The United States of America, one of the world’s largest and most populous nations, has citizens coming from all corners of the world, with a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. English joins the country together socially while Spanish is the second major language and is spoken by many residents in California, Texas, New Mexico, and Florida. Each state has it’s own history and slightly different culture.
The values of liberty and freedom of speech are paramount in the U.S. However, respect for individual opinions must also be accompanied by responsibility for one’s own behavior and thoughts. Hence, students in American universities and colleges are expected to be independent and to have good problem-solving abilities. For international students (especially those whose first language is not English), determination and sufficient language skills are necessities if they are to attend American universities and colleges.
The U.S. has long been the most popular study-abroad destination. Many schools have international student service offices and are well prepared for admitting students from overseas. The university transfer system is excellent among U.S. universities, and it is relatively easy to transfer from one school to another. Furthermore, it is not uncommon in the U.S. that people with extensive work experience go back to university in order to pursue further education. Therefore, many students have clear goals and a sense of purposes. There are a variety of postsecondary institutions in the U.S., including two-year colleges, liberal arts colleges, and universities, serving the various needs and different abilities of students.
Why Study in the USA?
- Diversity of Institutions
more than 3,600 undergraduate institutions
(1,700+ graduate and professional programs)
- Something for Everyone
wide range of locations, programs, and fees
- Worldwide Recognition
of quality programs, faculty, and facilities
Special Features of Study in the USA
The US is considered a world leader in many different disciplines, and its universities continue to attract many of the best and brightest students. The US continues to have tremendous impact on Global Economics, Politics, Business, Information Technology (IT), Science and Medicine, and many of the current and future economic and political leaders continue to be educated in the US. It should also not be forgotten how influential the US is in the Music, Film and Sports industries. With a mind-boggling number of schools to choose from, coupled with an unequalled diversity of programs, costs and locations, the US offers something for everyone. Still the number one destination for Japanese students, roughly 50,000 Japanese students are currently studying in American Universities.
For Japanese students who do not already possess the necessary English language abilities, many schools can offer a conditional admission, provided that all of the other admissions criteria are satisfied.
Time to Declare Your Major
In most cases, students in the US begin their studies by choosing from a broad range of general courses for the first two years. Students will begin to focus their studies by the end of their second year, and are then able to make a more informed decision as to what program they would like to specialize in and what career path they would like to follow
While there is no guarantee that all of your credits and previous course work will be accepted, if the course work is comparable in content, students have a good chance of receiving general education or major subject requirement credits. Students have the possibility of transferring schools and/or credits from:
- community college to a 4-year college
- a 4-year college to another 4-year college
- a Japanese institution to an American institution
The American Education System
Although the American Education system varies by state, pre-university study generally consists of 12 years of combined elementary and secondary (Junior and Senior High School) education. Similar to Japan, public and private school education is available at all levels. The organization of this elementary and secondary schooling system may be similar to that in Japan following a 6-year, 3-year, 3-year pattern, or depending on the state, it may follow any of the following pattern combinations: 5-year, 3-year, 4 year; 6-year, 6-year; or 8-year, 4 year. Regardless of how the system is organized, the body of knowledge to be covered is similar across all 50 states.
In most cases, students begin higher (postsecondary) education at the age of 17 or 18, after graduating from high school. It should also be noted that there is no mandated course curriculum or standardized national entrance examination. Admissions officers apply a common set of standards to assess students’ eligibility. Among the items to be submitted in order to determine one’s eligibility are: prior academic record, required test scores (SAT, TOEFL, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, etc.), letters of recommendation, and a personal essay, among others. Admission requirements will vary for each school, so it is best to always confirm with the school directly, or use a reputable advising service.
Postsecondary education, or undergraduate study includes 2-year and 4-year programs. 2-year programs generally lead to an Associate degree, and may be obtained at a 2-year college or community college, or at a four-year college or university. Depending on students’ goals and degree program, they can either immediately apply their skills to a trade or technical job, or transfer to a 4-year program and continue to study towards a Bachelor’s Degree. Many international students use community colleges as the starting point for postsecondary education due to the high-quality programs, transferable credits, low costs, smaller classes, and supportive environments.
4-year programs offered at colleges and universities lead to a Bachelor’s degree. In most cases, the first two-years usually are spent in courses that give you a broad foundation for future specialization, while the latter two years are concentrated on your major academic subject.
Graduate study in the US leads to Master’s and Doctoral degrees, or professional degrees such as law (JD), medicine (MD), and dentistry (DDS). While a master’s degree usually takes one or two years of full-time study, doctoral degrees usually require an additional three years of full-time study upon completion of a master’s. First professional degrees require at least three years of study after the bachelor’s degree.