Selecting the Right Study Programs in the USA

Finding the right course might seem a bit of a minefield with so many study options available. Particularly when you are planning to join a college in United States; ready to live away from home for years; and shelling thousands of bucks on studies, you must want to select ‘right course in right college’. With a bit of research, some forward planning and the right advice you can find the perfect course as per your interest.

Know what you are interested in- what do you have a passion for? What area is supported by your basic skills, interests and personality? Choosing a course is not an easy decision. But there are many resources available to help you, take advantage of them. Following are few points to consider when choosing for a course / college.
  1. Think what matters you when choosing for a course, curriculum, college or cost or a mix of these with several other things; make a list of your priorities.
  2. Search for colleges that may stand in your academically chosen criteria. (America has the largest number of colleges and you will be able to find one).
  3. Browse through University Directory go to University Hub
  4. USA education fairs are held in all locations of the world in different times. Look for occasions to attend one such fair.
  5. Meet US education representatives near you who will help you in choosing a course and college.
  6. Interact with college’s admission officer or counselor to know more about a course, cost, faculty, and facilities etc.
  7. Find someone who has already attended or attending one such college to get more precise information.
  8. Interaction with online communities is another option where you can interact with millions of people at a single place and ask your questions.
  9. Do not believe blindly, must do right check for any information that you gained through an online community group or from a common person.

Selecting the Right College

As an overseas applicant, you have a special challenge. Maybe you have never visited the U.S.A. or seen the campuses that interest you. It's important that you take extra care to find out about each school's location and about the kind of people who study and teach there. These considerations can be as important to you as the quality of the school's academic programs. All of these things can be important, but for each student, some criteria are more significant than others. Think about these factors to determine your most important priorities.

Begin your Search early

It takes a long time to identify what colleges might be appropriate for you, so it is important to begin this process 12 to 18 months before you wish to begin your studies (keep in mind that the school year begins in August or September in the United States).

Request information from 10 colleges

You should request information from at least 10 institutions. College admissions are competitive enough for international students that you need to apply to many institutions to have a reasonable chance of being admitted to a few schools. Some international students apply to as many as 15 institutions, especially if they are in highly competitive fields like engineering, business, or computer science.

Apply to less selective colleges

At least one third of your applications should be to schools that are less selective. You can get a good idea of  school's selectivity by the scores they require on academic admissions tests. Do not limit your selection to only the most famous internationally-known institutions. If you do, your chances of being admitted to even one school will be infinitesimally small.

Apply to accredited colleges only

The US government does not monitor the quality of US colleges and universities, as does the ministry of education in other countries. Instead, the US Department of Education approves accrediting agencies. These accrediting agencies review a school's educational program for quality, and certify that the school meets a minimal set of standards. So it is important to be sure that the schools to which you are applying are accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, since schools without accreditation are likely to be of lesser quality.

Limiting your Search to one Region

Sometimes it helps to limit your search to one region of the US, such as the east or west coast, before looking for schools that match your other requirements. The most important factors in choosing a location are climate and cost of living. Costs are higher in large cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Boston. In contrast, costs are much lower in the South and in cities like Pittsburgh and Seattle. The most popular destinations in the US for international students are California, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Florida and Texas.

Number of International students on campus

Another key consideration is the number of international students on campus. If there are very many international students on campus, the school is more likely to be sensitive to the needs of students from other countries. On the other hand, you are less likely to receive financial aid at such a school.

The states which are most popular with international students are Massachusetts, California, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Illinois, Texas, Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin, Vermont, Minnesota, Maryland, and Iowa.

The best school for you is the one that best meets your needs and interests.

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