The USA has the world’s largest international student population, with more than 1,000,000 students choosing to broaden their education and life experience at a United States college or university. Nearly 5% of all students enrolled in higher-level education in the USA are international students, and the numbers are growing. From the mid-1950’s, when international student enrollment was only just reaching 35,000, international education in the USA has come a long way.
We look forward to helping students like you who are considering continuing education in the United States. You will find all the tools you need to compile your necessary research in deciding if the United States is the best place for you — we have gathered valuable information on educational, social, cultural and economic aspects of studying in the U.S.
There are many reasons that students like to come to the USA to study at the undergraduate and graduate level — learn more about what the USA has to offer an international student. This section will help you focus on the main factors that students should consider when deciding whether to pursue an education in the USA. Learn More
The USA is a vast country, and every state is unique in its culture, climate, history, economy and more. New York is very different than Alaska. Our state guides provide complete state by state information, including that state’s popularity amongst international students, to help guide your decision as to where in the US you should study. Learn More
All the necessities of life that you have at home, you will have to recreate for your stay in the USA. Do you have your student visa, travel essentials and enough cash to get set up? Have you purchased an international student insurance plan? Are you set up to call home regularly and affordably? Make sure you are fully prepared before you leave for the USA. Learn More
What will life be like for you while you are studying in the U.S.? Are you thinking of working while you study abroad? What about the challenges of living with a roommate from another country? Here you can learn more about the diverse cultural, social and economic aspects of living, studying and working in the United States. Learn More
Find, research, contact and save schools you are interested in through our USA School Search. With listings of all universities and colleges in the USA that accept and enroll international students, once you create a free account it can be your central place to find the right school for you! With searchable data on over 3,000 schools, you can match to schools based on program of study and degree, state or other geographical location, tuition range, public vs. private and many other data points. We know that choosing the right school and program can be an extensive and exhausting process, and we have built this resource specifically so that you, an international student, can find the right program. Learn More
Trying to become an international student inside the US is not easy. The application process is complex and competitive which means it requires hard work and dedication before classes even start. Additionally, it’s not a quick process; students should start preparing months in advance and need to stay organized and informed throughout. We have created a guide to getting into a US college or university to help you navigate through each step and provide you with tips along the way. If you want to study in the US check out our guide to get started. Learn More
Most students have some idea of what they would like to study – whether engineering, business, law, philosophy or any other course of study, but it can be trickier for international students due to the differences in higher education provision in the U.S. compared to their home country . Our Subject Study Guide offers subject-specific information for over 50 fields of study. No matter where your interests may lie – from Agriculture to Web Design and everything in between – we have information to help. Learn More
The application process for US colleges and universities can be extensive and confusing, and many international students are intimidated by the number of steps required. From SATs, TOEFL and other tests, to essay writing, credential evaluation and more, we have created an easy-to-follow timeline and breakdown to help you through the application process. Learn More
Financing an international education is not easy, and our financial aid resources are always popular. With tips on planning, a comprehensive international scholarship database, an award-winning international financial aid blog, and custom-built international student loan application, we can help you manage your finances effectively while studying in the USA. Learn More
International students looking for a unique, religious experience will soon learn that there are many religious schools spread throughout the United States. Whether you are looking for a Catholic university, a Bible college or any other affiliation, we can help you research and find the perfect institution that combines spirituality with the opportunity to study in the US. Learn More
Many schools now offer their students the opportunity to earn a degree online from anywhere in the world. For many students that cannot afford to leave home for years, online learning is the only way to earn a US degree. Learn the advantages and disadvantages of completing an online degree in your chosen field of study. Learn More
You have many choices to make after you graduate. Will you take advantage of optional practical training and look for a job? Or do you plan to continue on with your education by seeking an advanced degree? We can help focus your research and thinking on the next step for you to take on your educational and career journey. Learn More
If you want to become an international student inside the US but can’t meet the high cost and requirements of universities, consider a community college for your first two years. Signing up to study in USA community colleges offer students a great education at a fraction of the cost and are a great way for students around the world to begin their journey of studying in the US. Get more information on community colleges and if they’re a good option for you. Learn More
For those of you who are looking for more specific information about a particular course to study in the USA, check out our study centers that cover some of the main topics such as law, information technology, engineering, business, and more! Learn more about the application process, courses and degree programs, career opportunities and more!Learn about the benefits of studying abroad.
Find out how to apply for an F1 student visa.
Studying abroad has now become popular and in huge demand than ever. Students from all over the world look forward to pursuing higher education at a credible university that is also recognized worldwide. When it comes to study abroad destinations, the US is one of the highly desired countries to seek higher education. The United States of America is home to some of the leading globally recognized universities that have been providing credible professionals in a number of fields. Studying in the USA can be a great opportunity for international students due to its renowned universities, diverse academic programs, and vibrant culture. The US has been a highly prioritized destination for study abroad due to the following reasons.
