American colleges are still the number one choice for international students and have the highest number of world ranked universities. Studying in the USA gives you the chance to expand your career options, explore a huge and diverse nation, and learn from internationally-renowned teachers and researchers at US colleges and Graduate schools. The choice of universities in the USA is the largest in the world. An American college is usually smaller and offers only undergraduate degrees, while a university also offers graduate degrees. In each US university or college you will find schools (or faculties) that specialise in a subject area like Business. No matter what and where you want to study, there is a course that is right for you. For many of the 500,000 international students who study in USA each year, the freedom to choose and change subjects and schools is also big advantage. You can begin your studies in a smaller US college, complete a two-year associate degree, and then transfer to a larger USA university for further study.
Apart from being the leading destination of choice for international students, studying in USA offers a wide range of attractions and opportunities. Internationally-recognised US courses and prestigious qualifications More than 10,000 US universities, colleges and graduate schools to choose from Broad and flexible choice of US courses, easy to transfer and change schools.
Top Universities & Colleges
The American education system offers international students the most diverse set of education options in the world.
The American education system requires that students complete 12 years of primary and secondary education prior to attending university or college. This may be accomplished either at public (or government-operated) schools, or at private schools. These 12 years of schooling (or their equivalent) may also be completed outside the USA, thus giving foreign students the opportunity to pursue the benefits of the American education system and obtain a quality American education.
Generally the academic year in the US, is divided into a semester or a quarter system. There are generally 3 semesters – Fall (begins in September and ends in December), Spring (begins in January and ends in April) and Summer sessions, which begin in May. The Fall and Spring semesters are generally 4 months each. The Summer session is optional and a student may either attend the summer session or visit relatives. In a quarter system the academic year is broken into 4 parts or 4 quarters, which is the Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. Each quarter is approximately 3 months.
Students who have obtained a bachelor’s degree can continue their education by pursuing a Master’s degree. This is usually a two-year degree that is highly specialized in a specific field. Admission to a graduate program usually requires a minimum of 15 or 16 years of formal education. That is, 12 years of primary and secondary schooling and further 3 or 4 years of college education. This depends on the course and the requirements of the University that they intend to study at.
Students who want to advance their education even further in a specific field can pursue a doctorate degree, also called a PhD. A PhD degree can take between three and six years to complete, depending on the course of study chosen, the ability of the student, and the thesis that the student has selected.
Students who have completed high school and would like to attend college or university must attend what is referred to as an undergraduate school. These are schools that offer either a two-year degree (called an associate degree) or a four-year degree (called a bachelors degree) in a specific course of study. That course of study is called the major. While most schools that offer a four-year degree will admit students who have not yet chosen a major, all students are required to select (or declare) a major by their second year at school. Students who complete an associate degree can continue their education at a four-year school and eventually complete a bachelor degree.
Upon completion of fifth grade (the last year of primary school), children enrolled in the American education system advance to secondary school. Secondary school most commonly consists of a total of seven years, referred to as sixth through twelfth grades. The ninth through twelfth grades are most commonly referred to as high school. Upon completion of twelfth grade, American students are awarded a certificate called the high school diploma.
American children start school at the age of five years. The first year at school is called kindergarten. It is required of all American children enrolled in the American education system. The second year at school is considered the first year of primary school and is referred to as first grade.
Accreditation is a process by which universities and their programs are recognized for maintaining a certain level of performance and quality. Accreditation is usually done by non-governmental agencies called accreditation bodies. There are two types of accreditation : Regional & Professional.
Regional bodies ascertain whether colleges and universities as a whole meet certain standards of educational quality.
In addition, certain professional accrediting bodies evaluate the quality of education in specific fields like Business, Law etc.
Accredition ensures that universities meet minimum standards. It also helps in increasing the recognition of degree by employers and schools. Most accredited Universities are required to meet certain minimum standards of educational quality and are regularly monitored by accrediting agencies. This ensures that you will receive an education that will be worth your money.
To check out the list of accredited US universities, go to www.chea.org
Government of India recognizes only accredited U.S. universities.
We strongly recommend applying to only accredited universities.
The tuition fees can vary from $20,000 – $35,000 per annum on an average.
On an average the Tuition fees range from US $20,000 to $35,000 per annum.
The tuition costs vary from university to university. They also largely vary with your choice of major. Certain programs like Fine Art, Photography and Film are extremely expensive majors to pursue as compared to a Computer Science or Business major.
These expenses vary from state to state. Some States are more expensive than the others. For example, the living costs in New York and California are very high as compared to States like Arizona or Michigan. Generally a school that is located in the heart of a city will be more expensive than a school that is located in a small town. Also the kind of accommodation that you choose will affect your living expenses. Renting an apartment on your own might prove to be much more expensive than living on-campus in the university provided dorms. Students who are keen on off-campus housing can seek 2 or 3 other students who can share an apartment. In this way one can use one’s money optimally.
You will need to pay a one-time orientation fee at the beginning of your academic career at a particular University. The orientation program will enlighten you on the various aspects of the University, the location of different offices and departments, the facilities that are available to students and the various student organizations that exist on campus.
