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Applying to US Universities – Some Dos and Don’ts

The United States of America proves to be an unparalleled student destination with over 4,000 colleges and universities offering unmatched educational experiences along with diverse course options. If you are looking forward to getting admissions in top colleges and universities in the US, here is what you need to do.

Do: Start Early

Ideally, you should begin preparing for your applications in US universities by the time you are through with your 11th year of education. This gives you ample time to prepare your case against the million other applications you are likely to be competing against. Most American universities encourage you to opt for IB exams even though A Levels are not really discouraged. Besides this, you need to have your SAT scores ready by the time you begin with the application process. Plan your activities so your application stands a chance to outshine the competition.

Don’t: Standardize Templates

All American Universities do not follow a standardized template for applications. So try not to do so. You will be applying to each university individually. The best way to go about this is to search for each institute’s application template and then create a specialized one for each. You might be able to make use of the same information in most applications. However, make sure you keep in mind each destination’s codes before finalizing your application forms.

Do: Plan Your Educational Environment

The best part about top undergraduate universities in the US is the fact that each institute offers a unique experience when it comes to lifestyle, expenses, night life, landscapes, population and culture. Make sure you research about your destination university thoroughly. If you’d rather stay away from the city center buzz, there will be a perfect option waiting for you. Invest significant amount of time in planning your educational environment. Also, have at least 2 to 3 contingency plans in case you are unable to get into the preferred university.

Don’t: Miss Out On Campus Day!

This is one day you surely don’t want to miss. It will give you the precise idea about what to expect when you join the university as a student. You will be able to witness the campus life for real. It is usually held during the month of October. Get in touch with the admission office of your preferred university for more details.

Do: Plan Your Expenses

You need to make payments out of the pocket on numerous occasions. For instance, you will need to pay college admission fee at the time of application submission. Once you’ve secured your status, the next biggest thing you need to plan for is the visa. Then on you need to care for your tuition expenses, accommodation expenses, travel costs, costs for educational resources and several miscellaneous expenses you will be incurring on a regular basis. It is a good idea to have a plan beforehand about how you will be funding all these expenses. Apply for scholarships well in advance if you need to.

Don’t: Be a Nerd

Top Colleges and Universities in the US are looking out for humans that will make an interesting addition to the campus. Participate actively in extracurricular activities besides studies. You will need something interesting to connect with your application viewer!

Degree Programs at Top Sports Schools

For some students, the colorful spectacle of college sports is one of the attractions of postsecondary education. It can be a lot of fun to attend a school that gets national attention for its athletic programs.

You may be a student-athlete hoping to play on a university team, and perhaps earn a scholarship to attend the institution. Or, you could just be a big fan of college sports and all the associated activities. Of course, you are not going to choose a university solely on the prowess of its athletics. The place where you pursue your studies must also offer a degree program in the field you plan to study.

The top 8 sports schools (in terms of revenue generated by their NCAA athletics) feature a wide array of undergraduate and graduate degrees. All of them provide majors in business, education, and engineering. They vary in some other respects.

1. University of Texas
With sports revenues of more than $163 million in 2013, the University of Texas heads the list. The Longhorns have won more conference championships than another other university since the Big 12 was established in 1998.

UT has captured four national football championships and ranks second in the nation in wins. In all, the school can claim 40 national titles (in football, baseball, and track and field). Other sports include men’s and women’s basketball, golf, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and cross-country. Additional options for women are softball, rowing, soccer, and volleyball. UT students and alumni have won 88 Olympic medals.

The university offers undergraduate degrees in 170 fields of study. In addition to business, education, and engineering, colleges include architecture, communications, fine arts, geosciences, natural sciences, liberal arts, nursing, pharmacy, and social work. The graduate school has 154 master’s degree programs and 86 doctorates UT’s law school awards a master of laws and a doctor of jurisprudence degree.

2. Ohio State University
Another school that gets plenty of national television coverage because of its sports teams is Ohio State University. The Buckeyes have won 28 U.S. men’s championships, including seven football titles. Women’s teams have captured 30 national championships, mostly in synchronized swimming. Individual titles have been won by 232 men and 95 women.

