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USA - Education System

About USA

USAThe American education system offers international students the most diverse set of education options in the world. In fact, an international student who elects to take advantage of the American education system can pursue anything from nuclear science to film and dance. American education possibilities are almost endless!

The American education system requires that students complete 12 years of primary and secondary education prior to attending university or college. This may be accomplished either at public (or government-operated) schools, or at private schools. These 12 years of schooling (or their equivalent) may also be completed outside the USA, thus giving foreign students the opportunity to pursue the benefits of the American education system and obtain a quality American education. Perhaps one of the most impressive facts is the large number of presidents, prime ministers and leaders from other countries who have experienced the American education system and graduated from a university or school in the USA. In many fields and industries, the American education system offers the most cutting-edge, sought-after programs at the world's best schools. That is why graduating from an accredited American school and being exposed to the rigors of the American education system is an investment in your future.

Whether you want to study at a top USA university, a top USA college, or at a USA ESL, vocational or high school, a thorough understanding of how the American education system works is essential. Without a clear grasp of the American education system, an international student will find it difficult to make the right academic choices. The information provided in the overview of the American education system section will help you develop that understanding. You can also search our list of top universities, colleges, community colleges, graduate schools, and boys and girls boarding schools in the American education system. It is no surprise that the American education system and the American school system hosts more international students than any other country in the world!

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Education Systems

The top USA universities, USA colleges and USA schools are actively recruiting international students now.

  • Community colleges and junior colleges offering 2-year associate degrees
  • Undergraduate USA universities and USA colleges offering bachelors degree programs
  • USA graduate schools offering masters and PhD programs
  • USA English as a second language schools (ESL schools)
  • United States sports academies
  • Boys-girls boarding school
  • Online colleges: online college courses and online college degrees
  • Cooking schools, culinary schools, culinary arts programs, culinary scholarships

Secondary school

Upon completion of fifth grade (the last year of primary school), American children enrolled in the American education system advance to secondary school. Secondary school most commonly consists of a total of seven years, referred to as sixth through twelfth grades. The ninth through twelfth grades are most commonly referred to as high school. Upon completion of twelfth grade, American students are awarded a certificate called the high school diploma. In the American education system, students must have obtained a high school diploma before they are admitted into college or university. Foreign students who would like to attend an American college or university must have completed coursework that is equivalent to what is taught at an American high school. Foreign students who would like to attend an American high school, need to consider how the high school they select will give them access to the best colleges.

Undergraduate school

Students who have completed high school and would like to attend college or university must attend what is referred to as an undergraduate school. These are schools that offer either a two-year degree (called an associate degree) or a four-year degree (called a bachelors degree) in a specific course of study. That course of study is called the major. While most schools that offer a four-year degree will admit students who have not yet chosen a major, all students are required to select (or declare) a major by their second year at school. Students who complete an associate degree can continue their education at a four-year school and eventually complete a bachelor degree.

Graduate school

Students who have obtained a bachelor`s degree can continue their education by pursuing one of two types of degrees. The first is a master`s degree. This is usually a two-year degree that is highly specialized in a specific field. Students are sometimes admitted to a master`s degree program only if they have a bachelor`s degree in a closely related field. However, there are many exceptions to this, such as with students who want to pursue a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) degree. Students who want to advance their education even further in a specific field can pursue a doctorate degree, also called a PhD. A PhD degree can take between three and six years to complete, depending on the course of study chosen, the ability of the student, and the thesis that the student has selected. The thesis is a very intensive research paper that must be completed prior to earning the degree. It is always required of students pursuing a PhD, and may sometimes be required of students pursuing a master`s degree (depending on the school).

Certain courses of study are only available at the graduate school level in America. The most notable of these are law, dentistry, and medicine. Students who want to pursue a degree in one of these fields must first obtain a bachelor’s degree.

Why USA ?

Why international students should study in the US

  • Should you study in the US?
  • Why have so many international students chosen to study in the US over another country?
  • Does the US still welcome international student? What are your US study options?

The US hosts more international students than any other country in the world, a number fast approaching 600,000. In fact, international students comprise approximately 4% of the total undergraduate US University and US college population, and 10% for US graduate school. These international students from every continent in the world choose to study in the US because they believe that a US education would afford them the best preparation for their future. They leave homes, families and friends in order to pursue their dreams of an education in the US. In fact, International students who study in the US contribute more than $13 billion to the US economy!

US universities, US colleges and US schools constantly rank very high in world rankings, just one of the reasons to study in the US. Schools such as Harvard University, Stanford University, MIT, Julliard, University of California Berkley, University of Southern California, West Point, are all world famous and welcome international students. The US offers international students the most exciting, rewarding and comprehensive array of study options in the world. International students who choose to study in the US have almost unlimited study choices. Furthermore, international students who successfully complete their US study are highly sought-after by employers worldwide. If you are ready to start searching for schools to begin your study in the US, you may start your US school search here.

