According to the Institute of International Education (IIE) Open Doors report, the USA has been ranked as the top destination for foreign students’ enrolment. For the past four years, more than one million international students have studied in the U.S. . Being an international student is not just about obtaining a degree, but also about gaining a new perspective of the world, discovering diverse cultures, and developing the ability to adapt to change. Studying in the USA can be challenging, rewarding, and enjoyable. We hope that this article will help you navigate through this process. Are you ready? Let’s get started!
Studying in the United States of America (USA) is a dream come true for many students around the world. The USA offers some of the finest colleges and universities in the world, with quality programs, faculty, facilities, and resources. There are several reasons why international students choose to study in the USA, such as the quality of education, choice of institutions and academic environments, and the value for money.
Quality Education in the USA
The USA is known for its high-quality education and academic excellence. Its universities and colleges are world-renowned for their quality programs, which are regularly reviewed and evaluated by the U.S. higher education accreditation systems to maintain the highest standards. This ensures that students receive a top-notch education that prepares them for their future careers.
Choice of Institutions and Academic Environments
The USA has the world’s largest choice of institutions, academic and social environments, entry requirements, degrees, and fields of study. With over 4,000 institutions of higher education, students can decide the college or university that suits their needs and aspirations. Each institution has its own unique characteristics, ranging from small liberal arts colleges to large research universities, providing a wide range of options for students.
Value for Money
Studying in the USA is considered an investment in one’s future. With a wide range of college costs and scholarships available from colleges and universities, students can get an excellent education at an affordable price. This is particularly important for international students who may face additional expenses such as travel and accommodation costs.
Prerequisites for Studying in the USA for Nepali Students
Studying in the United States is an exciting opportunity for international students, but it is also a significant investment of time and money. Before considering applying to colleges and universities in the USA, it is essential to evaluate if you are a suitable candidate by considering the following prerequisites.
The cost of studying in the USA is one of the highest in the world, with colleges and universities charging between $12,000 and $65,000 per year. Before applying, it is essential to assess whether you have adequate funding to cover tuition fees, living expenses, and other related costs. If not, you can apply for scholarships, financial aid, or student loans.
Strong Academic Background
To be competitive in the admissions process, it is important to have a strong academic background. U.S. colleges and universities evaluate applicants based on their academic performance, such as their GPA, transcripts, and academic achievements. Having a strong academic background can increase your chances of admission and scholarship opportunities.
English Language Skills
Studying in the USA requires a strong command of the English language. Most U.S. colleges and universities require international students to demonstrate their English language proficiency by taking standardized tests, such as TOEFL or IELTS. It is essential to prepare for these tests and achieve a good score to increase your chances of admission.
In addition to English language proficiency tests, some U.S. colleges and universities require applicants to take standardized exams, such as SAT, ACT, GRE, or GMAT. These exams assess students’ skills and knowledge in specific subjects and are used to evaluate their readiness for college-level courses.
Options for Students with 3-year Bachelor’s Degrees
Aspiring students with a 3-year bachelor’s degree, who wish to pursue higher education in the United States, have limited options. However, there are three possible pathways that they can explore.
Option 1: Pursue a Master’s Degree
One option is to complete a relevant master’s program and then apply for graduate study in the U.S. After earning a master’s degree, students can apply for a Ph.D. program or the master’s program, depending on the institution’s requirements. Students should directly contact the institutions to learn more about the application process and eligibility criteria.
Option 2: Transfer to an Undergraduate Program
Another option is to transfer to an undergraduate program in the U.S. Although this option will enable students to earn an undergraduate degree from a U.S. institution, it can be costly and time-consuming. The process could take up to three years due to different colleges having varying graduation requirements, and it may not be possible to receive transfer credit for all completed coursework. Students should weigh the pros and cons of this option carefully.
Option 3: Apply for a Bridge Program
The third option is for students seeking to pursue an MBA in the U.S. They could apply for a bridge program, also known as a pre-MBA, which typically runs for one to one and a half years. Only a few colleges offer bridge programs, and students must directly contact the institutions to learn about the admission requirements. Upon completion of the bridge program, students must generally complete their MBA at the same institution.
As students with 3-year bachelor’s degrees have limited options, they should evaluate each option carefully, taking into consideration their financial situation, career goals, and eligibility criteria for the different programs. By doing so, they can select the most appropriate path for them.
Applying for US colleges and universities
If you are interested in applying to colleges in the United States, there are several steps you need to take in advance. If you are planning to apply for an undergraduate program (bachelor’s degree) in the United States, it is recommended to begin the application process by the start of your Class 12 academic year. This will help to ensure that you do not have a gap year between the completion of Class 12 and the start of your undergraduate program in the U.S.
Choose multiple colleges/universities
You should carefully research and select 5-10 colleges that are the best fit for you. Use resources such as BEST’s online library and the internet to evaluate criteria such as your field of study, cost, scholarship opportunities, location, competitiveness, and admissions requirements.You can easily access the application forms and eligibility and application requirements for the colleges you have selected by visiting their websites. These forms are typically free to access and fill out.
Register and take standardized exams
Once you’ve identified the colleges you’d like to apply to, access their application forms on their websites. Then you should register and take standardized exams such as the TOEFL, which assesses your English language skills, and the SAT/ACT, which evaluates your English and Math skills (for undergraduate applicants). If you are a graduate applicant, you may also need to take the GRE/GMAT, in addition to the TOEFL.
Deadlines for college applications vary depending on the semester and college you’re applying to, so it’s essential to keep track of them and submit your application materials on time. Applying to several well-chosen colleges will increase your chances of admission, and make sure you are sending quality applications to all institutions.
