Home » Study in USA after 12th in 2020 – Course Structure, Fees, Courses & Universities

Study in USA after 12th in 2020 – Course Structure, Fees, Courses & Universities

by Nabeel Ahmed
Study in USA after 12th

The United States of America is the most sought after study destination in the world. The structure of education in America is such that the students need to devote 4 years to be awarded a full fledged bachelors degree. This is aimed at ensuring that students undergoing the undergraduate  program have an all round understanding of a wide range of subjects. Indian students form the second largest group of international students in the USA. Their number as of 2019, according to the Open Door International Exchange Program, ranges around 2,02,014. The reason behind such a large number of students choosing the USA as their study destination is not hard to fathom. The country is home to more than 5,300 institutes, with more than 2,000 of them awarding a bachelors degree in multiple streams with various course structures for students to choose from.  

In this article we will look closely at the undergraduate educational structure, enrollment requirements and prospects for Indian students looking to pursue an undergraduate course in the USA.Study Abroad

Study in USA after 12th – Undergraduate Course Structure in the American Educational System

In the USA, an undergraduate course can be completed in either 2 or 4 years. Both these structures have their niche and are tailored to make sure that students can make the most of their higher education. Let us look at some of the key differences between a 2 and a 4 year undergraduate program. 

Study in USA after 12th


1. Some Community Colleges in the USA grant tuition free education to international students. However, registration and other living costs may be incurred. For more details please refer to college websites. 

2. Based on the needs and means, students can opt for the 2 or 4 year undergraduate program. For students with constrained means, pursuing an undergraduate in a community college and later transferring credits to a full 4 year program is a great way to reduce costs. 

As opposed to the undergraduate course structure in India and UK universities where honors courses are aimed at in depth education in a particular subject, the US universities award a Bachelors only after the completion of 4 years of study. 

The first 2 years (commonly known as the freshman and sophomore years) of this 4 year undergraduate program requires students to study a broad base of subjects without focus on any specific subjects. Post completion of the 2 years, students have the option to choose their majors in the last two years (commonly known as the junior and senior years) i.e. subjects they have an interest in and want to pursue further studies in. The subjects students choose as their majors can be changed at any time and great flexibility is offered to students. Study Abroad

Study in USA after 12th – Popular Subjects Chosen For Majors by International Students 

Some of the most common subjects students from India opt for when choosing their majors are listed below.    

  • Business and Management 
  • Math and Computer Sciences 
  • Social sciences 
  • Physical and life sciences 
  • Fine and applied arts 
  • Health professional
  • Intensive English 
  • Humanities 

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Study in USA after 12th – Average costs

Average costs of pursuing a 4 year undergraduate program in USA are – 

  • Public Universities – $25,000
  • Private Universities – $34,740
  • These costs can vary depending on the college, its location and other external factors. For information regarding tuition costs for different universities it is best to visit the relevant university websites. 

Highly Ranked Universities for Undergraduate Studies in the USA

For undergraduate studies in the USA, there are a large number of universities that students can choose from. 5 of these American universities are ranked amongst the top 10 in the QS World University Rankings 2020. 

Listed below are the 10 highest rated universities in the US as per their world rankings and their tuition average costs. 
























$56,550 – Endowed Colleges

$37,880 – State Contract Colleges (NY State Resident)

$56,550 – State Contract Colleges (Non-NY State Resident)










Note: Please note that while the total cost to attend these universities is very high, many students end up paying far less, since all the below mentioned universities provide partial fee scholarships to almost 50% of its students. 