The United States of America offer different degree programs for higher education to international students from all over the world.
The undergraduate degree programs offered to international students include two-year and four-year degree programs. Candidates are required to research for their desired degree program and fulfil the application form to proceed their application in the US.
The graduate degree programs offers in-depth knowledge and practically train individuals in their particular field. The graduate degree programs usually consists of two-years. International students are informed that graduate degree program include academic master’s and professional masters.
Doctoral studies are also considered as master’s studies, however, they intend to produce research scholars. Students who write a complete dissertation are awarded with the doctor of philosophy degree.
The education system in the US offer different types of educational institutions as mentioned below.
The United States of America is home to a number of college and over 1000 universities that accept international students every year. Following are some of the study programs that are offered in the US for higher education purposes.
The basic medium of language used in the educational institutes of US is English. International students are required to appear for an English language proficiency test to be eligible for admission to US-based universities. It helps to evaluate the speaking, writing, and reading fluency of international students seeking admission in US universities.
The universities in the United States of America consider either of the following systems for the academic year. The academic year usually commences from August till May.
Here are top 5 reasons why studying in the US could be the best decision of your life:
The US boasts of some of the finest universities, a lot of which consistently rank in the world university rankings. American institutions are also known to have high academic standards, follow rigorous practices to maintain quality and are well-supported to be able to offer excellent education to its students. As per the QS World Ranking 2019. 33 of the top 100 universities are from the US. Similarly, Times Higher Education Ranking has also ranked seven of the American universities in its top 10 list of universities.
American universities and colleges offer a myriad of courses and programs to choose from. You have the freedom to not only select the course content, but also the structure. At the undergraduate level, you have the liberty to pursue different courses before they you declare your major at the end of the second year. This helps to explore your subject interest and then decide without much hurry. Similarly, for your graduate studies, you can choose your preference and when you progress for your dissertation, you can focus on the ideas you want to emphasise upon.
American universities understand the struggles of international students and therefore conduct regular orientation programs, workshops and trainings to offer assistance. In fact, the international student office helps students like you to get accustomed to a new kind of lifestyle – whether it is an academic query, cultural or social, the staff will be there to assist you round the clock.
The US is a melting pot of different cultures, races and ethnicities. Its diverse environment ensures that there is acceptance among all communities and there is no room for any sort of discrimination. You’ll be learning with students from different regions of the world thereby making it a rich and stimulating education experience. Growing in the midst of diversity will provide you with strong personality traits and skills that will be valuable in the international market. These days employers prefer students with a multi-cultural background, which you would get a great taste of in the US. A one of a kind international exposure, the US will help you explore variety of cuisines, customs, festivals and art too.
It’s a known fact that campus life of the US is matchless. Irrespective of the university you study in, you will find yourself in the midst of new cultural experiences and the American way of life. Embrace it and open yourself up to new ideas and new people.
If you are an international student studying in the US, you have the opportunity to work part-time but remember that you are restricted by the terms of your visa. It is a MUST that you know all the requirements and restrictions concerning your visa!
Please be sure to visit our international student immigration center to learn more about your visa and consult an immigration attorney if you have any questions.
Most international students in the United States hold an F1 visa, which is the U.S. non-immigrant student visa. F1 students are allowed to work in the United States, but only under certain conditions and in accordance with complex guidelines and restrictions issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
Generally, all employment is contingent on remaining within the terms and restrictions of your F1 visa. There are several categories of employment during the term of your stay as an F1 student in the United States. On-campus employment is the most freely available, and then there are four categories of off-campus employment:
On-campus employment is the category most freely permitted by the USCIS regulations, and it does not require USCIS approval. However, although F1 status includes an on-campus employment privilege, on-campus employment opportunities at most schools are limited. Even if you can obtain a job on campus, you may not rely on it to prove financial resources for the year, and often these jobs are not related to your studies. Many schools do require that you obtain permission from the International Student Office prior to accepting any on-campus employment, and may not permit such employment in a student’s first semester or year.
For on-campus work, an F1 student is subject to the following rules:
The definition of on-campus employment includes:
Since your status is always contingent on your school’s support, you must seek guidance and clearance from your International Student Office prior to applying for or accepting any employment and you should request their particular interpretation of any ambiguous situation. You will also need your school’s guidance to ensure that you file all appropriate forms with USCIS and receive any necessary USCIS approval.
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International students in the U.S. in valid F1 immigration status are permitted to work off-campus in optional practical training (OPT) status both during and after completion of their degree. Rules established by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) govern the implementation of OPT, and all OPT employment requires prior authorization from USCIS and from your school’s International Student Office.
