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The USA is the world’s leader in the number of high-class schools. The educational system of the country provides establishments for all levels and needs. The U.S. citizens have a great opportunity to study in the best schools with the worldwide known faculty and alumni. Foreigners gladly apply for U.S. education as well. The country accepts people from all over the world to indulge in its education. In general, studying in the country is prestigious.
Every year, thousands of foreign applicants hope for enrollment in one of the U.S. institutions. Mostly, people come here for higher education as the country has long ago conquered this field.
Everything up to higher education in the States is easy to understand and complete. But when the time comes for further studies, even the natives get confused. There are several options of what to do after high school and all of them require thorough research to examine all pros and cons.
Among the variety of post-secondary educational establishments, tertiary professional schools or technical schools are the easiest to understand. They provide a course catalog of a certain field that would later become your career choice. Such establishments include law, medical, dental, veterinary, and pharmacy schools. Their obvious advantage is the specialized curriculum and focus on the studies that would be used for the future job. However, students have to make such an important choice early in their lives and not everybody is ready.
The second type of higher educational establishments is more common among youth, colleges and universities. These two institutions are very similar in their structure and purpose and there is little difference between college and university education. Universities are usually research-oriented establishments that offer both undergraduate and graduate degree, as well as professional education. The term college can be used to describe two different notions. The first one is a part of a university and the second is a stand-alone establishment of its own. Colleges, even when a part of a university, mostly provide undergraduate studies.
There are also community colleges that differ from the regular colleges. These establishments provide a two-year program of lower-level tertiary education. The degrees a student can get there include an associate degree and continuing education certificates and diplomas. For many U.S. citizens, this is the first step in their higher education journey that follows by the enrollment in the regular colleges and universities to continue their studies that can be done in person or using online classes.
In general, educational establishments are dispersed throughout the whole country, but there are a few locations where more establishments are gathered. They include Boston, Chapel Hill, Washington, New York, Austin, Fort Collins, Berkeley, etc.
School application in itself is an easy task where you have to complete a few forms and send them. Most establishments allow applicants to register online. However, all schools have various requirements that can be hard to meet sometimes.
First of all, applicants need to start gathering all the necessary documents.
Before applying to a higher educational establishment, U.S. students complete one or several final exams that form a base of their application. Usually, they go through the standard tests, such as SAT and ACT, and they are enough for most schools. However, there are establishments that would require more.
For the local students, both SAT and ACT have long become a common part of high school graduation and they all go through the tests. Every year, both tests are held for 7 times during which all students go through them. It is quite easy to pass them due to the abundant preparation materials, guides, and books that every student has.
However, when it comes to international students, it is a bit more complicated. First of all, not all places require these specific two test scores from foreign students, they can be satisfied with their variation of exams. It is officially unknown how many universities in the US require them. But if the tests are needed, they can be completed even outside of the U.S. They are usually held 4-5 times a year in several countries. So, students have to make sure to register for them beforehand because next chance can be too far away.
In addition, foreigners have to prove their English skills by going through TOEFL or ESL classes and passing these internationally recognized tests.
Another thing U.S. citizens should pay attention to is FAFSA application. It is a usual requirement for many schools even if you have no plans of receiving governmental aid.
The rest of the documents are standard and common for all students. The basic ones include an ID, high school transcript, recommendation letters or essays, application fee receipt, and admission tests scores if applicable.
With this done, students complete the main application form and send it to the university either online or via a post office. Usually, every school lists all its requirements and information on any additional documents students have to send right away on its official website. So, be sure to check those lists as well.
With it, the job is done and students have to await the final decision.
When the reply comes, local students can relax and sign up a few documents to be sure that the place is theirs, as well as choosing the core course of study. However, foreign students have another obstacle on their way, a student visa. Receiving a student visa to the USA may take up to a month, so, it is always better to prepare beforehand. There are several types of student visa in the U.S., but the one undergraduate students require most is the standard F1.
To apply, complete the Form I-20, gather school scores, transcripts, and other documents proving your academic eligibility (including the acceptance letter from a university), documents proving financial stability, and health insurance. After that, a student has to schedule an interview in the U.S. Embassy and answer all questions the stuff may offer. In about 2-3 weeks, the answer should be ready. Note that the F1 visa allows foreigners to stay in the country during their study and two months after graduation. Getting a job is only allowed on campus.
Choosing a university for foreigners and the department to study at is easier for foreigners because of the limited international studies policies in some of them. So, they may have a bit fewer options to start from.