The first step in studying in the U.S. is researching your options in order to find the best college or university for your needs. For many foreign students studying in the U.S., your major (or the focus of your academic studies) may be the most important consideration in choosing colleges to apply to in the U.S. As an international student, your path in the US will start by choosing which college you would like to attend and which academic programs you would like to study.

If you wish to attend a U.S. university or college, you will need a student visa, called a F1 visa. If you are going to study in the United States for longer than a couple weeks, then typically you need to apply for a F-1 student visa. Students intending to study in the United States for an extended period in an undergraduate or post-graduate program are more likely to be applying for F-1 visas.

Students coming to the United States with a student visa should have the main goal of studying, and should be studying on a full-time basis. Generally, international students wishing to study on a full-time basis at a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree level would require a F-1 visa. Fulbright scholars, for instance, and many students in short-term study abroad programs at Indian universities, would come to the U.S. with a J-1 visa.

Beyond these universities, international students may seek fellowship programs from public and private institutions, such as Fulbrights foreign programs and World Banks joint Japanese-Japanese graduate fellowships. These universities provide a world-class education and make sure international students do not have to bear an extreme financial burden while studying abroad.

Quality education, unique curricula, multicultural environments, and ample opportunities are just a few reasons that many international students wish to study in the United States. With thousands of universities, vast differences in the styles and costs of institutions, plus the arduous process of applying for a university, many potential international students find the idea of applying for study in the United States to be overwhelming. Students are unaware of the proper application process to apply to universities in the United States.

Several top-ranked universities in the USA have needs-blind admissions policy, meaning that applicants financial backgrounds are ignored in the application process, with universities promising financial support to students to ensure that each successful applicant is admitted. If you are considering one of Shorelights’ U.S. partner universities, there is an independent online application that you can use to directly apply to one or more colleges or universities, and many do not require international students to submit essays or SAT/ACT scores.

If you think that you may wish to transfer between different colleges in the U.S. while pursuing an undergraduate education, or that you may wish to pursue a graduate education in the United States, you should also verify if other universities in the U.S. will accept credits and degrees from colleges that you are considering. Because of this complexity, you should carefully verify in advance if the credential you are applying for will be recognized by the governments in your home country, as well as by any professional associations, ministries, or employers in the U.S.

If you are an international student looking for assistance with making college decisions, continue reading our U.S. University Guide, where we cover all of the basics of studying in the U.S. and applying to U.S. colleges and universities. We know choosing the right schools and programs can be a vast and overwhelming process, which is why we built our USA school search to make it easy for you, an international student, to find just the right programs. Learn More Religious Schools in the United States International students looking for a unique, religious experience will quickly discover there are a number of religious schools scattered across the U.S.

If you are looking to be an international student in the U.S., but cannot afford the higher costs and requirements at universities, consider community colleges for the first couple years. To go to college in the United States, you will need more than just a solid academic record–you will need an American student visa.

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