If you want to study at an American university, there are several key factors that you’ll need to review in selecting the right program for you. In this post we’ll break down the differences between perception and reality to help you differentiate between what you may think you want from an American university and which school would actually be best for you.
When choosing an American university, most students think first of rankings. Rankings are important, but the reality is that not every student will be accepted at Harvard, Princeton or Yale. So it’s important to take into account other factors, such as geographic location, programs, school size and finding the right fit for you.
Location, Location, Location
It’s important to match the geographic location of an American university with your budget. While many US coastal cities sound attractive, the reality is that popular locations such as New York City and Seattle have a very high cost of living that not all international students can afford. In contrast, there are many other American universities located in cities with a lower cost of living (such as Denver, Houston or Kansas City).
Furthermore, make sure that the location you’re looking at offers a climate and activities that fit your preferences. If you enjoy being outside, a location like Colorado or Utah offers sunny year-round weather and access to a variety of outdoor activities, from skiing to mountain biking.
An American university may have a good reputation, ranking or location, but that does not mean that it has the program you want. Make sure that the school you are interested in offers the academic program that you want to study. This sounds simple, but you’d be amazed at how many people do not research the program offerings when looking at American universities.
Consider the size of the school and the class size when reviewing an American university. Make sure that you are comfortable with the average class size and feel that you’ll get enough attention and assistance.
Additionally, you might want to look at the statistics of international students at the American university you want to attend. If you’re Chinese, you might not want to go to an American university with a large Chinese population, so that you will practice your English more. On the other hand, you might feel more comfortable at a school where you can find some students from your home country. Most of these statistics are available on the university’s website.
In summary, when choosing an American university, it’s important to separate perception from reality and thoroughly review your options to find the best fit for you. Good luck!