US: Aiming for unlimited success
Students are offered a range of attractive course packages that will boost their potential
The US has long stood as an attractive destination for higher education for a number of reasons, namely quality, value, choice and flexibility. The availability of different types of institutions such as public and private, and sizes also play a factor in its popularity.
Students are spoilt for choice with options ranging from technology to liberal arts, allowing them to pursue a variety of programmes that meet their interests. With the American model as part of its syllabus, the educational system features a semester or trimester course that includes exams, projects, attendance and written papers that are counted towards final grades of the school year. This type of education is hands-on and provides an open and interactive environment between students and professors. It integrates learning, helping students to utilise practical ideas, rather than memorising facts or limiting their scope to theory and textbooks.
Graduate studies in the US are flexible and structured to allow students to conveniently pursue their passion and complete their degrees with a plethora of subjects. It has options to ensure success through the provision of a structured approach for advanced degrees such as PhD, Masters, etc.
Secure a seat in a US university
Academics, extra-curricular activities and the diversity are in the favour of international students. Universities in the US look for students that are qualified at different levels. Firstly, English is an essential requirement, hence students must take standardised tests to prove their fluency prior to enrolment. Academic achievement is also important at the secondary and high school level. Extra-curricular activities such as sports, community service and volunteering are given due consideration and can improve chances of acceptance. The admissions office considers all factors when assessing an applicant.
International students in US universities can take advantage of its openness to diversity. Universities aim to have a diverse student body, in terms of race, gender, religion, background and country of origin. These factors are also taken into account when a student applies to the university. It further adds to their assessment of how the student will benefit and contribute to the university experience.
Strong community base
Education institutions in the US possess high-end technology for intensive technical study, alongside a developed life system. Many universities also have Muslim students' associations that ensure the presence of communal facilities for prayer, observe special days and organise events. During Ramadan, for instance, these associations organise gatherings for Iftar.
A social network is also in place to support students regardless of their origin - be it students from the UAE or from South Asian countries - giving them a welcoming environment. The US also offers options for those looking to enrol in all-female universities.
The application process
Prepare yourself for a long and time-consuming process and gather information to know the steps to take. The US has two educational centres in the UAE - one in Abu Dhabi and another in the US Consulate in Dubai - that cater to students' needs. These centres act as a guide and advise students via appointment through various communication channels. They can help direct students to universities that best fit their needs and academic credentials, keeping in mind what they aim to achieve from a US-based education spectrum.
Standardised exams such as SATs and ACTs are also explained. A point to note is that the application processes differ from university to university, and while some accept scores from universal exams, others require students to sit through individual tests to qualify for enrolment. Both parents and students can later learn about the financing system, which may be a defining factor in choice for international students.
Educational advice centres are free to access and open to the public. Furthermore, they tend to participate in many education-related conventions such as NAJAH and the Abu Dhabi Education and Training Exhibition, as well as fairs in Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.
Securing an appointment with advisors may take time, which is why it is recommended to plan ahead and book in advance. The advising centres are well worth it, as they also conduct pre-departure orientations for students going to the US for better preparation.
The centres offer one-on-one advice, access to a library and resources, guide with a selection of universities, offer internet access and leadership programmes, and summer camps, to name a few. They also organise visits from US college representatives to the UAE, promising a good academic and life experience.
Acceptance into university
In the US, institutions look for the Advanced Placement Programme. Many universities do recognise the IB programme, which gives students an advantage when it comes to receiving credits for university studies. Besides, standardised tests and other qualifications for the US deadlines change and are often the norm in many schools. Keep in mind that application deadlines are usually scheduled for November or December.
Fees and finance
Fees are different per US institution, and advising centres can guide students with alternative ways of financing such as scholarship funding.
As mentioned earlier, US universities desire international students because American society values diversity. Based on the acceptance, universities offer prospective students an I-20 form to apply for a visa.
American universities in the UAE, for instance, offer good programmes, but travelling to the US adds further value to experience. At times, adjusting to a new culture or city can be a challenge, and students may be worried about leaving their families, friends and comfortable lives behind. However, those attending universities in the US have shown positive feedback during their learning period and developed long-lasting connections by being present in a fresh, dynamic environment.
Aside from performing well academically, students learn to mature as adults, transforming them into independent thinkers that contribute to society.
The possibilities are endless, especially as the GCC region holds US education in high prestige. The quality of completed degree is highly considered for equipping students with real-time skills that are much required in private and public sectors here.
Websites of US Embassy, Abu Dhabi and Consulate in Dubai
General search engines for education in the US
University and college search
SAT and ACT: www.collegeboard.org; www.act.org
English Proficiency (TOEFL, IELTS): www.ets.org; www.ielts.org
Graduate Record Examination (GRE): www.gre.org; www.ets.org
Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT): www.mba.com
Law School Admission Test (LSAT): www.lsac.org
Medicine College Admission Test (MCAT): ttps://students-residents.aamc.org/
Submitting Applications: www.commonapp.org
Institutional Accreditation (Universities and Colleges)
Council for Higher Education Accreditation (US): www.chea.org
US Department of Education: www.ed.gov
Commission for Academic Accreditation UAE: www.caa.ae
Get Educated (Online Institutional Accreditation): www.geteducated.com
Programme Accreditation (Academic Programmes)
Business Programmes: www.aacsb.edu
Engineering and Science Programmes: www.abet.org
Architecture Programmes: www.naab.org
Law Programmes: www.americanbar.org
Pharmacy Programmes: www.aacp.org
Dentistry Programmes: www.ada.org
Medical Programmes: www.ama.org
Medical Residency Programmes: www.ecfmg.org
Online Accreditation (Distance Learning Programmes)
Distance Education and Accrediting Commission (DEAC): www.deac.org
Get Educated: www.geteducated.com
Links available on US Embassy website:
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