Higher Education Options for Indian Students in the United States
The United States is among the most preferred destination for higher education in the world. Due to the presence of a plethora of study and work opportunities, the United States is also known as the “Land of Opportunities”. During 2013-14, the US welcomed almost 9 lakh international students. Hence the United States is one of the best destinations for higher education in the world. This article will clarify all the aspects of higher education in the US to the Indian students.
Types of higher education degrees in the United States:
In the United States, there are four types of degrees offered. These degrees can be done successively. Following are the types of degrees offered in the US:
- Associate Degree: Associate degrees are two year undergraduate programmes that prepare a student for a particular career or for a bachelor’s degree. Students undertake associate degrees to earn more credits for a bachelor’s degree although certain jobs require only an associate degree.
- Bachelor’s Degree: Bachelor’s Degree is a four year undergraduate program that provided more in depth study of a given major. It is an extension of an associate degree. Completion of a bachelor’s degree will make you eligible to do master degrees. Bachelor’s degrees include Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and Bachelor of Science (BS).
- Master’s Degree: Master’s Degree is a two year post graduate program that is pursued after the completion of the Bachelor Degree. It provides further in depth study of the majors opted by students in the Bachelor’s degree. It prepares a student for the doctoral programmes. Some degree options in Masters Degrees include Master of Science (MS), Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Arts (MA).
- Doctoral degrees: The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) degree is the highest academic degree offered to the students. To pursue a doctoral degree in a particular field, a student will need to have a master’s degree in that same field. It involves writing a dissertation based on research and advanced study of the subjects. A Ph.D. will take three to six years to complete based on the nature and complexity of the research thesis.
Types of Educational Institutions in the United States:
In the United States there are two main types of educational institutions. They are:
- Community College: A community college is a college that provides general and technical associate degrees. Students aspiring to do an associate degree to earn additional credits for a Bachelor’s degree usually come to community colleges. Community college courses are very affordable and many students use community college courses to earn credits for a four year bachelor degrees.
- University: A university is an educational institution that primarily provides bachelors, masters and doctoral programmes. Students aspiring to further improve their academic credentials go to universities. Those who are completing associate degrees in community colleges can go for universities to complete their bachelor degrees.
Types of Admissions:
- Fall Admissions: Fall admissions starts in late August to ends in late December. Most universities entertain applications only during the fall semester. Student will get more number of course options during the fall admissions. Also, most of the students will apply fall admissions as their undergraduate programs ends in June. Hence, most of the students opt for Fall Admissions.
- Spring Admissions: Spring admissions starts in early January to ends in early May. The courses offered for the spring admissions will be lesser in number. Almost 25% of universities in the U.S do not have any spring admissions for a majority of the courses they offer. Many universities do not provide for financial aids during the spring semester. The applicants who were not offered admissions during the fall but the university wants to have the applicant as a student are provided delayed admission during the spring.
Application guidelines and requirements:
- Application Forms: It is better to send inquiries at least 18 months before the date of admission. Students can request application forms via e-mail, air mail or students can go to the universities/college’s website and download the application form.
- Academic Records: Students are required to submit their school certificates for admission into undergraduate programmes.The acceptable degrees include Indian School Certificate, Intermediate Certificate, Higher School Certificate, Higher Secondary Certificate, and All India Senior School Certificate & their degree certificate from any recognized university for admission into post graduate or doctoral programmes.
- Letter of Recommendation: Not all universities require a recommendation letter but providing one will increase chances of admission. A recommendation letter is to be provided by a person who has taught the student or knows the student professionally. It must state the student’s positive and negative qualities and strengths. The author must also state his/her position and for how long he/she has known the students and to what capacity.
- Statement of Purpose: A statement of purpose must also be provided. It is an essay written by the applicant stating why he/she wants to do the course from that particular university. It is given high amounts of consideration by the university in selecting its candidates.
- Financial Aid application: If the student wants to apply for financial aid or any Scholarships, the student must submit the relevant applications.
- Student Visa: The student wishing to study in the US must apply for F Class USA non-immigrant visa.
In conclusion, the US is a wonderful country to study in thanks to the high quality of universities and availability of a plethora of job opportunities. All the best!!!