US Colleges and Universities that offer Scholarships for International Students
American University Scholarships
American University (AU) awards a limited number of generous partial merit scholarships to academically-qualified incoming international first-year undergraduate students. No need-based financial aid is available to international students. The merit scholarship range from U.S.$6,000 to U.S.$25,000 per academic year (renewable subject to conditions). The University also offers the AU Emerging Global Leader Scholarship Program which awards scholarships to high-achieving international students who wish to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree at the University and who are dedicated to positive civic and social change. It is intended for students who will be to returning home to improve under-resourced, under-served communities in his/her home country.
Amherst College Scholarships
Amherst College currently runs a need-based financial aid program that provides assistance to financially needy international students. Once you have been admitted, your financial need is determined. A financial aid award that is equal to your need will then be offered. The award is sometimes called an “aid package” because it may include both self-help (employment) and gift aid (scholarships and grants).
Arkansas University Scholarships
International students are eligible to apply about 10 scholarships offered at the University including the Chancellor’s Scholarship and the General University Scholarships.
Berea College Scholarships
At Berea College, every admitted student is awarded a 4-year, tuition scholarship. This scholarship works in conjunction with any other grants or scholarships students receive to completely cover the cost of tuition. Additional costs, such as room, board, and fees, may also be covered by the College, depending upon your financial need. Nearly all of their students receive additional aid for these costs.
Clark University Scholarships
Clark University offers the Global Scholars Program which are open to High school students who are NOT permanent residents or citizens of the United States, as well as U.S. citizens/permanent residents who reside overseas and will complete their entire secondary school education outside the U.S. A scholarship of no less than $15,000 (renewable, subject to conditions) and a guaranteed $2,500 taxable stipend for a paid internship or research assistantship taken for academic credit during the summer following the sophomore or junior year is included with the award.
Colby-Sawyer College Scholarships
International students are eligible for merit-based financial aid offered by Colby-Sawyer College. The scholarship value increases based on academic ability (measured in GPA) and range from $15,000 up to $24,000 per year. The college does not meet full financial need.
Columbia College Scholarships
Columbia College offers about 20 scholarships and awards to outstanding international students. The awards are one time cash grants or 25%- 100% tuition reduction.
Concordia College Scholarships
Concordia prizes the contributions international students make on campus and is pleased to provide partial financial assistance to international students. The International Student Scholarship is based on academic ability and family need, amounting up to $25,000 per year.
Cornell University Scholarships
Cornell has a limited amount of funding available for international undergraduates, only 30-40 scholarships are awarded to students in each entering class. The scholarships are either partial or full, based on the selected student’s need.
Dartmouth College Scholarships
Dartmouth College meets the demonstrated need of all admitted undergraduates, including those from other countries. Dartmouth College has scholarships and loans available to international students, which includes an allowance for travel to the U.S..
East Tennessee State University
East Tennessee State University (ETSU) offers the International Students Academic Merit Scholarship for new international students seeking a graduate or undergraduate degree. The scholarship covers 50 percent of the total of in and out-of-state tuition and maintenance fees only. No additional fees or costs are covered. The scholarship award can only be used for study at ETSU.
East West Center Graduate Degree Scholarships
The East-West Center Graduate Degree Fellowship provides funding for up to 24 months for Master’s or Doctoral degree study for graduate students from Asia, the Pacific, and the U.S. to participate in the educational, residential, and leadership development programs at the East-West Center while pursuing graduate study at the University of Hawai’i.
Emory College Scholarships
Emory College offers need-based financial aid awards to a select group of international students each year. As well, international applicants are encouraged to apply for merit-based scholarships through the Emory University Scholars Program (November 15 deadline).
Illinois Wesleyan University Scholarships
Merit-based scholarships are offered to qualified international applicants with outstanding academic achievement and test scores on the required entrance exams. These awards range from $10,000 to $25,000 per year and are renewable for up to four years. In addition, two full-tuition President’s International Student Scholarships may be awarded each year to two highly qualified international students.
Iowa State University International Merit Scholarships
The International Merit Scholarship is awarded to well-rounded students who have demonstrated strong academic achievement, and outstanding talent or achievements in one or more of the following areas: math and sciences, the arts, extracurricular activities, community service, leadership, innovation, or entrepreneurship. The awards range from $4,000 to $8,000 and are renewable.
Michigan State University International Scholarships
Michigan University provides a limited number of scholarship and grants to deserving international students at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. These financial packages are not designed to support your full academic program at MSU.
New York University Wagner Scholarships
The merit scholarships are offered to a limited number of admitted students each application cycle, including international students. The scholarships are partial to full tuition scholarships ranging from $36,000-$70,000.
Oregon University Scholarships
Each year, the University of Oregon awards more than one million dollars in financial aid and scholarships to international students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. One of their scholarship programs is the ICSP Scholarshipwhich awards 30–40 competitive scholarships to international students each year. Scholarships apply to tuition only and range from $9,000–$27,000 per year.
