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Study in the USA for International Students – Complete Guide


Introduction – study in the USA Overview

DO YOU KNOW? There are over 1,000,000 international students studying in USA only? Which means almost 5% of all students enlisted in higher-level education in the USA are international students, and the numbers have been on the increase. From the mid-1950’s, when the enrollment of international students was only just approaching 35,000, international education in the USA had gone too far.

Hence, if you are searching for Complete Guide of study in USA for international students? We are out to proffer solutions to your problems and to have your questions answered.

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Available for you here, are all the tools you need to decide if the United States is the best place for you — we have put together, valuable information on educational, social, cultural and economic aspects of studying in the U.S. Have a good ride!

Choosing the USA as your study abroad location

Annually, the count of international students in the United States rises as more and more students choose the Unites States over other countries as the place to study. As a matter of fact, all over the world today, the United States is the most popular country for international students. The question then is, what prompts many international students to choose U.S. colleges and universities?

The answer to the above question lies in the following:

  • Academic Excellence

The educational systems in US is one of the finest in the world, having outstanding programs in almost all fields. At the level of an undergraduate level, excellent programs are available in traditional disciplines, as well as in professional fields. At the graduate level, the opportunity of working directly with some of the finest minds in their field of study is granted to students, with the chance of having involvement in exclusive research and educational opportunities. Thus, recognition is given to U.S. degrees throughout the globe for their pronounced excellence.

  • Variety of Educational Opportunities

There are variety of educational opportunities open to International students wishing to study in USA. This is dependent on the type of education the individual is going for. Some U.S. colleges and universities lay emphasis on broad educational principles; others stress practical, employment-related skills; and still others have their specialty in the arts, social sciences or technical fields. The implication is that, no matter what you plan on studying,there is always a programs in your particular fieldto choose.

  • Cutting-Edge Technology

Universities in the U.S. are known for being at the forefront of technology, research and techniques, and in making the best possible equipment and resources that anyone can think of, available to their students.Hence, Opportunities to become skilled in using the latest technology for conducting research, as well as obtaining and processing information is open not just to fields directly involved in science or engineering but will also stay connected with researchers, teachers and experts in your field all over the globe.

  • Opportunity for Research, Teaching and Training

The possibility of gaining valuable experience through teaching and/or research if you study in US is just there,particularly if you are a graduate student. Training and teaching opportunities are offered tomany graduate programs that gives the students the chance to become teaching assistants to undergraduates and/or research assistants on special projects exploring different aspects of their field of study.

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  • Flexibility

According to the high structure of many programs, it is mandatory for specific course work requirements to be met, you will generally have the ability to find a wide variety of course choices to attend to those requirements. For instance,classes in languages and mathematics make up liberal arts coursework for an undergraduate program, but you will be given a wide variety of classes which fit those requirements, as well as the freedom to decide which classes best match your interests.

If you are in pursuit of a graduate degree, you will have the ability to tailor your coursework to fit your specific academic goals, needs and interests. When a topic is chosen for independent study for a graduate thesis or dissertation, emphasis can be laid on ideas that are important to you, your field and your country.

  • Support Services for International Students

Studying in the United States leaves one with a rewarding experience, but a challenge could be posed by navigating one’s way through day-to-day issues. It is known to many international students that the college and university international student office is a great resource when it comes to the adaptation to a culturally and academically different environment. The mission of the international student office is to give assistance to students like you, and there is often a wide range of student services that they make provision for.

Upon one’s arrival, an orientation program is just the start of the many programs and benefits of the university international student office – throughout one’s time in the U.S., they can help give answers to your questions you may have regarding your visa status, financial situation, housing, employment possibilities, health concerns and more. If you choose to complete your degree in the United States, this office often provides resume and employment assistance as graduation approaches. The information sourced from international student office will become invaluable and help as transition is made into academic and cultural life in the United States.

  • Global Education and Long-Term Career Prospects

Experience is a marketable inan international setting. Becoming a strong presence in the global marketplace has increasingly been the pursuit of companies in the U.S. They are often on the out look to hire personnel who beyond having multi-cultural language skills can also help communicate, negotiate and conduct business across different cultures.

The search of strong candidates when hiring is not only the case in United States, international students are highly demanded elsewhere, as well. Up-to-date, international companies have become much more anticipatory in recruiting from the pool of strong international student graduates in studying in US comes with.

