The USA is the leading study abroad destination for undergraduate aspirants. Let us understand what makes it a preferred destination for undergraduate aspirants.
Excellent academic curriculum & faculty, a wide array of electives, impeccable research focus, high quality of campus life and high student satisfaction make the USA colleges rank higher among undergraduate applicants. A USA undergraduate degree is valued several notches higher than a similar degree from any other destination. Top-ranked colleges in the USA offer world-class UG degrees. Undergraduate students can pursue their bachelor’s in subjects ranging from architecture, biological & biomedical sciences, computer & information sciences, engineering, English language & literature, health, history, liberal arts and humanities to psychology. They can pursue their under graduation in atypical courses like agriculture; citizenship activities; ethnic; cultural, gender and group studies; library science; personal and culinary services etc.
As per the World University Rankings 2023 by QS, 9 USA universities feature in the top 20 list. The USA boasts of the most highly-acclaimed colleges in the world – Ivy League colleges, MIT, Stanford, Caltech and UCs etc. It is also home to highly-acclaimed liberal arts colleges such as Williams College, Amherst College, Swarthmore College and Pomona College.
The USA is highly popular for the academic flexibility available to undergraduate students in changing their major after commencing their undergraduation. For the first two years, USA undergraduate students undertake core courses to identify their interests and even change their major later if needed. They can join with an undecided major if unsure of the choice of major. Most degree programs require a certain number of classes in a discipline but let students customise the rest of their schedule. E.g. for two students studying International Relations at the same college at the same time, one might decide to minor in Philosophy or Chemistry; the other might change the major to Anthropology after a year of study.
Studying in the USA offers countless networking opportunities that can lead to lifelong professional and personal connections and ultimately result in lucrative internships and job opportunities. It also provides opportunities to collaborate with professors and brilliant minds in a field to conduct path-breaking research. Such research collaborations could also lead to future referrals and work-study opportunities.
Studying in the USA prepares students for a competitive international career. With technology advancing quicker than ever in a global economic set-up, irrespective of the field, a wide range of knowledge and agility is a skill sought-after by employers everywhere. Undergraduate students in the USA will enjoy an exponential increase in their earning potential and career trajectory.
|Ivy League Colleges||These colleges focus on undergraduate education of liberal arts; admission is supremely competitive|
|Liberal Arts Colleges||These colleges endorse liberal arts study in humanities, sciences and social sciences. They are known for their high academic standards.
|Public (State) Universities||Public universities are funded by the state government; tuition fees are lower than private universities. Some popular universities are:
|Private Universities||Private universities run via private funding such as faculty research grants, alumni donations and tuition fees. Their tuition fees are higher than public universities. Some popular universities are:
|Technical Institutions||These institutions offer engineering, science and research programs. Some institutions under this category are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), California Polytechnic Institute, and Georgia Institute of Technology|
|Community Colleges||These colleges offer higher education, granting certificates, diplomas, associate degrees, and lower-level tertiary education to impart vocational skills
Community college students can transfer their associate degree credits to pursue two more years in a full-time bachelor’s degree program at a degree-awarding college/university
According to the 2023 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the following are the top universities in the USA for Undergraduate Degree programs:
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||
|University of Chicago||
|Duration||Cost of Education (Tuition Plus Living) per annum|
|Associate degree: 2 years duration
Bachelor’s degree: Usually four years
Bachelor of Architecture Degree, Doctor of Medicine(MD), Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Juris Doctor(JD) may take four to six years to complete
|Tuition: $20,000-$35,000 per annum
Living: $10,000-$18,000 per annum
Total: $30,000-$53,000 per annum
The tuition fee will depend on whether the university is public or private.
|Academic Credentials||Standardized Test Scores||Extra Curriculars|
To apply for an undergrad program, at least 70% is recommended in your high school.
Extra-curricular activities ranging from sports to leadership are given very high weightage in the undergraduate admissions process.
