So, you’ve decided to earn your master’s degree at a U.S. college or university. Great! There are many reasons to pursue a degree in America: A majority of the world’s top universities are in the U.S., and you likely won’t be the only international student there, as over 760,000 international students came to America to study in 2012.
Next comes the hard part: choosing a university. It can be overwhelming trying to decide on the university that suits all your needs, so doing plenty of research before sending out applications is necessary. Here are some things to consider when looking for a graduate school in the U.S.
Costs of Education
While the U.S. does offer quality education, that education doesn’t come cheap. In fact, college tuition in the U.S. has risen over 500 percent over the past 30 years. That said, there are options to lower the cost of tuition. The U.S. government doesn’t offer scholarships or grants to international students, but the college or university you choose might offer scholarships or lower tuition to international students in an attempt to increase diversity on campus.
Keep in mind that the location and prestige of the school makes a difference in the cost as well. A public university in Arkansas will be more affordable than a private university in Virginia.
Field of Study
Obviously, your intended field of graduate study will play a large part in determining which school is best. It can be worth it to pay a little more for tuition at a school that offers a competitive business program or a medical program where 90 percent of students find jobs within six months of graduating. “U.S. News & World Report” ranks the top graduate schools based on fields of study and provides information on cost of tuition and number of students enrolled in the field. This list can give you an idea of which schools to focus on when sending out applications.
Size of the University
This might not seem like it needs much consideration at first, but the size of the university can make a difference in your college experience. There are pros and cons to both large and small universities, so consider which one you’d prefer before applying. For instance, a small university likely won’t have as many academic or extracurricular options as a large school, but you’ll have a better chance of making friends quickly since there are fewer people.
Location, location, location
Where the university is located also affects your college experience. Do you want to live in the big city or closer to nature? Also consider the distance from your college to your home country. A student from Japan might consider looking for a school in Washington or California to stay (a little) closer to home.
It’s also important to consider safety when choosing a school. Research the college’s and the city’s crime statistics — if the area has a high rate of crime, you should probably avoid that university. No matter where you study, make sure you have a reliable international student health insurance policy, like one offered by HCC Medical Insurance Services. Medical insurance is required in the U.S., and it can help you pay for expensive emergency medical care and evacuation.
Choosing a graduate school in another country is a difficult decision. Luckily, there are plenty of resources online and at prospective schools to help you figure out which college would work best for you. Start researching and applying as soon as possible to make finding the right university a smooth process.