  • Campus Life Experience

The continuation of one’s study in the U.S does not just entail making a choice to broaden your educational opportunities, but your experience culture wise, as well. Consideration is not given to whether you attend a small, private college in a small town or a university with its location in the middle of a large urban area, most universities offer a variety of student clubs and organizations for correspondencein the wide array of student interests. The opportunity to immerse yourself in American culture can be made available to you, meeting new people and making new friends, through different organizations and associations.

It has often been found out by international students that the international student office is a good starting point for campus offerings, as well as the campus student center. A lot can happen during your timestudy abroad by taking part in the social and cultural scene in the environment you find yourself.

U.S. campuses provide a rich variety academic, cultural and athletic activities that has new dimensions added to your life.

How do I begin the process of studying in the United States?

As a potential foreign student, you must take four basic steps to study at an American university. The first step is to decide which universities should be contacted. This is often a complicated task because you need lots of information to make the right choice. If you do not know what to do, you can contact the nearest university counseling center sponsored by your government or the United States government. Each of these offices can give you excellent advice on which schools you should consider. You should also look at schools that have links to this site.

Once you have decided which schools you are interested in, contact the admissions office of each school and apply for admission to study. This application gives you details about the process in every school. While you wait, it’s a good time to take the TOEFL and all the exams required of most schools.

The third step is to fill in the applications you wish to follow and send all your secondary and post-secondary records directly to the schools you have selected. Then send the applications and application fees according to the instructions in your application.

The last step requires some patience. They have to wait for the universities to make their approval decisions. This can be time consuming, so be patient (and apply early!). After acceptance, you will receive a form called I-20. This is the document you need to get a student visa. Take Form I-20 from the school you would like to visit at the US Embassy or Consulate in your area. Take along your passport and proof of financial support (bank statements, scholarships, etc.). They apply for the status of a student visa, which is usually an F-1 visa.

Once you have been interviewed and approved, your passport will be accompanied by a visa. Then you are ready to come to the US to begin your studies. Plan your trip early to avoid last-minute disappointments.

It is very common for undergraduate students to move from one American university to another.

Is it possible to transfer from one U.S. University or college to another without starting my program over?

It is quite common for undergraduate students to move from one school to another. In fact, some schools (many two-year colleges) are designed as transfer schools and offer only the first two years of undergraduate education. Graduates often complete the last two years of a bachelor’s degree at another school.

The situation regarding graduate programs is more complicated because of the nature of higher education .It is sometimes possible to change university after a postgraduate degree in the United States. However, the guidelines vary from school to school. Therefore, it is important that you ask the university where you want to transfer the accepted course type. It is important to understand the general transfer guidelines and the specific guidelines for the school from which you are transferred. It is likely that some of your degrees will not be accepted. You must carefully select the school you are transferring to and discuss it with your current graduate advisor.

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Financing yourstudy in USA

There’s necessity and wisdom in taking on careful planning. A proof will be required of you to the university, to the consular officer, and maybe to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection that you are in possession of sufficient funds to cater for your living expenses which include housing, food, clothing, etc. and health insurance, as well as tuition and fees of the university you are to study in.

The U.S. government does not provide loans, grants, or general scholarship assistance for international students. As an international student, you will have to find alternative sources of funding such as:

  • Your Home Country Education Authorities – Many countries offer foreign study funding for their own nationals who are admitted to an approved program or institution abroad and who qualify for the assistance program.
  • The International Admissions Office – Many U.S. academic institutions assist international students. Contact the international admissions office at the schools you are interested in to learn if you may be eligible for assistance.
  • Scholarships and Grants – Private foundations, businesses, and non-profit organizations offer scholarships and grants for study and research. Use the U.S. government’s free online scholarship search tool.
  • Exchange Programs Administered by the U.S. Government – These exchange programs, including the Fulbright Program and others at all education levels, provide assistance to qualified international students.

How much do I then need, one would ask? A general idea about the expenses can be gotten by looking at catalogs or application information provided by the university. It is to be remembered, however, that tremendous variation in tuition rates exist. State (public) universities are generally known to be less expensive than private institutions, but not always though. Scholarships may be offered by some private institutions which state schools cannot. Two-year or community colleges are known for its usual less expense than colleges and universities offering bachelor’s and graduate degrees.

There’s also variation in the cost of living in different parts of the United States. In general, more expenses are attached to living in urban areas (in or near a big city) compared to living in smaller towns or rural areas. An apartment rented in a big city can cost twice as much as it does in a smaller town because large U.S. cities have such high demand attached to it. In like manner, food, clothing, entertainment, and other living expenses may be more expensive in a city.

