Studying in the USA

Studying in the USA

Hi everyone, it’s Laura here, the Apprentice Research Assistant at CASCAID! Here is some exciting information for students wishing to study in the USA.

Have you dreamt about having an American lifestyle – living the American dream? If so, students have the opportunity to study abroad in the good ole’ USA!

With the new university year starting, some students are choosing to leave everything in the UK behind and start their college life in America. It can be very confusing for parents as university is actually called ‘college’ in the USA!

The Telegraph have reported that 11,600 UK students are living the dream and are forming part of a 31% rise in the amount of students applying to study at US colleges. Nearly half of these students are from London colleges such as Westminster and St Paul’s.

International students also get a great deal at USA colleges, where some the 600 American universities offer a generous scholarship programme which cover the fees, accommodation, flights home, laptops and even phone bills so they can call home! This prestigious package costs in excess of £220,000!

This is an incredible deal where a typical fee to study at Harvard is a staggering £46,000 ($63,000) – so getting a scholarship is a great honour to receive.

There are also programmes that can help you get into American colleges such as The Sutton Trust US Programme. This programme has sent over 270 students to the USA over the past 5 years with full financial scholarships to prestigious colleges like Yale, Harvard and even Princeton. The Trusts founder, Sir Peter Lampl decided to start this trust so students do not get cheated in the ‘unfair’ system that he believes the top UK universities use to get more private school students then state students to apply.

This opportunity to study in the US is becoming more and more attractive to state and privately educated students as it offers a more flexible degree programme compared to the UK.

America’s more flexible education means that students can try smaller courses in anything they desire and use trial and error until they decide what they want to focus on. This then broadens the minds of the students who might have tried something they never would have in the UK.

America is also attracting international students as it has been labelled as one of the finest education providers in the world. Students also have the chance to experience an US campus life.

What are the different types of universities in the USA?

There are two main types of universities or colleges that students can choose from:

  • Public colleges – lower tuition fees for US students but is state funded and international students will have to pay more to study.
  • Private colleges – mainly funded by donations and grants. There are fewer students but international students have the same fees as US students.

What are the different types of degrees that are available?

The USA offer degree courses, masters or graduate degrees and PhDs.

Degree courses include:

    • Associate degree – usually takes two years to complete and studies at technical or junior colleges.
  • Bachelors degree – usually takes four years to complete and students can study a variety of subjects to complete their major.


Masters or graduate degrees can only be studied if the student has achieved a 2:2 undergraduate degree. The different types include:

  • Academic – takes two years to complete
  • Professional – also takes two years to complete and leads to a career in a particular job such as a Doctor or Lawyer.

PhDs are the highest qualification that you can take and they take up to six years to complete.

How do you apply?

As you will be studying abroad, it takes a lot longer for your application to be processed by a US college. To get into a US Institution, you need to apply directly to your chosen college and sit a multiple choice exam. You may have to sit other exams such SAT or ACT exams which cost around £50 and can be taken in the UK.

You would also need to provide the college with:

  • A personal statement, similar to the UK
  • Course certificates such as GCSE and A level certificates
  • Up to three reference letters
  • The scores from your multiple choice exams.
  • $50 – $100 application fee

If you would like to study a graduate degree then you may have to an interview and maybe a research piece if you need to.

Applications for US colleges have a deadline around November to February and if English is not your first language, then you will have to sit an English Language Proficiency test.

You will also have to apply for a visa. Before you apply for a visa, it is recommended that you are accepted and approved your course. Then you can apply for the F-1 non-immigrant visa, which is the most common visa for international students.

As visas can take a long time to be processed, you will have to have a visa interview with the US embassy in the UK where it can be issued 120 days before you start your course in the USA.

What are the opportunities in the USA?

There are lots of opportunities that are on offer!

You could graduate and work in any of these top industries:

  • Aerospace
  • Electronics
  • Motor vehicles

The USA has lots of business that could employ you such as Apple, Google, Wal-Mart and Microsoft just to name a few!

If you decide to choose to work in the USA, good luck and enjoy the new lifestyle!

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