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USA

USA

ABOUT USA

Exploring the U.S. is one of the primary goals of every foreign national who wishes to enter the country. The U.S. covers 3,000 miles east to west and 1,500 miles north to south, not including the states of Alaska (which is larger than France) and Hawaii (which is half the size of Holland). It is difficult to comprehend it all; the distances are too great and the scenery too varied. Geographical location plays an important roll when students select a university.



USA Facts
Full name United States of America
Population 305.8 million (UN, 2007)
Capital Washington DC
Largest city: New York City
Area 9.8 million sq km (3.8 million sq miles)
Major language Christianity
Life expectancy 76 years (men), 81 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit 1 US dollar = 100 cents
Main exports Computers and electrical machinery, vehicles, chemical products, food and live animals, military equipment and aircraft
Internet domain .us
International dialing code +1
Time Zone

There are four different time zones in the U.S.:

EST – Eastern Time Zone
CST – Central Time Zone
MST – Mountain Time Zone
PST – Pacific Time Zone
Daylight Saving Time

The main purpose of Daylight Saving Time (called "Summer Time" in many parts of the world) is to make better use of daylight. We change our clocks during the summer months to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. Daylight Saving Time begins for most of the U.S. at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of April. Time reverts to standard time at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday of October. In the U.S., each time zone switches at a different time.


Weather Information

The U.S. is a vast country. The climate conditions are significantly different from region to region. Generally, the western and southern parts of the U.S. have overall warmer weather, as compared to the eastern and northern parts. The Northeast is extremely cold in the winter, with heavy snowfalls, and is pleasant in the summer. The Southwest has extremely hot summers and comparatively short, bearable winters. It is very important for students to know about the weather conditions where they stay, especially if they have medical conditions that prevent them from living in certain climates. They should spend time finding a university where they will be comfortable.


The U.S. can be divided into six climate regions:

• Northwest Pacific: States like Oregon and Washington have high humidity and frequently wet weather. Temperatures are mild all year round, averaging around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Mid/South Pacific: States like California and Nevada generally have good temperatures all year round. The mountainous states, such as Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming, can be very cold in the winter, dropping well below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Midwest: States like Kansas and Iowa have excellent summer weather, but heavy snowfalls and extremely chilly winds in the winter. There are record low temperatures around -50 degree Fahrenheit and snow storms with 30-40 inches of snow accumulation.
• Northeast: States like Maryland and Pennsylvania have sunny and warm summers that can become quite hot for a very short time. Fall is especially beautiful in these areas, and winters have moderate snowfalls and freezing rain.
• Southeast: States like Georgia and Louisiana have very pleasant spring and fall seasons, with very hot and humid summers. There may be some snow and freezing rain in the winter, but it is only for a short period of time, and winters are usually quite mild.
• Southwest: States like Arizona and New Mexico are very hot and have deserts. Winters are generally short in duration and consist more of freezing rains than snow. Exploring the U.S. is one of the primary goals of every foreign national who wishes to enter the country. The U.S. covers 3,000 miles east to west and 1,500 miles north to south, not including the states of Alaska (which is larger than France) and Hawaii (which is half the size of Holland). It is difficult to comprehend it all; the distances are too great and the scenery too varied. Geographical location plays an important roll when students select a university.


