GRE/All about education in USA



Why Study in the U.S?

Of the 1.2 million students pursuing postsecondary education outside their home countries, more than one-third choose to study in the United States. Why do so many students from all over the world choose U.S. colleges and universities? What does the United States have to offer you?

Academic Excellence

The United States has one of the world`s finer university systems, with outstanding programs in virtually all fields. At the undergraduate level, excellent programs exist in traditional disciplines as well as in professional fields. At the graduate level, students often have the opportunity to work directly with some of the finer minds in the world. U.S. degrees are recognized throughout the world for their excellence.

Variety of Educational Opportunities

The higher-education system in the United States has something for everyone. Some U.S. colleges and universities stress broad educational principles; others stress practical, employment-related skills; and still others specialize in technical fields, the arts, or social sciences. If you are looking for an institution in which you can study a particular field -- no matter how unusual or specific -- you can usually find several from which to choose in the United States.

Cutting-Edge Technology

U.S. universities pride themselves in being at the forefront of technology and educational approaches, and in making available to their students the best possible equipment and resources. Even if your field does not directly involve science or engineering, you will become skilled in using the latest technology to obtain and process information. You will find ways to stay connected with people in your field all over the world.

Opportunity for Research, Teaching, and Training

If you are a graduate student, you may be able to gain valuable experience in research or teaching while you help to finance your education. This practical component of your education will prove useful in your future career and may give you insights into your field that would not be possible through course study alone. International students are some of the most valued researchers and teachers in U.S. universities, because they bring new skills and ideas to the classroom and laboratory. Many graduate programs in the United States offer training that enables students to become research teaching assistants.


Although many programs are highly structured, you will generally find many course choices. At the advanced stages of a degree, you will be able to tailor your course work to fit your specific needs. When you choose independent study topics for a graduate thesis or dissertation, you can emphasize ideas that are important to you, your field, and your country.

Support Services for International Students

At most institutions, an international student office provides services to foreign students for living and learning in their new environment. From orientation programs at the beginning of your degree program, to resume'-writing assistance as you approach graduation, you will find people at the university and in the community who are interested in your success.

Campus Life

U.S. universities provide a rich variety of academic, cultural, and athletic activities that add new dimensions to your educational experience and also help you make new friends.

Global Education

Experience in an international setting is a marketable commodity. Your long-term career prospects can be enhanced by and experience that develops self-confidence, independence, and cross-cultural skills - attributes that are in high demand with employers worldwide.

Education System in the US

In the United States, students begin higher education after completing 12 years of primary and secondary school. Institutions of higher education include two-year colleges (known as community or junior colleges), four-year colleges, universities, institutes of technology, vocational and technical schools, and professional schools such as law and medical schools. Higher education is available in public (government support) and private (no government support) institutions, institutions affiliated with religious groups, and profit-making institutions - a wide variety. Size varies too. Some excellent colleges enroll fewer than a thousand students; some large universities enroll 50,000 or more students. 

The underlying purpose of institutions varies: some provide a basic ‘liberal arts’ education; others concentrate on technical education; still others focus on music or art or the professions. Experts at U.S. educational advising centers around the world can help you sort through these categories.

The United States government does not recognize or approve colleges and universities as does the ministry of education in many countries. Instead the U.S. Department of Education reviews and recognizes ‘accrediting agencies’ that in turn assure the quality of educational institutions and programs. Be sure that the universities in which you are interested are accredited by an agency recognized by the Department of Education. Most colleges and universities have what is called ‘regional accreditation’ from an agency that has jurisdiction over the region of the country in which they are located. Accreditation assures you that the institution has met certain academic, administrative, and fiscal standards. Accreditation also assures you that your degree will be recognized by other educational institutions and by employers.

Certain fields of study will also have ‘program accreditation’ in addition to regional accreditation. For example, the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology accredits engineering programs. Your overseas educational adviser can help you find out if program accreditation exists for your field of study.

U.S. Students

Nearly 15 million U.S. students are enrolled in higher education in the United States. They come from all economic brackets and from all social backgrounds. Education is mandatory in the United States to age 16 and the majority of students do finish high school. More than half of the students who complete high school in the United States enter higher education in one from or another. About 37 percent of young people between the ages of 19 and 24 in the United States are enrolled in higher education, but not all U.S. students enter college or university immediately after high school; some delay their entrance in order to earn money to pay for their education. Once enrolled, many American students work full or part time to finance their university studies.

International Students

During 1996-1997, 458,000 international students were enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities, making up 3.2 percent of the total enrollment in U.S. higher education. The most popular fields of study among international students are business and management (20 percent) and engineering(16 percent). Large research universities enrolled 42 percent of all international students. International students are enrolled 42 percent of all international students. International students are enrolled in greater proportions at the higher academic levels; thus they comprise only 2.5 percent of all bachelor`s degree students, about 10 percent of graduate students, and 33 percent of all doctoral students. Approximately one-half of the doctoral degrees awarded by U.S. institutions in engineering, mathematics, and the physical and biological sciences are earned by international students. More than 81 percent of undergraduate international students finance their education primarily from personal and family resources; the same is true for 48 percent of international graduate students.