The university has teams for both genders in basketball, cross-country, fencing, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, pistol, rifle, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. Men play football and wrestle, while women may choose field hockey, rowing, softball, or synchronized swimming.

The school awards 175 majors, and hundreds of minors and specializations. Colleges include architecture, arts and sciences, dental hygiene, dentistry, environment and natural resources, food and agriculture, health and rehabilitation services, medicine, nursing, optometry, pharmacy, public affairs, public health, and social work. OSU has 115 master’s programs and 90 doctorate degrees.

3. University of Michigan
Teams have been competing at this school in Ann Arbor since 1865, capturing more than 50 national championships in 12 sports. There are programs for men and women in basketball, gymnastics, lacrosse, and soccer. Other sports are football, baseball, softball, men’s ice hockey, and wrestling.

The university‘s 19 schools and colleges feature about 250 degree programs. They include architecture, art and design, dentistry, information, kinesiology, law, literature, science, medicine, music, theater and dance, natural resources and the environment, nursing, pharmacy, public health, and public policy.

Michigan’s Rackham Graduate School offers 108 doctorate programs, 87 master’s degrees, and 34 certificate programs.

4. University of Alabama
Founded in 1831, the University of Alabama is particularly famous for its football program. Fifteen of the school’s 23 NCAA titles in team sports have been won on the gridiron. Other opportunties include basketball, baseball, gymnastics, rowing, cross-country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and volleyball.

Alabama provides 80 types of undergraduate degrees in more than 200 fields of study. Among its colleges are those devoted to arts and sciences, communications, health services, human environmental sciences, law, nursing, and social work.

5. University of Florida
The Gators have enjoyed success on the national level in several sports. They own a pair of championship trophies in both football and men’s basketball. In all, Florida can claim 31 team titles and 193 individual championships. Most of them have been in track, gymnastics, and tennis.

The school also is famous for its baseball program, which has produced numerous major leaguers. Other sports are softball, women’s basketball, rowing, cross-country, soccer, golf, swimming and diving, and volleyball.

This university, in Gainesville, consists of 16 colleges. Among their disciplines are agriculture and life sciences, dentistry, construction design and planning, fine arts, health, journalism and communications, law, liberal arts and sciences, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health, and veterinary medicine.

There are 40 master’s degrees, with hundreds of specializations available, at Florida. The school offers doctorate degrees in audiology, education, plant medicine, and philosophy majors from aerospace to zoology.

6. Texas A & M
Though football is king at Texas A & M, the university also has basketball, baseball, golf, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and cross-country. Other options for women are softball, equestrian sports, soccer, and volleyball.

This school, in College Station, has 16 colleges with multiple degree programs. Among them are agriculture, architecture, geosciences, liberal arts, rural public health, science, veterinary medicine, and biomedical sciences. (As is the case with all the universities on this list, there are also colleges of business, education, and engineering.)

7. Louisiana State University
The Tigers of LSU have won championships in several sports. Students play football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, tennis, volleyball, and sand volleyball. Other sports are cross-country, gymnastics, swimming and diving, and track and field.

Colleges and schools at LSU are dedicated to agriculture, art and design, coast and environment, humanities and social sciences, mass communications, music and drama, science, and veterinary medicine.

8. Penn State
Penn State is nationally recognized for both academics and athletics. Its Nittany Lions sports programs have been extremely successful, with the football team winning several national championships. The university has programs for men and women in basketball, ice hockey, soccer, and volleyball. Other men’s sports are cross-country, fencing, field hockey, gymnastics, lacrosse, track and field, rugby, and wrestling.

Colleges within the university include agriculture, architecture, communications, earth and mineral sciences, health, information sciences and technology, liberal arts, nursing, and science.

These are the postsecondary schools that raise the most money with their sports programs. While the amount of revenue is not the only method of rating programs, it is an objective way to do it. Everyone has their favorites, which likely include colleges not mentioned in this review.

The key is to find a university that meets your academic needs, while also affording the opportunity to indulge in your passion for sports.

