Do you want to study in the US?

Robert Hassen, Coordinator of Graduate Recruiting at Central Michigan University, tells us why studying in the USA might be a great option for you.

If you want reasons to study in the United States, I can provide them. I’ve heard them all.

Okay. That’s not true. But I’ve heard university recruiters say a lot of things over the years. Some are spot-on, very true. Others, not so much.

The reality is, if you are reading an article titled “Do you want to study in the US?” you’ve probably already decided that you do, in fact, want to study in the US. Perhaps the better question is - why do you want to study in the US?

I’ve asked this question to many prospective students and I’ve received some interesting responses:

“I like American television”

“The US has nice beaches”

“American’s are always smiling”

“Any place is better than here”

Maybe they’re good reasons to visit, but they should not be why you’re investing a year or more of your life, and tens of thousands of pounds, to earn a degree on which to build your entire career.

With that being said, the number one reason to study in the US is that the perfect academic program for your needs happens to be in the US. It sounds rather silly, but it’s very seriously true.

If your particular career path is best served by staying home and studying nearby, then you owe it to yourself to stay home and study there. Conversely, if your academic and professional interests are best served by studying in the US, then you owe it to yourself to apply to US universities.

I asked my friend Josh, an influential graduate school administrator, to share his opinion. “With over 4,500 institutions in the United States, there is a perfect fit for every type of program, career goal, and skill set. A US degree is perceived of high value and demand for employers in the global market.” [Joshua LaFave; Director, Center for Graduate Studies; State University of New York at Potsdam.]

I asked another university administration friend, Kittie Pain. “It’s not about academics alone,” she says, “as it’s also about the experience.” Indeed, “depending upon your country of origin, studying in the US gives you more opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning than you might get back home.” [Kittie Pain; Associate Director of Admissions, Graduate and Adult Programs; Neumann University, Aston, PA.]

Marcus, another friend in graduate administration, says that the greatest thing is perspective. “Students coming to the US have opportunities for collaborative research and internships with American organisations, including many Fortune 100, multi-national corporations.” Experience-based, hands-on learning, such as through internships, he states, “greatly enhance student perspectives and make the student more valuable to employers in the US and abroad.” [Marcus Hanscom; Director of Graduate Operations and Marketing; University of New Hampton, CT].

For this article I talked with many university administrators. They generally agree that participatory learning, experienced-based education, and applied research curricula are key features of top American universities. They say that cultural diversity plays an important role as well.

Kate, a friend and an Assistant Dean, says that the “culture of acceptance” at American colleges and universities is another reason to study in the United States. “The US is a very diverse country,” she says, “and students are exposed to multiple American and international cultures and experiences while here.” That’s a key benefit inside and outside the classroom. [Kate McAnulty; Assistant Dean, Graduate Studies; Kent State University, Ohio].

Additionally, Kate says, “once in the US, it’s easy for international students to travel throughout the country. Students can visit other universities, attend conferences, do research, give presentations, tour different states, visit museums, and go just about anywhere.”

If you end up coming to the US, remember that you’ll be bringing along your own perspectives on education, business, the global community, etc., and that your interaction with others will benefit you and them as well. As Kittie Pain once said in conversation, you’ll be “helping to shape the minds of Americans and others as to different cultural perspectives.” You will be contributing to the enhancement of other students, and faculty, from around the globe.

Before boarding a plane to journey over here, you should do your homework. See which universities offer the best programs for your needs. Check the accreditations. Look at the big picture. Decide if the academic program at your chosen university will help create your long-term personal, academic, and professional success.