Attraction to studying in the US springs from three principle factors: a commitment to excellence, freedom of choice, and an appealing culture.
High standard of education
The USA offers a consistently high standard of education. Harvard University commonly tops most world ranking tables and from this point downwards the lists are dominated by other US colleges. Though the tuition fees at these institutions can sometimes be startling high, with these high prices students are guaranteed excellence.
The high tuitions fees can provide the best research and learning facilities in the world and in turn attract the brightest minds, both as professors and in the student body. Enveloped in an environment of attainment and achievement, a student will not only be able to learn much, but be inspired to learn more.
Choice of university
The second greatest reason that the States continues to attract so many foreign students is the extensive choice on offer. The States has over 5,500 colleges, each State averaging roughly 115. Though some of the institutions are quite expensive, many are not, thus opening up the opportunity to study in the States to those with restricted means.
In addition to this, it is not only in price but also in course availability and construction that these colleges differ. With the colossal number of colleges to choose from, a prospective student will be able to locate the course that suits them best. Not only do these courses vary in content but also in length, MA degrees ranging from 1-3 years.
Though the set-up varies from place to place, often students are able to drop, switch and retake modules, depending on work load and any personal factors. This freedom of choice and pace of study, though common in most of Europe, is not the case in the UK or in many universities across Asia.
Culture of the USA
The third reason the States remains so popular is due to the country’s culture itself. With American films, television shows and music, many people around the globe feel like they have a pretty good idea of what college life in the States is like: parties with red plastic cups, sunny grass quads and a host of extra-curricular activities to jump into.
Living on campus in Residential Halls is one way to dive into the thick of US college life. Renting private accommodation off-campus, though a little more complicated to organise, gives more freedom and allows a student to escape from the campus bubble. Homestay, when a student- lives with an American family, offers the quickest and most comprehensive induction into the American way of life.
Or at least, we should say, one American way of life. With its huge landmass and population of over 300 million, the USA is one of the most diverse countries on the planet. It is safe to say that the college experience in LA won’t be the same as that found in New England. This should be taken into account when applying to study in the US, and taken advantage of in your free time when you are there.
Working in the USA
Colleges in the US often place an emphasis on work and study. As well as enhancing your education, working while studying is also a good way to improve your chances of being able to stay and work in the country once you have left college. The F-1 visa for international students studying in the US is a relatively simple one to apply for.
More information regarding how to do that can be found here. Applying for lawful permanent residence in the US (commonly referred to as the ‘green card’) can, however, be a lot trickier. This site here supports individuals applying for visas to the US and a consulting service approved by the government.
Normally what is required is a sponsorship from a US citizen, who is either a close family relation or employer. Therefore, thinking about work prospects while studying in the US is vitally important. To stay ahead of the game and ensure that you are in a strong position when you graduate, get involved in any work experience you can through the college, and keep your eye open for relevant graduate schemes.