In a pandemic free year, nearly 5000 students from India go and pursue higher education in the United States of America. The numbers plummeted a great deal in 2020 because of the Coronavirus outbreak. However, in 2021, the number of US student visa approvals for Indian students has skyrocketed. Those aspiring to study in USA this year must know what to expect once they get there and what are their options in terms of programmes, majors, universities, expenses, and more. Read further to know all about studying in USA. But Before let us address the elephant in the room Why Study in USA?
Why Study in USA ?
The United States of America (USA) welcomes the largest number of foreign students in the world. Quality education, a unique curriculum, a multicultural atmosphere, and numerous possibilities are just a few of the reasons why many Indian students choose to study in the US.
Here are top 5 reasons why studying in the US may be the greatest choice of your life:
1. Academic success
The US has some of the best universities in the world, several of which regularly rank in the top 10. American universities are also renowned for having high academic standards, strict quality control procedures, and enough funding to provide great education to students. According to QS World Ranking 2019, the US has 33 of the top 100 universities. Seven of the top ten American universities were also rated by Times Higher Education Ranking.
2. Adaptable schooling
Courses and programmes are many in American universities and colleges. You may choose the course material as well as the format. Undergraduates may take as many courses as they like before declaring their major at the conclusion of their second year. As a result, you can investigate your topic of interest and decide afterwards. Similarly, you may select your graduate courses and then concentrate on the concepts you wish to emphasise in your dissertation.
3. Excellent foreign student assistance
American universities recognise the challenges faced by foreign students and provide frequent orientation programmes, seminars, and training. Also, the international student office helps students like you adjust to a new lifestyle – whether academically, culturally, or socially, the staff is available 24/7.
4. Cultural fusion
The US is a mash-up of cultures, races, and ethnicities. Its varied atmosphere guarantees that all groups are accepted and that there is no space for prejudice. You’ll be studying alongside students from all around the globe, which will be exciting and enriching. Growing up in a diverse environment will give you strong personality characteristics and talents that are marketable globally. Employers nowadays want pupils with a diverse cultural background, which you can acquire in the US. The US will let you discover new foods, cultures, festivals, and art forms.
5. A lively campus life
The US college life is unrivalled. Regardless of the institution, you will be immersed in new cultural experiences and the American way of life. Accept it and be open to new ideas and individuals.
Step by Step Guide on How To Pursue Your Education in USA
According to Education USA, there are five steps to follow once you have decided to study in USA be it for an undergraduate degree, post-graduation or diploma. The steps to set things in motion are –
Research Your Options –
Consider where your interests lie and decide upon a degree that best fits your interest. Find out which colleges and universities offer the degree of your choice or similar programmes. Say that you have found the institution that best fits your expectations, the next thing to look up is how much would it cost you. Which gets us to the next step.
Plan your finances –
Evaluating your expenses should be among the top things on your preparation list. Make sure that you have your tuition cost ready. Determine the cost of living depending on which part of the US your college is located. Decide if you want to live on-campus or off-campus. Figure out what bills you will have to take care of including transportation and miscellaneous expenses. If need be, apply for financial aid along with your application.
Apply for the College/ University –
Complete your application. Usually, applying for a university in the US involves multiple steps. Some of these steps are documentation, writing essays, appearing for tests, collecting recommendations, etc. Since it’s a lengthy process, ascertain that you follow any and all guidelines thoroughly.
Apply for a US Student Visa –
Turn in your US student visa application. Which again, involves documentation and an interview. There are different types of student visas based on your programme.
Prepare for Departure –
All there’s left to do after everything has been taken care of is prepare for departure. Make sure that you have everything that you might need. You are also supposed to attend a pre-departure orientation. This orientation is provided by Education USA advisers and US alumni. It prepares you for the new challenges that you might face, which includes cultural differences, academic processes, and more.
Study in USA for Post Graduation
Considering getting a Master’s degree in USA can seem overwhelming. In order to avoid that feeling, all you have to do is research what best fits your career goals, your field of study, and your budget. There are numerous options for a Masters programme that you can opt for based on your qualifications. The education and exposure you get while getting a master’s degree in the US will be held in high regard not only in the USA or your home country but all over the world. A brief overview of various courses that students can choose from is provided below.
