applications for these are generally during the application for the course. You need to show additional proof documents to prove your need for aid.

  • Merit-based financial aid offered by your university: These are generally offered to students with exceptional and consistent scores and good results.

  • Fellowships: These are generally offered to Research based postgraduate or PhD program students.

  • Assistantships: For every bit of help or assistance you provide to your professors, you are paid back in the mode of scholarships. Whether you help them in their research or create presentations for them or help them grade papers, it is still counted as work.

  1. Ranking

A university ranking has always been of the prime importance for years past to be used for our choice between universities. In India, all our colleges and universities receive a rating from the NAAC, which is a government institution. In the USA, currently, there is no such government body which rates their universities based on the value of education or the resources available. The ratings available today are from news channels and newspapers, which are not affiliated to the government. These may be used as a guideline but not as a strict list. It is however suggested that you use the rankings for the department that you are looking to be a part of rather than just the general ranking of the college.

  1. Location

While deciding between your universities, the location of the university will help in realizing the potential of a student in the area. It is important to know what jobs are available and what the key business requirement is. You may be located close to a financial or commercial hub that may help you to gain access to professionals and companies in the area. This will help you build a rapport for your future in a similar job. In the case of university towns, you will be staying at a place surrounded by students. Owing to the fact that it is a University Town, things around you will be cheaper as compared to some bigger towns.

How to Choose a University in USA: 7 Steps to Follow

Now that we know the factors that impact university selection in USA, let's talk about how to select university for MS in USA or for any other courses: Here are the steps that will help you start your search:

  1. Select your discipline:

Choose your subject wisely based on factors including popular courses in USA, your interests, etc. Take time in choosing the right subject since you will be spending anywhere between 2-6 years at the campus and this will define your career.

  1. List Out Your Priorities:

Make a list of all the factors that you want or want to avoid. For example, you might want to keep the cost, location, convenience, campus life, student accommodation etc. on top of your priorities.

  1. Shortlist the Universities:

Based on your subject, make a shortlist of the institutions you are interested in. You can use the subject-specific rankings to find US universities that match your interests. Make sure you look into only those universities that are certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) as only they are authorized to accept international students.

  1. Do Your Research:

Once the shortlisting is done begin thorough research on each university. Check university websites for official data, and student forum, social media handles for what students have to say about them.

  1. Check the Course Descriptions:

Check the curse description of the discipline you are interested in. For example, if you are interested in how to select university for MS in USA, make sure your university has a course that involves research work.

  1. Attend University Virtual Events and Informative Sessions:

Try to attend university fairs and virtual events to get a look into what the university has to offer.

  1. Match Your Priorities against the Universities:

Once all the above steps have been taken care of, match the shortlisted universities against your priorities and compare selected universities. Eliminate the ones that do not match your requirements.

Despite popular belief and rumours, there is more to university selection than just ranking. It is more of a learning process right at the beginning even before you get there. It is not difficult but needs care and attention. Use your time to find out as much as you can, and should you need any help, professional help is readily available.

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