Why Study in the USA?

Why Study in the USA?

The U.S. is home to the best colleges and universities in the world. Its higher educational institutions are recognized for their programs – from arts and humanities to STEM disciplines, machine learning and artificial intelligence. International students not only have a chance to learn and network with some of the best minds in their respective fields, but their U.S. degrees are recognized worldwide.

One of the most attractive features of the U.S. higher education system is the flexibility it provides through the number and diversity of institution types it encompasses. This diversity offers students options to specialize in a variety of academic disciplines and even gain employment training.

More than 4,000 accredited institutions make up higher education in the United States. Unlike many countries, U.S. higher education institutions are not centrally managed but are accredited on a national or regional level by independent accrediting bodies.

A variety of institution types offer higher-education degrees. Liberal arts institutions, for example, offer courses in the arts, humanities, languages, and social and physical sciences. Most liberal arts institutions are private, often funded by a combination of endowments, gifts from alumni, research grants, and tuition fees. Private colleges and universities are usually smaller than public institutions and can have a religious affiliation or be single-sex schools.

State colleges and universities, also called “public universities,� were founded and subsidized by U.S. state governments to provide a low-cost education to residents of that state. Public universities generally offer access to research opportunities and classes in a wide variety of fields of study. These universities tend to be very large and generally admit a wider range of students than private universities. Each student's interests will guide their choice among the many possibilities.

Regardless of the institution type, in the United States, students typically earn credits for courses they take, and these credits count towards the completion of a program. Courses are often divided into "core" subject areas to provide the foundation of the degree program and "major" courses to provide specialization in a subject area. Students can also take "elective" courses to explore other topics of interest to a well-rounded educational experience.

The U.S. academic calendar typically runs from September to May and can be divided into two academic terms of 16-18 weeks known as semesters. Alternatively, some schools may operate on a quarter or trimester system of multiple terms of 10-12 weeks.

"With the variety of available U.S. higher education options, international students are sure to find the right fit for their academic, financial, and personal needs."

According to the 2019 U.S. Open Doors Report, international students numbered at 1,095,299, making up 5.5% of the total U.S. higher education population. At 369,548, China remains the largest source of international students, followed by India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada. Pakistan experienced a 5.6% increase in its student numbers – from 7,537 (2017/18) to 7,957 (2018/19). Just over half of the international student population (51.7%) appear to be pursuing STEM fields at U.S. colleges and universities.

More questions on the international student experience? Visit EducationUSA for stories on-campus living across the United States.