United States of America (USA) continues to be the most advanced nation in the world. It’s robust economy is founded on a culture of research and innovation. Not only economically, but the country also leads the world in most areas of science and technology, management, art and culture. One of the greatest contributors to this all-round excellence has been the academic institutions and universities which over centuries have contributed to innovations and inventions. That makes study in USA a very attractive proposition. Consisting of more than 4000 colleges and universities offering this highly sophisticated academic system and its vibrant economy creating the most exciting professional opportunities, every year nearly 150000 foreign students come to study in USA from India alone. Therefore, while the answer to the question as to why study in USA may vary for individual students, attraction to study in USA continues to grow with every passing year.
Beyond the academic edge, study in a foreign university also grooms a young person to develop many critical soft skills apart from an inclusive and global outlook.
Undergraduate Studies in USA
Given the outstanding research driven academic programs offered by many universities, study in USA for Indian students after 12th has become quite popular for a number of reasons. Some of the most sought-after programs for Bachelor’s study in USA are Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and various Management related programs. However, given the academic and research excellence of US universities in a broad spectrum of subjects, many students also go to study in USA for programs in liberal art such as Film Making, Communication and Design, or social sciences such as Economics, Law and Psychology.
While International Baccalaureate (IB) is perceived to be the preferred route for study in USA for Indian students after 12th, there also are equal numbers who will come from other Indian school Boards such as ICSE or CBSE and even State Boards. Among the students who wish to pursue studies mainly in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) areas, many also tend to attempt appearing for IIT Joint Entrance Examination (IIT- JEE). Since most IIT JEE coaching programs provide a 2 years’ integrated program with 12th Board examination preparation, some students prefer to pursue the Class XII studies in one of the State or CBSE Board.
Therefore, whatever be your field of interest for Bachelor’s studies, US universities will offer you numerous excellent programs to choose from that match your needs. A degree from these universities can set you up to a very exciting global career in your chosen field.
It is very important to know that, while your academic grades in school carry the maximum weightage in evaluation of your application for admission, the universities in USA look to admit students who also display potential for leadership and other qualities that can contribute to an enriching collaborative learning environment on campus. Hence, you must take early steps to take up appropriate extra-curricular and other activities to develop and demonstrate such a rich and well-rounded profile.
Master’s Programs in USA
Universities in USA invest a considerable amount of time and resources in research. Funded by federal government, their own sources or private businesses, this research focus enables these universities not only to be aware of emerging challenges and opportunities in the real world but also find innovative solutions. They are therefore able to create courses and programs and impart skills matching real world demands on a real time basis. These are some of the reasons why, relatively much larger number of students pursue their Master’s degree in USA in diverse fields of study to give that cutting edge to their professional careers. Given the wide variety of possible programs for Master’s in USA, a student ought to carefully choose one that meets his aptitude and career goal.
Studying MS in USA
Historically, Indian students mostly went to study MS in USA. While this trend of studying MS in USA for Indian students began with large exodus of students from the IITs, over time this has become a very exciting option for students from many other colleges in India. It is claimed by some, that a significant part of the growth and innovations at the famed Silicon Valley has been contributed by these Indian students who did MS in USA and then began their professional career there. Being the hub of technological innovations, US universities continue to be the most sought-after places in the planet for MS studies. While the Ivy League universities such as MIT, Stanford, Harvard or UC Berkeley will be the best universities in USA for MS studies, there are a plethora of other excellent universities in USA for MS studies.
Undergoing MS in USA from universities even among the top 20 or 30 ranks can give a student excellent quality of education and thereby open very exciting career opportunities. While each graduate program within a university can have independent ranking for study in USA, overall university ranking can still be the most important benchmark for choosing a university for study of MS in USA. For example, top universities in USA for MS in Computer Science will include most of the universities ranked among the top 20 and ranking of their Computer Science program will be near about the university rank. Even beyond the top 20, there will be many universities in USA for MS in Computer science that can suit an individual candidates’ requirements and profile. A degree of MS in Computer Science in USA is in high demand as it opens career opportunities in the fastest growing technology areas of complex programming, artificial intelligence, and its related fields. After an MS in Computer Science in USA, one can also work in areas of Data Science and cutting-edge areas of Quantum Computing. Other popular MS courses in USA among the engineering students are Mechanical Engineering, Electronic or Computer Engineering and multidisciplinary areas of Environmental Engineering. For those aspiring to study MS in Mechanical Engineering in USA, you will have opportunities to launch yourself into excellent careers in Robotics or Space Technology.
We are now in the beginning of what is coined as “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” driven by many breakthrough technologies. That makes investment in STEM education pivotal to opening highly challenging and lucrative career opportunities for a student and your study in USA can become a great differentiator. While historically study of MS in USA was concentrated around engineering and technology, other fields of study including Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Life Sciences have too now become popular among Indian students. The popularity of these programs owes it to breakthrough technologies of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution'' such as genome editing, materials based on nanotechnology and new approaches to governance based on blockchain technologies. The ongoing Covid 19 pandemic too has further fuelled huge interest and investments in Life Science, which is creating research focussed job opportunities after MS in USA in these areas of science.
Given the wide range of programs designated as MS, it would however be misleading to curate a list of top universities in USA for MS studies. Further, the biggest advantage of studying MS in USA lies in having access to practical research activities. For this, having a vibrant research and development eco-system around the university can be of immense advantage. This can have a significant impact in identifying the top universities in USA for MS studies for a specific type of program.
Irrespective of the specific MS is USA program one might be applying for, the best universities will expect you to demonstrate sufficient evidence of your interest and experience through your project and other work, in the subject of your choice. So, if you plan to pursue MS in USA, your preparation for that ought to begin much in advance of actual application. This can dramatically improve your chances of entering highly sought-after universities and programs.
Master’s Programs in Management and Finance
Beyond STEM, other very popular Masters’ programs in USA are those in the field of management. MBA has been the default program for graduate studies for management. This is a highly competitive program opening mid-level career opportunities in marquee global consulting, finance and investment banking, technology, and other companies. Applying for an MBA program in a reputed management school requires thorough preparation to enhance your CV profile. It is desirable that you prepare at-least 18 months prior to actual application. That will give you sufficient time to not only prepare for your GMAT but also take necessary steps to cover the gaps in your application.
Most reputed management schools in USA expect the MBA applicants to have had 5-6 years of prior work experience. Therefore, a shorter duration program designated as Master’s in Management, Master’s in Global Marketing or MS in Management has become popular among students with limited or no prior work experience. Of these the MS in Management program which typically has significant quantitative courses in the curriculum offers certain advantages comparable to usual MS in USA studies which offers a longer duration to work in USA after graduation based upon student visa. Named Optional Practical Training (OPT), this opportunity to work for the defined period is a critical feature for all foreign students who want to find a suitable job in that country and leverage their excellent academic qualification in the best possible way. For those not keen in quantitative methods but interested in qualitative aspects of branding, communication and other strategic areas, Master’s in Marketing in USA will be a good option to explore.
USA, centered on New York City is the heart of the world’s financial markets. This attracts many students to study Master’s in Finance in USA to eventually look for opportunities to work in the investment banking, private equity or other corporate finance positions. If one wishes to study MS in Finance in USA one should be comfortable in analytical subjects and ideally look for a STEM designated program. Alternatively, to study in USA with a specialization in Finance, one can also explore a general Master’s program or MBA program and seek concentration in Finance. Many high-ranking universities including Columbia or Chicago Booth or many others although lower in ranking, provide such flexibility in structuring one’s academic plan with desired concentration. Studying MS in Finance in USA will not only educate one to the entire range of theory and tools in Finance, but also provide a lot of opportunities for experiential learning through internships and project activities. Therefore, studying for a Master’s in Finance in USA will prepare a student to find excellent work opportunities in this big and exciting sector of money and finance.
Preparing to Study in USA
Your preparation to study in USA should begin early. For an undergraduate applicant we would recommend you prepare as early as Class IX - as Class X tends to become academically very demanding. This gives you enough time to take up many extracurricular and community activities to help you create a profile considered desirable by the admission committee. Except for the past two batches of intake in Fall 2021 and 2022 (due to Covid 19 pandemic), a minimum requirement for study in USA for an undergraduate student has always been SAT and TOEFL/IELTS. You should ideally complete your SAT during your Class XI leaving you with enough time to concentrate on many other requirements amidst your busy academic preparation for Class XII/ IB Board examinations.
The minimum requirement for Master’s in USA is GRE or GMAT depending on the program and TOEFL/ IELTS. While many universities waived GRE/GMAT requirements due to the pandemic – a good GRE/GMAT score is always a plus while seeking admission to the best universities. Similar to the undergraduate application, an applicant for a Master’s in USA too needs adequate time to build the right profile centred on academic and professional skills.
Cost of Study in USA
Cost of studying in USA has two components viz. the tuition fee payable to the university and student living expenses for lodging and food. The living expenses for a student will vary between US$ 500-700 per month depending on the nature of accommodation and location. The tuition fee however will have a wide range from US$ 30000 – 50000 per year for an undergraduate program. On an average, a student will require to spend about US$ 120000 - 200000 over a 4 years’ Bachelor’s program in a reputed US university. The fees for a Master’s program will vary between US$ 25000 - 40000 per year, depending on the program and the university. While a state university will have a lower fee structure, the private universities and the Ivy League’s will be on the higher bracket. Typical MS fees in USA in a college in the top 20 ranks will be between US$ 40000 - 60000 per year. Therefore, the overall cost of MS in USA running over 4 semesters will be about US$ 80000 - 120000. The same for a one-year Master’s in management program will range between US$ 35000 - 75000.
Most universities provide scholarships to study in USA to attract brighter students. Many of our students over the years have managed to receive scholarships for both under-graduate and graduate studies, reducing the burden of funding. Scholarships for MS in USA is offered usually in the form of partial fee waiver. The scholarships are generally awarded in the early part of the admission cycle. Therefore, to improve your chances of getting scholarships for MS in USA, or for any other program - we recommend the students to complete their application process before the end of November.
Why Choose Lesli
Study in USA is not only expensive but also can have a defining impact on your career and life. Guided by our broad expertise on the areas of academics, skills, and career we can objectively guide you to choose the best program and university. Based on more than 15 years of experience of our counsellors who have successfully guided 1000s of students to study in USA, we at Lesli are committed to help you achieve the best admits and thereby chart a successful and exciting journey. Not only that, but most of our students have also received scholarships ranging from 10-100% of the tuition fees. We will help you structure and enhance your profile and guide you to make the best application, prepare you for your interviews and be with you until you receive your student visa.