Why Study in the United States: Top 7 Reasons for International Students
Updated: Mar 29
The United States of America is a land of opportunity and a top destination for international students. With its world-renowned universities, diverse culture, and vibrant cities, the U.S.is a great place to pursue higher education.
Many international students come to study in the U.S. Pre-pandemic, more than 1 million international students were in the country, according to the latest Open Doors Report provided by the U.S. Department of State. International education is also the fifth-largest export industry in the U.S.
International students will surely experience a lifetime of memories and learn from some of the best and brightest minds in the world.
But what exactly makes the U.S. such an attractive study destination? Here are the top 7 reasons why campus life in the U.S. is a great choice for international students to pursue their studies.
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Top 7 Reasons International Students Study in the USA
There are various reasons for studying in the U.S., but we selected the top 7 most common reasons and summarized them below.
1. The Quality of the Higher Education System in the U.S.
The United States has emerged as a world leader in having one of the best higher education systems, producing 40% of the world’s top researchers.
Education in the US is of the highest quality, with universities offering courses taught by world-class professors in an environment that promotes academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas.
U.S. universities are also increasingly focusing on educating international students, who often make up about one-third of the student body. Many American universities, including large research universities, have partnerships with overseas universities and offer dual degree programs, allowing international students to obtain a bachelor’s degree from one U.S. university and a master’s degree from another.
U.S. universities also offer many study-abroad programs for undergraduate and graduate students, allowing them to experience a new culture and expand their skills. There are also many scholarship opportunities for international students.
Lastly, there are also many community colleges in the US. More than 60,000 international students are studying at a community college in the US because they offer lower tuition costs, an intimate campus environment, and students still receive an excellent education. You can earn an associate's degree at a community college and begin working or transfer your credits toward a bachelor's degree at another university or college.
2. Access to World-Class Universities
The U.S. boasts a strong network of premier research universities, many of which have received a Times Higher Education ranking in the top 25.
These universities offer groundbreaking research and degree programs and are a great option for students interested in pursuing a research-oriented career.
Some of the major research universities in the U.S. are as follows:
California Institute of Technology (Caltech) - Pasadena, California
Columbia University - New York City, New York
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Cambridge, Massachusetts
University of California - San Diego - La Jolla, California
University of Chicago- Chicago, Illinois
University of Pennsylvania - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Stanford University - Stanford, California
University of Texas at Austin - Austin, Texas
Yale University - New Haven, Connecticut
You can also view the universities and colleges part of the Association of American Universities (AAU). This is an elite group of the top 65 research universities in the U.S. that have strict membership standards and are known for academic excellence, scientific progress, and innovation.
3. Variety of Undergraduate and Graduate Programs
University campuses in the U.S. have a very multicultural population with diverse cultures represented from all over the world. So with that, many universities offer a wide range of undergraduate level degrees (bachelor's) and advanced degrees (master's and Ph.Ds) for graduate students.
As a result, international students are sure to find an educational environment with university faculty that suits their interests and career goals. Many large research universities offer programs in specific fields such as medicine, law, business, and engineering, making it easier for students to select programs that meet their needs.
What do most students study in the USA? The most popular programs include:
Math and Computer Science
Physical and Life Sciences
Fine and Applied Arts
Communications and Journalism
Whether you're an undergraduate or graduate student, a beginner or have advanced English language skills, most universities and colleges provide intensive English language programs if you need to brush up on your English language skills. Any international student can tell you, knowing English is one thing, but having a conversation with a native speaker is something completely different!
Furthermore, there is a large variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs that cater to students with different interests, making it easy for them to select programs that will help them gain valuable skills and knowledge.
4. Student Support Services for Success
At every school campus, there is a range of support services for an international student, including career counseling, financial aid, and study abroad. Many schools also offer on-campus housing, planned and informal activities on campus and to local tourist attractions, and student employment opportunities.
Additionally, many universities and colleges have made international education a top priority on campus, so they have programs specifically designed to support international students. Some examples include helping with immigration and student visa questions, developing English language skills, organizing cultural activities, and other forms of assistance.
The U.S. also has a unique higher education system because of the services provided for mental health. Many schools, including community colleges, will provide counseling to fellow students on campus if they feel overworked, stressed, depressed, or have experienced trauma.
Most American university students find this quite normal, but it could be a surprise for international students depending on the culture of their home country.
5. Research and Innovation Opportunities
The U.S. is a top research and innovation hub due to its large pool of highly skilled researchers, of which roughly 23% of STEM workers in the US are foreign-born.
The cultural diversity, as well as the intellectual diversity of these researchers, is unmatched. They come from various backgrounds and have extensive experience in key research areas such as computer science, health, and engineering.
The U.S. also has a large number of research institutions that conduct cutting-edge research and are among the best in the world, making it a great place to pursue science and engineering research.
Some examples of top research centers in the country include:
Jet Propulsion Laboratory - California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory - the University of California and the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science - Berkeley, California
National Institutes of Health (NIH) - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, Maryland
National Laboratories - U.S. Department of Energy
6. Career and Professional Development
Several visa programs allow international graduates to stay in the U.S. for an extended period of time to gain work experience, such as Optional Practical Training (OPT). The international office at the university or college will walk you through the requirements for being eligible for OPT and other important immigration requirements for working in the country after graduation.
In addition, many universities and colleges offer career services to help you develop your cover letter and resume, learn how to dress and prepare for an interview, and other important tips for job searching in the country.
The U.S. has a robust job market, and many professionals find work in their field after completing an educational program in the country. There are many opportunities for students to find jobs after completing a degree in the US, especially in cities such as New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington, DC.