Study Guide to the USA for International (Indian) Students 2023: About the US and Its Amazing Study Programs (Part II)

As it is understandable that this particular topic is a vast subject and possibilities, we may like to carry it on with our further analysis of this interesting and knowledgable matter.

But first, let’s know about the USA a little more before we indulge in its study programs.

About the US

Southwest – The Southwest has a hot desert climate and covers cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas. The average temperature in summers would be around 40°C to 25°C; in winters it would be around 18°C to 4°C.

Southeast – The southeast has a warm to the hot, humid climate and covers cities like Houston, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Charleston. The average temperature in summers is around 35°C to 25°C; in winters it is around 10°C to 0°C.

Midwest – The Midwest, Northern Plains, Great Lakes, and New England regions have a humid climate and cover cities like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio. The average temperature in summers is around 28°C to 15°C; in winters it is around 0°C to -9°C.

Atlantic Coast- The central plains and East Coast have a temperate humid climate and cover cities like St. Louis, Cincinnati, and NYC. The average temperature in summers is around 30°C to 18°C; in winters it is around 4°C to -3°C.

Pacific Northwest- The Pacific Northwest has an oceanic climate and covers cities like Seattle, and Portland. The average temperature in summers is around 30°C to 18°C; in winters it is around 4°C to -3°C.

Lifestyle Tips– The United States is a dynamic country, covering the breadth of a continent. Many cultural currents exist and coexist within American life.

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To mingle with the local crowd, you need to keep in mind that the lifestyle of Americans is a lot different than Indians. You need to include more activities in your life if you want to get to know and meet new people.

Know about Professional Sports- One way to break the ice with the locals is to talk about professional sports like NFL or NBA or any other local sports. Sports play an important role in mingling with locals.

Outdoor Activities– Americans love spending their time outdoors and prefer taking part in outdoor sports and games. Their lifestyles are more active and they prefer spending time meeting new people and trying out a new and different set of skills.

Music Concerts, Night Life– Every weekend people go to social events like music concerts and performances or maybe just go to a bar to watch a game.

Weekends are for socializing and relaxing, so your friends or classmates might invite you to a club. All you need to have is an open mind to meet new people and socialize.

From the weather to the lifestyle in the US is exceptional and it is worth the time spent to reach there and all the research for it, of course!

The Education System in the USA (US Education System)

Many students who are going to pursue their careers must be surprised to know that the US has no education system. The Federal government can influence education only by the funding it offers, but this is limited.

Unlike CBSE board examinations in India, there is no national high school graduation examination. There are, however, state graduation examinations, and students must pass these. At the higher education level, students have a wide range of options when they choose a college or university.

Although there are agencies that attempt to rank American colleges and universities, the concept of ‘fit’ is also important.

The GPA* of admitted students is important, but majors offered, location, the number of students enrolled, and campus culture are all factors influencing a prospective student’s decision.

Some colleges and universities are publicly funded, while others are privately supported.

The US offers a very diverse range of higher education options compared to any other country in the world. With such wide options for learning opportunities, no matter what your ability or ambitions are, there will be some perfect courses for you.

Many customize a few of their courses for international students as well.

The US offers a very diverse range of higher education options compared to any other country in the world. With such wide options for learning opportunities, no matter what your ability or ambitions are, there will be some perfect courses for you.

Many of the universities in the USA customize a few of their courses for international students as well.

How to apply to US universities from India?

Those looking to pursue higher studies from abroad, generally prefer going to the USA.

However, students are not aware of the appropriate application process for applying to universities in the USA. The application process will be the same for most of the universities, however, there must be a separate element for the application process for each of the universities.

It varies between different study programs and levels.
Before applying students should know when to start the application process for US Universities. When are the deadlines? What are the intakes for US universities? When a student can go for studying there? T

hese are some of the important things which students should know before applying to US universities. There are two main intake seasons of US universities fall and spring.

Unlike India, universities in the USA follow a bi-semester system where an academic year is divided into two semesters. Students should decide which intake season they want to choose – fall or spring.

Those students who are planning to go to pursue undergraduate or graduate-level courses should know the timelines for September 2022 intake.

Whether public or private universities have a set of rules for the application process, candidates should know the minimum percentage required for getting admission to a master’s in the USA, as MS is the most popular course in the USA.

These vary between study programs and levels. For each course, Indian students will need to meet a minimum English language requirement. Along with that a minimum academic record of 65% and above for the humanities stream in class XII, and 70 – 80% and above for the Science/Commerce stream in class XII will also be required.

Foundations and Diploma programs are available for students who have secured below 60%. The student should have completed 18 years of age before joining a degree program.
The following documents also need to be submitted:
Attested copies of mark sheets of class X, XII, and the Bachelor’s degree (if applicable)

At least, two academic reference letters from professors who have taught you most recently. (Number of reference letters depends from university to university)

If you have work experience then two letters of recommendation from the employer/manager who knows you well and can comment on your professional abilities

Statement of Purpose (SOP)
Essays (If demanded by the university)
Photocopied score reports of GMAT / GRE / IELTS / TOEFL
Portfolio (in case of students applying for art and design courses and architecture programs)
Others (certificates/achievements at the state and national level and extracurricular activities)
Proof of funds

Most US colleges accept online applications. You will have to visit each college’s website to apply. In most cases, you will have to make an account on the college website to provide your basic information, submit the scanned version of your documents, and pay application fees.