International Student Scholarships: Grants, loans and scholarships for international students

While the cost of an American education is high and can add up to tens of thousands of US dollars, it is an investment that will benefit you for the rest of your life. Since you will be required to prove you have the necessary financial resources in order to obtain an international student visa, it is very important to first calculate how much your total USA education will cost. The information in the Calculating costs section will help you. Please note that, in general, it is not easy to obtain an international student scholarship or international student loan since competition amongst applicants is fierce. There are literally thousands of students who apply for scholarships for international students and international student loans.

Once you have determined how much international student financing you will need, you must next determine how you will obtain that student financing.

  • Are your parents financing your USA education?
  • Have you obtained an international student scholarship?
  • Have you been able to secure an Education Loan from your home country?

Discuss with our expert counselors for more information regarding student financing and funding

Visa Process

U.S. Immigration F1 Visas for International Students

International student visas are issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Department (INS), under the State Department of the United States. An international student visa grants the student permission to enter the USA legally. In order to obtain an international student visa to enter the US, the applicant must meet the following basic requirements:


  • The International student visa applicants must promise to obey all US laws, or risk deportation.
  • The International student applicants must be able to support himself financially during the course of US study.
  • International student visa applicants must agree to leave the USA after the course of US study is complete.

It is important to remember that applying early and providing the requested documents does not guarantee that the international student will receive an international student visa. Also, because each international student?s immigration situation is unique, two students from the same country, applying for the same international student visa may be asked different questions and for different documents.

In addition, international students should be aware that obtaining an international student visa does not automatically guarantee entry into the United States. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officer at the port of entry into the US has the authority to deny admission even if an international student visa has been granted. Follow all immigration rules and guidelines closely. Obtaining your international student visa is a crucial step towards a successful US education. Contact our office for more information and guidance on securing USA Student Visa.


Why Study in the USA?

Why do so many international students choose to study in the USA?

We will explain you what the USA education system has to offer each international student and why you should study in the US. Our expert counselors will discuss the most common misconceptions about USA study. Why are there so many top schools, colleges and universities in the USA education system? There even is a list of some famous international students who obtained a USA education at one of the many top USA universities, USA colleges and USA schools.

Want to study in the US but confused about the American education system?

Our counselors will provide you with complete and detailed information on USA universities, USA colleges, vocational schools, boarding schools, etc. and also about the USA education system and how it works? What is the difference between a bachelors degree and associate degree? What are the differences between universities in the USA, USA colleges, and USA community colleges? Detailed information on associate degree, bachelor degree, masters degree, and PhD degree programs, academic credits, elective course options, types of USA schools, types of USA universities, and general USA education and graduation requirements for the international student.

Can international students work while enrolled in USA universities, colleges or schools?

Our counselors will advice and provide information on paying for your education in the USA including information on the cost of study in the USA, financial aid for US study, international student loans, grants and international student scholarships.

How should I apply to study in the USA?

We will make you understand how the USA admissions process works. What do US universities, US colleges, and other USA schools look for in international student applications? We will help you in planning your application in advance using our admission calendar, we will also advice on choosing your major, selecting the right US universities, US colleges or USA schools, US college entrance exams such as SAT, GRE, GMAT and TOEFL, college admission essay help, and other essential reading for students wanting to study in the USA.

How does one get an international student visa to study in the US?

Our Visa coordinators will provide you with wide-ranging information on immigration issues confronting each international student individually, wanting to study in the US. We will also provide information on various issues such as which USA universities, USA colleges and USA schools are authorized to enroll international students, international student visa application info, passports, USA embassy information, USA visa regulations, and even the new SEVIS immigration rules, in obtaining USA immigration forms, filling them up scheduling the appointment with the embassy, etc.


Note that the yearly costs given below are rough estimates. Costs such as tuition and fees will vary between different schools. Costs such as travel and room and board will vary between different cities in the US. Also, you should assume about a 5% increase per year for each cost. This is due to inflation.


Tuition will be the largest component of your education cost. It will vary widely between different schools, so it is best for you to refer to the schools where you are planning to apply to get a realistic amount. As a very rough guideline, the cost for tuition can range from $5,000 to $25,000 per year. Public schools will typically charge lower tuition than private schools, and community colleges usually have the lowest tuition costs of all public schools.

Room and board

This is normally the second largest component of your education cost. The cost for room and board can also vary widely between schools, so you should check with the schools where you are planning to apply to get the right estimate. A rough guideline is between $3,000 and $8,000. If you are considering living off campus and getting your own apartment, you will also need to calculate the cost of furnishing that apartment, paying your monthly utilities (such as electricity), and the cost of transportation to and from school. The most practical and economical choice for a fist year international student is often to live on campus with a roommate. You should note that residence halls will often close during the summer. If you will not be returning to your home country during that time, you will have to find alternate housing.


