What is the US like?
The original ‘melting pot’ nation, America has a long tradition of welcoming all cultures and backgrounds and is a truly great place to be an international student and it is very much still the land of opportunity.
Positivity runs through the veins of almost every American. Where some see problems, they see opportunity. The country was founded on the idea that anyone can achieve anything they set their mind to, so it is no surprise that most Americans seem entirely void of self-doubt or negativity. For students, this means a friendly, welcoming population ready to help new arrivals settle in.
The US is a melting pot of different cultures, races and ethnicities. Its diverse environment ensures that there is acceptance among all communities. You’ll be learning with students from different regions of the world thereby making it a rich and stimulating education experience. Growing in the midst of diversity will provide you with strong personality traits and skills that will be valuable in the international market.
Space to breathe
There’s no denying it. The USA is big. So enormous, in fact, that Texas alone is three times the size of the UK. All this room means lots more to see and explore. There are over 200,000 square miles of National Parkland and protected areas to hike and ride your way around. Whenever you feel like getting away from it all, the US will provide the space.
While we’re on the subject of America’s wide-open spaces, they’re not just abundant, they’re also spectacularly beautiful. There are vast lakes the size of a small country, rugged mountain ranges to ski and climb and coastlines spanning two oceans. From the Grand Canyon to the Everglades, there are so many natural wonders to explore, the difficult choice is where to start. The USA’s 58 National Parks and countless managed parks and wilderness areas are populated by an incredibly diverse ecosystem. It is home to 784 different species of birds, 428 different mammals and 606 different reptiles and amphibians.
Why study in the US?
The US hosts the most number of international students in the world. Quality education, unique curriculum, multicultural environment, and abundant opportunities are just some of the reasons why many International students want to study in the US.
The standard of education is so high in America, it’s one of our main destinations. You can choose a public or state school and find institutions following the International Baccalaureate curriculum. The US also boasts of some of the finest universities, a lot of which consistently rank in the world university rankings. American institutions are also known to have high academic standards, follow rigorous practices to maintain quality and are well-supported to be able to offer excellent education to its students. With any program you choose, you can be confident you will receive a good education and qualifications recognised around the world.
Excellent support system for international students
Institutions around the USA understand the struggles of international students and therefore conduct regular orientation programs, workshops and trainings to offer assistance. In fact, the international student office helps students get accustomed to a new kind of lifestyle – whether it is an academic query, cultural or social, the staff will be there to assist you round the clock.
The education system
Academic levels in the US
- Elementary school
- Middle school/Junior high school
- High school
- Higher education
Qualifications in the US
- Associate degree (2 years): Job oriented programs that allow a graduate to launch a career, it is also equivalent to first two years of a 4-year bachelor's degree.
- Bachelor's degree (3 to 4 years): Undergraduate degree that includes core courses, major, minor and elective. The four years are known as Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior.
- Professional Master's degree (1 to 3 years): Leads students from their first degree to a particular profession; duration depends on field of study.
- Academic Master's degree (2 years): Generally awarded in traditional disciplines of humanities, arts, and science; may lead students to doctoral programs.
- Doctorate or PhD (5 to 8 years): Completed under the supervision of a faculty advisor, PhD is awarded on completion of dissertation and successful defence before a panel of faculty members.
Types of institutions
There are various types of institutions in the US that provide quality education. These can be categorised into the following:
Smaller than the universities, colleges generally provide undergraduate degrees. Community colleges, an affordable study option in the US, offer two-year associate degrees after which you can continue your studies in university for another two years to gain an undergraduate degree.
Offer research-based Master's, Doctoral and Post-Doctoral degrees. There are mainly two types of universities in the US:
- Public universities: Mostly state universities, established and run by the state government
- Private universities: A mix of profit and not-for-profit supported by tuition fee and donations; approximately 20% of students attend private universities
Universities may further be categorised into:
- Ivy League: Sports conference of eight private colleges in the Northeast which includes some of the oldest American institutions. These are perceived to be some of the most esteemed places to study and therefore extremely competitive for admissions.
- Public Ivies: Group of over 30 state-funded or public universities in the US. Although this is not an official classification of universities, these universities have earned their reputation and are considered prestigious and academically rigorous. Education costs are slightly lower than the Ivy League universities.
- Liberal Arts Philosophy: This philosophy promotes a well-rounded academic education that develops the overall thought process of students. The courses begin with a wide variety of courses in humanities, languages, arts and the social sciences before specialising in a particular field. The primary focus for faculty is on undergraduate teaching rather than research, with a small student population and high student to faculty ratio.
- Specialist institutions: Universities and institutes that specialise in providing degrees in a certain field such as degrees in music, visual and applied arts, etc.
- Land Grant Colleges and Universities: Large, publicly-funded universities.
- Research Intensive Institutions: Universities offering the highest level of research and are a good starting point for students seeking doctoral degree.