MBA in USA
Business schools in USA are recognised all over the world and employers find alumni from these institutes a great value addition to their teams. Today, with several resources at their disposal and great programmes offered by the universities, it has become more accessible for international students. And MBA in USA for Indian students has become an attractive opportunity to consider. Having foreign experience in their work profiles and resumes results in a significant increase of 70% in the offered salaries. Another advantage of Indian students getting an MBA in USA is that they are presented with more specialisations. As a consequence, it is more likely that they will get to build a career in the field of their choice.
While some schools count relevant work experience as a prerequisite for enrolling new students, many have exempted it to keep students looped in the learning cycle. Top colleges like Harvard Business school and Wharton offer MBA in USA without work experience. Other US business schools have stopped considering the GMAT scores to enrol students in their MBA programmes. It is now possible to enrol into MBA in USA without GMAT. Such schools are now providing GMAT waivers based on previous academic performance and student profiles. To name a few, MIT Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts, Questrom School of Business, Boston University, and Kenan-Flagler Business, University of North Carolina are some among others.
STEM MBA in USA
A selection of universities in the US offer programmes for students who aspire to get an MBA and excel in management by utilising data, analysis, and technology. The curriculum includes topics like decision theory, business analytics, marketing, economics, law, statistics, etc.
Pursuing a STEM MBA from USA broadens the range of opportunities for job seekers since more and more businesses are becoming data-oriented.
Some popular and renowned names that offer STEM MBA in USA are –
- Harvard Business School
- Columbia Business School
- Anderson School of Management, UCLA
- Ross School of Business, University of Michigan
- Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania
MS in Business Analytics from US Universities
Hundreds of colleges in the USA are providing MS programmes to meet the ever-increasing need of professionals in the data-driven industries. MS in Business Analytics in USA is a short 12-month course. The eligibility criteria vary slightly from university to university while minimum scores required for standardized tests like GRE, GMAT, etc. are quite similar throughout. The annual tuition fee for these programmes can be anywhere between $25,000 and $85,000 based on the university in question. However, many scholarship options are also available.
MIM in USA
You can find some of the best management colleges in the USA. Specialisations like Entrepreneurship, Accounting, Business Analytics, and Financial Economics are offered. Stanford University, MIT Sloan, Kellogg School of Management, etc. offer this course. Similar to MS, this course is again a short 10 to 18 months long. Candidates who aspire to get into MIM in USA are required to have a minimum of 3.0 GPA along with qualifying IELTS/ TOEFL test scores.
Masters in Computer Science in USA
Students who intend to work in fields pertaining to technology can opt to study in USA since many renowned institutes offer computer science programmes. Moreover, getting a Master in Computer Science degree from USA can open many prestigious opportunities. Most universities look for a minimum of 3.5 GPA to admit students. Also, students with work experience of at least 2 to 3 years are preferred. Masters in Computer Science in USA is a course that can boost your career significantly.
Getting a Bachelor Degree from USA
If you want to study in USA right after high school, you need to research it well in advance. Similar to any other level of education you will also have to take care of the documentation, visa, and admission process. The advantage of starting to study in USA after class 12th is that you are already familiar with the country if you also plan to get a PG there. You get accustomed to living USA and get a headstart by avoiding the cultural shock. Students can either opt for an arts degree or a science degree. Some of the degrees that you can pick from are Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Social Work, Bachelor of Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Design, etc.
PhD in USA
Getting a doctorate is no mean feat on its own. Getting one from the United States only adds to the achievement, especially for international students. Students seeking a PhD are supposed to appear for Graduate Record Examinations or GRE. It applies to any field or subject that you can think of. Aspirants can take the exams as many times as they please and send the best scores across. In addition to that, the scores remain valid for 5 years. However, the scores are a deciding factor, they do not ensure admissions.
PhD in USA without GRE is also a possibility. Just like GMAT waivers, universities in USA also provide GRE waivers. If you have an exceptional GPA or professional work experience, you can be offered these waivers. Another case in which this exemption can be made is when you get another degree from the country. This increases the chances of admissions drastically.
Some institutes that offer these waivers are listed below.
- Walden University
- Smith College
- Colorado Technical University
- Chicago School of Professional Psychology
- Simmons College
Scholarships to Study in USA
International students are provided scholarships by both, the US Government and private universities. In order to get these scholarships, students are supposed to fulfil certain eligibility criteria. The eligibility criteria vary based on the body providing the scholarships and individual merit. Some programmes and universities that provide international students scholarships to study in USA are mentioned below.