Creating a Budget

Budgeting is a process without cessation. At this stage, you are to work on a “big picture” budget that will have an inclusion of tuition, room and board, transportation, and living expenses. Specificity can be taken up later, considering all the additional expenses of moving and settling in.

Sources of Financial Aid

Sometimes, locating financial aid for international students is a hard nut to crack,but that notwithstanding, there are popular and common places that students can find international financial aid from. They include: international student loans and international scholarships.

  • International Student Loans

International students that are planning to study in the USA have loans available to them. The criteria to receiving this loan is that the international student should beplanning to attend an approved school and have a US Citizen or permanent resident who can co-sign the loan with them when it gets to the time for that.

  • International Scholarships

Hundreds of resources are available online that offer scholarships or access to search for scholarships, but some are illegitimate with the aim of scamming students while a good numberare legitimate.

Guide to Getting into a US College or University

After the decision of your want to study in the United States, what follows suit is the hard part- the process of getting accepted. Getting into a US College or University is not a procedure that is simple or quick, but with proper guidance it can certainly be made easier. To get into US schools, you are to get a US study guide and beyond that, put in hard work and dedication on your part. The combination of these can help bring to realization, your dreams of studying in the US.

Seeing that application to US schools is mot a simple one, you have to start your preparing months before the required time to send in applications. You are to get the required information on what is to be done in the beginning stages of trying to study in the US including personal factors that has to bedecided on, financial considerations and getting your list of colleges  narroweddown.

Community Colleges in the US

One popular choice international students have been known for in recent years is studying at a community college before transferring to a larger university. The finding made by international students as a backup for this popular choice of theirs isthat numerous benefits are attached to starting at a community college.

These benefits include saving money, smaller class sizes and one-on-one assistance. Furthermore, no limited options is attached to studying at a community college, as students can study topics as diverse as radiology and geographic information systems; the learning opportunities available to be found at a community college are almost limitless and if it be the desire of the student, pave the path for the continuation of one’s education at a four year institution.

If you have consideration on studying at a community college, we recommend that you continue reading to learn more about how it can be of benefit to you as an international student. What is a community college, why study at a community college, and how to find a community college that’s right for you. These are questions one could commonly find answers to in a bid to study in any community college in US.

What is a Community College?

A community college is institution of learning that requires a two year education program which is different from the four year university program. In the process of one gaining an understanding of the purpose of the community college system, and its important role for both local students and those from around the globe, one will also learn more about key topics that has to bekept in mind as consideration is given to studying at a community college like generaleducation, transferring creditsand important considerations regarding housing and student activities.

Why Study at a Community College?

Searching for the benefits open to one in attending a community college? This section provide you with just a few which include the reasonable tuition and fees associated with a community college education. Here you will also learn the difference between the application requirements for a university in comparison to a community college and details on standard class size, student resources, and activities at community colleges.

Finding a Community College

After the decision of attending a community college in the US, there is need to start the search; dive into how to find a community college that will give your needs its best satisfaction within this section. Many of the same academic features and policies are shared by Community colleges across the nation, but they all have their uniqueness in different ways. In a similar way, all students are different, so what might work for one student won’t work for all. So, the choice of which community college to go for is up to you

Religious Schools in the US

Many international students coming to the United States have religion as an important factor to them. There are over 7,000 US colleges and universities that report a religious affiliation – with over 50 different religious affiliations to choose from. This is in agreement to US Department of Education

For international students looking into religious schools in the US, that is not a big deal in terms of being found because a good number of the oldest schools in US were founded on religious principles, and at that, one can find top rated religious schools in the US that provide education for the mind and soul which is aimed at providing high quality education integrated with faith.

Schools in the U.S. were founded on the principles of Roman Catholic, Jesuit, Presbyterian, Jewish, and Episcopalian – the list continues.

  • US Catholic Schools

Looking for a unique religious experience in US colleges and universities as an international student? You may find that US Catholic Schools are the perfect institution to study in, in pursuit of a degree. Over time. catholic schools have been given recognition for their academic excellence along with the spiritual and cultural diversity it makes existent on campus.

  • US Jewish Colleges and Universities

Jewish institutions are open for the pursuit of a college or graduate degree by international students. Are you looking for a top-notch education combined with Judaic beliefs, then you’ve got that in what to expect and what a Jewish college or university has to offer you.

