The population of international students in the USA stands at around 800,000, which representing about 4% of all students enrolled in graduate and undergraduate studies. This number is a far cry from the estimated 35,000 international student enrollment from the mid-1950’s. In fact, the US is now the most popular country for international students. The increasing trends in international enrollment is expected to continue in the coming years and the reasons are clear; USA represents the premier location in the world for students seeking to build their technical background, broaden their life experiences, and career opportunities.
Why Choose USA?
1. Unparalleled Academic Excellence
The United States is home to the world’s finest universities and colleges that have perennially dominated world-wide rankings by nearly every respectable publishing organization. On a very basic level, the reasons boil down to:
(1) Outstanding academic programs in diverse disciplines,
(2) Operated by leading faculty in their respective fields of study,
(3) High-quality academic programs create incredible rates of innovation, and thus,
(4) Opportunities for qualified individuals in academia and industry
The US is also one of the biggest investors in education, which feeds back into (1), its outstanding higher education programs both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. At the undergraduate level, students are exposed to the fundamentals of their chosen field of study. Whereas students in graduate programs are exposed to some of the finest minds in their discipline to gain specialized knowledge (Master’s programs) and conduct research to advance the state of the art (Doctoral programs).
With multiple engineering PhDs in the leadership of AcadUSA, we have decades of experience in the US academic field (as undergraduates, graduate students AND faculty). We have relationships with colleges and universities spread across the USA. AcadUSA will work with you to identify and take advantage of the highest quality educational opportunities that you qualify for.
2. Diverse Educational Experiences
The United States is home to several thousand accredited colleges and universities that grant degrees that are recognized throughout the world for their excellence. The US boasts about ten times as many college/university campuses compared to any other country! Some of the colleges and universities (i.e. large state universities) offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in broad areas of study spanning across, the liberal arts and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. Other institutions that are smaller in size (technical schools) emphasize practical, employment-related skills and/or other specialized areas of study. Based on the educational offerings, specific colleges and universities maintain unique demographic statistics. For example, large institutions that offer degrees over expansive areas of study, attract diverse groups of people and tend to have strong international populations. Smaller campuses, on the other hand, tend to have higher faculty-to-student ratios and may also be closely affiliated with, for example, religious organizations; such as the, Brigham Young University in Utah or, The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.
The location of the institutions also play an important role in the overall educational experience. The USA encompasses diverse landscapes and weather patterns that in part inspire the lifestyle of its local inhabitants. Geographic diversity include the farmlands of the Ohio Valley, the Mississippi Delta, and the Great Plains, the rugged peaks of the Rocky Mountains, the varied eastern region, coastal plains and the arid landscape of the Southwest. In addition, these institutions may be located near a bustling city, or a more remote college town. The location also has a large effect on the total cost of your education, especially in terms of living (housing, food, transportation, etc.) costs. Thus, regardless of your expectations, there are a wide range of possible institutions that can provide exactly the type of training and overall living experience that will satisfy your preferences, interests and aspirations.
The abundance of choice, however may also have the potential to complicate how you pick institutions that are right for you. At AcadUSA, we are here to simplify your choices, so that you can make confident decisions that maximize your potential.
3. Innovative & Cutting-edge Resources
Universities in the U.S. are competing with one another in order to attract students. In addition to hiring high quality faculty members (professors, student advisors etc.), colleges and universities compete to provide their students with the most cutting-edge educational resources. These include, but are not limited to:
- Technology and internet-based operations
- Online classes
- Cutting-edge laboratories and equipment for hands-on experiments
- Cutting-edge lecture spaces
- Access to innovative individual and group study spaces
In addition, colleges and universities are also motivated to offer students access to healthy lifestyle options with access to:
- All-inclusive gymnasiums and recreational areas
- High-tech living accommodations
- For undergraduate & graduate students
- Some institutions offer living accommodation for students with small families
- Access to high quality meals
- Promoting on-campus safety
Using technology to improve educational outcomes is a significant undertaking in a significant number of academic institutions. AcadUSA will clarify any questions you may have about how the technology/amenities of particular institutions, and how they may affect your overall educational experience.
4. Opportunities for Research, Teaching and Training Assistantships
Involvement in academic activities beyond the classroom is becoming more and more important for the advancement of your career. College/university campuses are not only places of disseminating knowledge; they are equally important in creating new knowledge and furthering the state of the art. Thus, another important feature of colleges/universities, especially in the US, is the unparalleled level of interaction between students and principal investigators of laboratories. Most professors split their time between teaching courses and heading, or being the principal investigator of a laboratory. In other scenarios, principal investigators of nearby, off-campus public/private research institutions may also be affiliated with colleges/universities. Most principal investigators rarely ever set foot in their laboratories; almost all of the work is usually conducted by students (like you!) at all levels of training (grade school to doctorate students). These all represent incredible opportunities for you to work in high-tech labs with experts in a field to gain insights/opportunities that would not be possible through course study alone. The true value of your higher education, especially in the STEM fields, is rarely ever dictated by the ranking of the college/university alone. Instead, it is the overall combination of professional experiences and coursework in comparison to your peers will determine the extent the opportunities that will available to you.
