USA

USA

is the third largest country, in total area and in population, situated in the continent of North America. This country located in Central America shares its border with Mexico in the South and Canada in the North. It stretches from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west. To the northwest of Canada lies the state of Alaska and Hawaii is located in the Pacific Ocean.

Located in the western hemisphere, the United States consists of fifty states, forty-eight of which make up the contiguous states. The peninsula of Alaska forms the north-western part of the USA, and the archipelago of Hawaii is in the Pacific Ocean. In addition to these fifty states, there are several territories in the Caribbean and Pacific.

The USA has the largest national economy in the world and is a highly developed country. This thriving labour market owes its prosperity in part to its multicultural society. People admire the USA for its modernism and individualism and it is considered a classless society.

America has been a huge attraction to immigrants from all over the world. The USA is a country with a high migration rate, producing an ethnically diverse nation. Although the USA has a largely Western culture that is derived from the traditions of European immigrants, there are a wide variety of ethnic groups, traditions and values, brought in by the diverse immigrant population.

The United States may be home to a wide variety of cultures and ethnic backgrounds, but English is the national language spoken and taught, while Spanish is the second most common language that is spoken and taught.

The USA is a popular choice for many overseas students due to its high standard of education, the diverse culture, friendly people and opportunity for newcomers, making it a safe environment in which to live and study.

EDUCATION SYSTEM IN THE USA

The United States has a number of post secondary institutions situated in the urban and rural regions of each state. There are 4,352 public and private colleges, universities and junior colleges throughout the country. Students attend one of the 1,700 two year colleges or one of the 2,400 four year colleges and universities. These prestigious universities and community colleges are well renowned throughout the world and have an internationally high standard of teaching and research. Degrees obtained from the United States are equivalent to degrees obtained from any Commonwealth institution around the world.

Universities and Colleges in the USA are either public or private institutions. Public institutions are usually funded through a national or sub national government, while private universities are funded and run by the institution itself. Post secondary education in the States differs in their competitiveness and reputation, making students compete to get into the most prestigious schools. The Ivy League schools are considered the most prestigious schools and are privately run. The Ivy League consists of eight schools in a group, known for its academic excellence, outstanding reputation over four centuries, selectivity in admissions and social elitism. These prestigious schools have a good ranking within the States as well as worldwide. The institutions that belong to this League are Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.

Secondary education is compulsory up to Grade 12. After completion of their secondary education, students can enrol in a university or college. Colleges and Universities are a four year program and are commonly referred to as freshman, sophomore, junior year and senior year. The institutions are quality establishments, where the individual institution sets their own curriculum and requirements. Fees for the institutions differ according to the states, the institution reputation and the program. The more prestigious the institute, the more will be the fees. However there are numerous scholarships that are available that students can apply to help ease their financial burden.

The Universities and Colleges offer a wide range of programs to students who are interested in studying at the undergraduate, post graduate and doctoral level. Once enrolled into a program, the student has to complete the course requirements in order to achieve a Bachelor’s Degree. After the completion of an undergraduate degree, students can go on to pursue a degree at the Master’s level and a PhD later on. Students who are interested in applying to law school, medical school, pharmacy school or school of dentistry can do so at a graduate level, after the completion of at least three years of undergraduate schooling. Getting into one of these prestigious programs often require a set of standardized tests, essays and interviews, in addition to a degree obtained at an undergraduate level.

The Colleges and Universities run from mid-August to mid-May, with seasonal breaks and holidays depending on the institute. Universities run on a semester bases, with two semesters in each academic year. This is followed by a three month summer vacation. Students who wish to continue their studies or take up extra courses during the summer may do so during the two semesters available then - Summer I semester and Summer II semester.

In order to apply for admission to the USA, students are required to complete the basic SAT I, which is a standardised test. It is a pre request for all Universities and Colleges and assesses the student’s readiness for a higher education. It tests the critical thinking, mathematics and writing of an individual. Depending on the requirements of the college or university, students will be required to do a SAT II. The SAT II is based on individual subjects, usually taken to improve credentials for admission. The SATs are the only required prerequisites in order to apply for admission into the USA.

Admissions into the USA often include grades earned in high school. Most of the Universities and Colleges want to see a well rounded student both academically and athletically. Therefore while applying; the institutions often consider an individual’s involvement in extracurricular activities (sports or clubs), a personal essay and sometimes even an interview. If English is not your first language, students could also do the IELTS or TOFEL to demonstrate their competence in English, in addition to the already required SATs, but this is not a requirement.

Evidence of previous study, knowledge of English and the required SAT scores sets by each individual institution is an explicit requirement when applying to Universities or Colleges in the United States. Other requirements are often set by the institution itself and are flexible in terms of program requirements and intake dates.

COSTS INVOLVED

For costs involved, please go to "Packages & Costs".

WORK IN THE USA

Work permits and requirements change frequently. Please visit www.uscis.gov for current information.

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