USA Institution and Courses

The higher education system in the USA is extensive and varied. State universities and private universities offer undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. State universities have lower tuition fees than private universities but the class sizes are larger.

Community colleges offer two-year associate degree programs whilst technical or vocational colleges prepare students for a particular industry.

Technical and vocational colleges offer technical and vocational programs designed to prepare students for work in a particular industry.

English language schools offer various English language programs.

Only education providers that are certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program are authorized to accept international students in the United States. For a full list of certified institutes and their contact details, you can visit the Study in the States school search page

How to Apply

Application packages require careful planning and preparation. It is advisable to start the process as early as possible.

There are several application options in the US but it is standard procedure to apply directly to your chosen education provider. Each institute’s entry requirements can differ greatly so make sure you fully check the requirements on the provider’s international admissions website.

Visit this section of the Education USA website for more information on applying

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements can differ considerably between institutions. You should visit the international sections of the websites of any colleges and universities you are interested in applying to or contact the international admissions department directly to clarify if you are still unsure.


International students studying full time courses in the United States need to apply for a visa. Visa are issued in US consulates and embassies abroad by the US Dept of State. You can apply for a visa once you have been accepted for enrolment by an SEVP certified school.

There are different types of visas for non – US citizens who want to study in the United States.

F1 Student Visa is the most common visa for international students. It is for those who wish to study at an accredited college or university in the US or study English at a university or intensive English language institute.

F2 Exchange Visa is for those students who will be participating in an exchange program, including those programs that provide high school and university study.

F3 Student Visa is for those students who will be engaged in non-academic or vocational study or training in the United States.

For more information on the visa process visit

Working While Studying

If you have an F-1 visa you are entitled to work on-campus whilst studying in the USA. Work may be related to your course or can be casual work. You can begin working from 30 days before your first semester of study.

If you have a J-1 visa, with permission from your visa sponsor you are entitled to work on-campus whilst studying in the USA.

With an F-1 and J-1 visa you can also take up volunteer work off-campus, providing that you do not receive any form of compensation (wages, salary, tips, bonuses or any other kind of benefit) for your work. Also, you must not be displacing a US worker by taking over a position that was previously a paid post.

After your first year of study, you may apply for permission to work off-campus for up to twenty hours a week if you have an F-1 or J-1 visa. However, there is no guarantee that your request will be granted.

For further updated information, please visit

Useful Links

Study in the Sates

Education USA

US Dept of State

College Board

Recent USA Student Profiles

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