You can apply for OPT after being enrolled for at least 9 months, but you cannot begin employment until you receive your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS and you have been enrolled for at least a year. You do not need to have a job offer to apply for your OPT EAD, and your OPT employment can occur anywhere in the US. Start early—USCIS takes up to 90 days to process your application—and make sure you work closely with your school’s International Student Office. As with everything you will do while in the U.S., permission is based on maintaining lawful F1 status and your International Student Office is there to help you maintain that status throughout your stay.
Many schools in the United States offer work and study programs that coordinate immediate employment through CPT programs. Not only does this give international students the opportunity to help cover the costs of their education, but they will at the same time gain valuable work experience and obtain their masters degree. Organizations like HTIR Work-Study are able to connect students with schools that offer work study programs.
One Final Note – Be mindful of the travel regulations governing F1 students on OPT. If you leave the country after completion of your degree, but before receiving your EAD and obtaining a job, you may not be readmitted. You can leave the country after completion of your degree if you have your EAD and a job, but make sure you bring everything that you’ll need to get back in (including valid passport, valid EAD card, valid F1 visa, all your I-20s with page 3 endorsed for travel by your international student advisor within the past 6 months, and a letter of employment, including dates of employment and salary).
In April 2008, the Department of Homeland Security updated their OPT requirements for students who are studying certain degree programs so that OPT can be extended for an additional 17 months, up to a total of 29 months of OPT. This was instituted to plug the gap between students who completed their OPT and did not have a chance to file for an H1B visa due to the time frames and visa caps that exist on the H1B visa. Students can now extend their OPT so they still have the opportunity to apply for an H1B visa.
The special extension of the OPT program is only available to those who are employed by companies who are enrolled in the E-Verify program, and you have to be studying one of the following subjects:
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an off-campus employment option for F1 students when the practical training is an integral part of the established curriculum or academic program. CPT employment is defined as “alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” To qualify, the work experience must be required for your degree, or academic credit must awarded. And yes, you can get paid for CPT employment. Prior authorization by your school’s International Student Office and notification to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is required.
Your International Student Office must authorize you for CPT. Once you receive CPT authorization, you can only work for the specific employer and for the specific dates authorized (unlike with OPT or severe economic hardship off-campus employment, where you can work anywhere in the US). Your CPT authorization will also specify whether you are approved for part-time (20 hours per week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week) CPT employment. While in school, you can only be approved for part-time CPT.
Regardless of whether you are approved for full or part-time on CPT, there is no limit to how long you can work. However, if you work full-time on CPT for 12 months or more, you are not eligible for OPT. If you work part-time on CPT, or full-time on CPT for less than 12 months, you are still eligible for all of your allowable OPT. So make sure you watch the dates and hours closely – don’t jeopardize your OPT!
As with all employment, you should work closely with your International Student Office. The general rules will apply somewhat differently to undergraduates, graduate students and PhD candidates, and they can guide you. The office can help you determine your eligibility for CPT, make sure your job offer qualifies, and make sure you follow all necessary steps in applying to USCIS. They also have to authorize your CPT, so you have no choice – you have to work with them. But they are pros, especially when it comes to USCIS regulations, so use them – they are there to help you.
Many schools in the United States offer work and study programs that coordinate immediate employment through CPT programs. Not only does this give international students the opportunity to help cover the costs of their education, but they will at the same time gain valuable work experience and obtain their masters degree.
Any F1 student suffering “severe economic hardship” as defined by USCIS is eligible to work off-campus for up to 20 hours per week while school is in session, and full-time during breaks.To be eligible under “severe economic hardship”, a student must
Examples of Severe Economic Hardship:The rule gives examples of the types of things that could be considered “severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control.” These circumstances may include:
You must apply for an “employment authorization document” (EAD) with the help and guidance of your International Student Office — you do not need a job offer before you apply for the EAD. But several forms and documents are required, together with fees and photos, etc., and processing can take up to 12 weeks or longer — and you cannot start work until you receive the EAD. Once you receive the EAD, you may work for an employer at any job, anywhere in the United States. Employment authorization is automatically terminated when a student fails to maintain valid F1 status.
The final category of employment for international students in the U.S. on F1 visas is employment with a “recognized international organization.” To qualify, an organization must be on the official State Department list, and listed organizations include the Red Cross, African and Asian Development Banks, the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, and many other similar but less well-known organizations. Because it does not have the universal application of OPT or CPT, this category of employment is often overlooked. Only students with a job offer and sponsorship from one of the listed organizations are eligible. However, for those lucky students who do have such sponsorship, there are clear benefits of this employment category.
If you meet these requirements, you can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). You can start to work only after you receive your EAD, which can take up to 3 months.
Advantages of this type of employment when compared to CPT or OPT:
n 2021, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that there were 629,946 U.S. residents of Pakistani descent, an increase from 409,163 at the 2010 Census