Undergraduate Education

The undergraduate bachelor degree typically takes four years to complete. At most institutions those years are known as the freshman or first-year, sophomore, junior, and senior years of undergraduate study. Many students complete their first two years at a junior or community college, earning an associate degree, and then transfer to a four-year college or university to complete two more years for a bachelor degree. The curriculum of many undergraduate programs is based on ‘liberal arts philosophy’ that requires students to take courses from a range of subjects to form a broad educational foundation. During the first two years, students have the opportunity to explore various fields of study such as social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences. These courses are often called ‘core curriculum’ or ‘distributions requirements.’ By the end of the second year, students at many institutions are asked to choose a specific field of study, known as the major, on which they will focus for the remainder of the undergraduate program. Students then spend the next two years taking more courses directly related to their major. Students who major in certain fields such as business, engineering, or science find that the curriculum is more tightly structured than it is in the humanities or social sciences. Business, science, and engineering majors may have to take more courses related to their major field of study and have fewer ‘elective,’ or optional, courses.

Graduate Education

Graduate education can result in a variety of degrees. The most common include the master`s of arts(MA), sciences(MS), business administration(MBA), fine arts(MFA), law(LLM), social work(MSW), and specialist in education(EdS). The most common final, or ‘terminal,’ degrees are doctorates in a variety of fields(PhD), education(EdD), law(JD), science(DSc), medicine(MD), and religion or divinity(DD).

Master`s degrees are the most frequently awarded graduate degrees. Nearly 400, 000 master`s degrees were awarded by U.S. institutions in 1995. It is possible to earn a master`s degree in one year, but more often it will take two to three years. In general, master`s degrees require that you complete six to eight courses, in addition to a project or thesis (a long research paper).

A doctorate usually requires five to seven years of study following receipt of the bachelor`s degree. It may take less time to obtain a doctorate if you enter the doctoral program with a competed master`s degree. Unlike undergraduates, graduate students begin specialized study on the first day of classes. You will probably be required to take certain courses and may be allowed as few as two or three electives. A doctoral program includes the writing of a dissertation involving original research. The dissertation may involve a year or more of research and at least a year or writing. U.S. institutions awarded more than 44,000 doctorates in 1995.

Research is a central feature of most graduate programs at U.S. colleges and universities. U.S. faculty are expected to engage in original research in their academic field, in addition to teaching and helping to run the university. Most of the research in the United States is supported by various agencies of the U.S. federal government. Faculty members apply to those agencies for funding to support their research. Part of the research money is used to pay salaries of researchers, some of whom are graduate students.

Other Options

Other types of programs are offered in many settings, some outside the traditional university setting. Possibilities include short-term technical training opportunities, certificate programs, and other vocational opportunities. For example, a two-month museum studies program would not result in a degree but would offer the student valuable practical experience and a certificate or completion.

Is US the Right Choice for You?

Studying in the United States is a serious and expensive undertaking. To decide if it is the best option for you, consider carefully how it will fit into your long-term educational and professional plans. Key questions to answer include:

· What are your goals? · Do you have the academic preparation necessary to achieve those goals? · Do you have adequate proficiency in English? · Do you have enough money? · Are you prepared to live in another country and culture for the time it takes to earn a degree?

What are you goals?

Studying in the United States is not an end unto itself. Students pursue higher education, in their home country or abroad, because the experience will help them achieve their professional and personal goals. Those goals may include professional advancements, a higher-paying job, or a greater appreciation and knowledge of the world.

As you define your educational and professional goals, here are some questions to ask yourself:

· Am I willing to spend this much time in higher education? · Is there a need for my chosen profession in my home country? · Will earn enough in this profession to justify the investment? · Will my U.S. educational credentials be recognized at home by institutions of higher education, professional licensing boards, and potential employers when I return? · Will spending time abroad cause me to miss important opportunities at home? · Is the knowledge I will gain during my study in the United States readily transferable to situations in my home country? · Will the technological expertise I acquire in the United States be of use at home? · Is the training or education I need available at home

Are you academically prepared?

If you are applying for undergraduate study at a two- or four-year U.S. university, you must have completed at least 12 years of school and obtained the equivalent of a U.S. high school diploma. If you are considering graduate study at the master`s or doctoral level, you will need an academic credential equivalent to a U.S. bachelor`s degree.

Some U.S. universities are very competitive, selecting only students with excellent grades and test scores as well as leadership skills. Many U.S. universities are less selective, but almost all require some demonstration that you have succeeded in y our previous schooling and that you have the potential to succeed at a more advanced level. Most graduate schools also require a minimum grade point average of 3.0 from previous study.

Be realistic about your academic record and test scores. Apply to universities whose requirements match your academic background and interests Be aware that graduate work in the United States involve a great deal of independent work and classroom discussion, forms of learning that may be different from what you have experienced.