- The Next Gen Scholarship
- The Civil Leadership Awards
- The Fulbright Commission
- American University
- Dartmouth University
- The Aga Khan Foundation Scholarship Program
- New York University
- Purdue University
- Wesleyan University
- Harvard University and more.
College Admission Document List
Applying for colleges in the USA is a lengthy process because it usually involves a number of documents that you will have to present to the universities. The list of all important documents that are to be kept ready while applying is provided below.
- A filled application form
- Academic certificates (high school mark sheets, passing certificates, transcripts, degrees)
- GMAT scorecard
- TOEFL/ IELTS scorecard
- Work experience certificates (joining letters, experience letters, LORs from work superiors)
- LORs from 3 lecturers
- Statement of purpose
- Copies of the first and last pages of your passport
- Passport-sized photographs
- Bank Statement
- Affidavit of support
Visa Requirements for International Students in USA
International students who want to study in USA are issued non-immigrant F1 visas. On occasion, J1 and M1 visas are also issued. F1 visa is issued for academic studies only while J1 is issued in case some practical training is required as part of their educational programme. The training in question has to be unavailable in the native country. Similarly, students are issued M1 visas if they intend to attend non-academic programmes/ vocational schools.
Your academic eligibility, financial stability, and health insurance are taken into consideration. Generally, the institute that you have applied to will tell what are their requirements, which, in turn, helps in determining what kind of visa you need.
Once your visa is approved, you can arrive in the USA at least 30 days before your programme begins. If you apply for F1 visa, it allows you to stay in the country all through your programme’s duration and 60 days after its completion. You are not supposed to stay in the US after 60 days of your programme ending. This limit for J and M visa holders is 30 days.
Cost of Living in USA for International Students
One of the most important aspects to study in USA is sorting the money it’s going to cost you. Roughly, the cost of living in USA is divided into tuition fees, housing, food, healthcare, taxes, and transport. Apart from that, there are other miscellaneous expenses based on your lifestyle. Consequently, it can get fairly expensive so it is always wise to plan ahead. Your tuition will depend on the level of education you want to enrol in and on the institution. For Instance, an arts degree in a community college will be less expensive than a post-graduate science programme. Similarly, the expense of your accommodation depends on what part of the country you are in. An estimated cost of living based on all these expenses is tabulated below.
|Average Tuition Fee|
|Doctoral Degree||$28,000 to $55,000 per year|
|Graduate Program||$20,000 to $45,000 per year|
|Undergraduate (Bachelor Degree)||$20,000 to $40,000 per year|
|Community Colleges||$6,000 to $20,000 per year|
|English Language Studies||$700 to $2,000 a month|
|Accommodation/ Housing Rent|
|Approx. $6,000 and $14,000 per year|
|Food||$2500 per year|
|Travel||$500- $1200 per year|
|Books and Stationery||$500- $1000 per year|
|Health & Insurance|
|$1500- $2500 per year|
*If you work 20 hours a week alongside classes and full time during vacations, your salary is taxable.
Getting a US Student Bank Account
Managing finances in the US is as crucial as your academic performance. It is advisable that all international students get a student bank account opened when they get to the United States. After opening a bank account, you also need to maintain a healthy credit score in USA. While the minimum credit score is 300, anything over 700 is considered good. Opening a bank account is a simple process, steps to which are provided below.
Step 1 – Select a Bank – Choose a bank that best fits your needs. Also, take into consideration the services that they are providing. Check if the bank is FDIC insured (ensures that you get your money if the bank is shut due to some reason). You also need to find out what are the service charges and monthly charges. Compare your options. It also helps if the bank offices and ATMs are near your campus or accommodation. HSBC USA, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Aeldra, Chase, etc. are some names that offer student accounts to international students.
Step 2 – Choose between a checking account or a savings account – If you plan on saving for travel or emergencies, a savings account can be the better option. On the contrary, checking accounts let you deposit and withdraw money as many times as you like. If you think that would be a practice, you can choose to open a checking account.
Step 3 – Complete the documentation – While filling the application to open a bank account, you will need some documents mandatorily. You will have to present identification (student ID/ drivers license), home address, college address, letter of acceptance from your institute, I-20/ I-797 approval notice (eligibility certificate for non-immigrant student status), etc.
International Health Insurance
Candidates with an F1 student visa issued to them do not have any mandatory government health insurance requirements. However, schools or universities handle health insurance for their international students in their own way.