Top 10 Universities in the United States

Searching for some of the best educational destinations in the United States to pursue your academic career? You’ve come to the right spot.

There are a total of more than 4,000 universities and educational institutions in the United States that offer specializations in different walks of life. There are over seventeen million students enrolled in different universities across the country of which roughly 1 million are international students contributing about $24 million towards the US GDP. The number of international students in the US is consistently rising as it develops into a major student destination.

At least 21 American universities occupy impressive positions in the top 50 universities list prepared globally. At least seven of the top ten universities from all around the world are American universities. The US possesses some of the oldest and finest educational institutes that have been a source of attraction for all students. Besides this, the United States of America as a whole is considered as an exotic student destination. Several scholarship opportunities are available to international students for an affordable education. It is also possible to apply for educational loans to cover the tuition expenses incurred.

Here is a list of the top rated universities in USA. Additional information about the state, the average annual cost of graduate and post graduate programs and total student population is also given to assist you in making the right decision.

On this note, keep in mind that it is extremely difficult to choose the best universities from over 4,000 universities in America. These universities have been selected as per their global rating. If state-wise lists were to be prepared, the results might be significantly different than these.

Here are some of the popular students’ choices with respect to universities – both locally as well as internationally.

University Name Located In Cost of Programs Total Student Population Global Ranking1
California Institute of Technology Pasadena, California About $41,790 per year. This doesn’t include other mandatory costs like student fees, accommodation etc. More than 2,000 1
Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts About $41,616 per year depending on the course. Other mandatory expenses not included. About 21,000 2
Stanford University Stanford, California $14,000 to $19,000 per year depending on the course and load. Other mandatory expenses not included. Over 16,000 4
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, Massachusetts About $45,000 per year depending on the course. Other mandatory expenses not included. About 11,000 5
Princeton University Princeton, New Jersey About $41,820 per year depending on the course. Certain mandatory expenses are not included. Over 8,000 6
University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, California $12,000 to $30,000 per year depending on the course. Over 36,000 8
University of Chicago Chicago, Illinois Up to $40,000 per year depending on the course. Over 15,000 9
Yale University New Haven, Connecticut About $44,000 per year depending on the course. Over 12,000 11
University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles, California $12,000 to $30,000 per year depending on the course. Over 42,000 12
Columbia University New York City Up to $47,000 per year depending on the course. About 30,000 13

 

1 Global Rankings have been taken from http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk

Challenges Faced by International Students in the US

Foreign students in the US face a host of issues that they need to deal with effectively to ensure their period of stay in the nation is happy and fruitful. Some of the common problems include the cold weather in winter (depending on the location) as well as coping with the demanding course work. In this article, we list the common challenges faced by international students in the US and advice on how to handle them effectively.

New Culture

The United States is called a melting pot because people from diverse ethnic backgrounds and cultures live here harmoniously. In fact, New York City is home to residents hailing from more than 100 nations. Yet the US has its own distinctive culture which can take a while to adapt to for students from conservative countries. For instance, interaction with professors is informal and on a first-name basis. College administrations do their bit for foreign students by providing resources and hosting events to help them mingle with the community.

New Food

New arrivals at a US campus tend to put on weight especially if they stay in the college dorms. Daily meals are offered in unlimited quantities at the restaurant buffets and this can be too tempting for some. Besides typical American fare such as burgers, pasta and pizza can play havoc on your waistline if you are not too careful. So foreign students need to be smart and eat healthy foods to stay in shape for their course work, athletic activities and of course partying.

New Assignments

Most students from foreign countries are used to being graded on tests and papers. In the US, class participation is important and students have to do research and cite their sources in their assignment papers. This can be a tough challenge but there are resources available on the Internet that can be referred to. College campuses also help out by offering writing centers that provide the necessary tutoring to help international students get good grades on their research papers.

New professors

Most college professors in the US encourage students to participate in class discussions and are open to offering advice and help regarding course work in their offices. If you get an assistantship to work with a professor, make the best of it and gain valuable knowledge from him or her. It can indeed be a cultural novelty for students from places with more of hands-off instruction. Our advice is to not regard professors as your superiors but as partners who can help you learn more.

