Around 1.1 million international students a year study their undergraduate degree in the US, enticed by the liberal arts options, funding and scholarship opportunities and the chance to gain some international experience.
Not sure what to study?
Students in the US take their time to decide on their major, studying a variety of subjects before making their final choice. As part of this liberal arts approach students gain a well-rounded education, and have the flexibility to design their own programme of study with their chosen subjects outside their intended academic field. Once they have chosen their major, they can then explore a more specific area of study, which is called concentrations.
A Bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete, whilst associate degrees are two years long and specialist degrees will take various lengths. Students are likely to study a bachelors of art (BA), bachelors of science (BS) or a bachelors of fine art (BFA).
The benefits of studying abroad are almost endless. Michelle Obama
Finding your ideal institution in the US
There are 4000+ institutions to choose from in the US, so you are bound to find one that suits you. You may be bound by a particular location, or be drawn to an institution with low class numbers or a worldwide reputation. You may be looking at a private or public institution or a community college. But! The most important thing is to do your research and find an institution you feel suits you. Step 2 on the Fulbright Commission website suggests online search tools you can use, based on your preference for university study; Choosing a University.
US funding and scholarships
Often, the cost of studying in the US is on par with the cost of doing so in the UK, due to the funding and scholarships available. This funding often comes straight from the institution you study at, but can also come from the Sutton Trust US Programme, external funding, loans and elsewhere. Funding can be needs, merit or talent based. So, whilst researching the cost of attending each university don’t forget to look at the funding options available, as this could substantially reduce what you owe.
Gaining international experience
Employers love to see a student with work experience on their CV, but increasingly look for those with international experience, who can demonstrate they thrived in a new environment. Studying in the US is a great way to demonstrate your versatility and adaptability. If you are able to, you should consider gaining work or volunteer experience whilst in the US. As well as gaining work experiences valued by employers, you’ll also experience a new culture and challenges based on adapting to your new life. These work and personal experiences are valuable within any recruitment cycle.
Enjoy yourself, state-side
Of course, one of the biggest drivers for international students wanting to study in the US is the lifestyle it affords them and the travel opportunities. When deciding on your institution of choice, first and foremost decide if the institution and course seems to suit you, but also consider other experiences you can have, such as integrating into the local community, visiting landmarks and places of interest.
For more information and to start your research visit the Fulbright Commission website. If you are not a US national, then check out the information on applying for a student visa too, from Travel.State.Gov.
Good luck with your research!