Some institutes put all of their international students in a mandatory group health insurance plan. The amount for these types of plans is automatically factored into the tuition fee amount. Other institutes provide this group insurance with an option to waive. Some institutes do not provide this group plan at all. It gives students the freedom to choose any plan that they wish. The best option, in this case, is to opt for a student secure plan offered by International Student Insurance.
Part-Time Jobs for International Students while Studying in USA
Paying bills as a student can be an expensive affair. Almost everybody feels the need to get a part-time job at some point while studying in the USA. Getting one can make you anywhere between $7.25 to $15. This largely depends on where you work and what part of the country you are located in. There are some limitations for international students. Generally, students work on campus. They are allowed to work 20 hours a week while the term is in session and 40 hours/ week during holidays. A list of part-time jobs is provided below to select from.
- Barista – No campus is caffeine free. Students run on coffee. For this reason, working in a cafe is proximal and convenient.
- Peer tutor – Most students resort to help fellow students with their studies to make some money on the side.
- Server – Many restaurants and food joints tend to hire college students as servers.
- Department Assistant – If you’re familiar with working a computer, you can work as a department assistant on campus and help with the secretorial/ office work.
- Teaching Assistant – A teaching assistant’s job is to help lecturers with classwork, students who need more attention, marking tests, printing handouts, etc.
- On-campus Tech Support – If you know your way around simple tech like projectors, screens, computers, etc., you can get paid a minimum wage as an on-campus tech support person.
- Delivery Person – You can also get into delivering food and other items while not in class.
- Library Assistant – Your job as a library assistant can include organising books, inventorying, managing records of issued books, maintaining the decorum of the library, etc.
Job Opportunities for US Graduates
Once you have successfully graduated and hold your degree from the US, determining the opportunities you will be presented with depends on various aspects. One of which is the demand in your major. The higher the demand, the higher will be the job options. A good portfolio also plays a major role in you procuring a job. The name of the institute that you have graduated from plays a role in getting hired, however small. Primarily, a potential employer will consider you for any available position based on your technical skills and your personality. Also, the annual pay is quite handsome since the US is one of the greatest economies. For instance, a job after doing MS in USA can pay anywhere between $50,000 to $70,000.
Average Salary after Education in USA
According to a study by Northeastern University, the average salary of all US students is $62,056. It is quite obvious that the higher the level of education, the higher paying will be your jobs. The unemployment rate is also lower in the higher-level education group. The annual average salary of different level groups is provided below.
|Education Level||Average Annual Salary|
|Doctorate Degree/ PhD||$97,916|
|Attended some college but no degree||$43,316|
Study in USA FAQs
Ques. – How much does it cost to Study in USA?
Ans. – The cost of studying depends on the level of education and the college/ university. On average, the cost can be anywhere between $30,000 to $50,000 per year.
Ques. – What are the best options for Indian students to Study in USA?
Ans. – According to the statistics, most Indian students study business management/ MBA in the USA followed by engineering, mathematics & computer sciences, and social science.
Ques. – Why do people pick the USA for higher education?
Ans. – Many prestigious institutes that provide higher-education programmes are located in the USA. Degrees and associations with these are held in high regard by employers all over the world.
Ques. – How to study MS in USA?
Ans. – Aspirants (undergraduate degree holders) can apply for MS in USA if they have a cutoff GPA. Getting through the application process also plays an important role in admissions. Having relevant work experience adds to the students’ profile and increases the chances of getting a place in a college of their choice.
Ques. – Is it possible to plan my Studies in USA after 12th?
Ans. – The simple answer is, yes. You need to obtain qualifying marks based on the course that you want to pursue.
Ques. – What is the cost of living while studying in the USA?
Ans. – For students, living in USA can cost up to $15,000 to $16,000. This amount includes accommodation, food, books and stationery, travel, and healthcare expenses.
Ques. – Can I work while I Study in USA?
Ans. – Yes, your student visa permits you to work part-time (20 hours/ week) on regular days. During breaks and holidays, students can work up to 40 hours a week.
Ques. – Is there an age limit to Study in USA?
Ans. – No, you can enrol in a US university at any age.
Ques. – What exam do I need to take to get an MBA from USA?
Ans. – International candidates who want to do MBA in USA are required to appear for GMAT along with TOEFL/ IELTS.