U.S. colleges and universities place a great deal of emphasis on neat, organized, and clearly written presentation. Almost nothing is accepted in handwriting; projects and term papers should be typed or produced on a computer. More and more research at campus libraries is conducted using computers to access on-line resources instead of books. Most universities will issue students a personal electronic mail account upon enrollment and expect them to use it for homework assignments.

Do you have adequate English?

Most universities will require undergraduate and graduate students to probe their English language ability as part of the admissions process by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The level of proficiency required varies from school to school and from department to department, but it is important to remember that the more prepared you are before you begin study, the more confident you will feel as a student in the United States.

It is an advantage to have a good command of written and spoken English from the very beginning of the application profess. Some universities will require applicants to submit at least one essay as part of their application; others may request an interview or teleconference with you to hear how you express yourself in English.

Do you have enough money?

When considering the cost of a U.S. education, include the costs of tuition, living expenses, books, and other items. Tuitions varies widely from university to university, but it is usually always the largest single cost and international student faces. A community college may have a yearly tuition of $2,000; a highly selective private university may have yearly costs for tuition, room and board of $28,000. Sources of financial aid available to international students at the undergraduate level are limited and highly competitive.

Your financial plans should cover your entire program. An undergraduate degree in the United States takes an average of four to five years to complete. Master`s programs may last one to three years. Doctoral programs may take anywhere from five to seven years, depending on your field of study and previous education. Non-degree or vocational programs last anywhere from several months to two years.

Be realistic if you plan to bring your family with your during your time in the United States. You will probably need an additional $5,000 per year to bring your spouse with you and an extra $4,000 per year for each child. Health insurance is a necessity for living in the United States; budget for these costs as well. The cost of health insurance varies but generally ranges from $3,500 to $4,000 per year for a family.

Are you prepared to live in another country and culture?

Living in the United States for an extended period of time while pursuing your educational goals is much different from visiting the country for few weeks or months as a tourist. Give some thought to how living in a new environment and a new culture might change you, and the additional changes you may need to make upon your return home. Consider whether you have the skills to live independently in a new culture. You will likely be separated from family and friends for a long period. If you do bring your family, consider their adjustments as well.

Resourcefulness, creativity, and realistic planning are all key factors in determining whether you will succeed in your plan to study in the United States.

The Right Program

Be sure that the U.S. institutions that interest you are accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Accreditation assures you that the university has met certain standards. A degree from a non accredited institution may not be recognized by other educational institutions or by employers.

· Quality · Other Educational Factors · Cost · English Language and Instruction · Access to Health Care · Housing · Safety · Social Activities · Location and Climate · Practicing your Religion


Because of Size and variety of higher education in the United States, the quality of any given institution and its programs, even when accredited, is hard to determine. The most expensive institution is not necessarily the best, Nor is every program at a highly regarded institution necessarily of the same high quality.

For graduate students, the research and publication records of the faculty in your chosen department are probably the best measures of quality, although even a ‘good’ department might not have a top processor in the specialization that you are looking for. Ask your current professors for advice and guidance. They are usually the best sources of information on the quality of a graduate program.

Factors that can affect the quality of the education available to undergraduates include:

· Class size: are all classes taught in a lecture format, or are smaller seminars and discussion sessions available for undergraduates? · Opportunities for independent research and direct work with faculty: are there service learning opportunities, undergraduate research programs, and an honors program? · Educational background of the student body: is the institution nonselective (‘open enrollment’), selective, competitive, or highly competitive?

Other Educational Factors

Graduate students will want to consider the type and number of research or study facilities available. For example, you may want to know how many libraries the school has, how many volumes those libraries contain, and whether students can borrow books from libraries at other institutions using inter-library loan.

In addition to finding out about the library, look for information about special research collections, laboratories, and other facilities that can affect your education opportunities. The more information about the university you can obtain ahead of time, the easier it will be for you to decide where you want to study.

For undergraduates, if you think you know what discipline you want to pursue, look at the size of the department, the breadth of its offerings, and related departments. If you are less certain of your choice or major, you might want to consider a larger institution where you would have more options. For undergraduates, the ambiance or mood of a campus can be an important factor. Some universities may stress friendliness, community involvement, and personal attention. Others may stress independence and offer less personal advising and supervision. It is important to read an institution`s promotional material to determine whether a campus is going to suit y our and your needs.


Tuition costs vary enormously from one institution to the next, ranging from $2,000 to $28,000 per year. In some cases scholarships or other types of financial assistance may be available through the institution; in other cases the source may be a private foundation, a private company, or your home government. Financial assistance may come in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, or tuition reductions. It is important in your selection process to keep tuition rates and the availability or unavailability of financial assistance in mind.

When choosing an institution, you will also want to consider the cost of living in the surrounding area. You will find that cost of living varies greatly in different parts of the country and even between different cities in the same state. visit:

English Language Proficiency and Instruction

If your English skills are very limited, you may need to attend an English language institute before beginning your degree program. you may wish to select a university that offers an English-as-a-second-language (ESL) program preceding academic enrollment.

Conditional or provisional admission may be offered to you if your academic or professional qualifications are very good but your English needs additional improvement. If you are given conditional or provisional admission, you may be required to complete English language courses or retake standardized language proficiency tests before being allowed to enroll in certain courses. You may have to satisfy this condition during your first or second term.

