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8 Reasons the US is the #1 Study Abroad Choice

8 Reasons the US is the #1 Study Abroad Choice main image

Ranked number one in the new QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings across four categories (system strength, access, flagship institution and economic context), the US has a long-established position as the world’s leading study abroad destination. Here are just some of the reasons it’s chosen by thousands of international students each year.

1. The US is home to many world-leading universities.

With more than 150 universities featured in the QS World University Rankings® 2015/16, including just under 50 in the global top 200, the US is a leading provider of higher education. The top US universities – such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Yale, Sanford and Caltech, to name just a few – are famed worldwide.

2. It’s easier to find a job in the US once you’ve been to university there.

A leader in healthcare, manufacturing, energy and aerospace, the US is a global exporter of pharmaceuticals, electronics and even aircrafts. Depending on your field, there may be some opportunities to stay and work in the US.  After graduation, F-1 visa holders are entitled to stay in the US for up to a year provided they apply for a change in their visa status, while STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students may be eligible to extend their training period by an additional 17 months.

3. US universities favor a multi-disciplinary approach to higher education.  

Unlike universities in countries such as the UK, which ask students to specialize in a single subject from day one, US universities typically encourage students to engage in a wider range of interests, including personal development outside of the curriculum. This can especially appeal to students who are not yet sure what path they want to follow, or who enjoy trying new things and gaining knowledge in diverse areas.  

4. US campus life is often touted as a ‘once in a lifetime’ sort of experience.

US campuses, sororities and fraternities often feature in films and TV shows – and it’s not hard to see why. Universities in the US often offer on-campus accommodation, or ‘dorms’. Almost like gated communities, these tend to foster strong bonds between students and provide a strong sense of community, as well as making it easy to get involved in all kinds of activities being organized on-site.

5. US universities offer something for everyone.

 Whether you’re drawn to Stanford’s manicured turf or Columbia University’s majestic college walk, the US should have the perfect university for you, for this vast chunk of land is packed with world-leading universities to suit every personality type. Some institutions, known as liberal arts colleges, favor a more versatile, broad-reaching approach to education. If like Emma Watson, you fancy yourself a ‘Renaissance woman’ (or man), then Yale, Harvard and Dartmouth may be right for you. On the other hand, if you’re a budding engineer or an aspiring Silicon Valley type entrepreneur, you could always go for MIT or Caltech…  

6. There are more research opportunities.

Thanks to the Bayh-Dole Act, which let universities patent and commercialize inventions, US universities have become veritable incubators for high-tech and medical breakthroughs. One prominent example of this is Stanford owning the patent on Google’s search technology and earning millions each year from technologies licensed to companies.

7. US student cities and campuses are incredibly diverse.

Hosting more than 886,000 international students across 50 states and 4,500 institutions, the US is an incredibly diverse study abroad destination. This includes diversity on-campus, with many US universities welcoming high numbers of international students. What this means for you is: a campus environment that is open to the world, a tight-knit group of friends supporting each other through homesickness, and countless opportunities to learn about other places and cultures.

8. There are good funding opportunities.

Another key incentive to study abroad in the US is the sheer number of funding opportunities available to internationals, through public and private universities and/or external organizations. The most competitive US universities tend to offer the most generous packages, with Harvard, for instance, helping as many as 70% of its students with their fees, and MIT giving aid to 86% of its graduate students. There are schemes designed specifically for internationals, such as the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, led by the US Department of State Bureau, or the Curricular Practical Training scheme, which helps provides students with F-1 visas access paid off-campus internships.

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Written by Mathilde Frot
I'm originally French but I grew up in Casablanca, Kuala Lumpur and Geneva. When I'm not writing for QS, you'll usually find me sipping espresso(s) with a good paperback.

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I am currently studying BSc. Microbiology 2nd year, here in my country but now i want to have a bachelor's degree in Chemistry in US..so what should i do?..Please help me out!!

Hi, I am sri hari.Could i know oppurtunities for mechanical engineers in US?

Hi. I am Selma Houjaghani master student in genetics. I interested in continue my education in phd degree in us universities. but because of low economical situation and low cost of expenses in target country, i need full scholarship from university. could you please help me to find the best way to apply for us universities? also i am working on my thesis.I am looking forward to receiving your positive response.
best regards

I need scholarship to study farther

Hello, we've listed a range of scholarships to study in the US here. Hope this helps!