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Complete Guide to Study in USA

Want to study in USA?

We know that the decision to move abroad for higher studies can be overwhelming decision. 

But we are here to help you through the transition. Here's a Complete Guide that will answer your common questions.

Why Study in USA

The country being a pioneer when it comes to the quality of education is one of the most prominent reasons to study in USA. More than 150 Universities in the USA are ranked among the top universities of the world by QS rankings 2020. That alone speaks for itself for education.

Admission in USA

There are two main intakes in the USA – fall and spring. The Fall Intake starts in August, and it has the most number of courses available. Fall Intake in USA is the most favorite among international students.


The Spring (or Winter) Intake starts in January, and the students who might have missed the fall intake in USA can choose to study in Winter Intake, though not every course that is available in fall would be available in winter. There is a Summer Intake (May), too, however, it has a very limited number of courses on offer.

Eligibility Criteria and Application Process for Study in USA

Good Academic Track Record

A solid GPA is a must in order to study in the US. Exact GPA required by the university depends on the admission requirement of the university itself.


Standardized Tests

Students who are looking to study Bachelors’s in the US must appear for TOEFL or IELTS. If you are aiming for the top 100/200 colleges in the US along with financial aid, you should also opt for the SAT or ACT. For graduate studies, you must appear for GRE or GMAT, along with IELTS/TOEFL.


Cost of Studying in USA

The cost of studying and living in USA would cost different for different universities  and states. The coastal cities and states have a reputation of costing more than the inland USA that is also not universally true. It depends on the location and the lifestyle of the student. Please talk to one of our representative to get the details on cost. 

Student housing

Student housing is stereotyped pretty accurately in the states. In universities and colleges (not community colleges), most beginning students live in dorms. These differ in quality and style for each dorm. The majority require students to have a roommate or even multiple roommates. Some colleges allow for students to have their private dorm room, but they are not as frequent. College dorms are mixed gender, but your roommate will be the same gender as you. Many times, the bathrooms are either shared between the roommates or an entire floor. As the college student ages, they can move to apartments associated with the college and have more freedom.

What are the Visa types in the US?

There are three types of student visas to the US:

F1 Student Visa

  • Students applying for a program which requires more than 18 hours of study in a week require an F1 visa. This includes all undergraduate programs as well as graduate programs like MS, MBA, etc.
  • Spouses or children accompanying F-1 visa recipients will travel on an F-2 visa. Please note that spouses are not able to work but may accompany and/or apply for their own visa to the U.S. to work or study.

J1 Exchange Visitor Visa

  • The J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa is for students, visiting scholars or lecturers pursuing an exchange program. For example, Fulbright scholars and many students on short-term study abroad programs from Indian universities will travel to the U.S. on a J-1 visa.
  • J1 visa is usually sought by working professional who goes to America on an exchange program, hence the name Exchange Visitor Visa. These may include a 10-month vocational training or some research fellowship, etc. Whichever be the case, the applicants would be notified for the same by the respective institutions. 
  • Spouses or children accompanying J-1 Visa recipients will travel on a J-2 Visa. Please note that spouses are able to work when permission is obtained in advance.

 M-1 Vocational/ Non-Academic Student Visa

  • The M1 visa is a type of student visa reserved for vocational and technical schools. While the process remains similar to an F1 visa, the difference is that on entering, the M1 visas are time stamped and students cannot overstay their visit.

Education System in USA

The education system in the USA consists of Elementary, Middle School, High School, and Higher Education. The higher education, which most of the students choose, has four levels of education. Associate Degrees, Bachelor’s Degrees, Master’s Degree (professional and academic), and doctoral degrees.


The Associate degrees are for two years, and they are mostly job oriented. The candidates opting for these courses look for jobs straight away after completion. An Associate degree can also be counted as the first two years of a bachelor’s degree.


A bachelor’s degree is a more academic path compared to an Associate’s degree. The duration for these courses is 3 to 4 years, which are chronologically called Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior year. They can be a stepping step to a Master’s Degree (MS) in USA.


A professional Masters takes the first-degree holder to a skill that will be more job-oriented, and a detailed study of one field of study. An academic Masters in the USA is a great foundation for PhD and Doctoral Programs. Quite often, students also opt for integrated MS-PhD in the US. Length of the professional Masters is 1 to 3 years, where an academic Masters is generally of two years.


A doctoral degree can run for 5 to 8 years typically and it is a research done under the supervision of a faculty.

Working as a student in the US

You can work as a student in the US, but the requirements are strict. You need to have your student visa, and make sure you read into the regulations of your chosen job. In general, it is easiest to work on-campus. These types of employment opportunities are usually flexible for the student, but are also sparse in general and require you to not work for your first semester abroad. However, after your first semester, you can apply, and you can work up to 20 hours per week, which is a part time job. You can work full-time during the vacations if you will be staying at the university for the next semester.

To work off-campus, you must either work at a location affiliated with your school or do work as an integral part of your academic program, for example, a paid internship. A student who experiences Severe Economic Hardship might also be allowed to work off-campus if they cannot find a job on-campus. Check with the international office at your school to make sure that your work is allowed.

The final option to work as a student in the US is with optional practical training (OPT). To do this, you will need approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. To apply, you must have studied at least nine months in the US and it will be granted at the earliest 12 months after you started your studies. Your OPT-work must be directly related to your academic major. OPT allows you to work full time in the US for 12 months after you have finished your studies. You can also work half time on OPT while you study but then each two months you work half time will shorten your work period after graduation by one month. Read more about OPT on Wikipedia.