Bachelor's level education in USA normally starts after the completion of 12 years of primary and secondary education. Hence, education beyond class XII is also known as 'post-secondary' education, in USA.
Bachelor's programs are of four years duration, and are offered by different types of colleges.
Liberal Arts colleges offer a general education in Arts and Sciences that develop general knowledge and reasoning ability. Most of these types of colleges are privately owned and have limited number of programs.
Upper-Division colleges are those that offer the last two years of undergraduate programs, which are specialized.
Community colleges are those that offer Associate Degrees of two years duration. On completion of such two-year Associate degrees, students join either upper-division colleges or universities to complete the balance two years for obtaining the Bachelors degree. Most community colleges are publicly owned ones and offer technical programs that prepare students for entry into job market, with Certificate and Diploma programs of six months to one year.
Specialized programs like Engineering are also offered, that are equivalent to the first two years of a bachelor's degree. These are known as 'transfer' programs.
Universities offer a broad range of both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The size of universities varies greatly - right from a two-bedroom apartment to campuses in thousands of acres! The range and diversity of programs offered are quite large. It is only possible to take up research work in universities and not in any other types of colleges.
Most colleges provide admission opportunity to international students without any prejudice. While make admission decisions, some may consider Early admission for those who have not yet completed their 3rd year bachelor's degree.
Some colleges/universities offer an Early Decision admission, for which the admitted students need to commit to enroll at the college. Normally, such colleges take 'Early action' in notifying the students of 'Early Decision' based on which the students have to accept the admission offer and make a deposit.
In addition to very good academic background from Class 10thto 12th, international applicants are expected to have very good scores in TOEFL and SAT, for admission into decent US universities at the bachelor's level. Some better universities require even scores from SAT Subject Tests, before they make an admission decision. For more details on these tests, please visit, TOEFL, SAT
There are several other issues with regard to Bachelor's study in USA - like the location, size, majors offerings, admission requirements, deadlines, costs, financial aid, housing, student life, academic programs, latest technology on campus etc.
Cost of Education
Bachelor's level education in USA is costlier than Master's level. Students are expected to take more credits per semester, which leads to an increase in costs.
Average cost of tuition and fees is approx. 10,000-20,000 $ per year, depending upon program, institution and location.
Living expenditure would add up to another 8,000-10,000 $ per year, according to the student's lifestyle.
Financial Aid is very rare for Bachelor's level international students. While there are several options like Federal Stafford Loans and others for domestic students, such facilities are not available for non-domestic applicants.
Since Bachelor's is a four-year program, the costs tend to be very high overall. This is one of the reasons why most students prefer studying from the Master's level in USA or elsewhere. Of all the international students, only 19% of them went for the Bachelor's level as against 79% for Master's level!
It is not easy to support oneself with part-time employment since the program is intensive and students hardly find time to work beyond their study schedules. Also, Teaching and Research Assistantships are available for Master's level and not for the Bachelor's. Thus, part-time employment options are limited and returns from the same, meager.
In order to offset the costs, AEF assists with educational loan programs like IELI's. Organizations like IELI provide educational loans for up to 45,000 $ per year, without mortgage or guarantor.
Accreditation of colleges/universities is very important in choosing the right institution, since that ensures uniformity in curriculum, proper designing of courses, meeting the infrastructure needs, proper faculty and facilities etc.
Six Regional Accrediting associations provide accreditation in six regions of USA - Middle States, New England, North Central, Northwest, Southern and Western.
Whereas, National Accrediting Associations such as ACICS, AABC, ATS, DETC etc., provide specialized accrediting for various programs in technology, biblical studies, distance education etc.
Applying for a visa
Visa process for USA is relatively simpler, and yet, tough to obtain! For those who are fully prepared with the required documentation and interview preparation, the process becomes easy. However, professional guidance and careful planning of the whole process is very important for success!
For a personalized plan of action to obtain your F-1 visa and do your Bachelor's in USA, the resources at AEF are second-to-none. Visit our offices, contact our counselors in person, online or by phone and we will be pleased to help you join the big league.