If you’re looking for professional and personal growth opportunities, the United States is a great choice. Along with a lot of social freedoms, the US is home to thousands of colleges and universities, famous for their physical facilities, faculty and resources. Course choices are nearly limitless, and students can transfer between colleges fairly easily to take advantage of different locations, degree programs, and levels of instruction.
In order to be accepted into a college or university, you need to complete twelve years of primary and secondary education, and earn a high school diploma. Admissions directors consider a student’s overall grades, class rank, and scores from standardized tests such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test I (SAT I) and the American College Test (ACT). International students are required to submit a high school equivalency report from a foreign credential evaluation agency.
A college or university offers many different fields of study. A student can earn a two-year degree (called an associate degree) or a four-year degree (called a bachelor’s degree) depending on their needs and interests, as well as the specific offerings of the school. Students choose a field to focus on, called a “major.” They may sometimes choose an additional lesser focus, called a “minor.” Some schools offer two-year programs in certain majors, and four-year degrees in other majors. A student may also earn a two-year degree, and return to school later to complete a four-year degree. International students who wish to transfer to a US college or university must submit a course-by-course evaluation report that shows the equivalence of the courses completed in their country in terms of U.S. courses, semester credit hours and grades. That way, their already-earned credits may be properly applied to their new program.
After a bachelor’s degree, a student may wish to pursue further study, especially in certain fields. The next phase of university education consists of the Master’s degree, as well as other postgraduate Diploma or Certificate courses. Master’s programs generally include two years of full-time study, and the completion of a research thesis. Business and Law programs are somewhat similar to Master’s programs. Business school candidates usually need a few years of professional work experience in addition to their bachelor’s degree to be accepted.
Students who want to continue their educational development in their field – especially with an eye toward becoming a research scholar or professor – can pursue a doctorate degree, called a PhD. The term comes from “Doctor of Philosophy” which referred not only to philosophy, but the humanities in general. A PhD can take between three and six years to earn, depending on what types of research is involved, what courses the student has completed in the past, and other factors. The PhD process includes writing a dissertation on an original piece of significant research. The dissertation must be “defended” before a panel of appropriate faculty members.
Professional degrees such as law, dentistry, pharmacy and medicine are generally begun after completing at least three years of undergraduate schooling or after earning a bachelor’s degree, depending on the program. They do not require a specific undergraduate major, though some “prelaw” or “pre-medicine” programs do exist. Many law students, for example, might be history or political science majors, while potential doctors often study biology and chemistry. Professional degrees often have a set of required courses that should be completed before enrollment. These are called “prerequisites.” Some of these programs also include a sort of apprenticeship program, such as medical residency and internship, which must be completed after graduation.
Wherever you are in your educational journey, look to the United States! With its wide range of majors and degree programs, as well as a diverse student body spread among a multitude of climates and sub-cultures, there’s sure to be something to suit everyone.
This article was written by Staff