It is very important to know the university`s policies on English-language testing and classes. When you are admitted to an institution, you should carefully examine the documents in your admission packet to determine whether you will be required to enroll in ESL courses.

If you are an international graduate student and are interested in applying for a graduate teaching or laboratory assistantship, you will need to pay particular attention to any special English-language or other preparation programs that may be required for such assistantships - visit:

Access to Health Care

Many universities have student health centers that offer basic medical care at little or no cost to students. If you know that you have a specific medical condition or will require regular medical care, you will want to locate a university that has adequate student health services and is located near a comprehensive medical center. Remember that health care for major illnesses or accidents can be extremely expensive in the United States, so health insurance is essential.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 protects the rights of all students, both U.S. and international, to have the opportunity to participate fully in the programs and services of a college or university. Many campuses have offices with specially trained staff to provide support services for students with disabilities. If you have a disability, you will want to find out about the special facilities or resources available to you. If a university has other students with the same or a related disability, this may indicate that the university can accommodate your special need.


Housing is an important consideration, especially if you are married and want your family to accompany you to the United States while you are studying. Some universities offer married-students housing on campus. In many locations you can find reasonably priced apartments or houses for rent. If you are single, you may want to live in a campus residence hall with an American roommate. Be aware that some urban universities have little or no student housing.


Personal safety is important to people everywhere. It is customary for public institution in the United States to make available statistics about the types and numbers of crimes that occur on their campuses. Even though it is unlikely that you would be a victim, crime can happen anywhere. So regardless of where you choose to study, you should learn about common safety and crime prevention strategies.

Social Activities

Most universities offer a wide array of clubs and organizations representing student interests. You will find cultural and religious associations, sports teams and sports clubs, volunteer service organizations, academic societies, music and theater groups, international student organizations, and many other opportunities for social activiety. All of these activities are good opportunities to meet others and develop friendships. Certain types of institutions will offer fewer social activities. ‘Commuter campuses’ in urban areas, for example, cater to part-time American students and do not concentrate on student social activities.

Excellent Colleges and universities are found all around the United States, in cities large and small, as well as in small towns and rural areas. Do not think that all of the best universities are located in large cities; it simply is not so. Consider whether you might prefer living near the ocean, near the mountains, or in the plains.

Location and Climate

Climate may be important to you. Student from hot, dry climates may be uncomfortable studying in humid climates or in areas that have a full range of seasons including very cold weather. You should be able to find detailed information about the weather conditions and average seasonal temperatures through the resources at your educational advising center or on the World Wide Web.

Practicing Your Religion

It may be very important to you to be a part of a religious community while you are studying in the United States. Muslim students, for example, might want to be sure there is a mosque in their campus community.

Financing Your Education

Careful planning is both necessary and wise. You will required to prove to the university, to the consular officer (the person at the U.S. Consulate who issues visa stamps), and perhaps to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service that you have sufficient funds to cover your living expenses (housing, food, clothing, etc.) and health insurance, as well as university`s tuition and fees.

So how much money will you need? You can get a general idea about expenses by looking at catalogs or application information provided by the university. Remember, however, that tuition rates vary tremendously. State (public) universities are generally, but not always, less expensive than private institutions. Some private institutions may be able to offer scholarships that state schools can not. Two-year or community colleges are usually less expensive than colleges and universities offering bachelor`s and graduate degrees.

The cost of living in different parts of the United States also varies. In general, living in urban areas (in or near a big city) is more expensive than living in smaller towns or rural areas. Renting an apartment in a big city can cost twice as much as it does in a smaller town because there is such high demand for housing in large U.S. cities. Likewise, food, clothing, entertainment, and other living expenses may be more expensive in a city.

Budgeting is a continuous process. At this stage, work on a ‘big picture’ budge that will include tuition, room and board, transportation, and living expenses, Later you can be more specific, taking into consideration all the additional expenses of moving and settling in. One very important factor in the ‘big picture’ budget is health insurance, which can be as little as $1,000 annually for an individual or as much as $5,000 for a family.

· Funding Packages · Undergraduate Assistance from U.S. Source · Graduate Assistance from U.S. Source · Financial Documentation for Admission and Visa Purposes · Employment Restrictions

Funding Packages

Many international students put together a funding ‘package’ from a variety of sources. You should explore the options your government or home university has available for students studying overseas. Many governments offer scholarships and low-interest or no-interest loans for academically promising students. Some international organizations offer scholarships and grants to students pursuing degree program in specific fields. Some private companies in your country may offer scholarships to bright students who wish to study abroad. The best source of information an such scholarships is the educational advising center.

Even if you are lucky enough to receive funding from sources such as the ones mentioned above, nearly all international students have to rely on personal and family funds as well. It is not uncommon for a family to use a substantial portion of their savings to pay for an education abroad. Your savings (or you family`s) may be the only reliable source of funding you have as you begin your program of studies in the United States. In any case, the burden will be on you to explore funding options and secure the resources necessary for your studies. It can be challenging, and sometimes frustrating, particularly if your family funds are limited.