Application Portals – The Common Application (CommonApp) is an undergraduate admission application accepted by more than 900 institutions, including some institutions outside the USA. It helps streamline an essential part of the admissions process for students. Applicants will need to fill out details like name, address and extracurricular activities only once. Applicants can apply to a maximum of 20 colleges via the Common Application. All Ivy League colleges (Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the UPenn, and Yale) and top colleges such as Stanford, Caltech, Vanderbilt and Rice accept the Common Application. MIT does not use the Common Application but its application portal called MyMIT. University of California’s campuses have their application portal for UG; the same is with University of Texas campuses.
Apart from the entrance exam scores, some important documents required to be submitted are:
Know more about the Entry Requirements for USA Universities.
US universities have two intakes throughout the year- Fall and Spring. However, Fall is the most preferred and primary intake.
Early Action deadlines are opted by undergraduate applicants for the USA if they wish to apply early and receive an early admission decision (by December); it is not legally binding. The Early Action deadlines usually fall in November.
Early Decision deadline is opted by undergraduate applicants for the USA in case they are clear about the university they wish to study in and expect an early admission decision (by December). It is legally binding.
Regular Decision deadlines are the usual deadlines targeted by most of the applicants. They usually fall at the beginning of January. Admission decisions are rolled out by March or April.
Know more about the Upcoming Intakes to Study in the USA.
Work While Studying: After the first year in college, students are eligible to work on campus for 20 hours a week. During breaks and vacations, there is no restriction on the work hours.
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An undergraduate degree from USA is valued higher compared to a degree from any other country. US universities provide students with the best of faculty, a flexible curriculum, a wider range of courses to choose from and a strong community and alumni support. Tie-ups with top-rated organizations provide an opportunity to work with the best of organizations through campus support. A multicultural environment gives international students global exposure and better opportunities to learn.
Universities in the USA offer many academic choices for undergraduate programs and courses. Students can cultivate existing passions; explore new interests and find a major that will put them on the desired career path. Top college majors in the USA listed below are based on research covering job prospects, alumni salaries, and popularity:
Undergraduate study in the USA opens up plenty of opportunities for Indian students to apply for high-paying jobs, in both international and domestic job markets. Depending on your UG course specialization and academic performance, you can earn higher than your peers with a UG degree from the USA. Currently, the following are the best career options after UG in the USA:
The cost of pursuing an undergraduate degree in the USA is a function of several factors. In the US, there are mainly two types of universities-Public and Private. Private universities are more expensive than public universities. The cost includes tuition fees plus living expenses such as food, travel, insurance, accommodation etc. The cost of education for UG courses in USA ranges from $30000-53000 annually. The fee varies based on the type of course, specialisation and the university.
Yes, you can get a job after completing a UG degree in the USA. A UG degree from the USA is one of the most sought-after degrees for Indian students as it exponentially increases their earning potential. However, as an international student, one should be well aware of the visa rules and policies related to employment in the USA. For this reason, international students should start working on their job-hunting plans early on and seek support from the college and their network.
The eligibility criteria for international students who intend to apply to US universities for a UG degree are:
The United States has different types of educational institutions offering undergraduate programs and degrees. The application requirements and deadlines may differ depending on the institute. Undergraduate applications are open in US universities between November and January for sessions due the following September. Seeking guidance from a study abroad education consultant can help you with information and processes related to processing university applications.
As an Indian student wanting to apply for a UG course in the USA, the following steps need to be followed:
Post acceptance by the university, applicants will have to apply for their visa. The entire process takes months to prepare and apply. It is advisable to take expert advice from an overseas education consultant who can help with test preparation, admission and visa processing.
The top three websites are- https://www.princetonreview.com/, https://www.usnews.com/ and https://www.topuniversities.com/. These reliable websites conduct annual surveys based on factors like student satisfaction, employment rate, salaries, alumni feedback, student retention, graduate rate performance, faculty and more.
US-based colleges will provide fellowships and assistantship opportunities to their UG students. On a few rare occasions, a school may decide to waive off your tuition fee. However, schools rarely provide financial aid to UG students; hence, such scholarships are generally competitive and merit-based. Nonetheless, merit-based scholarships (based on your test scores, academic ability, skills and talent) and need-based scholarships are available. A lot of scholarships for UG students are limited to residents. You can also apply for private loans if you have a cosigner.