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Studying Opportunities in USA

United States has been the destination for hundreds of thousands of students from all over the world.  Over the last 10 years, international student population in the U.S. has doubled, getting close to a million students. Just in 2015, SEVP reported Indian student population in the U.S. increased 31% in 2015. Historically, U.S. has been the first preference for graduate studies for engineering and science students from both India and China who wanted to go abroad and pursue their graduate studies. Lately, with rising aspirations, and affordability, more and more parents and students are looking at the U.S. for undergraduate studies, M.B.A and many other short study programs.

A few questions that often get asked by parents and students are:

1) Is the U.S. only strong in Science and Engineering programs or does it offer studying opportunities in Business, Commerce, Law, Arts etc.?

2) Does the U.S. offer studying opportunities that are far better than what is offered in other countries at lower costs?

3) Is the U.S. only for the top students or can a student with average academic achievements also apply to U.S. colleges?

One of the not so well known facts about the U.S. is it has thousands of universities and colleges  (4, 700+) providing number of study options to students in various programs, including Arts, Commerce, Business, Medical, Sciences, Engineering, Fashion and many others someone may not even have heard of. Total student population, including part-time students, in U.S. colleges is approximately 20 MM. Among these thousands of universities, hundreds of them are well known nationally and globally for their various programs and have facilities, faculty that universities in other countries would aspire for. U.S. spent $500B on post secondary education (as reported by NCES), amount larger than GDP of most of the countries. (Students can find list of colleges and programs on Stoodnt’s website (

Now coming to the next question if studying opportunities in the U.S., considering the higher costs of education, are better than other countries such as Canada, U.K, Australia, Singapore etc. As we all know, college education is not just about learning in the classroom, but also developing skillsets, experience that helps in our careers post graduation.  U.S. not only has great institutions with significant education budgets, but also is the home of world-class innovative companies in each and every area from Internet, Retail, Pharmaceutical, Fashion, Industrial products etc. Hence, the opportunities for students to engage in research, teaching jobs, internships and job opportunities while pursuing education or after graduation are far higher compared to other countries. This is an important consideration every student and parent should keep in mind while making his or her decision of study abroad.

Lastly does U.S. admit students from all walks of academic background or is it a destination only for top students or students with financial support to afford college?  Admission to top colleges in U.S. is highly competitive, as students from all over the world want to apply and be admitted. The admission rate is in low to mid single digits for these schools. However, U.S. has hundreds of great colleges if not thousands. And this is why there is a place for a student in a good college if they have aspirations and interest. Secondly, admission process in the U.S. is not based only on academic achievements but takes into consideration the full profile of a student, including their extra curricular achievements, background and interest. Any student applying to the U.S. should spend time researching and finding colleges that are a good fit for their background, interests and aspirations. If you do not have financial support, reach out to admissions office for help. It never harms to ask, and colleges always want good students to join their program.

About Author Ajay Singh

I graduated from I.I.T India and came to U.S. for higher studies in Engineering 20 years back. After working for a few years in Austin, Texas as a design engineer, I went back for a M.B.A at Harvard Business School. I have worked for number of global companies in senior leadership and management positions. Over the years I have advised number of students on college admission.

Author: Ajay Singh

Ajay is the co-founder of Stoodnt and spent 20+ years in senior leadership roles with companies such as American Express, Cendant and Intel prior to starting Stoodnt. He has a M.B.A. from Harvard, M.S. in Computer Engineering from U.T. Austin and B.Tech from I.I.T Roorkee (India).


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