Undergraduate Assistance from U.S. Source

Many U.S. colleges and universities offer limited financial aid for international students through their financial aid offices. In general, however, there is much less money available for undergraduate study in the United States than there is for graduate study. Private institutions can sometimes discount or reduce the costs of tuition; public institutions seldom have this option. You should request information about financial aid when you request an application form from the institution`s admissions office. In some instances, it may be possible for you to participate in a formal exchange between your home institution and the institution you wish to attend in the United States. You can get more information on such exchanges by contacting the international student offices at the U.S. institution or by contacting the corresponding office at your institution. This kind of person-for-person exchange can reduce expenses in some instances.

Graduate Assistance from U.S. Sources

Many graduate departments at U.S. universities offer teaching assistantships or research assistantships to their graduate students (students pursuing a master`s or doctoral degree). Assistantships usually involve a tuition award and some sort of salary in return for teaching or research duties. Such funds are generally controlled by individual departments at the university. It is often the case that a department will want to see how good a student you are and what kind of adjustment you make to university life before t will be willing to invest money in your education. In some cases, a department will accept only as many students as it can support with teaching or research assistantships. Although you will find some information about assistantships in a catalog or on university Websites, you may have to write directly to the department to inquire about this kind of funding. This exchange of information may occur after you have been accepted into the program. It is also important to inquire and apply early if you hope to receive financial assistance from the U.S. institution. Often deadlines for scholarships and assistantships are months before the normal application deadline.

Even if you are lucky enough to receive aid, you will still have to have sufficient funds to travel to the United States, and at least enough money to cover your first month`s expenses.

Financial Documentation for Admission and Visa Purposes

Once you have selected the university you wish to attend, you will need to provide documentation to prove that you have at least the minimum amount of money the university estimates you will need. Providing that documentation is part of the admission process. Schools require a newly admitted student to submit proof of one year of funding (less if your program is under one year in duration). Acceptable forms of proof of funding are scholarship and award letters from your university, government, or sponsoring agency; sponsorship letters from private companies; personal bank statements; and affidavits of support for rela6tives or friends. Affidavits of support are formal, often notarized (formally witnessed), statements of financial support and should be accompanied by the bank statement of the individual who promises the funds. All financial documents should be in English or translated into English by a certified translator. They should specify precise amounts in U.S. dollars. Ask your bank to calculate and specify the U.S. dollar equivalency on your bank statement. Your name should be clearly indicated on each document of support. Generic or vague letters of support are not acceptable under any circumstances.

Your school, college, or university must evaluate your financial documentation before a certificate of eligibility for a student visa can be issued. The Form I-20 is the certificate of eligibility for the F-1 student visa. This document, which generally comes to you along with the letter of acceptance to the university, is used to secure a visa and to enter the United States. Students who plan to pursue a full-time program of study and are supported by personal or family funds, private sponsors, or funds from the school usually apply for an F-1 visa. The I-20 is an indication to the consular officer that the university has found you to be academically admissible, financial capable, and liguistically prepared for your studies in the United States.

Students whose studies are primarily funded by their government, international agencies, private company sponsors, or the school may request in IAP-66, which is the certificate of eligibility for the J-1 exchange visitor visa. If you are awarded a scholarship or grant from a government or sponsoring agency, you may be required by the sponsor to apply for a J-1 rather than an F-1 visa. J-1 students cannot be supported solely with personal or family funds.

Once you receive your I-20 or IAP-66 from your school, take the form, along with original documents of financial support, to the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country to apply for your student visa.

Employment Restrictions

As you begin to think about funding sources for your educational and living expenses in the United States, remember that you cannot count on working in the United States unless you have been granted a teaching or research assistantship. When you submit evidence of your financial resources, you cannot reply on potential income. The income on which you base your application must be assured and must be equal to or exceed the costs of the first year of your studies.

Immigration regulations are very strict with respect to working while carrying a student visa. F-1 status, which is the most common status for full-time international students, allows for part time, on-campus employment (fewer than 20 hours per week.) J-1 student status allows for similar employment, with similar restrictions, as long as permission is given by the exchange visitor program sponsor. M-1 visa holders for technical and vocational programs are not permitted to work during the course of their studies.

Jobs available on campus typically do not pay much, certainly not enough to finance a university education. Do not count on this kind of a job for anything more than a supplement to other funds.

Careful long- and short-term planning are necessary to ensure that you will have a rewarding educational experience in the United States. If you are realistic about your financial needs, you will be better able to enjoy the exciting academic and cultural experience of living and learning in the United States.

Applying for Visa

Even after the most careful investigation of your study options, you probably have many questions about living and learning in the United States. The nearest U.S. educational advising center should be able to provide you with pre-departure materials and may organize pre-departure orientation programs for students from your country or region. Such orientations often include practical information on visas, passports, travel , and cultural and academic life. Some offer participants the chance to meet fellow students who have recently spent time in the United States.

