DECISION TIME… CHOOSING A UNIVERSITY OR A COLLEGE IN THE U.S
Earning a degree from the US might seem like an impossible task for foreign students when you look at the various logistics and the cost involved, but with careful financial planning and smart school selection, it might not be such a difficult task after all.
There are over 3,000 colleges and universities in America and a degree from an American institute is respected worldwide. In fact, there are many top-ranked schools that are much more affordable than well known Ivy League Schools.
Even though accreditation and reputation are important, find schools that you are comfortable with. Each student has his/her own personality and his/her own choice of the environment they would wish to be a part of. It is important to take the environment of the school into account as you will be spending a significant amount of time in these places. Make sure you do thorough research and see if the environment is to your liking.
Many schools in the US look to have diverse classrooms and encourage foreign students to apply, but a few lack diversity. According to a report the U.S. colleges and universities with the highest percentages of international students in the 2014-15 academic year were, Florida Institute of Technology with 33% international students, New School (New York City) with 32%, and Illinois Institute of Technology with 30%. Schools with a strong global presence are a veritable treasure trove of unique experiences with a greater opportunity for cultural groups and events, allowing international students an opportunity to experience the US culture while also being able to get a sneak peek into numerous other cultures through their classmates.
The language might pose a challenge for many international students too. Students who require help with their English can choose schools with programs designed to help them improve their English fluency.
Look up blogs from alumni of the school you want to attend, talk to them and be prepared to face the challenges you perceive. Look up the cost. Keep in mind that living in certain cities might be more expensive than others. Budget according to your needs including food and lodging, tuition, healthcare, educational supplies, transportation and other miscellaneous expenses. Review your sources of income thoroughly. Make a comparative study of the income versus the cost at various universities.
Look for financial aid
Most schools in the US offer some kind of financial support to students. Do thorough research again.
Some schools that provide the most support include the University of Chicago, Williams College, Yale University, Skidmore College, Harvard University, Amherst College, Wesleyan University, Stanford University, Trinity College, Dartmouth College, etc.
Look for resources
To find more information that may help you study in America. There are numerous consultancies and advising centers that could guide you in your search, such as the Education USA offices and the Fulbright Commission offices which have a presence in many countries. Also, find out if your country co-sponsors a bi-national center with the US.
Another source of information which is most widely available on the internet. Here are some websites you might find helpful as you look for help:
- EducationUsa.state.gov, which connects you with the U.S. Department of State’s network which has over 400 international student advising centers in over 170 countries.
- ESL.com, which helps international students connect with English-language programs.
- InternationalStudent.com, specially created for foreign students who wish to study in the U.S.
- Petersons.com, which provides advice to international students on finding the right school.
- StudyUSA.com, which helps students connect with American universities and English language programs.
- TopUniversities.com, which links international students with business schools, postgraduate departments, and employers.
Choosing a good school is important! Take time and research well before you commit your time and money to any school.
Hubert (Hubert@mbacentereurope.eu) is the Founder of MBA Center, an elite test prep and admission consulting organization collaborating with the best test prep centers in Europe and India. Over the last 24 years, Hubert has developed the World MBA Tour and co-founded ACCESS MBA. Hubert’s passion is teaching, though. Holder of a perfect 800, Hubert has trained thousands of GMAT students, written and developed over 50 TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS, SAT, and GMAT prep books, software and e-learning platforms.
Hubert has the most impressive track record in the industry with 3,000+ MIM, MIF, MBA, EMBA, and Ph.D. students accepted in the best universities in the world: