Over 690,000 international students – about 3.6% of all US college students – are enrolled in degree programs in US colleges and universities. If you are considering studying in the USA, it is important to select an institution that meets your academic goals and financial budget. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing the right college.
The cost of a US education can vary widely because each institution has its own tuition costs, fees and living expenses. During the 2009-2010 academic year (nine months), costs ranged from $15,000 to $38,000 for living on campus and attending classes full-time, and these fees didn’t include living expenses during holidays and summers or transportation.
When you study at a US higher education institution, each course you take is assigned a value called a “credit” that usually corresponds with the number of hours the class will meet over a one-week period. For instance, a three-credit course will typically meet for one hour of lecture three days a week (usually Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) while a four-credit course might meet for two hours each day on Tuesdays and Thursdays or three hours a week for lecture along with a one-hour lab.
To manage the quality of the higher education experience, better schools seek accreditation with various accrediting bodies. Committees of educators or private citizens (rather than the government) will audit the school to make sure it meets specific quality standards. Institutions are not required to seek accreditation but most do.