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Study in United States

Overview

With over 1.1 million international students, the USA has emerged as the number one study destination over the years. One of the major reasons for students flocking to study in USA is the excellent reputation that US universities and degrees hold. 

Diversity is another distinguishing factor that attracts students to pursue higher studies in USA. The country also provides ample work opportunities to the students during and after completion of their academic courses.

Overall, USA is one of the most favourable places in the world for those who wish to turn their study abroad dream into reality. 


USA As a Study Destination: Highlights

Here’s an overview of all the factors that an international student must know about when pursuing higher studies in USA: 

Language of Instruction

English

Average Cost of Study

$45,000/ year 

Average Cost of Living

$10,000 - $20,000/ year 

Sources of Funding

Scholarships, aids and part time jobs

Exams Required

IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, GRE, GMAT,  etc.

Intakes

3 times a year – Fall, Spring and Summer Intakes

Type of Visa

F1, J1 and M1 visas

Top Courses

Engineering and Technology, Business and Management, Fine Arts, Physical and Life Sciences, etc.

Types of Degrees

Associate degree, Undergraduate degree, Graduate degree, Doctorate degree

Best Student Cities

New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Washington DC, etc.


Why Study in USA?

The vast opportunities that educational institutions in the USA provide are rarely found in any other country. With vast STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs and equal appreciation for Arts and Literature subjects, there are many other benefits of studying in USA. The top benefits of studying abroad in USA are - 

  • The USA is home to some of the best educational institutions in the world. The degrees from these universities are recognised worldwide.
  • The higher education system in USA is quite flexible in terms of deciding the structure and courses.   
  • The US colleges and universities offer a vibrant student life. Universities offer a wide range of activities beyond academics in their campus. 
  • There are ample research and training opportunities for international students studying in USA. The universities are well equipped with the latest technology to provide up-to-date education, research and training to their students. 
  • Studying from the best US universities and learning under the guidance of top professors in the world, make students highly employable in the job market. 

Education System

After completing their high school (12th standard), the students in USA go to colleges and universities to pursue higher education. The education system in USA offers tremendous diversity for international students. There are about 4,500 accredited higher educational institutions in USA that offer three types of degrees:

  • Undergraduate Degree: It is a full-time undergraduate degree which is referred to as a Bachelor’s degree in USA. The duration of the degree is 4 years.
  • Associate Degree: It is a degree taken at an undergraduate level. It is equivalent to a diploma and is offered by community colleges in USA. It is of 2 years duration.
  • Graduate Degree: A graduate or master’s degree mostly covers 2 to 3 academic years in the universities of USA.  
  • Doctorate Degree: A doctorate degree takes a total of 5 to 8 years to complete.

The detailed view of different types of higher education institutions in USA is discussed below:

Types of Institutions 

Key Points

State College or University

Subsidised by the local or state government

Private College or University

Run by private groups or organisations

Community College

Offers 2 year associate degrees or certificates

Institute of Technology

Offers graduate and short-terms programs in science and technology


Credit System in USA

All US universities follow the same credit system. The credits that a student earns during the course are taken into consideration to calculate the final result.

  • A student requires 3-5 credits per course for an undergraduate degree/Bachelor’s. Typically, around 120-130 credit hours are required to complete a bachelor's degree 
  • For a master’s course, it is 3-4 credits per course. Around 30-64 credit hours are required for a master's degree in USA.
  • The U.S. education system uses the GPA or the grade point average, which is a scale from 0.0 to 4.0 to grade students. For a semester, these are calculated based on marks obtained in each course and credits earned for that semester. 4.0 represents A grade and 0.0 is equivalent to F grade. 

