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Indian Students Perspective on ‘How to study in the USA?


ndians are second largest community of International students studying in the USA just behind the largest number of Chinese students. Indians are usually the top recipient of high-skilled H-1B visas and as per the US government records the immigrants from India are better educated, more likely to have strong English language skills, arrive on employment-based visas, and are less likely to live below the poverty line than the overall immigrant population.

Most of the Indians study Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math also known as STEM in general and obviously joins the large international workforce working on the American soil for a better livelihood.

American education system

You must be surprised to know that the US has no education system. The Federal government (The government of USA) influences the education only by the very limited funding offers. It is not conducting exams like CBSE Board in India.

State governments are, however, conducting state graduation examinations, and students must pass these. At the higher level, students have a wide range of options when they choose a college or university.

There are agencies ranking the universities and colleges and there are highly advanced ranking procedure followed by these agencies, but it is not always the top ranked university that may suit your need but most suitable university for your need is the one where you opt. Majors offered, location, own community, the number of students enrolled, and campus culture, accommodation, affluence of the catchment area are all factors influencing a prospective student’s decision.

Different schools have different selection criteria and students need to have a certain minimum percentage or GPA for admission to colleges in USA.

Popular student destinations: Arizona State University, California, Princeton, Columbia, Harvard, Yale, MIT, Pennsylvania, and Stanford universities are some of top destinations (in no particular order).

Approximately, 220,000 Indian students were studying in the US during the academic year 2020-21.

Top courses where these are enrolled are Business Management, Computer Science, Finance and Accounting, Economics, Communications/Media, Physical and Life Sciences.

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Types of Higher Education Institutes in the USA

State School/college/University

Geographically the US being a vast land space is spread over a huge area and for administrative purpose is divided into 50 states, each state-run at least one university or college for providing quality higher education to students at low rates. These state universities are funded by the respective state governments and are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities.

Private university/college

These institutions are run privately and are considered costly as compared to state schools. There are many such universities and colleges to choose from in case you can afford.

Community Colleges

Community colleges offer two-year certification or a transferable associate. Generally, These are acting as a bridge between large universities and small communities, the students from the Community college transfer to universities or four-year colleges in order to complete their degree. These students are allowed to transfer the credits which they have earned in the community college. Mostly the local students in all parts of USA choose to get enrolled in these community colleges.

Technology Institutes

These are the institutes that provide four-year courses related to science, technology, engineering and management popularly known as STEM.

Arts College

Liberal arts colleges are private, not for profit colleges and generally charge the same tution fees for in-state and out-of-state students unlike public universities. The maximum college fee for one year is $50,000. Students who are looking for arts degree focus on a subject of their choice, called a ‘major’ but they are also required to take General Education courses in almost all of the other subjects offered.

Liberal arts schools usually offer one expansive area of study whereas universities offer the same major in two or more degree areas. A student can major in Mathematics but can still choose an engineering career.


Medical College

Since a medical degree is considered a second degree in the USA, students are required to have a first degree ie. Bachelor of Science (BS) in biology, chemistry, or any other related field to apply for Doctor of Medicine (MD) in the USA. This BS degree is also referred to as a pre-medical course. After completion of MD, students have to apply for a residency program based on their choice of specialization. 

If anyone is already having a BS degree in the medicine-related field or studied MBBS for 1 or 2 years in India, they might be exempted from enrolling in a pre-medical course in the USA. Although, this decision lies in the hands of the university to which you are applying. 

The doctors earn US$ 3,500 to US$ 5,500 during residency in USA (4 Years) making the total cost of the program as ZERO! This is during their residency itself. This way, MBBS in USA for Indian student fees becomes less than Indian costs!

There are currently 155 accredited MD-granting institutions, and 37 accredited DO-granting institutions in the United States.

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