New Subjects

Most US universities and colleges offer a diverse range of subjects especially at the undergraduate level. So don’t just stick to engineering or business courses for example. Some students are shocked that they have to take history or religion courses and struggle with electives. But such subjects offer you exposure to topics that you wouldn’t have pursued otherwise. So keep your mind free and open, and try to cultivate new interests and academic passions at your US college.

New Friends

College life is not just about academics. Making friends and creating networks is also important to help you lead a fulfilling social life and move ahead in your career. Try to mingle with your classmates and go on sightseeing tours with them around the city and even to other places. Plenty of students in your class may be from other towns or countries and you can hook up with them for these sightseeing tours. American professors encourage teamwork for class discussions and written assignments and you can utilize this opportunity to create your own intimate circle of international friends.

Summary

Life is all about facing challenges bravely and carving your own path towards your set goals and destinations. So imbibe the international student experience in the US with an open mind to succeed in your academic life.

Applying for Financial Aid and Scholarships in the US

If you are an American student or permanent resident, understandably you would be applying for Financial Aid and scholarships as a part of your application processes. This can be very complicated and mystifying. Applying for financial aid and scholarships can seem much more complicated than applying for school itself. This is because if you choose to apply for financial aid (rather than just simply paying out of pocket) it is a process that can involve multiple government entities, your school, as well as your parents. To further explain the process we will go through the proper steps of applying for financial aid.

1. Complete Your Taxes

By completing your taxes you will ensure that the information you need to apply for financial aid is both accurate and complete. Sure, you can apply to FAFSA without completing your taxes but that severely complicates matters quite a lot as you will then have to go back and provide additional documentation as to what your income actually officially was. Completing your taxes before applying for financial aid makes things much more straightforward.

2. Register for the Selective Service

If you are a male from ages 18-25 in the United States you must register for the Selective Service prior to receiving any financial aid. The Selective Service is a system which drafts men into the military during a crisis. Failure to register can result in significant fines and jail time. Females are not required to register at this time.

3. Apply for your FAFSA PIN

Both students and parents then need to apply for a FAFSA PIN, or Personal Identification Number. Applying for a PIN is a relatively straightforward process. They will ask you simple questions such as your name, social security number, gender, date of birth, address, phone, email, etc.

4. Apply for FAFSA

Once you have applied for your PIN and filed your taxes you can finally sit down and apply for federal aid using the FAFSA. Make sure you have your tax returns for both parents as well as student. Also make sure that you have any necessary information such as social security numbers. If you are a permanent resident or in the process of being granted asylum you will be asked to provide your alien registration number in addition to a social security number. When applying you will also be asked to supply the school code number for any colleges you have applied to. See your advisor if you need that number. Make sure to answer the questions honestly; not answering the questions honestly could have very negative consequences including jail time as well as fines.

5. Complete the Rest of the Financial Aid Package

Often in addition to the FAFSA your college will have their own financial aid paperwork and forms for you to complete. Your school may have additional merit or need-based scholarships for those who may qualify.

6. Search for Outside Sources of Aid

The last and most interesting step of the financial aid process includes applying for outside sources of financial aid. This can be in the form of many different grants and scholarships from businesses or charitable institutions. When you start searching for other sources of financial aid it may be of help to have a list of your accomplishments. Also make sure to mention any academic accomplishments or awards given by community groups.

7. Patiently Await Results

Usually it takes several weeks for FAFSA results to come in. The school will then receive the report and use the rest of the FAFSA information as well as their other forms to complete your financial aid package. The entire financial aid process can take several months from start to finish, including the applications for outside scholarships.

All in all, applying for financial aid is tough but it is worth it! If you have any questions be sure to see your school’s financial aid personnel with any concerns you may have.

Top Careers in the US for University Grads

Recent college graduates may be worried about finding a well-paying job that also has good long-term career prospects. To help them, we have compiled this list of top jobs and careers for university graduates in the US. For this list, we used four criteria namely median annual salary, workplace atmosphere, projected growth in the future and current employment details including remuneration.

