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Why Study in USA in 2020

10 reasons why you should choose USA as study abroad destination in 2020

by Nabeel Ahmed
Reading Time: 11 minutes

Why Study in USA – For many Indian students, pursuing an education in the USA is a huge step forward towards realising their ambitions. After all, it’s the American dream that they all strive for! In spite of the high tuition fees and the surging competition due to increased number of applicants, the US continues to be the holy grail of international higher education. Why do you think that is? 

Well, to start with, the country is home to 5 of the top 10 universities in the world (according to QS World University Rankings 2020), while the next 5 find place amongst the top 20 university rankings. However, university rankings are not the only high point of an education in the USA. Collectively 5,300 American universities awarding internationally recognised degrees, play host to around 11,00,000 students from across the world! Of these Indian students constitute 5.5% of the student population with their numbers hovering around 2,02,014 as per Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange. 

In this article, we talk about the 10 important factors that encourage Indian students to pursue their higher education in the USA, the most popular courses and universities amongst Indian students in the USA and more.

Latest reads: Study in USA & IELTS

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Why Study in USA – Pursue higher education in United States

  1. Home to some of the best universities in the world – Universities in the USA are well known for their high educational standards and producing well rounded and successful graduates. This in part can be attributed to the number of universities in the country that consistently make it to the list of top universities in the world. 

The top 10 universities in the country along with their world rankings are listed below.  

University 

QS World University Rankings 2020

MIT

(Massachusetts Institute of Technology)  

1

Stanford University

2

Harvard University

3

California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

5

University of Chicago

10

Princeton University

13

Cornell University

14

University of Pennsylvania

15

Yale University

17

Columbia University

18

2. Well-rounded and flexible course structure – It is common knowledge that undergraduate courses in the USA take 4 years to complete. What, however is often overlooked is the option for Indian students to choose the lesser known 2 year program offered by community colleges. 

Both the 4 year and the 2 year programs have their respective benefits and can be chosen by students based on requirements. 

In the USA, institutions of higher learning can be classified into a number of categories. These are Research Universities, Community Colleges, Liberal Arts Colleges and Vocational Schools. Most Indian students looking to pursue a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree look towards a Research University or a Liberal Arts College to pursue their education.  

Let’s look at the 2 year and 4 year programs offered by the US higher education system separately – 

2 YEAR (COMMUNITY COLLEGE) PROGRAM   

  • The 2 year program is offered mostly by junior or community colleges (that number around 1,000) and are principally aimed at students who wish to earn an associate or intermediate degree. 
  • These degrees are awarded as, A.A. (Associate of Arts) and A.S. (Associate of Science). Both these are aimed at preparing  students for further education in the 4 year university programs. 
  • Students post completion of their 2 year program can opt to transfer their earned course credits to a 4 year university program. Students who choose to transfer their credits and pursue the 4 year program are inducted into the 3rd year of the 4 year program and graduate post completion of their 4th year. 
  • International students can opt for American community colleges since they offer a cheaper entry point into their higher education pursuits via low tuition rates on freshman and sophomore level classes, often with the added bonus of an easier transition to U.S.-style academics, as per the experts. Students then transfer to four-year schools to complete their bachelor’s degree. 
  • These community colleges, in most cases, also offer support for English-language learners. Such English tutoring services also help community college students build essential language skills for further education and career. 

4 YEAR PROGRAM 

  • The 4 year program is offered by more than 2,000 American universities that give a bachelor’s degree to students after their successful completion of 4 years of education. 
  • Commonly known as a college degree, the course structure requires students to complete the core curriculum requirements in the first 2 years and then choose a specific/specialized field of study which they are likely to pursue a career in. 
  • The four years spent as an undergraduate at a university are typically known as the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years.
  • Unlike undergraduate models in other countries, degrees in law and medicine are not offered at this level in the USA; instead, they are pursued as a professional study course after earning a degree at the undergraduate level. Undergraduate students who are preparing to attend medical school following their undergraduate careers are known as pre-med.
  • The degrees earned at the end of college are B.A (Bachelor of Arts) or B.S (Bachelor of Science).

Note: Universities in the USA usually take into account academic records, SAT or ACT and TOEFL test scores when considering applications for admission.    

3. Structured Master’s Programs- Most of the master’s programs in the USA last between 1-3 years, with courses demanding a written thesis being longer than others. Unlike the post graduation program structures in other countries, the US master’s programs are more structured, involving regular and sustained classwork. For admittance to these programs, universities may require students to take additional specific tests like the LSAT for law schools, GRE or GMAT for business school and the MCAT for medical school.   