Why Study In USA

Universities in the U.S. attract international students for many reasons. The statistics say that over 500,000 international students are pursuing their higher education degrees in the U.S. At the time of applying for a student visa, most international students are questioned as to why they want to study in the U.S. Following are the top 10 reasons why international choose U.S. colleges and universities.
Excellent Academics
The U.S. provides some of world's finest higher education, especially in the field of technology. U.S. degrees are recognized all over the world and are considered to be one of the best in the world.
Research
The U.S. is the right choice for research professionals. There are many opportunities to do research in any field. The funding for most of the research projects are sponsored by the U.S. Government or by corporations. Also, many companies provide projects for the students in the neighboring universities to gain practical experience during their studies. Most of the research students receive waivers for their tuition fees and in some cases they are also provided with a stipend to help with their living expenses.
Flexibility in Course Curriculum
While most programs are structured very well, students also have the option to choose many other subjects as part of their course. Students have an opportunity to emphasize and narrow down topics of specific interest in their field of study. Sometimes students may even choose subjects from other universities as part of their studies.
Financial Assistance
Financial assistance is normally provided to international students, because pursuing higher education in the U.S. is expensive. Most of the universities financially support the international students either in the form of providing teaching or research assistantships. These assistantships are based on academic merit, rather than financial need. Awarded students will receive stipends, or either partial or complete tuition waivers. U.S. education could turn out to be completely free if the student exhibits exceptional skills in his or her field of study. Students also have the opportunity to receive grants, loans, and scholarships from various organizations.
Work Programs
Most of the universities allow students to work on their campus as either part-time or full-time employees. The students are paid minimum wage on an hourly rate, and their earnings help to cover their cost of living. Students are placed based on their financial need and personal skills. For example, an English major may be placed at the university library, while someone who has a Lifeguard certification may be placed at the campus Aquatic Center.
Internships
Students are allowed to work in their respective fields outside the campus for approximately three months as Interns during summer vacation. There are Intern programs during the academic year as well. Internships are a valuable part of education, as they help students gain practical experience while taking classes. Most universities offer academic credit for internship experience.
Job Opportunities
Once students complete their degree, they are authorized to work for one year in a related field, in order to gain practical knowledge. Students are allowed to work full-time (40 hours per week) by applying for an Optional Practical Training Employment Authorization (OPT). Many talented students are hired as a permanent employee after their OPT, by getting an H1B work visa sponsorship from their employers. H1B is a temporary work permit for foreign nationals to work in specialty occupations like Software, Engineering, Teaching, Accounting, or Marketing. Students may continue their work without leaving the U.S. after the F1- H1B status change approval.
Reorganization of International Students
U.S. universities provide extraordinary support to international students. Every university in the U.S. that enrolls international students has a separate office to help and guide these students from the very first day.
Cultural Exchange
Apart from education, international students get to interact with students from various countries and diverse cultures. This shapes them to a large extent and enables the international students to become world-class professionals, once they complete their education,Value.The success of any student will be directly proportional to the amount of dedication and hard work he or she exercises. Undoubtedly, the U.S. offers a very high quality of education. The variety of skills and cross-culture environment can make the learning experience in U.S. universities a rich and unique one. With such diverse academic and cultural backgrounds, international students are better prepared for working with absolute ease anywhere in the world.


Types of Institutions in US


Public Universities • State Funded Institutions. • Not for profit & financially supported by Public Taxes. • University offers most of the Bachelors & Masters courses. • Usually large in Size. • All levels of degrees with different fields of study are offered. • Some of the Universities across the country are:- Kansas State University, University of California & many more….
Private Universities
• These Universities are not State funded. • Tuition fees are much higher. • Even all ranked Ivy Leagues are Private universities. • But the tuition fees are almost the same for domestic as well as International students. • Ex:- Long Island University, New York University & many more….
Community Colleges
• Also known as Country Colleges or City Colleges. • Provides higher education & Lower level Tertiary Education. • Provides Certificates, Diplomas & Associate Degrees. • Domestic students usually go for these community colleges. • Ex:- Bellevue College, Ohlone College & many more…
Technical Institutes
• These schools emphasizes mainly on Engineering & Science degrees. • Also known for their research & graduate programs. • International Students getting admitted to these schools are of Graduate Level. • Undergrads admitted to these schools usually have strong backgrounds in Maths & Science. • Ex:- California Polytechnic University & many more….
The Ivy League
• Oldest & most famous in the country & is famous for MBA programs. • Located mainly in the Northeastern part of the USA. • Gives stress on Undergraduate Liberal Arts education & also have many graduate & professional Schools. • Tuition fees at these private schools is among the highest in the country. • Admission is highly competitive. • Ex:- Univ of Pennsylvania, Harvard Univ, Yale, Princeton, Crown, Dartmouth, Cornell & Columbia.


TYPES OF DEGREES


Associate Degree
• Academic degree awarded by Community Colleges, Junior Colleges & Business Colleges. • Usually for 2 Years. • Equivalent to the first two years of a four Year College or University Bachelors Degree. • Lowest in hierarchy of post secondary academic degrees offered in USA.
Bachelor Degree
• Commonly known as Undergraduate Degree offered in USA. • Duration is of 4 Years. • Two types of Bachelors Degree: B.A or B.S • SAT & TOEFL/IELTS is necessary for admission.
Master Degree
• The duration for all the masters course is of 2 years but some courses like MBA, Executive MBA, the duration is of one Year. • Minimum 16 years of Education is necessary but students with 15 years is also acceptable for some of the Universities. • Exam required are GMAT for Management related subjects/ GRE for arts, science & TOEFL/IELTS for admission.
Doctoral Degree
• Commonly known as Ph.D. • Duration may range from 3 – 5 years • After completion of Masters Degree students can take admission into Ph.D. • Ph.D students need to submit a research proposal as well as have to appear for GRE/GMAT & TOEFL/IELTS for admission.


