With the world’s largest international student population, the USA is home to more than 1,000,000 students choosing to earn their degrees abroad. Use this guide to enroll in the best universities in USA for international students!
Though many people often assume there are high costs of universities in USA for international students, many universities actually offer excellent curriculum and inexpensive tuition costs. Combined with access to financial aid and scholarships, students can find tuition in the USA as low as $10,000 a year for on-campus programs; and even just $2,000 for some online degrees. If you are worried about the high cost of your education, know that universities are making academic scholarships for international students more readily available than you might think!
With the number of international students increasing every year, the USA has become one of the most popular destinations for students studying overseas. So why do so many students choose American universities and colleges? Some say they are drawn to the variety of academic opportunities, modern technology, global career prospects, and to the experience of living on a college campus.
How to Get into the Best Universities in the USA
1. Ask yourself why
Is the USA the right location for you? Is it the best option compared with other programs in the UK or Canada, for instance? When choosing your next degree, think about not only what knowledge you can gain, but also what you can take away from life in a foreign country. If you are thinking about American schools and unsure where to begin, use these guidelines to get into the best universities in the USA!
Research and contact universities with programs that are interesting to you. Each state in the USA is unique in its culture and history, so think carefully about where in the country you plan to study. Using the USA School Search, you can narrow your search based on filters like the type of degree, tuition range, and public vs. private schools. You will be surprised by how many well-known universities offer competitive scholarships and financial aid!
According to the US News & World Report, universities around the country spend thousands of dollars each year on financial aid for international students:
Yale University, New Haven, CT
- Number of international students who received aid: 322
- Average aid amount awarded: $55,862
Columbia University, New York, NY
- Number of international students who received aid: 176
- Average aid amount awarded: $53,972
Duke University, Durham, NC
- Number of international students who received aid: 173
- Average aid amount awarded: $53,409
Stanford University, Stanford, CA
- Number of international students who received aid: 150
- Average aid amount awarded: $53,422
Their 2014-2015 study also reported the universities according to their percentage of international students:
Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL
- Percentage of international students: 32.9%
- Total undergraduate enrollment: 3,636
New School, New York, NY
- Percentage of international students: 31.7%
- Total undergraduate enrollment: 6,695
Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL
- Percentage of international students: 29.8%
- Total undergraduate enrollment: 3,099
Northeastern University, Boston, MA
- Percentage of international students: 19.1%
- Total undergraduate enrollment: 13,510
As an international student, you can find universities in the USA who offer scholarships you may not even know about. Academic achievement, community service, athletic achievements, military affiliation, and personal background are all considered during the admissions process. When applying for academic programs abroad, the most common advice is to apply early and often.
Some schools even have special programs for international students:
Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
At Temple University, students not entirely comfortable with the English language are encouraged to enroll in the Intensive English Language Program to prepare students for their future studies.
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
During the 2013-2014 academic year alone, 8,600 international students were enrolled at Purdue. The school publishes a quarterly newsletter for international students, and has created an International Friendship Program (IFP) which enables local students to help ease the transition for international students.
University of Wisconsin – Madison, Madison, WI
Thousands of students from around 130 different countries are enrolled, and the school is well-known for its international programs. BRIDGE (Building Relationships in Diverse Global Environments) connects local and international students during the first year, and the Assembly of International Students fosters the promotion of a culturally aware and understanding student body.
The application process may seem daunting or time consuming. Make sure you leave enough time for yourself and remember that starting the process is the best way to move forward!
To avoid the repetition, check out CommonApp for a consolidated application process. You may also want to translate your credentials, like official transcripts and grades if they are not already in English. You will also want to make sure that any references from current or former employers are translated as well — this is especially important if you are applying for graduate programs!
4. Budget & Scholarships
If you have already begun your career and have had some time to save, you might not be stressing about the tuition costs. You might even work for an employer who is willing to fund the degree for you.
However, for those with less experience, there are plenty of ways you can save money while earning your degree. Consult your university about scholarships and financial aid for international students. Scholarships are often offered based on academic achievement, financial situation, and/or geographic location. They may be government-funded or privately-funded. Research local organizations to find out about individuals and smaller groups as well; and don’t forget to leave yourself enough time for the application process!
If you live on the university’s campus, look into work-study programs that fit into your schedule. These are often offered in the library, by professors with research opportunities, and among campus facilities like dining services and student unions. Part-time work is even accessible for online students. Local cafes, coffee shops, retail stores, etc., typically operate in flexible hours to accomodate for employees’ busy schedules.
5. File a Visa
Most international students obtain an F1 visa. The most popular type of visa, this is typically offered to students entering the USA for an academic program or to learn English as a second language. Students should apply for their visas through the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country. You can start the process from home, although it may be easier to finalize once you are in the U.S.
6. Prepare for your trip
Once you have been accepted into a program, you may want to learn a bit about life in the USA. Federal holidays, for example, will likely be different from your home country. Ethnic and religious holidays will have different meaning as well. You might plan on obtaining a driver’s license, or using car rental and sharing services during your stay. And, of course, practicing your English will be a huge benefit as well.
7. Go Online
As an alternative, and a cheaper solution, to traditional four-year colleges, many students choose online programs for their academic goals. As previous stigmas surrounding education become outdated, employers increasingly recognize the value of an online education, focusing on the school’s accreditation.
University of the People, for example, is US accredited, 100% online, and offers a huge selection of academic offerings, including both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Most students who enroll in online degrees are drawn to the freedom of time and location. For those working full-time, this creates flexibility to study at your own pace around your own schedule. If you already know what you will specialize in throughout your next degree, studying online might be the best jumpstart for you!
Studying in the USA provides a world-class education, a chance to perfect your English language skills, and the chance to forge an influential network of personal connections. Its quality of education is one main reasons the USA is such a popular destination for international students, with access to cutting edge technology and an education that may not even be available in your home country. If you are looking for a new challenge that opens your eyes to different nationalities and cultures, and your goal is to broaden your net of job opportunities, the USA might be your next destination!