Wesleyan University Scholarships
Wesleyan University offers limited scholarships for international students and is awarded on the basis of both exceptional qualifications and demonstrated need. In addition to the 11 Asian students who are awarded yearly under the Freeman Asian Scholars Program, they provide financial assistance to approximately 15 international students from a pool of over 400 such applicants.
University of the West Scholarships
The Lotus Scholarship (the Scholarship) is awarded to students who achieve high academic standards and demonstrate a financial need in order to attend University of the West (UWest). The Scholarship awards up to $5,000 or up to $10,000 annually to each successful applicant to apply toward his or her tuition, mandatory fees, room and board, and other expenses required for attendance at UWest.
F-1 (Student Visa)
The F-1 visa is for full-time students enrolled in an academic or language program. F-1 students may stay in the US for the full length of their academic program plus 60 days. F-1 students must maintain a full-time course load and complete their studies by the expiration date listed on the I-20 form.
Visa Application Procedure
All nonimmigrant visa applicants (this includes students) must pay the Application Fee and VFS Service Charge at a designated branch of HDFC bank before applying for a visa. When going to HDFC Bank, please carry with you a photocopy of the 1st page of the applicants passport.
You will now be required to schedule an appointment with the US Consulate in India at Mumbai. This can be done online on the usa vfs website, using the barcode number from your HDFC Bank Fee Receipt.
The fee receipt gets activated 2 working days from date of issue. Do not attempt to take an appointment till then.
You are then required to submit your forms with one recent photograph and documents as per the checklist to any of the application centres in Mumbai, Pune or Ahmedabad. It is recommended that you forward your documents immediately after scheduling an interview but no later than 4 days prior to the date of interview.
Report to the US Embassy or Consulate where your appointment for a visa interview is scheduled. You will need to carry the printed Appointment Letter, the Visa Application Forms, one recent photograph, the original HDFC Bank Fee Receipt with its two barcode stickers. Applications without an original HDFC Bank Receipt or with an incorrect photograph will NOT be accepted. You will also be required to carry all supporting documents (in original).
If you are issued a visa, your passport will be returned to you via courier. Optionally, you may collect it across the counter.
- Valid Passport: You are recommended to have passport valid for at least six months beyond your interview date
- One photograph as per specification
- Visa Application Fee: This fee is payable in cash or by DD in the name of US Embassy – Visa Fees. DDs issued by cooperative banks are not accepted
- VFS & Bank Service Charge: This fee is payable in cash or by DD in the name of HDFC Bank a/c VFS. DDs issued by cooperative banks are not accepted
- Original signed Barcode form of DS-160
- Valid HDFC Bank visa fee receipt and interview appointment letter
- SEVIS generated Form I-20 in original, approved and signed by the University authority
- Proof of payment of SEVIS Fee Receipt I-901, if applicable
- Evidence of Financial Resources: Proof of liquid assets sufficient to pay for the entire first year of education and living expenses as well as proof of readily available funds to cover the remaining year(s) of studies
- Original degree certificates along with mark sheets
- Original Bachelor degree transcripts or high school diploma along with mark sheets from previous institutions attended
- Relevant Test Scores: e.g. TOEFL and SAT, GRE, GMAT or LSAT
When to Apply
You are encouraged to apply for your non-immigrant student visa at the earliest. To ensure you get an early and timely date you may apply at anytime, however a student visa may be issued no more than 120 days prior to the start date mentioned on your I-20.
The following checklist will be helpful while applying to a university in USA…
Fall Semester Intake (September/October)
This is the main intake and almost all programs are offered at this time. More financial aid is also available for this semester.
Spring Semester (January/February)
This is the mid-year intake. However, all courses may not be offered in this intake. Whether or not a University will offer a January / February intake can be found out on the respective university’s website, university brochures or from our counselors.
There is limited financial assistance available for this semester as most universities allocate funds to projects in the Fall semester. Some universities also have a Summer intake around July.
Though each University specifies its application procedure / requirements, generally one can apply for admissions through us at Take Off Educational Consultants, where by all application, admission and correspondence services will be provided by us. You can give us all necessary supporting academic documents and we will assist you with the entire admission procedure.
Documents Required for Admission
The following checklist will be helpful while applying to a university in USA…
- Application Form
- Application fee receipt
- Photocopy of passport – with all visa stamp pages and travel dates
- Statement of Purpose
- GRE / TOEFL / SAT / GMAT score sheets (as applicable)
- 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th standard for Undergraduate students
- 10th , 12th and Graduation for Graduate students
- True copy of all marksheets – all academic year
- Recommendation letters of atleast 3 professors / school teachers
- True copy of Experience certificate
- True copy of Professional or Vocational courses, if any
- Original bank balance certificate and CA report only of liquid assets
- Original affidavit of support
The evidence of financial support is required by universities to issue the documents needed for visa application. Although it is a requirement for application, it is usually not taken into consideration into factors that determine admission. Most universities make their admission decisions without regard for the source and amount of financial support.
You would be required to submit documentation of your family’s financial resources to help schools assess your need. Most of the universities have their own financial aid form, which you would have to complete.
You would also be required to submit a bank statement demonstrating your financial capacity to support your education in US. Some US state institutions offer tuition waivers to international students in return for some type of educational contribution.
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