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How to Study in the US

Parading Across Campus

Some of the best places to study in the US are also located in some of the world’s most exciting cities, including New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. Not to mention, the US is home to some of the world’s biggest companies, and you’ll get to unwind from studying in awe-inspiring national parks.

If your goal is to study at a top-ranked business school abroad, you might be wondering how exactly you can study in the US. To help you, we’ll give you all the information you need about costs, scholarships, and how to apply to US programs.

Why Study in the US?

International students flock to the US every year primarily because of its cultural diversity, top-ranked business schools, and career prospects. In fact, it's the top destination for international business students, beating both the UK and Canada.

The US is a diverse society, and as you study somewhere like Columbia University or Stanford Graduate School of Business, you’ll meet people from around the world, broadening your cultural horizons and growing your network.

Aside from International students, the US is also a popular travel destination, attracting 79.3 million tourists every year who want to discover its unique history and culture.

As you study in the US, you’ll have the chance to visit some of the country’s 63 National Parks, encompassing ancient forests, pristine beaches, desert landscapes, and staggering mountain ranges. Not only that, but the US is also home to world-famous cultural institutions like the Smithsonian and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Studying Business in the US

When it comes to studying business, the US education system is one of the best in the world. Business school rankings are dominated by US-based schools – seven out of the top 10 MBA programs in the Financial Times ranking are at US schools, with The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania sitting at the top.

The US education system is also prized for its flexibility, especially when it comes to choosing modules on your business program. US business programs offer you space to explore different courses and subjects before choosing a major, so you can specialize in something you’re passionate about.

Finally, as the world’s largest economy, the US is the ideal place to start a career in business after your studies. The country is home to a huge number of multinational companies including big players in technology like Apple and Amazon as well as ExxonMobil, AT&T, and JPMorgan Chase.

Many US business programs will include the opportunity to do an internship during your studies, giving you practical work experience to add to your resume. Plus, you’ll be practicing your English skills, which will be necessary for any career in international business. 

How to Apply to Study in the US

If you’re thinking about studying abroad in the US, the first step will be applying for your chosen business program. Whether you’re planning on studying at undergraduate or postgraduate level, you’ll apply directly through your university or business school of choice.

For all programs, if English isn’t your first language, you’ll likely require an English language exam result as part of your application. There are plenty of accepted English exams to choose from, but two of the most popular are the IELTS and TOEFL.

Other documents you’ll need when you apply include a transcript of your grades (high school and/or university), a CV, and a motivation letter or statement of intent. To apply for an MBA, you’ll also need to have taken the GMAT exam, the most widely accepted admissions test for business schools.

Once you’ve been accepted to a university business program, now is the time to apply for your USA student visa. This is called the F-1 visa, and can be applied for online, though part of the process does involve an interview. In total, the visa costs $160. Though your student visa might be issued up to 120 days before the start date of your program, you can only arrive in the US up to 30 days before your course officially starts.

This USA student visa also allows you to undertake an internship in the US after completing at least one full year of your academic program. However, if your internship is longer than 12 months, you will lose out on the chance to do Optional Practical Training (OPT). OPT allows students to stay in the US up to 12 months after graduation to work.

How Much Does it Cost to Study in the US

For students wondering how to study in the US, cost of living might be a big worry. However, studying in the US can be done on a budget – the country ranks 21st out of 135 countries for everyday costs, making it less expensive than other popular business study destinations like Hong Kong, the Netherlands, and Singapore.

While it’s true that cities like New York and Los Angeles are known for being expensive, many top business programs are located in more cost-friendly locations like Durham, North Carolina (Duke Fuqua School of Business) and Ithaca, New York (Cornell University). Consequently, there are plenty of program options depending on your budget.

To give you an example of how expensive studying in the US could be, here are some average monthly prices for everyday bills and items:

  • Rent: $500-$2,000
  • Monthly groceries: $100-$200
  • Transport: $40-$100
  • Restaurant meal: $15
  • Gym membership: $40
  • Data gathered from numbeo.com and aeccglobal.co.id

    US Scholarships and Loans

    Tuition fees will vary depending on which university or business school you choose, as well as your program level. MBA programs will have the highest tuition fees for international students, ranging from $120,000 to $160,000 for the whole program. Comparatively, tuition fees for a master’s program could be anywhere from $10,000 to $80,000 per year.

    If this sounds like a lot, then it’s worth remembering that there are US scholarships available to international students. Each university will have a range of scholarship options, some of which are held for people from certain countries or economic backgrounds.

    Large organizations also provide selective US scholarships for international students who want to study in the US, including Fulbright and the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Again, these may have specific requirements, so always read the scholarship stipulation carefully before applying.

    While international students can’t access governmental student loans, there are options for those who need some more financial assistance. For example, there are third-party companies who offer loans to non-US students, including Juno and Prodigy Finance.