Flexibility is what the US higher education system offers through the enormous and diverse institution types it incorporates. This diversity leads you to options to specialize in a range of academic disciplines and enter to the employment market more competently. Some educational institutions lay emphasis on broad educational principles, while some on practical skills required in the employment market.
The US educational calendar usually begins in August-September and continues through May or June. The academic year in most of the institutions is composed of ‘semester’, while some even practice ‘trimester’ or ‘quarter system’ of four terms that includes an optional summer session. There are thousands of colleges and universities throughout the country providing quality education and therefore, there is always something for everyone. The USA has some of the world’s best ranked Universities namely, Princeton University, Harvard University, Columbia University, University of California, etc. However, the most important thing for you is the course and fee structure of the degree you aim to pursue.
Colleges are smaller than universities that generally provide under-graduate degrees. Community colleges, also known as junior college has a significant role in the US educational system. They have affordable study options of two-year associate degrees after which you can continue studying in universities for an undergraduate degree. Universities offer research-based masters, doctoral and post-doctoral degrees.
Associate degree: 2 years
Bachelor’s degree: 3-4 years
Master’s degree (professional): 1-3 years
Master’s degree (Academic): 2 years
Doctorate or PhD: 5-8 years
Public universities, also known as State universities are funded by the government of a particular state and so you can expect a subsidized fee structure. Private universities, on the other hand, are supported by tuition fee and donations. Both the universities offer varieties of courses and impart almost similar quality of education. As an international student you may wish to do the calculations to comprehend the extent you can stretch financially based on the type of qualification and university or college you choose. If you opt for medicine or engineering, they are likely to be more expensive unlike some countries having expensive MBA courses. The annual fee may range from $10,000 to $55,000.
Additionally, the US educational system requires you to meet a certain standard of English proficiency. Most colleges and universities in the US will require you to have an IELTS score of approximately 6.0 and/or TOEFL score range of 70-90. However, it depends on the institution’s own set requirements.