Study in USA after 12th – Requirements for Admission to an Institution/University in the USA

Listed below are the basic requirements for studies in the USA:

  • SAT or ACT scores 
  • TOEFL, IELTS scores
  • Acceptance letter at an SEVP approved school 
  • Should have completed 10+2 or 16 years of formal education
  • LOR (letter of recommendation) from at least one faculty member from previous school or college 
  • Certificates of Achievements and proof of extracurricular participation 
  • SOP (statement of purpose) or essay as mentioned in admission form 
  • Proof of adequate finances
  • Valid passport 

Study in USA after 12th – Student Visa Types

Students looking to study in the USA can choose between many courses, colleges and universities. To facilitate ease of access to international students, the government of the USA has different visa options that students based on their courses can choose from-


Is required to study at an accredited US college or study English at an English language institute

J (exchange visa)

To participate in exchange program (high school and university) 

M (student) visa

For non academic or vocational study or training in the US

Study in USA after 12th – Part time Work Opportunities 

The culture in the American universities is that of hard work and self reliance. To ensure that these values are understood and adopted by students, they are given part time work opportunities. Part time work for students, however, is subject to certain rules and regulations that need to be followed.

Let us look at the terms of part time work opportunities- 

  • F 1 visa holders are allowed up to 20 hours of work per week on campus. The job opportunities are open only for students with a valid F1 visa.
  • During holidays and school breaks, students are allowed upto 40 hours of work per week. 
  • Off-campus jobs can be taken up only after completion of 1 academic year and with prior information of the DSO (Designated School Official).
  • Students pursuing full time courses with an F1 visa can also opt for OPT (Optional Practical Training) post the completion of their course. Under this, they are allowed to stay for 12 months after completion of their studies in the USA and work in their area of study.  
  • Post study work visa options are also available for international students studying in American universities. For detailed information of post study work visa options open to Indian students pursuing undergraduate courses in the USA check here. 

Study in USA after 12th – Scholarships for Indian Students Pursuing Undergraduate Studies in the USA

To promote education and ensure that students from every strata of the social ladder have access to it, there are a large number of scholarships open for undergraduate students in the USA. 

For more information on scholarships open to Indian students studying in the USA check out the page  

Note : Universities in the USA offer scholarships to meritorious and discernibly talented students. For information about such scholarships please check out relevant university website pages.


Study in USA after 12th – FAQs 

Q. What is the duration of an undergraduate course in the USA?

A.  Unlike an undergraduate course in India and the UK, an undergraduate course in the USA requires 4 years. While 2 years are spent studying a wide range of subjects, another two are spent in studying elected subjects which a student wishes to pursue a major in. Students can also opt to pursue a 2 year intermediate course in a Community College which is cheaper and allows for preparation to join the 3rd year of a full-fledged 4-year bachelors course.

Q. What is a 2-year degree called in the USA? Is it worth investing in?

A.  A two-year degree from a Community College in the USA is called an intermediate or Associate Degree. It is a viable option when compared to the 4 year Bachelor’s program. The Associate degree involves a much lesser fee and also allows the students to transfer their earned course credits to a full 4 year program to a state or private university. 

Q. What are the requirements to study an undergraduate course in the USA?

Some of the key requirements to study in the USA include- 

  • SAT or ACT scores
  • IELTS score 
  • Proof of financial stability 
  • A student visa and 
  • Academic certificates proving 16 years of formal education. 

Q. What are the popular Indian undergraduate students in the USA pursue?

A.  Some of the most popular courses that Indian undergraduate students in the USA pursue are – 

  • Business and Management 
  • Math and Computer Sciences 
  • Social sciences 
  • Physical and life sciences 
  • Fine and applied arts 
  • Health professional

Q. Do undergraduate students have the option to work part-time in the USA?

A.  Yes, undergraduate students can work on-campus for upto 20 hours a week during academic sessions and upto 40 hours during holidays. Students can also work off-campus. But, off-campus work can only be taken up after the completion of 1 academic year and with prior approval of DSO.

Q. What are pre-med and pre-law schools ?

A.  Pre-med and pre-law are the majors that undergraduate students in their 3rd and 4th year of college choose. The subjects taken up in these majors help students prepare for medical and law schools and are therefore called pre-med and pre-law schools.Study Abroad

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