“Study Abroad is the single most effective way of changing the way we view the world”. This is a popular quote that inspires many students to study in a foreign destination. It is good that you have chosen the United States to do your higher education.
Indian Students In Foreign Destinations
Have you decided the US as your study abroad destination? Then, you are becoming the part of the community of many like-minded students. Here is a pie-chart that shows the number of Indian students in some foreign countries
The chart above clearly shows that most Indian students choose the United States as their study abroad destination.
Why Do Indian Students Choose United States to Study Abroad?
I was exploring the reasons for Indian students choosing the United States for their study abroad dream. I found that the gorgeous lifestyle attracts most students. What other reasons attract Indian students to the US:
- They can improve their English
- A higher education in the United States helps them to expand their network and reach
- The new way of life attracts most students in the United States
- To learn more things about the United States
- To get a degree with the best value
How About The Expenses?
As you know, when you study in a foreign land, you will have to spend more. It will be as compared to the spending in your motherland for higher education. Here is what statistics say about the expenses in different foreign countries for students
From the data above, it is clearly visible that the United States stands in the second position. The cost of living, fee, and of course, the total expenses are higher next to Australia. So, how are you going to manage your expenses is an important question to find an answer. You are right. A financial aid will be of great help to you in managing your expenses in the United States.
Financial Aid in the United States
I should say that the monetary aid system in the United States is a complex thing to navigate through. There are two ways to get a financial aid. One is through the Federal Government of the United States and the second option available is an aid from the university.
It is actually hard to get government aid in the United States unless you take up American citizenship. In short, it greatly relies on the type of Visa you hold in the country. Here is the web link, where you can gather complete details to become eligible for a government aid in the United States as a non-US Citizen
How About The University Aid?
As you are an international student, a majority of your college funding will come from the university you study. It is good that in the United States many universities are generous when it comes to funding international students. You can get grants, scholarships and even students loans through the university.
Factors Affecting Your Financial Aid from the University
Most universities in the United States are generous in funding foreign students. However, some factors can affect your ability to get an aid and they are as follows:
- Your grades from previous education. Better grades you have, you will have brighter chances of funding.
- The degrees that you are pursuing. Some universities offer additional funding for some courses.
- The level of your extra-curricular participation at the previous education levels.
- Your level of education. Some universities offer grants to students with a degree.
- Your financial need to attend a higher education course.
- Your home country. Some universities offer better funding to students from specific countries.
Information About Financial Aid
You can know the details about funding only after your admission to a US University. The financial aid office at the university will guide you. They will help you with the documentation and paperwork. So, the financial aid office is the best source of information and guidance related to monetary assistance.
Can You Work When You Study In The United States?
The good thing about studying in the United States is that you can manage your expenses by working when you study. However, you will have to go through some protocols to work when you study. You can get the chance to work on-campus easily as a foreign student as compared to off-campus positions. Nevertheless, you can work off-campus by following specific rules.
Many of the foreign students doing their higher education in the United States hold the F-1 Visa. It is a type of visa that is suitable for students, who are not shifting to the US on a permanent basis. F1-Visa holders are permitted to work when they study in the United States. Nevertheless, they will have to meet certain conditions. These conditions are decided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, most of these terms would have been listed in the F-1 Visa.
Read : Study Abroad in UK
How About On-campus Employment Opportunities?
As per the terms of the USCIS, on-campus job opportunities for foreign students include the following:
- Work done on the premises of your own school. It encompasses works that are affiliated with the assistantship or a grant. The two options are:
Commercial Firms Within The Campus
You can work for the commercial firms on your university campus. It can be anything like a cafeteria or a bookstore. However, it cannot encompass a job with organizations that the University has contracted for performing particular tasks. For instance, you cannot work for a construction company that the university has hired for renovation or for constructing a new building on-campus.
Away From The Campus
You can also work away from your campus in a location that is academically allied to the university. However, the affiliation should be associated with the curriculum or it should be related to your field of study. In other words, the job should be an integral part of your course curriculum.
Rules Related To On-campus Employment
On-campus employment is generally restricted and most of them are not pertaining to your studies. You should get permission from your International Students Office before you can work on-campus as you are a foreign student.
To work on-campus when you study, you should meet the following requirements:
- You should have a valid F-1 status. If the status expires, you cannot work anymore on-campus in the United States.
- You can work for up to 20 hours in a week during school sessions.
- During vacation periods and on holidays, you can work full-time on campus. But, you can do this only if you intend to continue your education for the next academic session in the same college.
- To get the right on-campus employment, you can contact the international students’ office in your college.
What Type Of Work Can You Do Off-campus With F-1 Visa?
With your international students visit, you can work off-campus as well in the United States. However, you cannot work in the first year of your admission to a US University. After the first year, you have the following options when it comes to off-campus work options:
Optional Practical Training
You can take up such training before or after completing your degree. It is allowed when you get a job in a field that is related to the degree you are pursuing.
Curricular Practical Training
Otherwise called as CPT, it encompasses practical and internship courses that are essential to be taken up for graduation.
Severe Economic Hardships
If you have economic hardships just because you cannot get a job on-campus, you will be allowed to work off-campus during your course period.
Approved International Organizations
These are organizations that particularly employ international students. They follow specific guidelines within the United States that permit them to offer such employment opportunities.