Receive I-20 and apply for student Visa
Once you have completed your college applications, you should send them to the colleges before the deadline. It is important to ensure that the applications are complete with all the required documents. If you are accepted by a college, you will receive an I-20 from the college. An I-20 is a document that provides information about you, the college, and the estimated cost of attendance. You will need the I-20 to apply for a student visa to the U.S. Once you have received your I-20s, you should choose the college that you want to attend and apply for a student visa. You will need to use the I-20 from the college you have decided when you apply for a student visa at the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu.
Application Process for US colleges and universities
To successfully complete most applications, follow these key steps:
- Fill out the application form thoroughly and accurately with your information. Make sure to spell your name the same way on all documents and avoid abbreviations. Provide information about your education and employment experiences in chronological order.
- Pay the application fee, which is nonrefundable and covers the processing of your application.
- Submit certified copies of your transcripts. Some schools may require your school authorities to fill in your grades and describe your academic performance in a separate form.
- Submit financial documents such as a bank statement and/or sponsor letters. Requirements vary by institution.
- Submit standardized test scores if required. Most undergraduate programs ask for the SAT or ACT, while most graduate programs require the GRE or GMAT.
- Write at least one personal essay that reflects your aspirations, opinions, and interest in the program. This essay should give admissions officers a sense of who you are as an individual and help distinguish you from other applicants.
- Request letters of recommendation from people who know you academically and/or professionally. Academic recommendations are often preferred and should reflect your most recent degree. Graduate students with work experience can submit professional recommendations written by a direct supervisor.
Remember to carefully manage your time as you complete each step of the application process. Make sure to submit all required materials before the application deadline. Good luck with your application!
Apply for US student Visa
After completing the application process, the next step in planning to study in the United States is securing a visa. It’s important to understand the different types of visas available for international students. Here are the three most common student visa types:
F-1 Visa (Student Visa): This is the most common type of visa for international students. It’s a non-immigrant student visa that allows you to engage in academic studies at an accredited US college or university, private secondary school, or approved English language program. If you plan to bring your spouse or children under the age of 21 with you, they can apply for an F-2 visa.
J-1 Visa (Exchange Visitor): J-1 visas are for individuals who will be participating in an exchange visitor program, including high school, college, and university study. J-1 visa holders are not eligible to apply for an immigrant visa status until they have returned to and been physically present in their country of permanent residence for two years following their exchange program. The spouse and children of a J-1 visa holder would be eligible for a J-2 visa for travelling to the USA.
M-1 Visa (Student Visa): If you plan to engage in vocational study or non-academic study and/or training at a U.S. institution, then you need an M-1 visa. If you plan to bring your spouse or children under the age of 21 with you, they can apply for an M-2 visa.
For more information and resources about visas and travel, you can visit the official website of U.S. visas in Nepal, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Study in the States website.
Interview Tip! : When applying for a US student visa, it’s important to be well-prepared for your interview, since they are typically short. During the interview, you should be able to explain why you want to study in the United States, how you plan to support yourself during your studies, and what your plans are after graduation. It’s essential to remember that the student visa is for studying in the United States, and not for immigration purposes. Therefore, your plans should reflect your goals of returning to your home country. It’s critical to note that getting a visa is not guaranteed, and students must complete the application process independently to get the best possible results.
Work Opportunities in the US fro Nepalese students
For many international students including Nepali students, finding a paid part-time job while studying in the United States is a common goal. However, it is essential to note that students with an F-1 visa have specific work restrictions that they must comply with. In general, F-1 visa holders are allowed to work on-campus for up to 20 hours per week during the academic term and up to 40 hours per week during breaks.
If you are unsure about what kind of work is allowed or prohibited, it is best to speak with the International Student Office at your institution. They can provide guidance and answer any questions you may have.
Working while studying can be a great opportunity for students to earn extra money and gain valuable work experience. On-campus jobs may include positions such as library monitor, teaching assistant, tour guide, peer tutor, campus tech support, university bookshop assistant, and more. In addition to on-campus jobs, students can also look for university-arranged internships, which can provide valuable work experience and networking opportunities.
Culture and social Interactions
As an international student in the US, it’s important to understand the country’s rich and diverse culture. The US is a blend of cultures, including African, Native American, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Latin American cultures. Despite the diversity, there are a few defining elements of American culture, such as a strong work ethic, personal space, and punctuality.
When Americans have discussions, they may seem to be arguing, but they are actually just expressing their opinions. Americans value their independence and enjoy sharing their thoughts. While this can be confusing, Americans believe that expressing their opinions is their right as Americans.
It’s recommended that students read up on the history and culture specific to the institution, town, city, and state that they will be living in. This can help them better understand and adapt to the cultural differences they may encounter.
Safety and security
As an international student, safety and security are important considerations when studying abroad. To ensure that you stay safe, there are several safety measures that you need to take:
Health insurance is a must. Most universities offer health insurance plans that students can purchase, or you can opt for a waiver if you have your own insurance plan. Having health insurance will ensure that you can access healthcare services if you become ill or injured while studying in the United States.
If you have a disability, U.S. laws and regulations require universities to make their programs and services accessible to all students. You should inform the university about any special needs or accommodations that you require to participate fully in your program.
Many universities have their own security staff available 24 hours a day. There are also emergency and security access telephones located throughout the campus that connect directly to campus or local police. It is significant to be aware of your surroundings and to report any suspicious activity to campus security or the police.
Resources available to international students
Living in a completely new environment away from home can be overwhelming for international students. However, to help them succeed in the U.S., there are many resources available on campus, such as:
- The international student office (ISO)
- Language courses and writing centers
- Fitness centers
- Medical center
- Career services center
- Counseling center
- College activities office
These resources can help international students adjust to campus life, improve their language and writing skills, maintain their physical and mental health, and prepare for their future careers. It is recommended that international students take advantage of these resources to make the most of their study abroad experience.