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November 19 2022
Study in USA


According to a report published by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published in April 2022, Indian students make up the second-largest international student group with an estimated 2.3 lakh students currently in the USA. For many students in India, studying in the USA after class 12 is a much sought-after goal.

Why should you study in the USA?

The USA is the dream destination of study for many students and that is due to many reasons:-

  1. Many of the world’s top-ranked universities are located in the USA. These universities have very rigorous academic standards as well as robust, research and innovation-based curriculums with a focus on practical teaching. This ensures that students get the very best of their education
  2. In undergraduate degrees in the USA, there is flexibility surrounding your major. This means that instead of focusing on just one subject, you can take various courses across various subjects, giving you exposure to diverse fields of study.
  3. Universities in the USA have career offices that help students gain internships while pursuing their courses. These can be valuable for gaining work experience. They also organise career fairs on campuses, where you can network with many companies.
  4. As mentioned in the first point, most US universities are driven by innovation and research. They have top-class research labs across many subjects and students can make their best use of it in their time on campus.
  5. The United States is a cultural melting pot. While studying in the country, you get to meet a wide variety of people from around the world and get exposed to a diverse set of perspectives.
  6. The United States offers programs such as Optional Practical Training (OPT), wherein you can stay in the country for up to 12 months (24 months if you’re a STEM major) and work.

This makes the USA a very desirable destination for study after class 12.

Top courses to apply

When it comes to diversity in the number and types of courses that you can study, the USA is a perfect destination. Some of the most popular courses in the USA are offered across fields such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), Finance, Marketing, Public Policy, and more. Within these courses, you study not just the theory, but also the practical application of whatever you have learned, which can be very beneficial for your future

What are the requirements to study in the USA?

US universities have a holistic outlook when it comes to admissions. They don’t just look at your academics, but also focus on your extra-curricular activities such as sports, art, music, volunteer work, etc.

While every university has its own individual set of criteria, there are some basic requirements that are common among all. They are:-

  • General personal details (name, email address, home address, etc)
  • High school education transcript
  • SAT exam
  • Proof of English proficiency (IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic, CAE exam by Cambridge)
  • 2-3 recommendation letters
  • Copy of your passport

If you’re applying to courses in subjects such as arts, animation, photography, etc, you may also be asked to upload a portfolio of your previous work.

Cost of Study in the USA

When you’re calculating the cost of studying in the USA, it should start from the application process itself. On average, applying to any US university costs roughly between $50-90 USD, depending on the university and even on the course you’re applying to. You can also apply for an application fee waiver depending on your financial circumstance.

Table 1: Application Fees for Undergraduate courses at top US universities

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) $75
Stanford University $90
Harvard University $85
California Institute of Technology (Caltech) $75
University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) $75
Yale University $80
Princeton University $70
Brown University $75

Perhaps the most important cost is the cost of tuition. The average tuition at US universities ranges from anywhere between $20,000-70,000 USD, depending on the course, the university, and/or the subject that you are applying to. If you are unable to fully pay your tuition fee due to your financial circumstances, you can apply for scholarships.

Table 2: Tuition Fees for Undergraduate courses at top US universities, 2022-2023

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) $79,850
Stanford University $57,693
Harvard University $52,659
California Institute of Technology (Caltech) $58,479
University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) $56,212
Yale University $62,250
Princeton University $57,410
Brown University $62,680

Most universities offer tuition scholarships that partially, half, or fully cover the tuition fees. But there tends to be a lot of competition for these scholarships. You don’t have to worry about it that much as there are many external organisations around the world that offer a full scholarship, cover the cost of travel, and even offer a small stipend. Examples of these include the Fullbright Scholarship, the Tata-Cornell scholarship, the Inlaks scholarship, and more. Scholarships are also offered to cover other costs, such as the cost of accommodation. This brings us to our next topic, which is the cost of living.

Cost of living

The cost of living changes depending on the city or the state your university is located. Within the cost of living comes your cost of accommodation/rent, cost of travel (depending on the mode of transport), groceries, cost of your books and textbooks, eating out and entertainment, phone bill, and other miscellaneous costs.

If you’re calculating an estimated cost of living in the USA while studying, you should calculate depending on your lifestyle and your needs.

Health insurance

Having health insurance is very important if you want to visit a doctor or go to a hospital in case of an emergency. Having insurance will make healthcare more accessible and affordable to you. Many universities have their own insurance plans for students that range from $1000 to $2500 a year, but you can also get your own insurance plans from external providers for a cheaper rate.

Travel costs and Visa fees

When travelling to the USA, you must also factor in airfare as well as visa fees. The price of an aeroplane ticket depends on the destination you’re travelling to, the destination you’re travelling from, the date you book the tickets, etc. You may also have to factor in travel costs (such as taxis) when you arrive at your destination city and have to go to the place you are staying in.


The USA may seem like an expensive destination to study in, but the benefits that come with studying there and the network you gain will be useful for the rest of your life. Studying there might just be one of the best investments you make in your life.

PSA (powered by Global Reach) has USATC (US Agent Training Course)-certified counsellors and has helped hundreds of students study in the US.

Visit our virtual office and have a free 1-on-1 counselling session with our expert counsellors and learn more about studying in the USA.

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