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What is considered higher education in the U.S.A.?

I would like to come to the U.S. to get a higher education degree. What is considered higher education in your country? I’ve searched some websites but they are confusing. Some of them dwell on the whole system and say very little about the higher education system and what you need to get it in the country. Others are well-detailed by do not say a word about the foreign students. Could you be so kind to tell me more information about the system and how I can pursue higher education in the US? 

Frank Nichols

in Higher Education

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Melissa Norris on February 1, 2018

The question of what is considered to be higher education in our country can be a little tricky. There are so many details about the education in the U.S. that you have to spend quite some time researching it for the first time. The biggest issue is that it’s decentralized and highly independent. You cannot even imagine how many types of institutions there are. Let’s start with the most generalized division – there are private and public institutions. I’m sure that there is the same division in your country. The difference is all about the fees and the prestige sometimes. There are also urban, suburban, huge, small, and even religiously affiliated establishments.

A state school is run by the government, either the federal or the state one. Usually, there are a few colleges and at least one university in each state. Private colleges and universities are usually smaller and completely independent of the government. The tuition fees are always higher. However, most of the private institutions carry their names with pride and rely on their successful alumni to keep the privileged status of the private entities.

Community colleges also offer the higher education degrees called an associate after two years of studying. If the degree is transferable, it gives you a way to the 4-year colleges and universities to continue working on it. Usually, you can finish your bachelor degree in about two years if you are an associate. I’m not sure what jobs in your country can be taken with this degree; you have to do your own research.

In addition to the associate, there are several other levels of the higher education system in the country. The first one is undergraduate. If you go to a college or a university to get a bachelor’s degree, you are an undergraduate. Usually, the bachelor’s degree requires four years of studying. The first two years are more general and consist of a list of pre-required classes. After that, you choose your major at the beginning of the third year.

After that, comes the graduate level meaning a student has already received the bachelor’s and is pursuing the master’s degree. In most cases, it takes up to two years to complete it. Pay special attention to this level of higher education because, in some cases, abroad students are only allowed to get a graduate degree. To get into a university, you need to have your bachelor’s diploma and complete the required tests. If you want to pursue a higher education degree here, be ready for many tests.

I hope this information gives you the answer to the question you are most interested in.

Tad Fraziera year ago

While the answer is very detailed and useful, I’d like to add a few tiny bits of information about the system of education that may help a foreign student understand the process of studying in the U.S. better. The academic year begins in August or September and lasts until June. Most institutions divide the year into two semesters. However, there are a few that have three terms.

Each course is worth a certain number of credit hours. To graduate, you have to complete a certain number of credits. If you already attend a college at home, during transfers, most credits from the first school can be used in the new one. However, there may be some exceptions. The grades are based on your class participation, research papers, small quizzes, a midterm examination, and a final one. Classes can vary be divided into huge lections with hundreds of students and small seminars with a few active participants. All in all, I think that if you want to pursue a higher education degree in the U.S., the process of studying will be quite enjoyable as there are many different kinds of tasks and classes. Also, the schedule can be customized a little.


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