You will be informed about the application process and its stages through this account. Please refer to the website of the colleges of your choice to know the process of applying.
Application fee: All colleges require that you pay an application fee while applying.

The fee amount will differ depending on the college and course being applied to, so check with individual colleges about their application fee.

Steps: The common steps to apply for admission are as follows:
Search for colleges and courses
Contact schools and visit websites for information
Narrow down your list of schools
Take the entrance exams like GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS
Write SOPs and ask for LORs
Apply to the colleges which fit your interests
Appear for video interviews of the colleges that shortlisted you
If accepted, apply for a student visa

Essays are also required to be submitted by a prospective student. Essays are an important part of the university admissions process. Students may be required to write one or two essays, along with a few optional essays too. Common topics include career aspirations, strengths and weaknesses, skills, experiences, and reasons for considering a particular school.


A Statement of purpose (SOP) is your introduction to the college and admission officers. It is always written in the first person and describes the reason for applying to a particular college. It needs to highlight why you are a perfect fit for the college and why the college should accept you. The style of writing could differ from formal to casual, but it is important to remember that it should reflect your personality as well.


A letter of recommendation (LOR) is a reference letter written by a third party describing the qualities, characteristics, and capabilities of the prospective student to recommend him to the college in terms of that individual’s ability to perform a particular task or function. The third party could be a professor, direct manager, etc.

Intake Session

The session starts mainly in September and January but some institutions have intakes in May, July, and October as well. The major intake season for the top courses in the US is September, while the minor intake season is January, which is meant for a fairly small number of courses.

You should start your admission process at least six months before the application deadline. Typically most universities have two deadlines, from October to January. It is up to the convenience of the students, which deadline to aim for. You should be done with your language and aptitude tests by three months before the deadline. The last 3 months should be dedicated to filling out the application form properly.

It is essential to ensure that the ‘complete application process’ along with appearing for interviews and visa application procedure should be complete by June or July for the September intake. Read: Which Country Has The Best Education System In The World?

The main intake season for top colleges and courses is the fall season i.e. September. It depends on what course you are looking to pursue because many courses don’t have the January intakes.

If you are looking to get admission into vocational courses, then some courses may have admissions open in January and perhaps even May or July.

Language Exams

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and Pearson Test of English (PTE) are all standardized language tests, which are required to be taken to get admission to colleges.

These follow different formats, structures, and result bands. These tests are all different in various ways but many colleges ask for any one of the results. So it’s up to the student to decide which exam to appear for.

Repetition of Exams

IELTS can be taken an unlimited number of times. TOEFL can be retaken as many times as wished, but cannot be taken more than once in 12 days. Same with PTE, it can be taken as many times as desired. You must wait to receive your scores before you can book your next test. Also Read: 15 Common Study Abroad Myths and Facts


The standard fee for these exams is INR 14,700 for IELTS, INR 14,500 (US $190) for TOEFL, and INR 14,700 for PTE.

Time to Apply

Ideally, if you are aiming at the September intake you should appear for these exams by November so that you can apply before the first deadline.

The universities you will be applying to will mention which exam results they will accept. But if they give you a choice to go for either of these, then the choice depends on you.

The time required to prepare for IELTS/TOEFL/PTE would depend on the existing English language proficiency. You may require 2 to 4 months of preparation before the exam date.

General Exams

GMAT- The Graduate Management Admission Test is used to measure the abilities of the potential MBA aspirant to undertake higher education in the field of business or management. It measures the mathematical, English, and reasoning skills of the student.

GRE- The Graduate Record Examination is another test required to be taken by students applying to graduate schools to pursue an MA or MS. Increasingly many business schools are also accepting GRE scores to grant admission for MBA.

LSAT- The Law School Admission Test is a standardized test and is an integral part of the law school admission process. It provides a measure of reading and verbal reasoning skills that law schools can use in assessing applicants.

SAT- The Scholastic Assessment Test measures literacy and writing skills that are needed for academic success in college. This test assesses how well the test takers analyze and solve problems-skills they learned in school that they will need in college. The SAT is typically taken by high school students to get into UG courses.

The university you will be applying to will mention which exam results will apply to the course of your choice. But if they give you a choice to go for either of these, then the choice depends on you.

Repetition and Fee

You can give the GMAT as many times as you want, subject to five times a year and a gap of 30 days between two tests. You can take these tests with a gap of 30 days from the first time. The cost of GMAT is Rs 20,980 (US $275), GRE is Rs 16,250 (US $213) and LSAT is Rs 3,800

Ideally, if you are aiming at the September intake you should appear for these exams by November so that you can apply before the first deadline. The preparation duration for these exams generally ranges from 4 to 6 months.

Average Scores

The average GMAT accepted across universities is 547. The average GRE score is 155 for Verbal, 167 for Quantitative, and 5.0 for Writing. The average LSAT score accepted across universities is 162.

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