America! The land of opportunity, initiators of Rock n Roll, home for the Woodstock, is today home for people from all around the globe. With above 2.8 million Indians living in the USA, it has also become the second-best home for us Indians. Even though these 2.8 million Indians constitute roughly 1% of the American population, this is still a huge number. In this blog, we will talk about how you can take up your higher education in USA and things you should know while applying.

To put things in perspective, there are more than 15 countries in the world with a population lesser than the number of Indians in USA. So, if you pursue higher education in USA, don’t get surprised to find some of your classmates talking about tandoori chicken in a recently acquired accent.

Boasting the Ivy Leagues and seven universities in the world’s top ten list, America has become the most preferred study destination in the world. The liberal and modern education in USA is tempting Indian students, just like the Pied Piper of Hamlin. Indians are the second largest international students in America with more than 1 lakh enrollments every year.

Education in USA is the most preferred abroad study destination for Indians, followed by the United Kingdom and Canada. The number of Indian students is expected to rise even further due to motivating examples of Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai. So, who wants to be the next Nadella or Pichai?

5 Things you must remember

If you are aspiring to walk in the footsteps of these personalities and pursue an education in America, there are 5 things you must know about education in USA and about the American education system:

1. Types of Universities in America

Just like we have two types of colleges or universities in India; private and government, even the USA has State colleges or Universities and Private Colleges or Universities. The state schools are run by the local or state government while their counterparts are privately run. 

Every American State has at least one State University and many Private Universities. Although the education standard is almost similar, there is a stark difference in the tuition fees. The fees in the State Universities are generally lesser than the private institutions. Find below the top 5 State and Private Universities in America

Top State Universities

  • University of California, ​Berkeley
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of Virginia, Charlottesville
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • University of North Carolina, ​Chapel Hill

Top Private Universities

  • Princeton University, New Jersey
  • California Institute of Technology, California
  • Williams College, Massachusetts
  • Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • Wellesley College, Massachusetts

2. Credit System

Unlike the syllabus pattern in India, where the student has to gulp down the whole course at one go, the Credit System in the USA breaks the course in a certain number of credits. Generally, the number of credits is equivalent to the number of hours dedicated to the course every week. Mostly the credits for the course vary from 3 to 5 and it also denotes the difficulty or importance of the course. The full-time courses in most of the universities are covered in 12 to 15 credits which cover four or 5 courses every term. Every student has to earn a minimum credit to graduate.

3. Fees

The tuition fees in US Universities defer on the basis of several factors like location, course and type of university. However, the biggest factor is whether the college is private or state-run. All universities have different tuition fees it varies according to the selected course. The fees generally vary from 10,000 dollars to 35,000 dollars annually. However, the cost of the program cannot be considered as a benchmark for the quality of education. The following table can give you a brief idea about the tuition fees:

University TypeAverage Tuition Fees
(annual in U.S. Dollars)
Private Institutions (High Cost)$ 35,000
Private Institutions (Low Cost)$ 18,000
State Institutions (High Cost)$ 25,000
State Institutions (Low Cost)$ 12,000

4. On-Campus Jobs

If you are still converting the above figures into rupees equivalent and finding it a bit intimidating, the education system in the USA allows you to earn while you learn. Most of the international students find these jobs very supporting and it generally helps them cover their expenses other than the tuition fees. As the name suggests, in these jobs, you work part-time inside the university campus.

Full-time international students are allowed to work for a maximum 20 hours per week during the term. However, you are allowed to work full time for 40 hours per week in summers. On-campus jobs generally cover works like library duty, cafeteria work, lab assistance, etc. and can pay anywhere between 7 to 12 dollars per hour.

5. Accommodation

Finding the most fitting shelter is one of the biggest hassles faced by international students in the USA. Generally, the universities help the students by sending a detailed dossier regarding available accommodation options for students. To give you a brief idea, the following are the accommodation options for students:

  • On-Campus Dormitories: Most colleges have dormitory facilities inside the campus which can be availed by applying with the administration. These are generally in close proximity to the classrooms, libraries, and cafeterias. The cost may and may not be included in the course fees.
  • Off-Campus Apartments: If the University you selected doesn’t have a dorm or it is already occupied, you can look for off-campus accommodation. The colleges assist the student in finding these apartments and also roommates to share the rent. This is generally costlier than on-campus dorms.

American Universities are very focused on the students’ convenience and go the extra mile to ensure a productive atmosphere. There are special offices created for international students and the counselors help you with your academic as well as personal problems. 

The American education system is the perfect launchpad to propel you towards your ambitions. Now that you know the 5 important things, strengthen your seat belts and stride towards the American dream of success and prosperity.