The United States of America is a popular destination for Indian students who want to pursue higher education abroad. According to the Open Doors Report 2023, there were 225,000 Indian students in the US in the academic year 2022-23, making up 18% of the total international student population. The US offers a variety of courses, degrees, and institutions to suit the diverse interests and goals of Indian students. In this article, we will explore some of the reasons why Indian students choose to study in the US, the admission process, the costs, the scholarships, and the best colleges for different fields of study.
Why Study in the US?
There are many benefits of studying in the US for Indian students, such as:
- Quality of education: The US has some of the best universities in the world, with cutting-edge research, innovation, and entrepreneurial opportunities. The US education system is flexible and allows students to choose from a wide range of majors, minors, electives, and extracurricular activities. The US also has a strong reputation for excellence in fields such as engineering, computer science, business, medicine, and law.
- Diversity of culture: The US is a melting pot of cultures, with people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, and languages. Studying in the US exposes Indian students to different perspectives, values, and lifestyles, and helps them develop intercultural skills and awareness. The US also has a vibrant and dynamic student life, with various clubs, organizations, events, and activities to enrich the learning experience.
- Career opportunities: Studying in the US opens up many doors for Indian students in terms of career prospects, both in the US and globally. The US has a large and diverse economy, with many industries and sectors that offer employment opportunities for graduates. The US also has a strong network of alumni, employers, and professional associations that can help Indian students find jobs, internships, and mentorship. Many US universities also offer career services and support to help students prepare for the job market.
How to Apply to US Colleges?
The admission process for US colleges varies depending on the level and type of program, but generally involves the following steps:
- Research and shortlist colleges: Indian students should start by researching and shortlisting the colleges that match their academic interests, goals, budget, and preferences. They can use various sources of information, such as websites, brochures, rankings, reviews, and alumni feedback, to compare and evaluate different colleges. They should also check the admission requirements, deadlines, and fees for each college.
- Take standardized tests: Most US colleges require Indian students to take standardized tests, such as the SAT or ACT for undergraduate programs, and the GRE or GMAT for graduate programs. These tests measure the academic aptitude and skills of the applicants. Some colleges may also require English proficiency tests, such as the TOEFL or IELTS, to assess the English language ability of the applicants. Indian students should prepare well and take these tests well in advance of the application deadlines.
- Prepare and submit application materials: Indian students should prepare and submit the application materials, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, essays, resume, and portfolio, to the colleges they have shortlisted. They should also pay the application fees, which may range from $50 to $150 per college. They should make sure that their application materials are complete, accurate, and customized for each college.
- Apply for financial aid and scholarships: Studying in the US can be expensive, so Indian students should look for financial aid and scholarships to reduce the cost of education. There are various sources of funding, such as the US government, the colleges, private organizations, and foundations, that offer grants, loans, scholarships, and fellowships to Indian students. Some of these are merit-based, while others are need-based or based on other criteria. Indian students should research and apply for the financial aid and scholarships that they are eligible for, and follow the application procedures and deadlines.
- Receive admission decisions and accept offer: Indian students should receive the admission decisions from the colleges they have applied to, usually within a few weeks or months of the application deadline. They should carefully review the admission offers, and compare the academic, financial, and personal aspects of each college. They should then accept the offer from the college that best suits their needs and goals, and pay the enrollment deposit to secure their seat.
How Much Does It Cost to Study in the US?
The cost of studying in the US depends on various factors, such as the level and type of program, the college, the location, and the lifestyle of the student. However, as a general estimate, the average annual cost of studying in the US for Indian students is as follows:
|Level of Program
These are approximate figures, and may vary significantly depending on the specific program and college. Indian students should also consider other costs, such as travel, health insurance, books, and personal expenses, when planning their budget.
What are the Scholarships for Indian Students in the US?
There are many scholarships for Indian students in the US, offered by various sources, such as the US government, the colleges, private organizations, and foundations. Some of the scholarships are:
- Fulbright-Nehru Fellowships: These are prestigious fellowships for Indian students who want to pursue graduate or doctoral studies, research, or teaching in the US. The fellowships cover tuition fees, living expenses, travel, and health insurance, and are awarded based on academic merit and leadership potential.
- Tata Scholarships for Cornell University: These are scholarships for Indian students who want to pursue undergraduate studies at Cornell University, one of the Ivy League colleges in the US. The scholarships cover the full cost of attendance, and are awarded based on financial need and academic excellence.
- Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowships for Indian Students: These are fellowships for Indian students who want to pursue MBA at Stanford Graduate School of Business, one of the top business schools in the US. The fellowships cover up to 80% of the tuition fees, and are awarded based on intellectual vitality, demonstrated leadership potential, and personal qualities.
- Inlaks Scholarships: These are scholarships for Indian students who want to pursue any field of study at any top university in the US. The scholarships cover tuition fees, living expenses, travel, and health insurance, and are awarded based on academic merit, extracurricular achievements, and leadership potential.
What are the Best Colleges for Indian Students in the US?
The US has more than 4,000 colleges, offering a variety of courses, degrees, and institutions to suit the diverse interests and goals of Indian students. However, some of the best colleges for Indian students in the US, based on the QS World University Rankings 2024, are:
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): MIT is the top-ranked university in the world, and is renowned for its excellence in engineering, computer science, mathematics, and physics. MIT has a strong culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, and collaboration, and attracts some of the brightest minds from around the world. MIT offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs, as well as online courses and certificates.
- Harvard University: Harvard is the oldest and most prestigious university in the US, and is known for its excellence in arts, humanities, social sciences, business, and law. Harvard has a rich history, a diverse community, and a global impact, and produces some of the most influential leaders and thinkers in the world. Harvard offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs, as well as online courses and certificates.
- Stanford University: Stanford is a leading research university, and is famous for its excellence in engineering, computer science, business, and medicine. Stanford has a spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility, and fosters some of the most successful startups and ventures in the world. Stanford offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs, as well as online courses and certificates.
- University of California, Berkeley: UC Berkeley is a public research university, and is recognized for its excellence in natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, and arts. UC Berkeley has a tradition of academic excellence, social activism, and public service, and contributes to the advancement of knowledge and society. UC Berkeley offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs, as well as online courses and certificates.
- Columbia University: Columbia is a private research university, and is distinguished for its excellence in journalism, international affairs, arts, and humanities. Columbia has a cosmopolitan and multicultural environment, and engages with the issues and challenges of the world. Columbia offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs, as well as online courses and certificates.
These are some of the best colleges for Indian students in the US, but there are many more to choose from, depending on the specific field of study, budget, and preferences of the students.
Studying in the US is a rewarding and enriching experience for Indian students, as it offers them the opportunity to pursue quality education, diverse culture, and career opportunities. However, studying in the US also requires careful planning, preparation, and research, as it involves various steps, such as applying to colleges, taking standardized tests, seeking financial aid and scholarships, and obtaining a visa. Indian students should start their journey to study in the US well in advance, and seek guidance and support from various sources, such as counselors, advisors, mentors, and peers. Studying in the US can be a life-changing and fulfilling journey for Indian students, if they are well-informed, well-prepared, and well-supported. We hope this article has given you some useful insights and tips on how to study in the US as an Indian student. Good luck! 🍀