The United States is the hub of the world’s finest colleges and universities. Worldwide, they are reputed for quality programs, faculty, facility, and resources. That’s why US has been among the top 3 study destinations for Nepalese students over the decades, and the number of students interested in continuing their higher education there is escalating continuously. The statistics say that over 500,000 international students are pursuing their higher education degrees in the U.S.
The main intake of US is fall intake (September/August). Whereas, most universities in the US also offers spring (January) intake.
- F-1 visa
F-1 visa refers to a non immigrant student visa. It is the most common type of student visa for international students. If you wish to enroll in academic studies in the United States, private secondary school or approved English language program then you will need an F-1 visa.
- J-1 visa
If you plan to participate in an exchange visitor program including high school, college and university, then you will need a J-1 visa.
- M-1 visa
M-1 visas are for individual who are planning to engage in vocational or non-academic study / any training at a US institution.
Documents required to Apply for US Colleges and Universities
The first and foremost thing you will require to travel is a valid passport. Your passport should have a validity of at least 6 months of your course end date.
Academic transcripts; You should provide all the official documents to prove your academic history. For Diploma and Bachelors, you need to provide the transcripts of Grade 10, 11 and 12 (officially issued by NEB). And if you go for Masters, you will need to additionally submit the transcripts of all semesters of bachelors.
Letter of recommendation; a letter written on the behalf of a student/ applicant who can confirm a student’s educational or professional performance to an admissions officer considering a candidate for admission. It should show the overall picture of the candidate including personal characteristics, performance, experience, strengths, capabilities.
Statement of purpose; a letter of intent written to the university that talks about your career path, interests, professional contributions, goals, and the driving force behind pursuing a particular program. You should discuss your long-term goal and connect it with your idea of pursuing the course you are applying to. This should show your interest towards the university and clearly lay out why you and the program are a good fit.
Financial documents; You will require an official bank certificate/statements showing you have enough funds to support you during your stay. You may also need to provide an education loan letter if you have applied for an education loan.
As a student of a non-native English-speaking country, you will have to provide English language proficiency proof. You can take IELTS, TOEFL and PTE for US. It depends on the requirements of university.
The basic English requirement for university in the US is B1 level. For getting admission to an undergraduate program, you need to score an IELTS band of 6.0 or equivalence. The minimum IELTS score requirement for a master’s course is 6.5 or equivalence.
For US, you will require to give additional test; SAT for undergrad and GRE/GMAT for graduate. These test are optional for many universities but is recommended to take. The minimum of 1200 score in SAT and 320+ in GRE is considered better, but the requirements of score depends on university.
Cost of studying and living
Studying in the U.S. is expensive. Expenditure on tuition fees depends on the type of qualification and the university. Colleges and universities in the U.S. cost between $12,000 and $65,000 per year. A bachelor’s program is typically a four-year course of study, a master’s program is usually two years, and a PhD program is generally four to eight years.
Living cost in the USA for international students can be calculated roughly based on the city you reside in. The estimated living cost for the US is around $10,000 to $18,000 per year, which averages around $1500 to $5000 per month.
If you wish to take your dependents with you, COA may increase accordingly.
Most students seek a paid part-time while they are undertaking their degree. Students with an F-1 visa have work restrictions, and they must comply with them. Mostly, students may work on-campus up to 20 hours a week during term and up to 40 hours during breaks.
- Research your options
The US has a vast range of universities and colleges for you to choose from. So understanding your requirements is the first step. You have to identify all your options, academic, financial and personal match. We encourage you to start the process 12-18 months prior to the academic year.
- Finance your studies
The cost of attendance varies on many factors as the city you live on or the university you decide. The average cost of attending college in US somewhere ranges from $12,000- $65,000 per year. You could also apply for financial aid or need-based aid. US university also provides many scholarships, you can look up to.
- Complete your application
After completing your research, you could start applying to colleges. You can directly apply through university’s website or may use common app. One should pay around $20-$100 application fee, which can also be waived. Then you will have to submit all your documents; academic transcripts, financial statement, standardized test score, application essay, letter of recommendation, statement of purpose, etc.
- Apply for the visa
After you have been accepted by the university, you will receive your I20. You will need I20 to fill the DS-160 form to give visa interview. Fill your DS160, schedule visa appointment, pay SEVIS fee and go for the interview.
After completion of a degree, an F-1 visa applicant can stay in the USA for a year more. There are several ways you can transition from an F1 student visa holder to a permanent resident. If you attain employment while studying, you can have your employer sponsor you. Ask the company you work for to make an application for you for an EB-2 or EB-3 employment-based green card.