Admission consultancy services for Chicago

How to Enroll In US Universities-A Guide on the American Education System

For international students, US universities and colleges have opportunities that can change their lives. All of your inquiries about higher education in the USA are addressed in this comprehensive guide.

Understanding the American higher education system is crucial if you wish to study abroad in America. It is important to know how it operates whether you intend to obtain a bachelor's or master's degree from any of the several colleges in the USA.

How Is the American Academic Year Structured?

Quarters, Trimesters, and Semesters
The academic year in the American educational system normally starts in August or September. The academic year, which typically lasts until May or June, may be broken up into quarters, trimesters, or semesters depending on the university. The fall term goes from late August or early September to mid-December for universities that operate on a semester system, and the spring term spans from January through May.

What Is the US Higher Education System's Structure?

You might be thinking about how universities and colleges fit into the greater US system of higher education as an overseas student. Between the age of six and 18, students in the USA are expected to attend school in what is known as grades, which span from first through twelfth. (Kindergarten is an earlier option for the year prior to first grade, while it is not required in the majority of US states.)

The fifth grade is the final year of primary education or elementary school. Sixth to eighth graders attend middle school, also referred to as junior high. Secondary education can comprise both college-preparatory curricula or practical training.

After twelfth standard, pupils have 2 alternatives for post-secondary education: vocational training (usually a year or two, aimed for direct employment in a trade) or higher education (often a two-year associate’s certificate or four-year bachelor’s degree in an intellectual program).

For foreign students in British-style school systems, you might have 13 years of study before attending post-secondary studies. Some nations may have only 11 years of pre-university equivalent schooling. Typically, for people studying in post-secondary education in America, US colleges and universities demand 12 years of education.

What Are the Various Types of Higher Learning Institutions in the US?

University vs. College
Universities are the name given to post-secondary institutions in several nations. However, the terms university and college are frequently used synonymously in the US. Some are even termed institutions (e.g. California Institute of Technology, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

State Colleges and Private Colleges

Based on where you are from, the top schools or universities may be public or administered by the regional or national government. But in the United States, the national govt does not control any college or institution. Instead, the authorities of the particular 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and other US jurisdictions have the power to operate, fund, and (in some respects) oversee public schools and universities within their boundaries.

As an alternative, private universities may run independently of local, state, or federal governments. Like the University of Dayton, which is associated with the Catholic church, and University of the Pacific, hundreds of private universities in the US were established by religious groups or organizations (a Methodist university).

According to News & World Report, there were 4,298 post-secondary institutions in the US in 2017—1,626 public, 1,687 independent, and 985 for-profits. Among the top twenty US colleges with one of the most overseas students (according to the 2019 Open Doors Fast Facts report), 13 are public and 7 are private. So keep in mind that a college or university's excellence is independent of its status as a public or private institution.

Read our article about Admission consultants for study in the US to get a foundational understanding of Undergraduate admission consultancy services.

What Degree Levels and Degree Types Are Offered at US Colleges and Universities?


The initiation of undergraduate study is possible right after secondary school. There really are two possible approaches: a two-year associate’s degree and a 4 year bachelor’s degree.

Generally, associate’s degrees are issued at two-year US community colleges, whereas bachelor’s certificates are awarded from four-year institutions and universities. Students select a major, or area of specialization, for their academic research in both situations. In addition to courses in a major, students can take obligatory core curriculum or general education subjects that enhance critical thinking and communication skills.


Graduate education is only available to individuals who have obtained a bachelor’s degree. In many countries, graduate studies are called post-graduate studies and can run up to five years or more. In the US, work done after completing a master's degree program, including doctoral studies, is referred to as post-graduate studies.

The master's and doctorate (or doctoral) degrees are the two alternatives available to international students who have earned bachelor's degrees in their home nations, the United States, or third countries.

Master’s degrees typically require about one or two years of study. Most master's programs require a thesis (a lengthy, thoroughly researched essay) or project to be finished in the final trimester before students can get their master's degree.

The following two factors will determine the length of doctoral programs:
  • Whether graduates in a comparable profession are required at first to acquire a master's degree, and
  • Length of time needed to finish a dissertation

In general, the curriculum for a PhD programme will take about 3 years if you have already earned a master's degree. After completing doctorate coursework, you normally start working on a dissertation, research paper, or another degree-related project. With any article or assignment, a faculty member will function as a supervisor or adviser.

International students may participate in a variety of additional ongoing training or certificate programs in addition to such degree progams. Some are additional to degree-related studies, while others might count toward obtaining the necessary licenses to work in particular professions.

What should You know about major selection and course of study?

No matter what career path students take after graduating, the US educational system is set up to teach them social skills that will be helpful. In order to obtain a degree, students who are enrolled in colleges or universities must take a range of courses.

Taking courses outside of one's selected academic subject of study is a new concept for many foreign students. However, liberal arts courses in disciplines like history, English literature, and foreign languages, as well as those in math, the social sciences, and the natural sciences, are valued by US colleges and universities. These classes are regarded as crucial building blocks for developing critical thinking, logical reasoning, and communication abilities.

What Should You Know About University Applications and College Applications in the USA?

Be prepared for a fairly involved, drawn-out, and occasionally perplexing application procedure when enrolling to US colleges and universities. However, if you take the proper approach and follow the right advice, you may locate the ideal location for your purposes.

You can get more details about how Masterclass Space can help you with your inquiries on Admission consultancy services for Chicago on our website