With more than 4,500 colleges and universities, the United States has more institutions of Higher Education than any other country in the world. There are very many reasons why students make the decision to apply to America, not least because universities there are world-renowned for their excellence and they offer outstanding programmes of study and cutting-edge research at both undergraduate and graduate levels. The fact is that colleges and universities in the USA offer something for everyone in a variety of locations from a small town in the Mid West to a bustling city on the eastern seaboard.
Why many students choose to study in the USA is because the American colleges and universities emphasise the merits of an holistic approach to learning. In other words the these institutions are committed to producing students who will be successful in their own careers but also who will in time contribute to their own communities and the larger world about them. Campus life is seen as a ‘good thing’ and an essential part of being a university student.
Other reasons for applying to an American university are:
- Universities in the USA offer an exceptionally wide range of academic programmes, majors and degrees.
- The universities in the USA provide state-of-the-art facilities and technology, as well as a close interaction between students and staff.
- creative activities.
- There is a great diversity and variation in the settings, locations and the specialism’s in American universities.
The terms ‘college’ and ‘university’ are often used interchangeably. However, a college refers to an institution that offers a four year programme with none or few postgraduate programmes at Master’s or Doctorate level. Some colleges also offer two year courses, and students can then transfer to a four year institution.
Universities tend to have larger student populations and they offer four year undergraduate degree programmes as well as postgraduate (master’s and doctorate levels).
The United States is as geographically diverse as it is large and there a and there many regions, each with its own cultural and historical background. It is also a country with different climates, from the Rocky mountains, to the vast prairies of the Midwest and the coastal areas beside the Atlantic and the Pacific. Students also need to consider:
- The availability of housing and dormitories. Large cities and built up areas tend to be more expensive and do not offer as much choice as rural areas.
- The size of the university should be carefully considered. Some students may prefer small institutions with populations of 4,000 or less. Others might relish a really large campus and a big student population.
- Security might be an issue for some students. However, the American government stress that all universities have a safe and secure environment, with dedicated campus police officers and ample security measures.
- Cost should be borne in mind. Universities can give detailed estimates of the cost of tuition, lodging, meals and miscellaneous expenses. When students apply to an institution they must demonstrate their ability to pay for an entire year.
Applying to an American college or university is not as straightforward as applying for a place in Higher Education in the UK. The main difference is that there is no central admissions system in America, unlike the UCAS system in Britain. This means that applications have to be made separately to each college and university and this can be a daunting task for the average student. Education Advisers offers expert professional advice and guidance to students who decide to apply to the USA, which can take away a lot of the worry and ensure that those vital deadlines are met.