Ranking

The national rank of a university plays a significant roll in enrollment. Students should choose the university that best fits their own personal criteria. For example, if the student is looking for a high-profile university in electrical engineering, he or she should choose the list of universities by rank for electrical engineering and not the general rank of the university. So the student's priority supersedes the university rank. Various organizations define U.S. university ranking by various factors, such as number of programs, acceptance percentage, and enrollment. There is no official university ranking list available to students by the government or any educational-related organization. The most commonly used ranking report is the one published by US News. It is important to know the national universities are generally rated as the best colleges in the country for over-all academic excellence, faculty, and infrastructure. These are colleges that are ranked in the top 50. There are many colleges that are not considered top national colleges but are still very well reputed and provide quality education. The Open Doors report bases its top 100 universities on the number of enrolled international students.


Top Universities

• Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) • Harvard University • Stanford University • Yale University • University of Chicago • California Institute of Technology (Caltech) • Princeton University • University of Pennsylvania • Columbia University • Cornell University • Johns Hopkins University • University of Michigan • Duke University • University of California, Berkeley (UCB) • Northwestern University • University of Wisconsin-Madison • University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) • New York University (NYU) • Brown University • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign • Carnegie Mellon University • University of Washington • University of California, San Diego (UCSD) • University of Texas at Austin


How to apply for USA Universities?


Pre-application
The first step of the application process is for students to get the application forms from the universities of their choice. Once they have decided on a set of prospective universities, they must collect information such as the department's general queries, e-mail address. Most universities send an application form upon request, but some universities require prospective students to fill out an online request. Many universities do not send applications or brochures to international locations, so students are required to print the form off of the website. It is always preferable to apply through online applications. For Fall semester admission, students should start requesting forms in January or February of the previous year. For Spring semester admission, the application should be completed by August. As the application package takes a minimum of one month to arrive, it is advisable to do it early. Keep tabs on the universities, and if they do not respond within a couple weeks, re-send the request. When applying to several different universities, it might be a good idea to create a separate email account for the entire application process. This will prevent other miscellaneous emails from getting mixed up with important ones.
Choosing a University
Choosing a university from overseas is a very difficult task. There are over 4,000 U.S. universities, and they all offer a wide variety of courses. The following information is important criteria to consider when choosing a university: • Academic Importance: Students should choose a university that offers a degree in the field of study that they wish to pursue. • Course Emphasis: Some universities offer a fixed course curriculum while some offer independent study, which allows students to choose their own subjects. Go through the course catalogue and course descriptions to gain a clear understanding of the types of courses offered. • Accreditation: In the U.S., accreditation is used to assure quality in educational institutions and programs. Accreditation is a voluntary, non-governmental process of peer review. It requires an educational institution or program to meet certain defined standards or criteria. Students should always choose to attend an accredited university. • Cost Factor: Study the fee structure printed in most university prospectuses carefully and estimate the cost of living, insurance, and other expenses. • Type of University: U.S. universities are either private or state-supported. In general, the tuition fees at state-supported universities are less expensive than private universities. International students are charged "out-of-state" tuition rates, which are higher than in-state rates but still much less than most private universities. • Financial Aid: Getting Financial Aid from the university can lower the tuition rate. Check with the present students of the school or the school officials about the possibility of scholarships, loans, and assistantships. • On-campus Jobs: The U.S. allows international students to work up to 20 hours per week, which can help to cover monthly living expenses. Most on-campus jobs are awarded through the university's Financial Aid Office. It is up to each individual student to decide which criteria is most important when choosing a university. Consultants like One Window can help students narrow down the choices by listing important factors. The goal is to help students find the best university for them. One Window also provides information about university fees, available programs, financial assistance opportunities, campus jobs, and the cost of living.
Applying
Applying to a U.S. university is a very different from applying to universities in other parts of the world. Getting admitted in a U.S. university is not an easy task. Even though it takes lot of hard work, the results are rewarding. There are over 3,000 accredited colleges and universities in the U.S. that accept international students. Other than this, there are nearly 2,000 private and community colleges, many of which are as good as the state-supported schools. Students should choose the university that fits their needs and goals the best. The best way for a student to begin his or her search is to first decide on a Major. Then he or she can research colleges and universities that specialize in the chosen field of study. Students planning to pursue their degree in the U.S. should start their preparatory work at least 6-7 months before they plan to begin their studies. In the U.S., there are two admission times per year. Classes for the Fall semester begin in August and classes for the Spring semester begin in January. Most students typically begin in the Fall semester.
Documents Required for Admission
The U.S. university application process is a lengthy procedure that requires students to fill out many documents. Documents may differ, based on the department to which a student is applying. Therefore, it is very important to read the instructions carefully. Some universities do not process the application until they receive all the documents. Some universities provides conditional admission if the student is still completing his or her current course. Following is a list of required documents for an international applicant:
Tuition Fees & Cost of Living
The cost of education in USA varies from state to state, type of university and course of study. Universities in US are divided into two categories: Public/ State Institutions and Private Institutions. Education Cost ranges from $10,000 to $55,000 per year Undergraduate Degree- $15,000 to $ 25,000 per year Graduate Degree- $13,000 to 35,000 per year The cost of education in States is high for MBA and Medicine courses in comparison to engineering courses.
Accommodation Cost
Accommodation cost ranges from $3000 to $8000 per year, again it varies from Individual to Individual from state to state. Accommodation includes food, local transport, telephone, electricity and entertainment etc.