If you wish for any of the reasons above, the USCIS will help you by offering the appropriate permission.
Qualifications Required To Study in the United States
To qualify for admission to a university in the United States, you should have a secondary school diploma or its equivalent qualification. Further, other factors like your grades will be considered. In most cases, the university will have to identify the equivalent qualification in your home nation to those standards.
As you know, the education system is different in each country. When the university has a hard time in arriving at the decision in deciding whether the qualification required is met, the university will rely on the Credential Evaluation Services (CES). The international student office at the university will guide you in this respect.
In case a higher education institution suggests a particular CES, you should go with the same. In some instances, you need not have to do anything with that and the university itself will take care. If the university asks you to do it, you will have to be highly careful in this regard. You will find many services out there, but there is no state or federal regulation in this regard.
Which Universities To Choose For Your Higher Education in the United States?
Of course, you will look for the popular and prestigious universities in the United States. Here, you can choose Ivy League Schools. The league has 8 private universities that are known for their educational standards.
List of Ivy League Schools
- Yale University
- University of Pennsylvania
- Princeton University
- Harvard University
- Dartmouth College
- Cornell University
- Columbia University
- Brown University
Other Popular Universities
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Duke University
- University of Chicago
- Stanford University
- Pennsylvania State University
- Elon University
- Villanova University
- Williams College
There are many other universities in the United States. With nearly 5000 universities in the United States to choose from, it can be daunting to choose the right one. However, apart from these universities mentioned above, most institutes in the United States offer the high-quality education that you will never regret joining.
Tips To Apply To The US Universities
Applying for a university in the United States is highly different as compared to applying for schools across the world. You will have to consider different factors when you apply for attending a university in the United States.
The first thing you will have to ensure is that you start your processes early. The earlier you begin, better off you will be. It will help you with narrowing your search. Most universities in the United States have a cut-off date that you must apply before every year.
When you compare universities, you should narrow down to three or four universities. However, it can be a difficult thing, but the tips given below will help you with the narrowing process:
- What is your career goal and what program you are planning to take up?
- The reason is that every university does not have the course that you wish to do. So, it will help with narrowing down easier.
- Are you particular about a state in the United States to do your higher education?
- Do you have a specific budget? Some universities have an affordable fee structure, while some universities have a huge fee structure.
- Do you wish to continue your PG as well from the same university after completing your UG? All universities do not have this facility. Only a few have.
- Do you wish to do your higher studies in the United States in a rural or an urban area? You will get different experiences based on the area you choose.
Multi-faceted Application Process
As against other countries that pay attention to grades alone, US universities follow a multi-faceted approach when admitting students. Each university has their own admission standards. However, most of them look for the following:
- You should have a valid score in English Proficiency Tests. Most universities look for the TOEFL Score from non-American applicants.
- Recommendation from educators.
- Group/Club involvement or community services at the time of secondary education.
- The courses you took during your previous education
- Questionnaires or essays that you will have to submit as a part of the application process. You might be required to submit a personal statement about you and the reason for considering the University for your higher education.
- You should have valid admission test scores like ACT or SAT
- Letter Average or Grade Point Average
The application requirement and process of each university differs. So, you should contact the university or should have a look at the official website to gather details about the admission process for foreign students.
Types Of Student-Visa
If you wish to get a student visa to study abroad in the United States, either for a short-term or for a longer period, you will have to apply for the US Student visa. Here, you will gain some information about the three types of non-immigrant student visas that will help you study in the United States:
F Visa is a type of United States visa for international students, who wish to do an educational degree at a US university or college that is accredited. Even, this visa is applicable for a student, who wishes to study English in a university or an exclusive English language institute in the US. F Visa is further divided into three types:
- F-1 Visa is for full-time students.
- F-2 Visa is for dependents of F-1 Visa holders, which means unmarried children less than 21 years of age or spouse.
- F-3 Visa is for border commuters. For instance, Canadian or Mexican students, who reside in their own nation, but travel to the US for a full-time or part-time course.
If you wish to do a vocational or non-academic study or training at an institute in the United States, you should get this Visa. This visa is again classified into three and they are:
- M-1 visa is for students themselves
- M-2 is for dependents of M-1 holders
- M-3 is for border commuters planning to do non-academic or vocation courses in the US.
This visa is applicable for international exchange visitors taking part in courses in the United States that promote cultural exchange. J Visa holders can generally stay for a shorter period of time like for one or two semesters. This visa is further divided into two and they are:
- J-1 Visa is for the exchange of students on a suitable exchange program between universities.
- J-2 is for dependents of J-1 Holders
Points To Remember
Applying for a student visa to study in the United States is a long process. So, you are recommended to start early. You should start at least 3-5 months before the beginning of your course. When applying for a US Student Visa, you will have to get through the following 5-step process:
- About 6-12 months before your course begins in the United States, you will have to apply to and should be approved by a Student and Exchange Visitor Program. In other words, you should be accepted by a SEVP recognized university in the US.
- You should spend for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System fee.
- Should complete the visa application along with your recent photos
- You should pay the appropriate visa application fee
- You should schedule and attend a visa interview.
So, studying in the United States requires a lot of planning and decision making. Thanks to the immigration services these days that are making the processes easier.