Top Courses

Students looking for the best courses to study in USA are presented with a wide range of options. However, there are certain courses that US Universities are known for. Here’s a quick look at best courses to study in USA for international students: 

  • Engineering & Technology 
  • Business and Management
  • Marine Biology and Life Sciences
  • Maths & Computer Science
  • Social Sciences
  • Medicine
  • Liberal Arts
  • Law

The most popular programs that students opt to study in America are:

Program 

Duration 

Average Tuition Fees

BSc Nursing (BSN) 

4  years

$45,000/ year 

MBBS (BS + MD + Residency)

8-10 years

$40,000/ year 

MPH

1 to 2 years

$50,000/ year 

MSc Computer Science

1 to 2 years 

$50,000/ year 

MSc Data Science

1 to 2 years

$70,000/ year 

MA Applied Economics 

2 years

$35,000/  year 

MBA 

2 years

$70,000/ year 

LLM

1 year

$60,000/ year 

Aerospace Engineering
bachelors
Course Duration - 48 Months
Earth Science
masters
Course Duration - 24 Months
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
masters
Course Duration - 24 Months
Media Arts and Science
masters
Course Duration - 24 Months
Supply Chain Management
masters
Course Duration - 10 Months
Anthropology
bachelors
Course Duration - 48 Months

Admission Process

The requirements to study in USA for Indian students and International students can be completed online. A step-by-step process of how to study in USA is discussed below:

  1. Decide the course you want to pursue and start searching for the best universities offering that course. 
  2. Once the universities are shortlisted, check out the official university websites of each university and gather information about the requirements and eligibility criteria.
  3. Start the application process. Fill the application form and upload all required documents and certificates. Pay the required application fees.
  4. Wait for the universities to revert. Once selected, you will be sent an I-20 form. It is the document that you need to acquire your student visa.

The USA admission process can be a long and complicated task. Hence you may want to get in touch with our career counsellors at Yocket to simplify the process for you.


Admission Requirements 

To understand how to study in USA, you must also understand the USA university requirements for international students:

Degree

Requirements

Associate Degree

  • High school transcript or equivalent with an average of C grade
  • TOEFL iBT score 60 

Bachelor’s Degree

  • 12th standard certificate with minimum GPA – 2.50 to 3. 60 
  • TOEFL - 61 
  • SOP
  • ACT/ SAT 

Master’s Degree

  • Bachelor’s degree with minimum CGPA 2.50 to 3.60
  • TOEFL – 78 to 100
  • SOP, LORs, CV
  • GRE/ GMAT

Cost of Attendance

The cost of studying in the USA depends upon the course and university you choose. Your lifestyle also comes into consideration here. The overall cost of studying can be divided into two categories – Tuition Fees and Cost of Living.


Tuition Fees

The tuition fee in the USA depends upon the university you choose and the course you pursue. If you could make it to the public universities in the USA, your expenses are cut down to a great extent. Private universities in the USA on the other hand charge high fees in comparison to the public ones.

Degree Type 

Average Annual Tuition Fee 

Bachelors 

$8,000 - $40,000

Masters 

$10,000 - $60,000


Cost of Living

The cost of living in USA for international students again depends upon the type of living you choose. If you have a tight budget, you must opt for student accommodation. Besides, there are some costs that are unavoidable. An average cost of living in USA for international students is discussed below:

Particular 

Average Cost Per Year

Apartment housing including utilities  

$21,710

Food

$8,500

Dormitory housing

$7,588 - $11,914

Transportation 

$2,180

Books and supplies

$13,800

Miscellaneous

$1,000

Best Student Cities

With more than 50 states hosting world famous universities, the USA offers many options of cities for you to choose from. Each of them is equally pleasant in terms of education and exposure. Given below is a list of best place to study in USA:

City 

Average Cost of Living 

Boston

$22,000/ year

Chicago

$20,000/ year

New York

$21,000/ year

Los Angeles

$20,000/ year

San Francisco

$20,000/ year

Visa

The visa process to study in USA for Indian students is quite simple. You have to follow all the steps carefully to get your visa without any hassle. A step-by-step guide to follow while one applies for USA student visa is given below: 

  1. Apply to an SEVP approved institution and be accepted by a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) approved school in the US (6 to 12 months prior to US study).
  2. After being accepted at an SEVP certified institution you will receive an I-20 or DS-160 form. The form is a must to apply for an USA student visa.
  3. Pay your SEVIS fee at least 3 days prior to submitting your US visa application. You may make the payment through online or a paper form. The information about them can be accessed through US Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) SEVP official website.
  4. Once you have received your SEVIS form and paid the SEVIS fee, you can book an appointment with a US consulate or embassy in your country for a US student visa application.
  5. Pay the visa application fee. It is also known as the Machine Readable Visa Fee, or ‘MRV fee’.
  6. The last step is to schedule and attend a USA student visa interview. Go to the embassy or consulate website and check for all required documents that you need to carry to the interview. 
  7. In all cases you’ll need to complete the visa application form DS-160 through online mode. Select the location from which you wish to apply and ensure you have all the documents and information required for the application form.