Applying for your visa

Once you are admitted to a college or university in the United States, you will need to obtain a student visa to enter the United States. Apply for your visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate using the I-20 or IAP-66 that your U.S. college, university, or sponsoring agency sent you for this purpose. If you are accepted by several institutions, do not apply for a visa until you decide which you will attend, and then use that institution`s form.

You will need various documents to support your visa application. Prepare carefully for your visit to the U.S. embassy or consulate. Read all documents thoroughly, so that you know exactly what you are agreeing to when you enter the United States on a student visa. Visa procedures vary slightly from one consulate or embassy to another. Check with the office where you will apply to determine exactly what supporting documentation will be required of you. Several items are generally required:

· A current, valid passport (not required of Canadians) · An I-20 form for the F-1 visa or an IAP-66 form for the J-1 visa · Evidence of financial support for the period of time and amount indicated on the I-20 or IAP-66 form · Proof that you have a permanent residence outside the United States · One or more passport-type photographs · A nonimmigrant visa application

Additional application materials may be requested by the visa officer to prove your eligibility.

These may include:

· evidence of English proficiency · school records to verify academic preparation · additional evidence of strong ties to your home country or · of your ability to support yourself while in the United States.

An application fee or a short interview may be required. The consular officer will place a visa in your passport. If you receive a multiple-entry visa, you may use it to re-enter the United States up to the date of its expiration as long as you have a valid I-20 or IAP-66 form. If you encounter any problems obtaining your visa, contact the institution or agency that issued the I-20 or IAP-66 form.

Living in the US

If you are planning to study and live and grow in the United States, you already possess a well-known American characteristic -- the sense of adventure! 

As an international student, you will experience many new and exciting things. In this section, we hope to prepare you for some of the adventures involved in living in the United States.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to discuss exactly what ‘Living in the U.S.’ means to everyone. This country`s culture has been enriched by the values and belief systems of virtually every part of the world. From an international student`s perspective, that diversity is very valuable: If you choose to live in a completely different environment, you may be challenged with new situations every day; but if you decide to live in a part of the U.S. that resembles your home country in some ways, you may find comfort in those similarities.

Learning more about yourself is perhaps the most important part of your decision to travel to the U.S. Once you know what you want to achieve, then you can identify the right place to study and live and grow in the States.

Social Life in the US 

Your interaction with other people -- your social life -- is an integral part of your stay in the United States. To make the most of it, get ready to introduce yourself in a positive way to fellow students, professors, and other people both on- and off-campus.

One of your first introductions to social life on a U.S. campus will most likely be ‘The International Student Orientation Program,’ traditionally coordinated by the Admissions Office or the Office of International Programs. Orientation varies greatly from school to school, though the objectives are similar: to introduce the new non-U.S. students to each other, and to prepare you for campus life. Many times, topics include immigration, academic advisors, computer and library resources, telephone services, public safety, medical services, banking options and department store shuttles so students can purchase items they need. (Be sure to see Living in the U.S.: Money Matters for more details about shopping.) During orientation, students often learn of upcoming activities such as trips to local points of attraction.

U.S. college and university campuses abound with activities designed to foster friendships. Many schools designate a ‘Student Activities Center’ where you may learn of different options, such as student government, the newspaper staff, outdoors club, chorus, dance, and a number of athletic teams. Explore which ones may suit you best!

‘Know Thyself’

‘Know yourself and your home country,’ Cameron Diaz Jones advised prospective international students in the U.S. A native of Jamaica, Cameron is studying economics and international relations at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. He is in his third year of a four-year undergraduate program, and intends to pursue a Masters of Business Administration before working in urban economic development in the Caribbean or South America.

‘I`ve made some great American friends on and off-campus, as well as friends from all over the world; they have taught me a lot. For example, last December, some American friends invited me out into the woods to help cut down their Christmas tree -- I had never done anything like that before!’

‘When I meet new people, they`re always interested to know what it`s really like in Jamaica. That has made me think about my own country, so I could share more information with them. If I never left home, I would not need to consider these things. So in many ways, a U.S. education means much more than sitting in a classroom and studying for a degree.’

Developing Deeper Friendships

After your initial interaction with new people in the States, you may want to get to know a few of them better. Ironically, many international students have found that they -- not their hosts, the Americans -- must be more assertive if a friendship is to develop. Here is some more advice about the American social life, written by non-U.S. students just like you!

When you first arrive on campus, you may notice how friendly everyone is. People you don`t know will smile and say ‘Hi’ and ‘How are you’ and ‘How`s it going.’ But it’s more of a statement than a question; they keep on walking and don`t seem to wait for your answer. You may get the idea they are superficial or perhaps even rude.

However, to Americans, this kind of greeting and behavior is considered very friendly; they feel they are being outgoing and welcoming. This kind of greeting is a social custom which has little to do with friendship. The person may become your friend eventually, but it is important not to misunderstand their way.

Along the same lines, people may ask your name and country where you were born; they may seem interested for a few minutes, but then go and speak to someone else. This may seem to contradict their initial friendliness, although it is not meant to.

