If you are reading this we’ll assume you are thinking of going to study in the US – which is great. The US has a rich history and has loads of exemplary educational opportunities. There’s no doubt that studying in the US will leave a memorable mark in your life.
But before you make that move, take a step back to learn a few things that will help you understand and transition better in the US education system. You might have an idea from all the American movies you’ve watched, but truth be told, some of these movies exaggerate a lot. You should therefore not base your knowledge entirely on these. To help you out, here are some key things you should know about studying in the USA:
Universities are called colleges
In other countries, ‘college’ refers to institutions that offer vocational training. However, in the US, college’ is synonymous with ‘university’. Knowing this will help you avoid a lot of confusion, especially when choosing the university to study in.
You don’t have pressure to choose what to study immediately
Here’s how things work in the US. Students pick 5 subjects every semester and then pick a major (the subject they’ll graduate in). These subjects can be far from the major you pick. It’s common to have students pick robotics as their major and minor in English literature, mathematics, Italian or something quite removed from robotics.
Your first week can be heaven or hell
Most universities use the first week to orient new students. Students are allowed time to learn the campus, make friends, sign up for clubs, fraternities and societies they’re interested in, attend parties and some events put together by the school.
During this week, your brain will be tasked to remember loads of names of people you meet and store a copy of the map of the campus. You’ll also be expected to keep up with the general energy in the campus and bear with getting lost numerous times. Whether you hate it or love it, it’s a tradition you have to go through.
Textbooks are expensive
Individuals in the business of producing college reading materials in the US make a lot of money. These study materials cost a lot of money. But luckily, there are many social media groups that share and pass on 2nd-hand study materials and are becoming popular in the US. Be on the lookout for these groups as they can save you some good money.
Classes are laid back but the grading isn’t
Throughout your school life, you’ve probably had to keep up with some strict class rules, including showing up to class on time, never missing classes and always being up to date with your assignments.
Well, now you can relax. But if you do maintain this attitude, you will be ahead of your American classmates. You’ll quickly notice that students in US colleges usually work classes into their timetables and not the other way around. This means that they show up when they please and are relaxed when it comes to the course responsibilities.
However, this does not mean that they are lazy. If you relax too much, don’t be shocked when you flunk in your subjects.
There are more colleges aside from the ivy leagues
Ivy leagues in the US are prestigious for their quality. However, there are other great universities to choose from. It just depends on the course you want plus the experience. Before you jump on one of the Ivy League universities, it is important to consider the other more than 4000 universities available. You just might find one that’s perfect for what you want to study and even save some money in the process.
College sports are a big deal
In other countries, college sports teams aren’t a big deal. In some cases, it’s just a bunch of friends coming together to have some fun. But in US colleges, things are different. You’ll be expected to go to matches, keep yourself updated and be involved. Luckily, it’s fun.
Before you settle for any university, do your research. Ask around and read reviews online. Once you’ve chosen your best college, and have all these points in memory, you are prepared to have the time of your life studying in the US.