Necessary documents and personal details needed to apply for DS-160 visa 

  1. Name and date of birth
  2. Address and contact number
  3. Passport details
  4. Details of travel plans, and travel companions
  5. Details of previous US travel
  6. Your point of contact in the US
  7. Family, work and education details
  8. Security, background and medical health information
  9. SEVIS ID and address of US school/program you intend to enrol in (as printed on I-20 or DS-2019 form)

Make sure to reach at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled time of your visa interview.  

Top Scholarships

International students are offered many scholarships to study in USA. Most of them are based on merit or excellence in any extra co-curricular activity. They may be government funded or non-government ones, and also university-specific ones as well. Some top scholarships for indian students to study in USA:


Fulbright Foreign Student Program

  • Awarded to: International Students for Graduate programs.
  • Amount/ Benefit: Covers tuition fees, accommodation fee, health insurance and airfare.


United World Colleges International Youth Scholarships

  • Awarded to: International students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in the USA. 
  • Amount/ Benefit: Full or partial fee waiver depending on the funds available.


Rotary Peace Fellowships

  • Awarded to: International students pursuing a Certificate Program or Masters’ Degree related to peace and conflict resolution. 
  • Amount/ Benefit: Covers fees, accommodation, transportation, and all internship and field-study expenses.


PEO International Peace Scholarship For Women

  • Awarded to: Female  students pursuing graduate programs. 
  • Amount/ Benefit: $12,500


Clark Global Scholarship Program

  • Awarded to: International students pursuing a bachelor’s degree and demonstrating financial need.
  • Amount/ Benefit: $15,000-$25,000


Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarships

  • Awarded to: Students for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Programs.
  • Amount/ Benefit: $12,000-$25,000


University Scholarships

  • Awarded to: Fully-funded scholarships offered by individual universities for both graduate and undergraduate programs. Most universities including Stanford, Yale, Harvard offer these scholarships 
  • Amount/ Benefit: Varies with the university and program

Work Opportunities

Having a student visa allows the international students to opt for part time jobs in the USA. 

The US government follows a 20 hour work per week rule for part time jobs in USA for international students. 

There are two types of student employment: On-campus and Off-campus. The former is the work that takes place within the college/university campus. Off-campus on the other hand is the work that is affiliated with the institution. Off-campus jobs can be undertaken by students under 4 categories – Optional Practice Training (OPT), Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Economic Hardship and lastly, International Organizations. 

Some popular part time student jobs in USA for international students are - 

Part-Time Jobs

Average Salary Per Hour

Library Assistant

$14

Research Assistant 

$17

Tutor 

$12

Campus Tour Guide

$13

Department Assistant

$16

Food Runner 

$12

Receptionist

$13


Post Study Work Options For International Students In USA

Most of the international students in USA hold the US non-immigrant student visa F-1. Having the F1 visa grants them the permission to work in the USA after finishing the studies depending on the course. However, there are certain guidelines and restrictions issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in this regard.  


Job Outlook for International Students after Studies

Here’s a quick look at the jobs after MS in USA -

Area of Specialisation

Median Annual Salary

Management

$144,830

Computer Science

$126,830

Chemical Engineering

$108,540

Statistics / Data Science

$103,930

Electrical & Electronics Engineering

$100,830


Work Visa & PR in USA 

Once the extension under F1 student Visa is over, students are allowed to stay in the country after obtaining a H-1B USA work visa. With this visa , students can live and work in the US for up to 6 years. 