4. Flexibility to change the choice of subjects – In an undergraduate program, the first two years are spent in studying prerequisite courses after which students are required to choose their major i.e. the subjects they want to continue their studies in. Universities allow students to change their major multiple times if they wish to do so. However, it must be kept in mind that changing majors result in more courses, which means an increase in expenditure and time. 

5. Availability of scholarships – The tuition cost in the USA is $6,000 to $20,000 per year at Community Colleges, $20,000 to $40,000 per year for undergraduate bachelor degrees, $20,000 to $30,000 per year for graduate programs (professional programs can cost a lot more), and $28,000 to $55,000 per year for doctoral degrees. While the tuition fee in the USA is high, there are also a large number of scholarships that Indian students can apply for. For more information on scholarships available for Indian students in the USA check here. 

6. Melting pot of diverse cultural and national identities – Universities in the USA are an amalgamation of culture, religion, innovative ideas and excellent educational standards. The American way of life encourages self discovery, with emphasis on creating new paths and pushing boundaries. The opportunity to study at a university in the USA , therefore, comes with the chance to experience diverse cultural, religious and ethnic identities, helping students to evolve in a truly international atmosphere and preparing them for careers. For Indian students this opportunity is hard to miss and grants them the chance to learn and live in a dynamic atmosphere. To best experience this atmosphere, students with an F-1 (student visa) are allowed to work part time after they have completed one year of their course work. Students opting for part time campus jobs earn between $7.25 – $15 per hour and are allowed a 20 hours work-week during the school year that goes up to 40 hours during holiday/summer breaks.

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Note: 

  • Students are only allowed to take up on campus jobs and are advised to check with the DSO for information on on campus job opportunities.
  • Under special circumstances US citizenship and immigration services may grant permission for off-campus employment. For more information regarding the same contact the DSO (Designated School Official) or the USA immigration office. 

7. Technology and resources – The US ranks first worldwide in the quality of innovations and is home to the top 100 science and technology clusters in the world. It is the home of the original Silicon Valley and boasts of the highest standards of innovation and research.  This allows universities and educational institutes to provide the best quality and standard of equipment for training and education to their students. This is beneficial for students as it prepares them for a career in truly advanced environments. Students opting for higher studies also find universities willing to support and facilitate research work of the highest standards. 

8. Presence of a well settled Indian population in the country- According to reports from the Census Bureau’s (2018) American Community Survey, in the last decade the population of Indians in the USA has grown by 49%. The increase in the population of Indians living in the USA can be attributed to the rich post study work opportunities and high standards of living. A large section of this population now resides in New York. Some of the other cities with sizeable Indian populations include – 

  • Chicago 
  • Washington, DC
  • Los Angeles 
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose 
  • Dallas 
  • Houston
  • Philadelphia 
  • Atlanta and  
  • Boston 

Students studying in these cities are sure to find familiar neighbourhoods with a welcoming  populace.

REGISTER TODAY TO MAKE A GREAT CAREER IN USA!

9. Post-study work opportunities – As per the provisions the F-1 (student visa USA), a student is allowed allows a student to stay for a maximum duration of 12 months after completing their respective courses in the country. Other visas like the J1 and M1 student visa grant a grace period of 30 days to the visa holder to stay back in the country post completion of their course.  For detailed information about the different US visa options for Indian students click here.

The pursuance of higher education for students comes with the desire to be entitled to a high income. Degrees from a university in the USA does just that. They are internationally recognised, are looked upon favourably by employers and fetch high salaries to deserving candidates. 

Some of the median salaries being drawn by graduates post the completion of their degrees in the USA ,according to 2019’s data from PayScale are – 

Institute

Average median salaries obtained by graduates

GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

$68,100

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY (NJ)

$68,400

RENSSELAER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE (NY)

$68,400

WORCESTER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE (MA)

$68,800

COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES

$69,700

STANFORD UNIVERSITY

$70,700

CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY

$71,600

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

$79,800

10. Abundance of travel options – For a holistic experience, students also need to travel and explore the host country. Some of the famous natural parks that students in the USA should not miss out on visiting are- 

  • The Grand Canyon
  • Grand Teton National Park 
  • Bryce Canyon National Park 
  • Alaska Lake Tahoe and 
  • Yellowstone National Park 

Apart from the natural parks, the diverse cultural identity of USA can be witnessed by visiting its many museums, galleries and art exhibitions. 

