USA is the dream destination for most Indian students. Aptly described as the technological paradise USA is known for its cutting edge courses in Engineering, Biotechnology, Bio-informatics, Information Technology, Nuclear science, space technology. The American Education System offers International students with a wide plethora of courses and boundless educational possibilities at undergraduate, graduate and research levels. Home to some of the world famous universities like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT, California Berkley, Princeton, Southern California, and Cornell, US offers the most exciting, rewarding and lucrative careers.

Education System:

US Education System comprises of State funded universities/colleges, private Colleges/universities, Professional Schools and Institutes of Technology. Universities further consist of Undergraduate schools, Graduate schools, Business schools and research schools. The undergraduate schools offer two years associate degrees and four years bachelor’s degree in varied disciplines. The graduate schools offer highly specialized masters programs in specific fields usually of two years duration. Business schools offer MBA and other masters in management programs with specialization in the sub fields of management. Research schools offer PhD programs, which take around 3-6 years for completion depending on the course of study, the ability of the student and the thesis he has chosen.

Admission Requirements:

Admission to US universities is highly competitive and requires you to have attained good grades and completed challenging coursework besides fulfilling course specific requirements such as test scores, work experience and command over English. Much, however, depends on the school in question and the chosen program of study.


Admissions to undergraduate programs require a student to complete 12 years of primary and secondary studies, possess good academic records and satisfy the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) score requirement of the concerned university.


For applying to graduate programs the candidate must have completed 16 years of education and needs to qualify GRE (Graduate Record Examination) which focuses on measuring the verbal and quantitative reasoning skills, critical thinking and analytical writing ability of the candidate.


MBA programs require the student to possess at least 2-4 years of industrial experience and satisfy the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) score requirement of the said B School. Besides, you are required to submit essays and take a telephonic interview.

In addition to the above academic requirements, the admission committees take into consideration the student’s entire profile viz his aptitude for the subject, his overall personality traits, interest in co curricular and community development activities.

English Language Requirement:

Natives of non-English speaking countries are required to qualify English proficiency test either IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) and satisfy the course specific requirements. For majority of the courses, the English language requirement is 90 in TOEFL iBT or 6.5 in IELTS, though some may require the candidate to obtain 110 in TOEFL iBT or 7.0 in IELTS.

Admission Process:

Most US Universities and colleges offer major intakes in September and January known as the Fall and Spring intakes respectively. Application process takes around 16-18 months and involves filling up of online/ paper based application forms, rigorous documentation work like transcripts, Statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, financial forms, essays. Once the university receives all the documents, the admissions committee takes around 3-4 months to review the application and if the application is successful the student receives his I 20, which is the confirmation of his enrollment.

Tuition & Living costs:

Tuition costs vary widely between different schools though state run and public funded universities charge lesser than private institutions. As a very rough estimate, the tuition costs may vary from 8000 to 25000 US$ per year depending on the course and college. The estimated living costs is 10000 US$ per year which includes room and board, books and supplies, commutation and personal expenses.

Financial assistance:

US academic institutions offer financial assistance by way of tuition waivers, scholarships, fellowships and assistantships. However, the competition to avail them is intensely fierce and they are awarded to academically bright students. Tuition waivers exempt the student from paying tuition fees and the student has to bear his living costs and general fees like library fee, sports fee, etc. Scholarship and Fellowship awards waive off a part of the tuition fees. Assistantships allow the student to work on campus thereby earning a fixed stipend.


The US student visa process starts once the student receives I 20 from the academic institution. Thereafter, the students are required to complete the online nonimmigrant visa form DS 160 which also provides photo upload by following the link The candidate is then required to take a print out of the confirmation page and deposit the visa fee and VFS charges at the designated branches of HDFC Bank. Using bar code on the fee receipt and the confirmation page, the student can schedule his appointment for interview on the VFS website and print the appointment letter. The student is required to carry his valid passport, VFS Appointment letter and all other supporting documents for the visa interview.

Future Prospects:

USA offers good job prospects and career growth opportunities. US Citizenship and Immigration Service allows F-1 Visa students to apply for Optional Practical Training for a period of one year after successful completion of one academic year of their course or after the completion of their course wherein the student gets an opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to a practical work experience off campus.

For new rules on OPT, contact us at EdukenTM