Students wanting to stay over 6 years can apply for a green card to get PR in the US. Some ways for F1 students to apply for a green card in USA are:

  • Receive Employer Sponsorship
  • Marry a US citizen
  • Seek Asylum
  • Participate in military service
  • Receive parent or child sponsorship

Students fulfilling any of the above mentioned criteria, will definitely get their PR in the USA. Having a PR in the USA allows individuals to apply for all kinds of job opportunities in the USA.

Academic study and work experience from the reputed universities of USA, and years of residing in this radiant country is truly a lifetime experience. It has a positive impression on your life and career to enhance your long-term goals. This experience helps you acquire all the attributes to flourish, both, in personal and professional spheres of life. Professionals can help make your study abroad USA journey easy, so feel free to reach out to Yocket Counsellors today!

FAQs


1. When does the academic season in the US begin?

Ans: The academic year usually runs from August through May. Most universities run with the semester system (two terms) but some also go with a trimester system (three terms).


2. There are so many universities in the US, how do I navigate through them?

Ans: There are 4500 accredited universities in the US. Navigating through them can be a difficult task. You can try the Grad School Finder tool here. You can then discuss the results of the Grad School Finder with seniors or other peers on Yocket discussions or read reviews of universities on Yocket. You should also check the accreditation of the universities on the official government website.


3. Is it possible to apply for Masters with a three-year Bachelors?

Ans: This is a tricky question for US universities. Most top universities seek for a 4-year under-graduate study but still there are individual universities (even good ones) that may accept three-year. The best option is to check within the eligibility criteria of your shortlisted university.


4. Which English language test should I choose?

Ans: US universities generally accept both TOEFL and IELTS.


5. Which term?Fall or spring has better internship opportunities?

Ans: Fall has more internship opportunities. Students who enroll in the spring season face a problem of fulfilling 9-month enrolment criteria for companies.


6. While applying to on-campus jobs, what should I avoid mentioning in my resume?

Ans: Your date of birth, religious preference, nationality, passport number, or home address should not be mentioned in the resume.


7. How to get on-campus jobs in the U.S?

Ans: You should be proactive in terms of networking and volunteering. Reach out the university's career center for a job. Getting hand-on tips from seniors also helps.


8. Do I need to take care of the duration I work for CPT?

Ans: Yes, you should. If you work part-time for a CPT for less than 12 months, you can still apply for OPT. However, if you have been working full time for CPT for 12 months or more, you lose your eligibility for an OPT.


9. Can I get my OPT after coming back to the U.S from my home country?

Ans: No, if you had not received an Employment authorization document before leaving, you will not be readmitted after coming back.


10. What documents do I need to come back to the U.S. after receiving my EAD for OPT?

Ans: A valid passport, valid F-1 visa, valid EAD card, letter of employment including dates and salary, and all I-20s with page 3 endorsed to travel by the student's international student advisor in the last 6 months.


11. Can I work for more than 12 months through OPT?

Ans: Students employed by companies under the E-Verify program and studying any of the following subjects can apply for a special extension of the OPT program for an additional 24 months. Subjects include Actuarial Science, Computer Science Applications, Engineering, Engineering Technologies, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Military Technologies, Physical Sciences, and other STEM Designated Degree Programs


12. Why is a labor condition attestation (LCA) required for an H-1B visa?

Ans: It ensures that you get salaries and benefits at par with other American counterparts and you are not exploited by U.S. companies.


13. Will I be able to fit the U.S. culture as an international student?

Ans: U.S. universities welcome international students with open arms. They provide lots of support with clubs for students from each country as well as offices for international students. There are so many ways to enjoy life on campus. With universities being bigger than some actual cities, the activities and student clubs can be really interesting to take part in. Also, students are exposed to so many cultures and different types of people. It helps them grow individually as well.


14. Is the U.S. education system flexible?

Ans: As a student, you have the flexibility of working and pursuing extra-curricular activities while studying the course. Also, you can take up classes at night if it isn't feasible for you to take classes during the day (like if you have a job or child that you need to care for).


15. Where is the end date of CPT mentioned?

Ans: It is mentioned in the I-20 form. CPt needs to be a part of studies.