Why Study in USA – When to apply in US Universities?

If you are applying for an undergraduate or graduate degree in the USA, universities offer two application deadlines for regular admission and early admission. 

For students applying for admission for fall, early admission deadlines are between mid October and early November. Similarly for regular admissions, deadlines will be between February and March the same year. Admission deadlines may vary depending on the university. Students are therefore requested to directly access the concerned university websites for precise deadlines. 

Note: Most universities require IELTS or TOEFL scores for application processes. Universities may also require test scores for ACT or SAT. For specialised courses in streams like Management, Law and Healthcare, scores of tests like GRE, LSAT and MCAT respectively will also be required.   

Why study in USA – Popular courses and universities amongst Indian students in the USA

Although there are a large number of courses that Indian students in the USA can opt for, some courses are more popular than others. Most Indian students studying in the USA choose to pursue their education in Mathematics and Computer Sciences (both providing bright career opportunities). Other popular courses include Business Management and Health, and Social Sciences. Of all the Indian students in the USA, 36% pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) courses. According to reports by Business Insider, these are followed by Business Management (10.3%) and Physical Studies, Life Sciences (6.3%) and Fine and Applied Arts (1.6%). 

Amongst the vast plethora of educational institutes across the country some universities in the USA are more preferred by students from India. These include names like- 

  • Northeastern University 
  • University of Southern California 
  • Carnegie Mellon University 
  • New York University 
  • Columbia University (New York City)
  • University of Texas (Dallas)
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • University of Illinois 
  • Cornell University 
  • Georgia Institute of Technology

Why Study in USA – Applying for US universities through Buddy4Study

The whole process of getting admission at a college in the USA takes almost a year’s time. So, international candidates should start planning ahead to avoid missing out on the opportunity to get into their desired course and college. Highlighted below is the stepwise plan for international students who wish to get admitted into American universities.

Step 1: To begin with, the students need to be sure where they want to study in the US. They must decide on the university and course they want to study. To get extensive information about the universities, courses offered, tuition fees, admission intakes and funding opportunities, visit USA country page At Buddy4Study, you will get every relevant information related to studies abroad. We have an expert team of counsellors to assist you at every step. 

Step 2: After you have finalized the university and the course, our counselling team will help you in applying and securing admission to the university of your choice. It is advisable to check each and every entry requirement prior to applying in order to avoid any inconvenience at a later stage. 

Step 3: Once the student gets successful in acquiring an admission offer, he/she has to confirm his/her enrolment as specified. Thereafter, the students can proceed with the visa application process. Our counselling team will assist you in preparing the visa application. It is important to keep all visa related documents intact like academic credentials, English language proficiency proof, evidence of funds to support the study, passport, and other relevant documents to avoid any hassle during the application. 

Step 4: Once the student visa gets approved, the students can further look for funding opportunities, insurance cover and accommodation with the help of our Counselling team.

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Why Study in USA – FAQs 

Q 1. How much does it cost to study in the USA?

According to reports by the Times Higher Education tuition costs in the USA range between $5,000- $50,000 with the average of around $33,215. To be precise, the tuition cost in the USA is $6,000 to $20,000 per year at community colleges, $20,000 to $40,000 per year for undergraduate bachelor degrees, $20,000 to $30,000 per year for graduate programs (professional programs can cost a lot more), and $28,000 to $55,000 per year for doctoral degrees.

Q 2. Which exam is required for study in USA?

IELTS and TOEFL are the main exams students opting for an education in the USA need to take. Universities may also ask for SAT and ACT scores during the application process. Other than these, GRE  may be required for Management courses, LSAT for studies in law and MCAT for study in medical sciences. 

Q 3. Which is the best course to study in the USA?

The highest number of Indian students in the USA opt for courses in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Management) fields, followed by Business Management and Physical Sciences. 

Q 4. How many Indian students are studying in the USA?

Indian students make up around 5.5% of the student population in the USA with their numbers hovering around 2,00,000. 

Q 5. What are the perks of higher education from USA?

Some of the perks of a degree from the USA include – obtaining an internationally recognised degree, option to choose from a diverse range of subjects, with the option to switch majors if students are not content with the chosen field and the chance to be part of a culturally dynamic student population that prepares them for a truly international worklife. 

Q 6.  What are the average salaries that students graduating from US universities make?

The average salaries for college graduates in the USA, according to reports by CBS news, is around $51,347. Salary drawn by students depends on their field, the university they graduated from, and to an extent on the location of their workplace. 

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