There is a reason why the United States (US) is the country which comprises of the highest number of international students in the world, studying enrolled in a higher education course in the country. Read through our guide to find out why, and possibly gain an incentive to study in the US for your own future studies.

A quick intro to the US
Culture and people
Cost of living
US Education
    Tuition fees
    Universities in the US
    Top 10 Universities in the US
    Admission requirements
    Student pass and visa
Application process
Spare time


A quick intro to the US

Map of US

It’s very rare that you may not be aware of the US and its dominating hold on the world. With the multitude of films, TV series, novels and news etc. coming from the US you may have been exposed to from a young age, you may easily be very much so knowledgeable about the country and its significance in the world. That in itself is reason enough for the appealing factor for international students to study in the US; from all they have seen or even heard about the country, intrigue and curiosity often lead them to consider pursuing their higher education in the US.

Birthplace of the American Dream and home to several of the world’s greats, whether it be of the film industry, the economy, or the overall human development index, the US is a definite force to be reckoned with in today’s day and time. The very hub of the US, New York, is often referred to as the capital of the world as well, the city bursting with creativity and innovation at every corner.


Culture and people

From New York to Hawaii to Alaska, the US has a diverse range of climates, environments, interests, and people to offer newcomers, where one may easily find their place amongst the large pool available to choose from. Due to the country’s popularity in the world, many foreigners are attracted to settle and start anew there, hence creating a multicultural society, whether in nationality, race, culture, or religion. Generally, one would be able to find the right fit of people in the US, due to the continuous influx of individuals making there way there, whether for work or study.


Cost of living

New York currently stands as one of the most expensive cities in the world, the position only rising year by year. The US can, essentially, be an extremely expensive country to reside in, though much of it depends on the areas of the US you choose to study and reside in, as well as the kind of lifestyle you hope to lead. Approximate prices for daily students’ requirements are listed below.

Description Cost in US$ (per month)
Accommodation 500 - 1,000
Transportation (one ticket) 2.25
Food (one meal) 7 - 12
Movie ticket (one ticket) 11
Mobile Internet/package 50 - 100
Beer (domestic 1 pint) 4
Clothes (1 pair of Levi's jeans) 42.10
Recreation & Travel 200



Education in the US

In expenditure, the US spends the most per student worldwide, in the early years of schooling, where education is encouraged and made compulsory until the age of eighteen. Majority of the world’s top universities are in the US, which goes to show that if you want to study in the best universities in the world and gain an edge over other students, the USA is the place to go.

Home to the world’s leading universities also means that most students from the US and around the world aiming for a world-class education would be applying to these universities. Hence, competition can be tough—potential students are often required to be skilled in all aspects, not just their grades. However, as well as quality education, the US also offers flexibility in degrees students wish to undertake, with the first two years of their four year degree being an experimental stage where students may try out a variety of subjects and courses in different fields, if they are as of yet unsure about which degree to pursue in the long run.


Tuition fees

While amongst the best in the world, private universities in the US are notorious for their steep tuition fees, and tend to be amongst the most costly to attend. Most times, however, the cost of such an education is worth it. You can decide on your own personal opinion with the approximate prices listed below.

Study Level Tuition Fee, Per Year, in US$
Foundation / Pre-U Between 6,000 - 35,000
Diploma Between 10,000 - 20,000
Bachelor's degree Between 25,000 - 50,000
Master's degree Between 30,000 - 60,000


Universities in USA

The Ivy League in the US is deemed to be a selection of the most prestigious universities in the world, being inclusive of Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University. Moreover, the US ranks as the top country in the world with the most universities constantly appearing in the top QS World Rankings. Half of the top 10 universities between the years of 2015/2016 comprised of US based universities, with an impressive 30 universities ranked within the world’s top 100, and a further many more in the top 300.


Top 10 Universities in USA

The top 10 universities in the US are listed below, five of which are ranked within the top 10 universities in the world, with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, and Stanford University taking the place of top 3 in the world.

Top Ten Unis in US


Admission requirements

As mentioned, competition to universities in the US, in particular those within the top 100 in the world, can be tough. Hence, students are often judged on their merit of grades, extracurricular, etc. English proficiency is also required, which is usually different than the IELTS or TOEFL; these are called the SAT or ACT tests. Some universities may also have an admission test or require an essay from the prospective student. Personal statements and recommendation letters from previous teachers may also be asked of you. Students should, generally, be prepared for a variety of admission requirements — the cost of a world-class education, essentially!


Student pass and visa

Applying and receiving a student visa for study in the US can be a bit strenuous and lengthy—but it is always well worth the effort. Much of what you will need to present in order to start your visa application process is dependent on your country, so you must ensure of your personal requirements beforehand. Once you are accepted into your university of choice, you will receive an offer letter along with a Form I-20 or DS-2019. It is integral, however, that your university is a certified and accredited institution by the Student Exchange and Visitor Programme (SEVP). Fill these out, and then you must proceed to visit your local US Embassy for an interview in order to apply for the F-1 nonimmigrant visa, where you must remember to bring:

  • Your passport, which does not expire until six months after the end of your degree
  • Form DS-160, the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form, filled in online with a photo attached and fees paid beforehand
  • Form I-20/DS-2019, and any other forms provided by your university
  • Your offer letter from the university
  • Proof of financial stability throughout the course of your degree
  • Academic transcripts and certificates
  • Your intention to leave the USA upon completion of your degree
  • Other forms and requirements based on your country

The decision to provide you with a visa is dependent on your interviewer, and you will receive your student visa no more than 120 days before your degree’s start date—though you are not allowed to travel to the USA until 30 days prior to the commencement of your degree.


Application process

Your journey to study in the US may be complicated, but by following the infograph below, you will be aware of exactly what must be done, and when and where.

Journey to US


Spare time

Universities and colleges in the US have a very obvious nightlife, whether it includes going out to bars and clubs or attending parties by fellow students. The large variety of multicultural students will allow you to mix with a diverse crowd and give you the ability to choose whom you feel most comfortable with, and what kind of a student life you wish you lead.

Concerts, festivals are all the rage in the US also—the country being the hub for all types and forms of entertainment. Broadway is a must to visit during your time there, and to experience plays and musicals known of throughout the world with your own eyes. Places to travel, and getaways of all sorts, whether vibrant cities such as Las Vegas or beaches in Miami are usually at your nearest convenience—so make sure to take full advantage of your breaks during your time studying in the US