You may find it easy to have many ‘acquaintances’ on campus: We all live together, eat together, study together. However, true friendship will take time to build. You will realize, maybe for the first time, how much time it took to develop the friendships you have at home. Then you`ll appreciate the time and energy it takes to establish close friendships, both at home and abroad.

Different Ways of Communicating

One of the newest forms of communication is also one of the most popular on many U.S. campuses. Through your interaction with admissions offices in the States, you may already understand that practically everyone uses e-mail frequently.

E-mail and the Internet have made it much easier (and sometimes less expensive) to exchange all types of information. Once you arrive in the States, you will find that computers and Internet connections are very accessible on most campuses. As a matter of fact, e-mail plays an important role in the social lives of many Americans -- as they send and receive messages regularly with friends and family.

However, try to resist the urge to spend too many hours in front of the computer; keep in mind that your visit to the U.S. may not last forever, so go out and socialize with people nearby, to get a full American experience. Make sure you are open to new experiences!

Socialization is one of the most important aspects of your international experience. According to the Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, socialization is most strongly enforced by the school, the family, and peer groups. It is essential for the development of individuals who can participate and function within their societies, as well as for ensuring that a society’s cultural features will be carried on through new generations.

Socialization continues throughout an individual’s lifetime -- and your experience in studying abroad will challenge you to develop your ‘people skills’ even further.

Accommodations in the US

Finding a place to live will be one of the first important tasks you’ll face in the States. You can research a number of options before you arrive via e-mail communication with the International Student Office, or by browsing the Internet for local on-line newspapers in the region of the school you choose. You may get a ‘flavor’ of the community by reading the local news, and you may even be able to search the classified advertising section for accommodations options. Most students, however, prefer to SEE the particular style of living quarters -- in person, especially if it is off-campus -- before they commit to a rental agreement with a monetary deposit.

Temporary Accommodations

During your planning process, you may choose to explore parts of the United States either before or after the academic semester begins. There are a number of options for inexpensive places to stay for a short period of time. Visit our HomeStay(live with families or at a Bed and Breakfast) or Travel Advice pages for more information.

On-Campus Accommodations

Once you are enrolled in a U.S. school, their Admissions Department or International Student Office will most likely send you a ‘pre-departure orientation’ packet. Options for where to live are generally included in this information.

Some schools in the States offer accommodations for international students on-campus, or near the school`s classrooms, libraries and other facilities. ‘Dormitories’ are buildings with many rooms for sleeping and living, often with two or three people (of the same gender) per room. Dormitory residents typically share large bathrooms which include showers and toilets. Many first-year students prefer to live in on-campus dormitories because they are convenient to both academic and social activities. Another advantage is that you will not need a car to commute to campus, in most instances.

On-campus accommodations also offer close proximity to the cafeteria and other eating establishments. U.S. colleges and universities offer very flexible meal-plan programs, where you can choose to pay in advance for breakfast, lunch and dinner. On most campuses, you may also deposit a certain amount of money at the beginning of the semester for food that you may buy from designated places; each item’s cost is deducted from the balance in your account throughout the semester. Again, your pre-departure orientation packet will probably detail your eating options.

Off-Campus Accommodations

Some U.S. schools do not provide on-campus accommodations for international students. However, an off-campus housing office will assist you in finding an appropriate place to live. Often, the office coordinates activities to help students find a compatible roommate to share expenses; they also provide information about the local neighborhoods, including popular restaurants, shopping areas, parks and recreation, and public transportation.

Ask new friends and other students if they have any suggestions for a good apartment. Check classified advertisements in the local newspaper (Sundays usually have more apartment listings than other days of the week). If all else fails, contact a real estate agent for assistance -- though beware of unspecified fees for the service.

Before committing to a lease, or an agreement to rent an apartment, spend some time in the area to decide if it feels safe and convenient to places like grocery stores. Read the lease carefully before signing. You will learn, for example, that the landlord is not responsible for your possessions if they are stolen or destroyed, so you may consider purchasing ‘renter’s insurance.’ If you do not understand any part of the lease agreement, ask the landlord or a friend to explain it to you.

Settling In

Moving into a dormitory setting is relatively simple: utilities such as electricity and telephone connections will most likely be ready to use. Each U.S. college or university has its individual policy on paying for long-distance telephone charges; learn those policies soon after you arrive on campus.

Arranging the details of off-campus accommodations is a bit more complicated. If your rent does not include utilities, you will need to request that the companies turn on the electricity and telephone service when you arrive. The landlord can provide you with the appropriate contact information.

You have a choice of long-distance carriers for your telephone service. Be sure to ask the customer service representatives about special discount calling plans, particularly for international connections. The representative is usually eager to offer you a variety of extra services, most of which are not necessary. Soon after you register for telephone service, you should receive a free telephone directory. Within the directory, you will find the white pages (listing local residents alphabetically by name), the blue pages (government listings), and the yellow pages (business listings and advertisements).

Many U.S. households have telephone answering machines, which record messages from callers when no one answers the phone. You may purchase an answering machine for about $25. Another option is to request that the telephone company provide an electronic answering service, for which they charge a small monthly fee.

