Many dream of studying in the United States, but some are discouraged from doing so because the path seems complicated. Let me explain how you can make your dream a reality, while also highlighting some of the advantages in the land of opportunities — the United States of America.
In today’s global work environment, a degree from a foreign university not only offers knowledge, but also provides critical skills to create and adapt to jobs of the future. The United States is one such place where experiential learning and research are the norm. Over 1,40,000 Indian students are currently studying in the U.S. and are making their mark in American classrooms with their talent and hard work. They know that an American degree is recognised across the world and will open up a wide range of opportunities.
Students are usually admitted into U.S. universities in the fall or spring semesters, starting in August or January, respectively. Start preparing a year or a year-and-a-half prior to your desired programme’s start date since application deadlines usually fall about 10 months before the start of your programme. However, some universities role out admissions and accept applications throughout the year.
There are over 4,500 accredited universities and colleges in the United States. First, ensure that a programme’s academic content and research opportunities match your interests. Also make sure that you meet the eligibility requirements listed on the university website. Beyond that, you may wish to consider factors like school size, location, weather and tuition to help narrow down your choices.
For high school students who are not yet sure what career path you wish to take, you can apply for an “undecided major” in a U.S. university or apply to a liberal arts college where you will study different subjects in the first two years and declare a major at the end of your second year. Another option is a two-year Associate Degree from a community college, which is often more affordable than a four-year university. With an Associate Degree, you can transfer to a university for your third and fourth years of undergraduate studies.
While researching universities, it is also important to start preparing for required standardised tests. Those who wish to pursue a bachelor’s programme should take the SAT or ACT and an English language proficiency test (TOEFL, IELTS or PTE). Those looking to complete their master’s or PhD are required to take the GRE or GMAT and an English language proficiency test. Standardised tests and academic credentials are important.
However, your extra-curricular activities, leadership skills, and demonstrable interest in your chosen field of study are equally important. Some universities have made the standardised tests optional, but if you wish to widen your choice of universities or pursue a scholarship or assistantship, you must submit test scores.
As you start on this path toward fulfilling your dreams, remember, you are not alone. You and your parents can seek guidance from EducationUSA, funded by the U.S. Government to guide international students who wish to study in the United States.
To arrange an appointment with the EducationUSA Center at the United States-India Educational Foundation, Chennai, please contact 044-28574134 or send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
According to The Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released on November 14, 2016, the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities surpassed one million for the first time during the 2015-16 academic year— an increase of seven per cent from the previous year to a new high of nearly 1,044,000, representing five per cent of the total student population at U.S. institutions.
This strong growth confirms that the United States remains the destination of choice in higher education.
The Open Doors report is published annually by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The new report indicates there were a record 1,65,918 students from India, a 25 per cent increase from the year before, making it the second leading country of origin among international students in the United States. This was the highest absolute increase of students ever and followed the previous year’s record growth.
India accounts for one out of every six international students in the United States. Approximately three-fifths of Indian students are at the graduate level and three-fourths are in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).