Five out of the top 10 universities in the QS World University Rankings 2022 are from the United States.
The U.S. has consistently been one of the top study destinations worldwide given that it is home to many prestigious universities. In the QS World University Rankings 2022, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ranked number one against 1,300 universities from around the world. Stanford University, Harvard University, California Institute of Technology, and the University of Chicago were also in the top ten recognized and assessed on six key metrics including Academic Reputation, Faculty/Student Ratio, International Faculty Ratio, and International Student Ratio.
There are over 4,000 accredited higher education institutions in the US that include community colleges, state colleges, and universities, also known as “public universities” subsidized by the government. For international students, aside from landing on the desired kind of educational institution in the States, expectations on the student lifestyle are also key considerations.
So what can one expect from the US university life?
First and foremost, the US academic year runs from September to May and can be divided into two academic terms of 16-18 weeks, aka, semesters.
Course credits are counted towards the program completion, wherein courses are divided into “core” subject areas as the foundation of the degree program and “major” courses for specialization. Deciding on one’s major can be done within the program, usually during sophomore. “Elective” courses are also offered to give a more comprehensive educational experience for students.
US higher education institutions are known to offer a vibrant student lifestyle through various extracurricular activities like joining a sports team, clubs, fraternities, and sororities. Living on campus makes it easy for a student to socialize, attend group meetings, and experience an all-American campus lifestyle– from having a burger picnic with friends to yoga sessions and student parties. University life in the US offers a right balance of academics, extracurricular activities, social life.
In-campus work opportunities are also available, giving students real-world experience at their convenience.
One of the common fears of studying abroad is fitting in. There couldn’t be any more diverse place than in the US. Though some may still feel the “culture shock”, generally, universities in the States respect and celebrate cultural diversity through various social and cultural activities. Since the US is in the top-tier of international students’ choices, it is not surprising to meet friends from Italy, Germany, Canada, France, the UK, and South Africa, among many countries.
As a leader in the fields of technology and research, international Ph.D. students can take advantage of the generous research funding and participate in research projects with academic credit pay. There are over 350 research labs in UCLA where students, including undergraduates, can join projects.
Graduating from an institution in the US gives a young professional a competitive edge in the job market. Being an international student, more so graduating in the States, reflects one’s capability to adapt to any culture and approach issues with a global mindset.