Scholarship


Undergraduate Study
You must submit a financial aid application if you intend to seek financial assistance for your studies abroad. The policies regarding financial aid vary considerably. The profile of a college usually indicates the type of financial aid it offers. For aid, Undergraduate students have to submit the institution`s own financial aid forms, as well as the Foreign Student`s Financial Aid Form, which is provided by the college and administered by the College Scholarship Service of the College Board. A bank statement will also often be required. Some details, usually asked in these forms are : • Your total personal annual income • Total annual income of your Parents • Your average annual living expenses • Some details of your and your parent's assets • Sources of funding for your education other than from the University
Scholarship / Fellowship
This is usually an outright grant based on the student`s academic ability and performance. Hence, Only a truly outstanding student may be considered for this type of award, before enrolling at the university. A full scholarship would pay for a student`s entire living expenses at that university, whereas a partial scholarship would require additional funds from the student.
Assistantship
Most students who receive assistance usually do so in the form of an assistantship, i.e. a cash stipend sufficient for their living expenses, and/or tuition waiver. To get this, they have to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week. This work normally consists of teaching and research activities. These are usually for graduate courses. Teaching assistantships are more likely to be in universities, which have large undergraduate classes whereas research assistantships tend to be more common in those fields and universities in which considerable research is in progress. Information brochures of most universities give this information. Often, teaching and research abilities must be proved before assistantship is granted. Hence, many universities grant this only after the first semester. You may also be required to take TSE (Test of Spoken English) to qualify for a teaching assistantship.
University Scholarship/University Financial Assistance/Waivers
International Education Financial Aid (IEFA) scholarship search is the premier resource for financial aid, college scholarship and grant information for international students wishing to study abroad. They offer both a basic and premium search to find scholarships all around the world For More info click: www.iefa.org
Tuition Waiver
This means that the student does not have to pay the tuition fees at the university. However, general fees (for the use of university facilities like the library, computers, and sports and health services) usually have to be borne by the student. A tuition waiver is frequently awarded in conjunction with a scholarship or teaching/research assistantship.
Student Employment
International students can take up on-campus jobs they are allowed to work 20 hrs per week during semester (on campus). On campus jobs may include teaching assistantship or research assistantship. With this, a student can also do internship in the related field which may be paid. During vacation the student is allowed to work for 40 hrs per week.
Work After Study
On completion of the course, student is allowed to work for 1year popularly known as OPT (optional practical training). Students with certain degrees are allowed to work for 29 months. On completion of their OPT; the student can later apply for work on a H1 B visa (work permit visa). While Under F-1 visa status, students have two options for working in the USA. Students are eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) after 9 months of study and can work full time or part time during vacation periods at a job or Internship which is directly tied to or required by a course they are taking. Optional Practical Training (OPT) allows for 18 months of paid work following completion of the intended course. This work must be directly related to the student's field of study and the student must have completed a minimum of 9 months of study.


USA FAQ