  • US Jesuit Colleges and Universities

As an international student, are you looking to combine your higher education with Jesuit teaching? Then, you’ve actually got want you want as you can learn more here. International students can find the institution that will bring advancement to their education and their faith by one among the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities that the US has.

  • US Presbyterian Schools

International students have widely known Presbyterian colleges and universities as one having some of the highest achieving graduates. Presbyterian colleges and universities have been found to have small class sizes, affordable tuition, and a strong belief in faith and with such, excellence will be seen of international students in their academics and beyond.

  • US Islamic Colleges and Universities

Enjoyment of the combined experience of learning more about the Quran as well as the deep-rooted Muslim traditions is to be gotten by Islamic international students in Islamic colleges and universities. Are you an Islamic student looking to combine your education with spirituality, It may be found by you that a US Islamic school may be the perfect choice.

  • US Baptist Colleges and Universities

Baptist schools for institution of higher education provides international students with a high-quality, religious educational experience. These schools are known for offering small classes, well-prepared educators, and have as much emphasis laid on spiritual growth and development as academic excellence.

  • US Methodist Colleges and Universities

Students On researching Methodist schools in the US, one can find almost any type of school he/she is looking for, including seminaries, research universities, colleges and universities (including a medical school) of black history, and two-year colleges. Throughout the US, in rural, suburban, and urban locations, one will Methodist schools.

What to do After Graduation as an International student

We’ve got thumbs up for you on your Graduation! After graduation, what next, one would ask… At completing your undergraduate degree program in the USA, many options and avenues are then available for you to go down and each option has its own merits and demerits. A large amount of research will be attached to choosing the right and will come down to personal preference. You’ve to be wise in choosing the next option in your international education adventure.

Graduate School

Most students can be lured into visiting a grad school in the USA and obtaining their masters or PhD and this can be too strong to resist most times. Some of the very best graduate schools worldwide are in the US but attending them may not be cost-friendly. It may also be hard to get a place to study and will entails a lot of hard work.

Visa Options

After graduation, being in compliance with your student visa is of utmost importance.

Job Search

In searching for jobs, one of the challenges that is likely to be encountered is with regard to employers often being reluctant to deal with visa and immigration issues associated with international students. This makes it hard to get hired for a job. Ways around this does exist actually just as they saying, there’s no harm in trial, but just that one might hardly find. So, do well to try!

Returning Home

Returning home is certainly the option many students will sign into in order to use what they have learnt in the USA to help better their home country. Howbeit, it could be quite a shock to some students, moving back from the USA after a 4 year degree.

The USA “Way of Life”

Planning to live, learn and grow in the United States already entails that one possesses a well-known American characteristic—a sense of adventure! Many new and exciting things will definitely show up for an international student. In this section, our aim is to give you the necessary preparation you require for some of the adventures involved in living in USA.

An exact discussionof what “Living in the U.S.” means to everyone is difficult, if not impossible actually. The values and belief systems of virtually every part of the world has enriched the American culture. Coming from an international student’s perspective, that diversity is of very value. Challenges of facing new situations everyday may be faced by one who chooses to live in a completely different environment; but the decision to live in a part of the U.S. that has resemblance with your home country in some ways, comfort may be found in those similarities.

Peradventure the most important part of your decision to travel to the U.S is to learn more about yourself. Once you are done with knowing what you want to achieve, then you can set in for the identification of the right place to study and live and grow in the States.

The following are discussions under the USA “way of life”

Culture Shock

In that there is culture variation between the groups that make up a country, your expectation should probably be that things will not be the same in the United States as they are in your home country; but you preparation to deal with those differences is very necessary hence the earlier you start, the better.

American Culture

As isknown, independence is one of the hallmarks of U.S. culture. One is advised to take cognizance of the culture of US and abide by it so as not to undergo judgement or be under penalty of any sort.

If you are admitted into any of the US universities, you should take time to study their way of life under the following: Social Life, Accommodation, Transportation, Safety Issues, Money Mattersand Working in the USA


You have all it takes to study in any university of your choice located in the United States and scaling through the application process to being admitted would be one of the good things that would happen to you in that you will join in being a beneficiary of the opportunities that abound for international students that made it to study in USA. It won’t just make your day but your years. So, it’s all up to you as the ball is in your court. So, play well! We wish you success from this end…

1 Comment
  1. Michael says

    Hello.i want to a student exchange and also as a student exchange I want to study law.

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