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How to Live and Study in USA for International Students

This detailed guide on how to Study in USA for International Students will assist you in researching American institutions, selecting where to apply, and learning the procedures for applying, being accepted, and living in the US.

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You will be joining more than a million other international students in the USA when you choose to study in the United States, which is a fantastic option. Study in USA for International Students has several benefits, including cultural diversity and career help.

If you are an international student looking for advice on choosing a college, continue reading this guide, since we will cover all the essential information on how to live and study in the USA for international students.

How to Study in USA for International Students

Your trip to the US as an international student will start with choosing the college and academic program you want to enrol in. A US university associate’s degree usually takes two years to complete. In the USA, a bachelor’s degree typically necessitates three to four years of study. After earning your bachelor’s degree, you may want to think about attending graduate school to further your education.

A master’s degree (earned after two years of study) and a doctorate or PhD are available for graduate or postgraduate programs (three or more years). While associate’s and bachelor’s degrees are often more general, graduate master’s and doctorate programs concentrate on a particular academic field.

Research the Best Universities and Colleges

The U.S. Department of Education’s College Navigator website is a good place to start your online search for associate’s, bachelor’s, and advanced degrees (such as master’s and doctoral degrees). Other websites offer options to search for undergraduate US schools and universities across many different programs, features, or traits, such as College Board’s Big Future.

Apply to the University

It is time to start applying once you have decided on the curriculum you want to pursue and have created a small list of universities to pick from.

You can start your application for a program at a US university online on the website of the school.

Complete the tests and college applications

Applications for undergraduate students

Although each US university has its own admissions standards, they all have a few things in common. Generally speaking, American colleges want the following from prospective international students:

  • Transcript
  • Standardized test scores
  • SAT or ACT
  • English proficiency test scores (TOEFL, IELTS, iTEP, PTE Academic)
  • Essay
  • Recommendations
  • Copy of your valid passport

Some colleges and universities may also require proof of financing for international students.  Additionally, some colleges may require an interview, which you can do with staff or alumni living abroad.

Graduate Student Applications

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Application requirements for international students applying to graduate programs are similar to undergraduate programs, with a few important differences. Here is what you may need:

  • ​​Academic transcripts from your bachelor’s degree studies
  • ​​Test scores
  • TOEFL, IELTS, iTEP, or PTE Academic
  • Statement of purpose
  • Research proposal
  • Recommendations from professors
  • Copy of your valid passport
  • Proof of finances — unless you apply separately for assistantships or fellowships, you will need to show funding to cover the full cost of your education (subtracting any available scholarships)

Know the Costs of Studying Abroad

The annual cost of attending college in the US includes tuition, fees, living expenses, books and supplies, and health insurance.

Simply, attending an American university will cost you money. But paying for college in the United States is different since, depending on the university or college, there may be academic, athletic, artistic, and even service-based scholarships available, as well as need-based financial help (such grants for overseas students).

Apply for Financial Aid

Make sure to ask the advisers at the universities where you apply about the kinds of scholarships, grants, assistantships, and fellowships that are available to international students in the US if you have limited means to pay for your undergraduate and graduate degree(s).

Apply for a Student Visa

Once you have made the all-important decision of where to study in the US, the next step is getting your visa. There are three main types of visas to choose from, each with its student visa requirements:

  • F-1: This student visa permits you to study at US universities or colleges with funding from friends, family, or yourself. You are also permitted to work part-time on campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week when your academic term is in session.
  • J-1: With this student visa, you can participate in the study- and work-related exchange programs at US colleges or universities approved by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Your program must be funded by an educational or non-profit sponsor. On a J-1 visa, you have the same work restrictions as F-1 students but cannot work off campus.
  • M-1: If you want to pursue vocational studies, you can apply for an M-1 visa, which permits you to study at institutes certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Program funding may come from friends, family, or yourself. On an M-1 student visa, you will have the same work restrictions as F-1 and J-1 visas but can only work on campus for a maximum of six months.

To apply for an F-1 or M-1 visa, you will need an I-20 form, and for a J-1 visa, you will need a DS-2019 form. While each form is slightly different depending on the visa, they all cover personal information (full name, birthdate, SEVIS ID numbers, academic program, English proficiency standard, start date, and funding sources).

Some colleges will send you an I-20 or DS-2019 with your admission letter, especially if you have documented that you have the funding available for at least one year of academic study and are not required to pay a deposit. Other US universities will only send an I-20 or DS-2019 after funding is documented, any institutional financial awards are made, and a deposit is paid.

Once you have received the I-20 or DS-2019 from your college or university, there are four important steps you must complete:

  • Pay a $350 SEVIS I-901 fee online (and keep your electronic SEVIS fee receipt)
  • Apply for your non-immigrant visa (online DS-160 form)
  • Schedule your visa interview at the US embassy or consulate
  • Complete the interview

Important Necessities for Students

International students studying in the US could discover that campus life differs greatly from life back home. Making a list of the things you’ll need in the US before you go can be useful.

How to live in USA for International Students

The first week after arriving at the US university is, for the majority of students, the most difficult part of their whole study abroad experience. You’ll have to cope with overcoming homesickness as well as adjusting to a new culture, language, and other things. Here are a few top suggestions for international students wishing to learn how to survive in the USA as a student, to make your journey a bit smoother.

Make a living budget

Depending on where you are attending school, your cost of living can be high. Here are some suggestions on how to create a budget as a college student for studying abroad in America. Planning can help you cover these costs.

States in the US might have vastly varied cost of living ranges. Ordinarily, urban living is more expensive than suburban or small-town living. The cost of living may change based on:

  • Housing on campus or renting flats off campus
  • Meal plans, personal grocery shopping, or eating out
  • Travelling by public transport or by car
  • Entertainment, extracurriculars, and other personal spending habits
  • Having a part-time job

To learn more about how to study in the USA, consider visiting the USA.gov website.

Sam Rantimi
Sam Rantimi

Interpersonal Communication Specialist & Graduate (Biology), Obafemi Awolowo University. Join me on Twitter.

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