Another important factor we took into account is bridgeability i.e. whether a university graduate can gain the necessary skills for a career with an extra year or two of re-skilling or study. In our top 10 list, five are related to computers and information technology. Read on to learn more about the top careers in the US for college graduates.

#10 Insurance Agent

Baby boomers are living for longer which means there is increased demand for insurance sales agents. There are about 337,000 insurance agents in the US, earning an average of $63,400 annually. You don’t actually need a college degree for this job as even a high school diploma can get you an entry position.

#9 Public Relations Officer

Though there are only about 201,280 public relations officers currently in the US, this field is projected to grow at a healthy 23% rate by the end of this decade. The average annual salary for a public relations specialist is $61,980.

#8 Management Analyst

Currently there are around 540,000 management analysts nationwide. This position’s unique expertise is required for all industries including nonprofit and government organizations. Projected demand is also high till 2020. A management consultant earns an average of $88,070 per year.

#7 Computer Systems Analyst

This is a hot career which scores high on all of our criteria. Currently about 482,000 systems analysts are employed nationwide and the average annual salary is $83,800 making it one of the more remunerative professions on our list.

#6 Elementary School Teacher

For sheer numbers, this job is unmatched. There are around 1,360,300 employed teachers in the US which is the highest number for a single occupation. Unlike other fields, a teaching job offers a stable career path. There is significant demand for teachers nationwide. In this decade, a large percentage of older teachers of the Baby Boom era are expected to retire which increases the job prospects for applicants.

#5 Computer/Network Systems Administrator

High salary and expected growth rate mark this out as an exciting prospective career. Offices and homes are relying more and more on technology creating a need for graduates with the requisite skills to excel in this job. Currently, there are about 350,000 systems administrators in the US earning an average of $76,320 annually. Additional manpower will be required given the growing importance of cyber-surveillance as well the need to tackle security threats.

#4 Accountant/Auditor

There is great demand for this job nationwide. There are around 1,129,000 auditors and accountants currently employed in the US and the field is expected to grow by 16% this decade. The average annual salary for audit and accounting jobs is $71,040 and this amount has increased by about $10,000 in the last three years since 2010. Graduates with financial aptitude can expect to excel in this promising career field.

#3 Marketing Specialist/Market Research Analyst

Currently there are about 392,800 marketing research analysts working in the US, earning an average salary of $67,380 per year. Though the pay may be less than the top jobs in our list, there is an urgent requirement for qualified candidates with an expected growth rate of 41% by 2020.

#2 Applications Software Developer

Application developers focus on the user side and they test and modify the software to get the desired results. Applicants need a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or computer science and strong programming expertise to excel in this job.

#1 Systems Software Developer

There is higher demand for systems software developers and they earn more too on average ($102,550 per year) which is about $5,000 more compared to an applications software developer.

Summary

We hope our list of top careers for college grads helps you choose the one for which you are qualified and have the requisite skills and aptitude. More than the remuneration, it is one’s passion and desire to excel that will ensure one is satisfied and happy at the end of a long work day.

Top Summer Schools in the US

In the United States, the summer season is one of the most enjoyable times of the year. It is not only the perfect time when the weather is absolutely amiable towards the residents but also when most of the educational institutes are off for the summer vacations. There is ample amount of free time to spend doing the things you love. While a significant proportion of individuals prefer spending this time on vacations and road trips, a small percentage prefer going to summer schools in order to reap greater benefits in the near future.

In this part of the world, the summer schools are an ideal way to gain exposure to different educational institutes and programs. Students graduating their high school years are strongly encouraged to opt for summer schools so that they can better decide the field they are willing to pursue. In most cases, the summer schools are short termed and quite affordable. On average, the summer school lasts between one to ten weeks. The knowledge gained during this time period can help students turn around their life favorably altogether!

Here are some of the best summer schools in the United States that you can go for in order to gain adequate exposure to the “professional” student life. The most popular ones offer business-related courses. Keep in mind that United States has 50 states and a federal district. There are educational institutes present in every state and in most cities. Here you will find some of the most distinguished summer schools in the United States. However, if you are looking for summer schools in your region, you can begin by searching for colleges and universities present there.

