By a fair distance the US remains the most popular country for international students to study in, hosting over 30% of all international students in the world.
The attraction to studying in the US springs from three principle factors: a commitment to excellence, freedom of choice, and an appealing culture.
High standard of education
The US offers a consistently high standard of education. Harvard University commonly tops most world ranking tables and from this point down the lists are dominated by other US colleges. Though the tuition fees at these institutions can sometimes be startlingly high, with these high prices students are guaranteed excellence.
The high tuition fees can provide the best research and learning facilities in the world and in turn attract the brightest minds, both as professors and in the student body. Enveloped in an environment of attainment and achievement, a student will not only be able to learn much, but be inspired to learn more.
Choice of university
The second greatest reason that the States continues to attract so many international students is the extensive choice on offer. The States has over 5,500 colleges, each State averaging roughly 115. Though some of the institutions are quite expensive, many offer scholarships, thus opening up the opportunity to study in the States to those with restricted means.
In addition to this, it is not only in price but also in program availability and construction that these colleges differ. With the colossal number of colleges to choose from, a prospective student will be able to locate a program that suits them best. Not only do these programs vary in content but also in length, MA degrees ranging from 1-3 years.
The set-up varies from place to place, often students are able to drop, switch and retake modules, depending on work load and any personal factors. This freedom of choice and pace of study, though common in most of Europe, is not the case in the UK or in many universities across Asia.
Culture of the US
The third reason the States remains so popular is due to the country’s culture itself. With American films, television shows and music, many people around the globe feel like they have a pretty good idea of what college life in the States is like: parties with red plastic cups, sunny grass quads and a host of extra-curricular activities to jump into.
Living on campus in residential halls is one way to dive into the thick of US college life. Renting private accommodation off-campus, though a little more complicated to organize, gives more freedom and allows a student to escape from the campus bubble. Home stays, when a student lives with an American family, offers the quickest and most comprehensive induction into the American way of life.
Or at least, we should say, one American way of life. With its huge landmass and population of over 300 million, the US is one of the most diverse countries on the planet. It's safe to say that the college experience in LA won’t be the same as that in New England. This should be taken into account when applying to study in the US, and taken advantage of in your free time when you are there.
Working in the US
Colleges in the US often place an emphasis on work and study. As well as enhancing your education, working while studying is a good way to get important experience. An F1 visa for international students studying in the US is a relatively simple one to apply for and often allows you to work on campus.
Applying for lawful permanent residence in the US (commonly referred to as the ‘green card’) can be very difficult.