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There are a great number of reasons that students choose to study in the United States. Among them are quality, choice, and value.

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Quality

The United States has some of the world’s finest colleges and universities. Worldwide, they are reputed for quality programs, faculty, facility, and resources. U.S. higher education accreditation systems are in place to ensure quality standards.

Choice

The U.S. higher education system offers the world’s largest choice in types of institutions, academic and social environments, entry requirements, degrees, and fields of study. Currently, there are more than 4,000 institutions of higher education in the United States.

Value

Considering a U.S. degree as an investment in your future, it offers great value for the money. There is a wide range of college costs, as well as some excellent scholarships available from colleges and universities.

In the 2016-17 academic year, there were 1,078,882 international students studying in the United States. With 11,607 students from Nepal, a 20.1% increase from the previous year, Nepal ranks as the 13th largest country of origin of international students in the United States (Source: Open Doors 2017 Report on International Educational Exchange. New York: Institute of International Education,
New York).

Prerequisites: Is U.S. Higher Education Appropriate For You?

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  • USEF highly recommends that all undergraduate applicants also take the SAT (Reasoning Test) or ACT.
  • Both exams measure your English and Math skills; ACT additionally measures your Science skills.
  • USEF also highly recommends taking the SAT Subject Tests, which are subject-specific tests that demonstrate to a U.S. college that you have skills in a certain subject.
  • Good scores on the SAT / ACT and SAT Subject Tests will be very important especially if you are applying to competitive colleges and for scholarships.
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Why does it take so long to apply to American colleges? In addition to having to carefully research and choose colleges, prepare for and take the standardized exams, you will need to meet each college’s application deadline date. Some deadlines – especially for colleges that are competitive and colleges that offer good scholarships – are eight or nine months in advance of the start of class.

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Undergraduate Studies

We used to have a 2-year bachelor’s program in Nepal. We now have many 3-year bachelor’s programs, 4-year bachelor’s programs, and some programs which are even longer in duration. In contrast, bachelor’s programs in the U.S. are no shorter than four years and are one form of ‘Undergraduate’ programs. Students who have completed twelve years of education are eligible to join undergraduate programs in the U.S. There is a name given to each of the four years of bachelor’s study – namely freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years.

There exists another form of undergraduate education in the U.S., which is the associate’s degree. An associate’s degree is a 2-year degree earned at a community college. Community colleges usually serve a small community around them. Per year college tuition is usually much less expensive than per year tuition at a 4-year college. Students who opt for an associate’s degree may choose upon completion to transfer to a 4-year college/university in the U.S. to continue studies for a bachelor’s degree.

Hence, students seeking bachelor’s degrees in the U.S. have two options. They can either directly join a 4-year bachelor’s program, or study at a community college and then transfer to a 4-year bachelor’s program. Students should carefully evaluate these two options. You may find that studying at a community college is less expensive, but then it is generally difficult to obtain scholarship when you transfer to the 4-year institution. Furthermore, community colleges may not have housing and students might have to live off campus.

To apply to U.S. colleges, here’s what you should do:

1. Attend a Group Advising session at USEF.

Use USEF’s library resources and Internet resources to make your decisions. You must find colleges that are the best fit for you. Carefully research criteria such as your field of study, cost, scholarship opportunities, location, competitiveness, and admissions requirements. Applying to 5-10 well chosen colleges will give you a higher chance of admission than just applying to one or two. Certainly, you can choose to apply to more than 10 colleges if you like, but do ensure you are sending quality applications to all!

2. Choose between 5 and 10 colleges to apply to.

Use USEF’s library resources and Internet resources to make your decisions. You must find colleges that are the best fit for you. Carefully research criteria such as your field of study, cost, scholarship opportunities, location, competitiveness, and admissions requirements. Applying to 5-10 well chosen colleges will give you a higher chance of admission than just applying to one or two. Certainly, you can choose to apply to more than 10 colleges if you like, but do ensure you are sending quality applications to all!

Applying to U.S. Colleges and Universities

The terms “college,” “university,” and “school” are used interchangeably when we refer to degree-granting institutions offering higher education in the United States. For simplicity, we’ll use the term “college.”

To apply to colleges in the United States, you should start 12-18 months in advance of when you plan to begin your studies. If you are an undergraduate applicant (applying for a bachelor’s degree), starting you application process by the beginning of Class 12 will help ensure that you do not have a gap year between Class 12 and the beginning of your undergraduate program in the U.S. Similarly, graduate applicants, those applying for a master’s or a PhD, should also start their application process 12-18 months in advance.

Why does it take so long to apply to American colleges? In addition to having to carefully research and choose colleges, prepare for and take the standardized exams, you will need to meet each college’s application deadline date. Some deadlines – especially for colleges that are competitive and colleges that offer good scholarships – are eight or nine months in advance of the start of class.

There are two semesters for which you can apply for admission, the fall semester (classes start in August or September) and the spring semester (classes start in January). All colleges offer admission in fall, as it is the beginning of the academic year. Not all colleges offer admissions in spring. If you are searching for a scholarship, the best semester to apply for is fall (generally, not much scholarship is available in spring). The application deadline date depends on which semester you apply for, and which college you are choosing.

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