United States of America

Studying in the US
To qualify for an undergraduate degree program, you must be aged 17 or older, and have a Diploma or acceptable certification of graduation from a High School or Secondary School in your home country. To qualify for (post) graduate study you must have successfully completed the international equivalent of a US secondary education, and the international equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree.

Eligibility to apply to the US
Anyone who has a consistently good academic record, firm financial support and proficiency in English is eligible to apply to the US for higher education. Please check the details of the program and the university you wish to apply since different programs have a different set of criteria to be eligible. You may be required to take a few admission tests to be eligible.

Average time to degree for programs in the U.S.

Degree Years of Study
Associate 2 years
Bachelors 4-5 years
Master’s (Most Programs) 2 years
Doctorate 6 years
Juris Doctorate (Law) 3 years

Academic terms in the USA
There are a host of academic terms used by institutions of higher education. Below are some of the most common:

Academic Year:
The period of time each year when a school is conducting classes. U.S. schools operate under different systems. Many schools operate on a semester system which breaks the school year into two terms of study (typically between 15 to 18 weeks in duration). Other schools operate on quarter system which divides the school year into three terms (typically between 10 -12 weeks in duration).

Breaks are vacation periods between quarters/semesters when there are no classes. Winter break typically runs from mid-December to mid-January based on the system of study. Spring break is a one-week break in mid-March or early April. It happens between winter and spring quarters for quarter system schools and mid-semester for semester schools. Summer break runs mid-May/June to mid-August/September based on the system of study.

English Proficiency requirements:
The English proficiency requirement for admission will vary by institution. Within each institution, different programs may have different English Proficiency requirements. English requirements typically vary based on level of study with higher proficiency levels being required at the graduate level. The most common English proficiency test used by U.S. institutions of higher education is the Test of English As a Foreign Language (TOEFL). IELTS and other tests are also accepted depending what the institutional requirements are.

Documents are required
In general the following documents are required for the admission at undergraduate level.One must consult the office for the information on any specific requirements.

  • Application/Fee
  • Transcripts
  • Proof of English Proficiency
  • Credential Evaluation (if required)
  • Test score (if required)
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Proof of Financial Support
  • GRE Scores
  • GMAT/LSAT/MCAT (if Business, Law or Medicine)
  • Letters of recommendation (at least three)

You will need to provide an official copy of your academic transcripts, translated into English, with your application. Additionally, some universities will require that you provide a professional evaluation of your academic credentials. World Education Service can review your transcripts and prepare a transcript evaluation report for a fee. Admission into Doctoral level programs is possible normally after completion of Masters. However, US universities are flexible in admitting even those with a Bachelors degree. But, the length of program might be longer than for those with a Masters degree. Typically, the duration of Doctoral level programs is between 3 and 6 years, depending on the field of research and university.

Financial & Others
Colleges and universities offer scholarships, assistantships and fellowships to outstanding students, largely based on merit. There is stiff competition for financial assistance and availability varies from university to university.

  • You will need an F1 Visa, which is for full-time students enrolled in an academic or language program.
  • The I-20 form allows you to apply for a student visa at the American consulate or embassy in your country. Following university acceptance, a deposit will be required to release the I-20 immigration document in most of the cases.
  • When you enter the United States on a student visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your student status. That means you may stay as long as you maintain full-time student status, even if the F-1 visa in your passport expires while you are in America. However, if you depart the USA with an expired visa, you will need to obtain a new one, applying at an Embassy abroad, before being able to return to and resume your studies.
  • When you complete the course of studies shown on your I-20, and any authorized practical training, you are allowed an additional 60 days in the USA, to prepare for departure from the country, or to transfer to another university.
  • You need to show additional support for the spouse and children. This is in addition to what you need to show to meet their own living and education expenses. You will also need to supply the name, date of birth, city and country of birth and country of citizenship for each dependent. The amount required will vary among institutions.
  • You should aim to arrive at the university in time to be ready to start the international orientation program at your selected institution. The orientation program will usually take place a few days before classes start.

Work-permit options:
On Campus- International students on F-1 Visa are eligible to work On campus 20 hrs a week.
Off Campus- Students who are facing economic hardships and have a job offer from an International organization may apply for work authorization from DHS (Department of Homeland Security)

Practical training
Practical training is available to F-1 students who have been attending a FT program for at least consecutive 9 months. High School and English language program students are not eligible. Two types of practical training:-
1. CPT (Curricular practical training)- It is an alternate work/study, internship a part of co-operative education. It is an integral part of program of study. The UG student is eligible for CPT after having completed 9 months of study and is still maintaining the student status on F-1 visa. But the exception is graduate students who are required to start a co-op or internship prior to completing one academic year of study…
2. OPT (Optional practical training)-It allows students to gain work experience after completion of their study program. All F-1 students are entitled to 1 yr of OPT for each higher degree they receive. Students who complete their degree on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) may be entitled to a 17 month extension of OPT (29 months in total). OPT can happen
1) during annual vacation 2) in session but should not exceed more than 20 hrs 3) Full time after completion of all course requirements (excluding thesis or the equivalent) 4) full time after completion of a program of study.

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