In addition to tuition, most colleges and universities will also charge fees, such as student activity fees. These help to support student clubs and organizations on campus. They are usually relatively small, only a few hundred dollars per year.

Books and supplies

Students must pay for all their text books, as well as supplies such as notebooks, paper, pens, etc. You can sometimes lower this cost by buying used books from the schools bookstore. A good estimate for this cost is between $500 and $1,500.

Medical insurance

Because the cost of healthcare in the US is very high, many schools require international students to purchase medical insurance. It is a very good idea to buy insurance even if your school does not require it to protect yourself from extremely high medical bills. A comprehensive insurance policy (which covers doctors visits, medication, hospitalization, and surgery) will cost between $500 and $1,000 for one person. You can even buy your insurance policy from India itself at much lower price. You can contact our counselors for more information on medical and travel insurance.


You should calculate how much it will cost you to travel between your school and your home country. You will need to determine how many times during the length of your education you will go home and multiply that by the cost of airplane fare between the two locations.

Personal expenses

These expenses include clothing, entertainment, and telephone bills. This will vary depending on where you will live and on your personal lifestyle; therefore, it is difficult to provide an estimate

Universities List


  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Stanford University
  • University of California Berkeley
  • Cornell University
  • University of Washington
  • University of Minnesota
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Wisconsin Madison
  • California Institute of Technology Caltech
  • University of Texas Austin
  • University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Columbia University New York
  • University of California Los Angeles
  • University of Maryland
  • Purdue University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
  • Michigan State University
  • Indiana University
  • University of Florida
  • University of California San Diego
  • University of Arizona
  • Rutgers University
  • Yale University
  • New York University
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Virginia
  • Duke University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Princeton University
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • University of Chicago
  • University of California Irvine
  • University of Utah
  • University of California Davis
  • Ohio State University
  • Iowa State University
  • University of California Santa Barbara
  • Arizona State University
  • Washington University Saint Louis
  • University of Georgia
  • George Mason University
  • University of New Mexico
  • University of Iowa
  • Oregon State University
  • University of Connecticut
  • Florida State University
  • University of Nebraska Lincoln
  • Boston University
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • University of Oregon
  • Northwestern University
  • Brigham Young University
  • Drexel University
  • University of Missouri Columbia
  • Washington State University Pullman
  • University of Tennessee Knoxville
  • Rice University
  • University of California Santa Cruz
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Delaware
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • State University of New York at Buffalo
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Illinois Chicago
  • Colorado State University
  • Louisiana State University
  • Brown University
  • University of Rochester
  • University of Oklahoma
  • University of South Florida
  • City University of New York
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Tufts University
  • University of Houston
  • University of South Carolina
  • University of North Texas
  • Syracuse University
  • University of Kansas
  • Emory University
  • Utah State University
  • Florida International University
  • Maryville University
  • Lawrence Technological University
  • California Lutheran University
  • Northwest Missouri State University
  • University of Findlay
  • Hawaii Pacific University
  • University of Bridgeport
  • State University of New York (Suny) - Oneonta
  • Johnson & Wales University
  • Dallas Baptist University
  • Drury University
  • Newman University
  • Troy University
  • South-East Missouri State University
  • Northwestern Polytechnic University
  • Kansas State University
  • University of California, Extension, Riverside (International Education Programs)
  • Arkansas State University
  • University of North Alabama
  • Missouri University of Science & Technology
  • Rochester Institute of Technology (CAF)
  • University of New Haven, West Haven, Connecticut
  • Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas
  • Mississippi College, Clinton, Mississippi.
  • Stevens-Henager College,Ogden, Utah.
  • The University of Findlay, Findlay, Ohio.
  • National University, San Diego, California
  • University of California Riverside Extension, University Avenue, Riverside.
  • Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
  • Concordia University, Wisconsin, Mequon, Wisconsin.
  • Hamline University , Saint Paul, Minnesota
  • Touro College New York City, New York.
  • Dowling College, Suffolk County, New York.
  • University of Bridgeport, Connecticut
  • Pacific State University, Los Angeles, California,
  • Monroe College, Bronx, New York.
  • Everest University (North Orlando)
  • Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas
  • Herguan University, Silicon Valley, California
  • Johnson & Wales University -Located in Providence, North Miami, Denver, Charlotte
  • Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Michigan.
  • Dallas Baptist University Dallas, Texas
  • Northwestern Polytechnic University, Fremont, California.
  • Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa.
  • Virginia International University, Fairfax, Virginia.
  • International Technological University, Silicon Valley, California