Academic activities beyond the classroom not only give you valuable experience that puts you ahead of your competition, but it may also help you finance your education. Particularly if you are a graduate student, many graduate programs offer training and teaching opportunities that provide students with teaching assistantships (help teaching undergraduate courses) and/or research assistantships (research projects exploring cutting-edge work in your field of study). Both undergraduate and graduate students also have access to a variety of non-academic on-campus jobs, which can be another source for earning funds on the side.
Universities/colleges are not just defined by their course work, ask us about on- and off-campus opportunities a particular university has to offer. AcadUSA can help you communicate with officials (professors, academic advisers, etc.) so that you can take advantage of opportunities outside the classroom that will keep you a step ahead of the rest.
5. Flexibility of Diversifying your Knowledge-Base
All undergraduate and graduate programs in the US have structured curriculum that are composed of core and elective coursework. Core coursework revolve around developing the fundamentals of a particular field of study. Such as statics, mechanics thermodynamics, and fluid dynamics for a mechanical engineering major. Elective coursework, on the other hand, are organized in more general categories that can be satisfied by taking courses in much more diverse subjects. For example, liberal arts major for an undergraduate program will include classes in mathematics, where a wide variety of classes will satisfy the requirements. The freedom to decide which classes take will help you model your knowledge base to match your interests and career aspirations.
At graduate level (masters and doctorate), it is especially important to determine whether the university/college you are applying to: 1) offers the coursework that you need for your career goals, and 2) the specific program has the flexibility for you to take all the courses you want AND graduate on time.
Not all colleges/universities offer coursework that will satisfy your specific needs, especially if you are interested in niche subjects. Other times, you may need to compromise between finishing your desired coursework and delaying your graduation (for undergraduate and master’s students) date due to a lack of flexibility in a particular institution’s curriculum.
AcadUSA can counsel you on whether the course offerings of a college/university are compatible with your needs.
6. Support Mechanisms Designed for International Students
Studying in the United States is a rewarding experience, but navigating your way through day-to-day issues can be a challenge. Arguably, your biggest challenge will be on day 1 when you find yourself, all of a sudden in a new land, and all by yourself. The initial shock and surge of emotions is not easy to stomach, by any means. If you are one of the fortunate students to make it to the US, this will be your biggest hurdle. However, there are many resources at your disposal starting at Day 1, and beyond till after your graduation. Almost every college/university will have university-operated international student office, as well as student-managed independent associations. These organizations are a great resource for you when it comes to adapting to a new cultural and academic environment.
An orientation program upon your arrival is just the start of the many programs and benefits of the university international student office – throughout your time in the U.S., they can help answer questions you may have regarding your visa status, financial queries, housing, health care and more. The international student office will be an invaluable source of information and help as you make the transition into academic and cultural life in the United States.
AcadUSA can contact the university international student office and/or student associations on your behalf to arrange for support after your arrival in the US. In the Washington D.C. and Oregon areas, AcadUSA personnel are available to offer airport pickup, housing assistance and other forms of support you on your day/night of arrival.
7. Networking to Create Long-Term Career Prospects
In addition to technical knowledge gained from coursework, experience in a professional setting, usually gained through paid and unpaid internships is a marketable commodity. For example, working in a nearby law firm for law, or pre-law students; or an industrial engineering master’s student interning at a nearby manufacturing facility. Many employers seek the wide range of knowledge, adaptability and experience that students have the opportunities acquire by studying in the US. Professional networking is another powerful means of creating new avenues of opportunity. Often times unpaid internships and volunteering can directly lead to job offers upon graduation. For that reason, it is not always in one’s favor to turn down such opportunities purely because it is unpaid, or on a volunteer basis. Companies in the US are increasingly seeking to expand their presence in the global marketplace. For such companies, candidates that possess multi-cultural language skills, in addition to the right technical background are strongly considered for partaking in such ventures. Companies based in US are not the only ones seeking strong candidates when hiring; international students are in high demand in multinational companies all over the world. In recent years, multinational companies have become much more proactive in recruiting from the pool of strong international student graduates.
AcadUSA can identify suitable companies of all sizes situated near your college/universities of interest AND help you start a dialog about internships.
8. Campus Life Experience
When you continue your studies in the U.S., you are making a choice to broaden not only your educational opportunities, but your cultural experience, as well. Whether you attend a small, private college in a small town or a university situated in the middle of a large urban area, most universities offer a variety of student clubs and organizations to match the wide array of student interests. Like the landscapes across the US, the cultural experiences can be just as diverse. United States is a complex and vast country made up of 50 states plus Washington, D.C. – the nation’s capital – all of which have a distinct regional identity. Although it may seem now that the cultural aspects are not nearly as important as some of the other factors we have mentioned (i.e. curriculum design, flexibility, opportunities outside the classroom etc.), we think it does have a measurable impact on your overall educational experience. The population of the international students, student organizations/associations, availability of public transportation, local crime rates, overall sentiment of the locals towards “outsiders”; all affect your ability to assimilate to the local culture. Your time studying abroad in the US can be enriched by taking part in the social and cultural scene surrounding you to make new friends and build your professional network. College campuses strive to provide a rich variety academic, cultural and athletic activities that add new dimensions to your life.
AcadUSA can counsel you on the type of cultural experiences a particular college/university or a general area of the US has to offer you.