• Overview

    The United States of America is a federal republic and a highly developed country with 50 states covering a vast swath of North America, with Alaska in the northwest and Hawaii extending the nation’s presence into the Pacific Ocean. Major Atlantic Coast cities are New York, a global finance and culture center, and capital Washington, DC. Midwestern metropolis Chicago is known for influential architecture and on the west coast, Los Angeles' Hollywood is famed for filmmaking.

    The United States is the world's largest economy by nominal GDP, the second-largest by purchasing power parity, and accounts for approximately a quarter of global GDP. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second-largest exporter of goods.  Although its population is 4% of the world total, it holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. 

    Despite income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank very high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, median income, median wealth, human development, per capita GDP, and worker productivity. It is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending and is a leading political, cultural, and scientific force internationally. 

  • Education System

    The United States of America is one of the most preferred study destinations for many people as its well known for its quality of education. The formal education system practiced in the United States is divided into five major categories which are comprised of Preschool, Elementary School, Middle School, High School, College/University and Graduate School. 

    There is considerable variability in the exact arrangement of grades, as the following table indicates.

    General Category

    Level / Grade

    Age

    Preschool

    Pre-kindergarten

    3–5

    Compulsory Education Elementary

    Elementary School

    Kindergarten

     5–6

    1st grade

    6–7

    2nd grade

    7–8

    3rd grade

    8–9

    4th grade

    9–10

    5th grade

    10–11

    Middle School

    6th grade

    11–12

    Junior High School

    7th grade

    12–13

    Junior High School

    8th grade

    13–14

    High School

    Freshman/9th grade

    14–15

    Senior High School

    Sophomore/10th grade

    15–16

    Senior High School

    Junior/11th grade

    16–17

    Senior High School

    Senior/12th grade

    17–18

    Higher education

    Undergraduate School - College / University

    First year: "freshman year"

    18–19

    Second year: "sophomore year"

    19–20

    Third year: "junior year"

    20–21

    Fourth year: "senior year"

    21–22

    Graduate school - (One can customize their course with flexability of choosing their coursework to fit their academic goals with various degrees available and curricular partitions thereof)

    Ages vary

     

    Education is mandatory in the United States until the age of 16, and the majority of students do finish high school. After completing 12 years of primary and secondary school, students often begin post-secondary learning, or higher education. The first level of higher education is undergraduate study; beyond an undergraduate degree a student may choose to receive a graduate education, also known as postgraduate work. Traditionally these programs are undertaken on campus; however there is a growing number of accredited online college degrees that are appearing for students from all around the world. They can offer some fantastic benefits to international students too.

    With over 4000 universities across the country, the United States boasts of some of the top universities in the world. The universities and colleges offer a wide range of degrees and courses in all academic fields. The American higher education system offers flexible options to students according to their needs and interests.

    1. At the undergraduate level, students can choose different courses before they declare their choice for major at the end of second year. This gives students time and options to explore their interests. 
    2. At the graduate level (Masters) one can customize their course according to their coursework to fit their academic goals. One always has the freedom to include ideas and opinions important to their area of academic interest.
  • Post Study Work Opportunities

    As an F1 student visa holder, international students are able to complete up to a year of temporary employment directly related to the major field of study.

    Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a one-year work and stay-back permit given to international students on completion of a degree program in the US. Under OPT, the students can stay in the US for a period of one year and apply for employment-authorized practical training in the field they graduated in. This post study work visa (USA) allows students 60 days after the completion of their study and training to depart from the US.

    There are two types of OPT – 

    1. One which can be used during one’s studies i.e. Pre Completion OPT
    2. And another which starts after completing one’s studies i.e. Post-Completion OPT

    Extension – For students studying STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) a new rule allows a 24-month extension. Which means you can continue to stay in the US for three years after finishing your course of study.

  • Safety measures

    The USA is a safe country. It is ranked 51th on the ranking of world’s safest countries, which puts it in the top-third of the ranking. US schools are required by federal law to disclose campus crime statistics, so one would be able to find this information on your school’s website.

    Colleges are highly concerned with the safety of their students. During orientation, most of the schools are likely to give information on all security services they offer, including campus police and any kind late-night escort service or shuttle. You will want to program those numbers into your phone immediately, so you always have them on hand if you need them. Make sure you utilize these services, this is particularly important when its late night and dark, especially if you need to walk home alone.

    Whether you live on or off campus, one has to always stay alert. If you are walking alone, remain aware of who is behind or ahead of you. Keep your doors and windows locked at all times, and do not open the door for strangers. It is common in American culture to speak to someone through a closed door if you do not know who they are. Most doors come equipped with a peep hole, which will allow you to see who is on the other side without them seeing you.

    Tips

    1. Use the campus escort service at night.
    2. Always walk with a friend at night.
    3. Make sure someone knows where you are at all times.
    4. Know the phone number for Campus Security.
  • Scholarships

    The United States is famous for having some of the best colleges and universities in the world, and a superior higher-education system. Yet, this education comes at a high price tag. The average yearly cost of university in the United States is $32,231 (£20,847) for private institutions & $22,958 (£14,849) for public universities.

    Following are few scholarships which are available for international students 

    Merit Scholarships - Awarded to students with excellent performance in academics, sports or community/entrepreneurial work.

    Need Based Scholarships - Namely, these scholarships are given to students based on their financial need. Most of the need-based scholarships are only available to US residents. However, some universities and colleges do give them to international students. 

    School Specific Individual Scholarships for International Students – These scholarships are awarded by universities to international students. Many colleges and universities in the United States intend to give an individual scholarships based on few specific requirements available only for few courses. In most of the cases, private donations from alumni cover these kinds of scholarships.

    Country Based Scholarships – Awarded to students from developing countries

    Government Funded Scholarships - The United States government offers many scholarship programs, but only few of them are available to international students. Following are top ones among them:

    Fulbright Foreign Student Program: This is for graduate students and artists who want to study in the United States for at least one year. It is open to all fields except medicine.

    Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program: This scholarship isn’t for a degree, but rather for professionals who want to do academic study in the United States for at least 10 months.

    Privately Funded Scholarships – These scholarships are awarded by Private Organizations and donors for specific area of students. Most of these have strict eligibility requirements, such as:

    1. From a developing country
    2. Mainly For women
    3. For minorities
    4. Helping for specific areas of study

     

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  • Climate

    The overall climate in the United States of America (USA) is temperate, with notable exceptions. Generally, on the mainland, the climate of the U.S. becomes warmer the further south one travels, and drier the further west, until one reaches the West Coast.

    Being a huge country, the contiguous United States is home to a wide variety of climates. However, in general it has cold winters (often frigid) and hot summers (sometimes very hot), with a different season duration depending on latitude and distance from the sea.

  • Culture

    The culture of the United States of America is primarily of Western origin, but is influenced by a multicultural ethos that includes African, Native American, Asian, Pacific Island, and Latin American people and their cultures.

    The United States is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Nearly every region of the world has influenced American culture, most notably the English who colonized the country beginning in the early 1600s. U.S. culture has also been shaped by the cultures of Native Americans, Latin Americans, Africans and Asians.

    The United States is sometimes described as a "melting pot" in which different cultures have contributed their own distinct "flavors" to American culture. Just as cultures from around the world have influenced American culture, today American culture influences the world. The term Western culture often refers broadly to the cultures of the United States and Europe.

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