The US educational system is totally different from India’s educational
system. US has more than 3300 accredited colleges and universities.
The typical types of programs offered are:
Undergraduate Programs (Bachelors Degree)
First level of post secondary education after twelve years of primary and
Secondary schooling includes four years of education resulting in a
bachelor’s degree. This is different from India where the bachelor’s
program is for three years. Two year programs called Associate degrees
are available for those who do not want to put in four years.
Graduate Programs (Master’s and Doctorate Degree)
Similar to post graduation programs in India, the duration is for a year and
the minimum age for admission is 16 years which includes 12 years of
primary and secondary schooling and four years of college education.
Types of Institutions
There is no central ministry and each institution determines its own
program and has its own admission standards. There are several private
and state funded colleges.
Universities include undergraduate colleges as well as graduate and
Four year colleges are undergraduate institutions offering academic
programs leading to a bachelor’s degree. Community colleges or junior
colleges are undergraduate institutions offering upto two years of
academic instruction beyond secondary school at a relatively low cost.
These offer certificate programs that last for a few months to a year as
well as associate degrees.
Institutes of technology or polytechnic institutes offer specialized
programs in sciences and engineering, in addition to basic sciences,
humanities and the social sciences, at both the graduate and
This is very important as it provides recognition for the concerned
university or program for its performance and quality. This is normally
conducted by non governmental agencies which are called accreditation
Fall Semester (September/October):
This is the main intake and almost all programs are offered at this times.
More financial aid is also available for this semester and as funds are
allocated for the entire year during this time.
Spring Semester (January/February):
This is the mid-year intake. There is limited financial assistance available
for this semester as most universities allocate funds to projects in the Fall