S. No. University Name Core Purpose Cost Duration
 1 Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business Introduction to Accounting, Economics, Finance, Marketing and Communications. About $9,800 4 weeks
 2 Harvard Business School Exposure to current affairs including business challenges, leadership roles and its effect on community. Free 1 week
 3 New York University’s Stern School of Business Introduction to Accounting, Finance, Marketing and Management. 3 weeks
 4 Stanford Graduate School of Business Streamlined focus on business topics and firsthand exposure to the corporate markets. About $10,500 4 weeks
 5 University of California – Berkley’s Haas School of Business Introduction to financial accounting, organizational behavior and marketing. Firsthand corporate experience through field trips. About $7,020 6 weeks
 6 University of Chicago Booth School of Business In-depth study of business principles along with class trips. About $6,300 3 weeks
 7 University of North Carolina’s Kenan Flagler Business School It is a six module course focusing on introduction to business, financial accounting, economics and finance, marketing, business operations, and business communications. About $3,200 Up to 4 months
 8 University of Virginia McIntyre School of Commerce Introduction to management, marketing, finance, accounting, and info tech. About $5,000 4 weeks
 9 Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management Extensive focus on strategy-making, marketing, finance, business operations, organizational behavior, managerial economics, career planning and so on and so forth. About $9,000 4 weeks
 10 Villanova School of Business It is the longest summer course which allows the students to earn a business minor certificate. About $9,200 9 weeks

 

* Information taken from http://poetsandquants.com/2012/06/26/guide-to-the-best-summer-business-programs/3/

Study Abroad Opportunities for American Students

Whether you just want to spend a few weeks in Europe, or you want to spend the entire year abroad, there are plenty of study abroad programs designed for American students wanting to travel. But first, you must decide how long and when you want to travel. Deciding how long you want to travel and when you want to travel will play a big role in determining which programs you can apply for.

Consider whether you want to earn your whole degree abroad or whether you want to just study abroad for a couple of semesters, or even just a summer. For students just wanting a taste of life abroad, studying abroad for just a summer or semester will afford one the opportunity to have many different experiences without having to face the daunting prospect of moving to a completely different country.

Then you must consider what country you will be going to and what you want to study. The country you choose will have a great effect on what you will be able to study. For instance, students wanting to take an English course abroad would most likely consider studying in the United Kingdom whereas students wanting to take Arabic would likely consider Morocco instead. One important thing to consider when studying abroad is the prospective safety of the country that you will be going to. Like it or not, America may not be liked by the rest of the world. American students wishing to travel abroad are strongly encouraged to check the state department website for travel alerts and warnings related to the countries that they are considering. The State Department issues a travel alert to a specific country when protracted issues within that country make travel to that country unsafe for American citizens.

After considering what you want to study we can then start to consider how you will fund your trip. Typical student abroad costs range from about 3500 USD for a summer program to 30,000 USD for a full year program. Keep in mind that this does not always include items such as airfare or living expenses. Airfare and living expenses often vary greatly depending on the country. For instance, we’ll go back to our Morocco example. The cost of living in Morocco would be significantly less than the cost of living in the United Kingdom, but Morocco does not have many of the conveniences that American students may be used to. In the United Kingdom, tourists and students can get adequate emergency treatment at local hospitals as part of the National Healthcare System. In Morocco most hospitals deliver a substandard level of care and many foreigners prefer private clinics, which are more expensive.

Most study abroad organizations offer special scholarships to American students. Also, one opportunity that American students can take advantage of is the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunities Grant (FSEOG). FSEOG is a grant available to poor students that show the most need. However, the requirements for FSEOG are very stringent. Most students will not be able to meet the income requirements and are better off seeking merit-based scholarships with the school or group that they are traveling with.

No matter who you are studying abroad with or where you go, studying abroad can be an awesome experience. At times it is a bit stressful but it can be rewarding, fun, and very challenging. Studying abroad affords you the opportunity to meet new people and take a trip outside your comfort zone. And as Mark Twain once said “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

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