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United States Of America

Studying In USA

It is talked of as the land of dream fulfillment, of cutting edge quality, of mega bucks and of life as you want it to be. Whatever you have heard about the U.S., it's true. And getting an education there is probably the simplest and most reputable way of being a part of the great American dream. And also, US education is eminently affordable, if done the right way. Unlike other parts of the world, where self-funding is the only way to pay for your education, the US education system offers an array of scholarships and loans besides earn-as-you-learn opportunities. Information on all this, and lots more, is available on this site.

US universities expect strong English language abilities from their students. They want to be sure that you can cope with the demands of degree-level study. But there is no need to worry; many international students need some help to achieve the required level of English. Study Group’s dedicated University pathway programs give you all the support you need to excel in your chosen US degree.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores are the most common language requirements for US universities and colleges. Most North American universities will accept either test as proof of your English language ability. You can take TOEFL and IELTS exams at testing centers worldwide.

Work while study

Current immigration regulations permit international students to work only part-time - up to 20 hours per week - and only on campus during their first year of study. By working 10 to 15 hours a week, you could earn enough to pay for incidentals such as books, clothing, and personal expenses, but your campus job cannot pay your major expenses, such as tuition or room and board. This income also cannot be used as a source of income for any official financial statements. Campus jobs may include working at the university's cafeteria, bookstore, library, or health club, or within the university's administrative offices. After the first year, you can also apply for employment as a resident assistant (RA) in a university dormitory. RAs serve as the first point of contact for students needing assistance or who have queries regarding dorm life. In return, RAs receive free accommodation and sometimes a small salary and/or meal plan. Under current regulations, after your first year of study, you may apply to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for permission to work off campus for up to 20 hours a week. You should note, however, that there is no guarantee that this request will be granted. If you are married and are in the United States on an F-1 student visa (see chapter 11), your spouse does not have permission to work. However, if you are in the United States on a J-1 student visa, your spouse is allowed to request a temporary work permit. You should always check with your international student adviser before considering any form of employment

Living in USA

One of your first jobs after arriving in the United States will be to find a place to live. This section provides you with a few tips to make your search a happy one.

Temporary Accommodations

When you first arrive on campus you will need a place to live while you look for permanent accommodations. Many schools will provide temporary housing for international students who arrive before the semester begins. Ask the foreign student advisor or housing office for information about temporary housing.

Another option if you know a student at the school is to ask them to let you stay with them for a few days. New graduate students, can often find someone in their department with room for a temporary guest. You may have to sleep on a couch, but at least you will have a roof over your head. You will also be able to ask questions of someone who is familiar with the area.

Permanent Accommodations

The available options include renting an apartment, renting a house, or buying a house. Most international students cannot afford to buy a house, so we will not discuss this option.

Most university students in the US live on or near campus. Students who live off-campus generally find a place less than a mile or two away. Not only is this convenient for getting to and from campus, but much of the social life occurs on campus. The US educational experience is not confined to the classroom, and you will find yourself learning as much from your fellow students as from the faculty.

Moving In Utilities

If the rent does not include utilities, you will have to get the utilities turned on when you move in. The landlord can provide you with the name and telephone numbers of the gas, electric, and telephone companies that service your apartment. They may be able to schedule service over the phone, or they may require you to visit their offices. If you do not have a good credit history, they may require you to pay a security deposit. The security deposit will be refunded (with interest) after one year if your bills are paid promptly.

The gas and electric companies typically provide two payment options. The first requires you to pay the full amount due each month. The other lets you pay an estimated budget amount each month, with any difference being reconciled at the end of the year. Some people find this more convenient, since gas and electricity bills can otherwise vary considerably during the summer and winter months.

Most utilities have programs which allow you to have the monthly bill automatically deducted from your bank account. You still receive a copy of the bill, but save the cost of a stamp to mail in the payment.

Education System in USA

The U.S. educational system is very different from its Indian counterpart. U.S.A. has more than 3,300 accredited colleges and universities, which offer a wide range of graduate and undergraduate programs.

  • Types of Programs
  • Types of Institutions
  • Accreditation
  • Semester System
Types of Programs
Undergraduate programs (Bachelor degree) :

This is the first level of post-secondary education that begins after 12 years of primary and secondary schooling. It includes at least 4 years of education and earns a bachelor's degree (Most Indian graduation courses are of 3 years duration). There are also two-year programs which earn an Associate degree. A student who has an associate degree has to study further for a minimum of 2 years to earn a bachelor's degree.

Graduate Programs (Master's & Doctorate degree) :

This is the same as post-graduate education in India. It usually involves one year or more of education depending on the subject or course, and earns a master's or doctoral degree like MBA, MS or PhD. Admission to a graduate program usually requires a minimum of 16 years of formal education. That is, 12 years of primary and secondary schooling and further 4 years of college education.

Types of Institutions

There is no central ministry of education in the U.S. and each institution can determine its own programs and admission standards. There are private as well as state funded colleges. Universities are academic institutions that include one or more undergraduate colleges, as well as any number of graduate and professional schools, i.e. schools offering study for a single profession such as law.

Four year colleges are undergraduate institutions offering academic programs leading to a bachelor's degree. Community colleges or junior colleges are undergraduate institutions offering upto two years of academic instruction beyond secondary school at a relatively low cost. These offer certificate programs that last for a few months to a year as well as associate degrees. Institutes of technology or polytechnic institutes offer specialized programs in sciences and engineering, in addition to basic sciences, humanities and the social sciences, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Accreditation

Accreditation is a process by which universities and their programs are recognized for maintaining a certain level of performance and quality. Accreditation is usually done by non-governmental agencies called accreditation bodies. There are two types of accreditation : regional & professional. Regional bodies ascertain whether colleges and universities as a whole meet certain standards of educational quality.

In addition, certain professional accrediting bodies evaluate the quality of education in specific fields like Business, Law etc.

Importance of Accreditation :
  • Ensures that universities meet minimum standards.
  • Only national and international form of evaluation for US universities.
  • Increases the recognition of degree by employers and schools.
  • Helps in case the student wishes a transfer to another university.
  • To check out the list of accredited US universities, go to www.chea.org

NOTE : Government of India recognizes only accredited U.S. universities

It is advisable to apply to only accredited universities.

Semester System

US universities offer two main semester intakes:

Fall Semester (September/October):

This is the main intake and almost all programs are offered at this times. More financial aid is also available for this semester and as funds are allocated for the entire year during this time.

Spring Semester (January/February):

This is the mid-year intake. There is limited financial assistance available for this semester as most universities allocate funds to projects in the Fall semester.

Some universities also have a Summer intake around July.