In most cases, the least expensive way to keep in touch with far-away friends and family is via e-mail. Again, each U.S. school has its own policies and procedures for accessing the Internet. If you choose to access your own e-mail off-campus, you can expect to pay about $20 per month to an Internet Service Provider.

‘What to study?’ and ‘Where to study?’

These are perhaps the two most important questions you will soon have to answer. Visit our Studying in the U.S. pages for more advice on the first question. Once you decide on an appropriate academic path for yourself, make sure the school’s physical location fits your goals as well. Geography may play a significant role in deciding where to study in the United States. As always, you will need to decide on specific objectives for yourself.

The answer to ‘where to study?’ involves not only the particular style of living quarters, but also geography. Many international students don`t realize just how big the United States actually is. The continental U.S. (all the states except for Alaska and Hawaii) is so large that the country is divided into four time zones: Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific. Keep in mind that a typical airplane flight from Los Angeles to New York City is about six hours, non-stop; that`s about the same time it takes to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, from New York to London!

As you might expect, the climate varies across the great expanse of the United States. The southern section of the country features mild temperatures throughout the year, with plenty of sunshine. The northern half of the U.S. often experiences snowfall in the winter months, primarily from November through February.

Aside from climate concerns, there is also the issue of ‘city life versus country life.’ You may want to live in an urban area, with access via public transportation to the cultural opportunities of a major metropolitan region. Most people around the world are familiar with the United States’ big cities, such as Los Angeles and New York. As a matter of fact, California and New York led the nation in numbers of foreign students in 1997-98.

If you want to experience something ‘different,’ you may consider any number of other large cities across the country. These include Charlotte, North Carolina in the Southeast; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the Northeast; St. Louis, Missouri in the center of the country; Phoenix, Arizona in the Southwest; or Portland, Oregon in the Northwest.

You may choose to live and study in a relatively rural area -- one that gets less media attention than San Francisco or Philadelphia, for example. There are fine ‘pockets’ of America all across the country, which may seem perfect for you at this point in your life.

There are many high-quality schools in remote regions of the country. Above all, learn about the academic options first, then learn about the community in which the school is nestled. It is your responsibility to find the right match!

As you can see, there are a lot of details to consider to make sure that your answer to ‘where to study’ fits well with your response to ‘what to study.’


Andhra Pradesh

Institute of Public Enterprise, Hyderabad

Dhruva College of Management (Formerly Drucker), Hyderabad

College of Management Studies (GITAM) Visakhapatnam

T.J.P.S. College of P.G. Studies, Guntur

Pendekanti Institute of Management

Apollo Institutes of Hospital Administration

D.N.R. College : PG Courses


Assam Institute of Management


Indian Institute of Science and Management, Ranchi


University Business School, Chandigarh

Jammu & Kashmir

Department of Management Studies, The University of Kashmir

New Delhi

Birla Institute of Management Technology, New Delhi

Management Education & Research Institute, New Delhi


S.K. Patel Institute of Management & Computer Studies, Gandhinagar

Nirma Institute of Management, Ahmedabad

Tolani Institute of Management Studies, Adipur

M.S.Patel Institute of Management Studies, Vadodara


Management Development Institute, Gurgaon

Department of Business Management, CSS Haryana Agriculture University, Hisar

Shri Atmanand Jain Institute of Management & Technology, Ambala


Institute of Finance & International Management, Bangalore

SDM Institute for Management Development, Mysore

Alliance Business Academy, Bangalore

K.L.S. Institute of Management Education & Research

Madhya Pradesh

Prestige Institute of Management, Gwalior

Department of Business Administrator, Awadhesh Pratap Singh University, Rewa

Institute of Management Studies, Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya, Indore

Indore Institutestitute of Technology & Management, Indore

Prestige Institute of Management and Research, Indore


Symbiosis Institute of Telecom Management

The Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship Development, Bharti Vidyapeeth, Pune

Data Systems Research Foundation

Symbiosis Institute of Foreign Trade, Pune


Rourkela Institute of Management Studies, Rourkela

Institute of Management And Information Science, Bhubhaneswar


Pondichery University, Pondichery


Aravali Institute of Management

Banasthali Vidyapith Women's Institute for Studies in Development, Banasthali Vidyapith

Shri Attam Vallabh Jain Girls College - Institute of Management & Technology, Sriganganagar

Tamil Nadu

Noorul Islam College of Engineering, Thuckalay

SRM Institute of Management Studies, Madras

Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science and Higher Education for Women Deemed University, Coimbatore

Adaikala Matha Institute of Management Adaikala Matha College, Arunnagar

Amrita Institute of Management, Coimbatore

Asan Memorial Institute of Management, Chennai

Uttar Pradesh

Graduate School of Business Administration, Ghaziabad

Institute of Management Education, Sahibabad, Ghaziabad

Gurukul Kangri Vishvidyalaya, Haridwar

Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management & Technology, Bareily

Institute of Management Studies, Dehradun

Institute of Technology And Science , Ghaziabad

United Institute of Management (Allahabad)