To study in the USA is a dream for many. Some want to visit the places they see in popular movies. Some want to simply have a taste of the American culture. Whatever your reasons might be, there are some things you have to be aware of before taking the leap to study in the USA.
1. College towns and commuter cities are two different worlds!
Since you are thinking of taking higher education in the USA, you might have come across these two terms during your research, college towns, and commuter cities. If you will be going to an educational institution in a college town then you should expect to only see students, university staff and residents.
Commuter cities are the opposite. These are the big cities where the working population makes up most of the residents. You won’t see students as often as you would in a college town and your social life will be spent more with the working class instead of people your age who you share the same goals with. There’s also a higher chance that you’ll get lost in a commuter city!
It’s best to familiarize yourself with this cultural difference before making a decision so that when you finally study abroad, you won’t have any regrets!
2. Where you go and what you study will be very important factors.
American universities and institutions have a way of instilling discipline and character to their students. Choosing where to go when studying abroad will involve more factors compared to deciding where to go in the Philippines. You will have to consider the school culture, lifestyle, discipline, graduates, and programs the schools are known for.
It’s also best to have a genuine interest in the program you are choosing since the people you will meet are just like you! You’ll find it easier to socialize and make friends when you are surrounded by people who share the same interests.
This is also why choosing where to go is of vital importance. Check USA school profiles and websites to see if their culture suits you. After all, when studying in the USA, schools choose you rather than you choose them!
3. Classes are chill but grades are not!
If you’re the type who rushes to finish assignments and has never missed a deadline once in your life, then you will be well prepared for college life in the US. This is because American students tend to be more laid-back compared to us when it comes to classes.
As you may have noticed in movies and TV shows, students in America work their classes into their schedule instead of working their schedules to their classes! But do not mistake this attitude for laziness or slacking off: professors in the US don’t mind if you’re chill as long as you can back it up. In the States, your grades and your GPA determine everything! But don’t worry, if you don’t have high grades right now you can still obtain a scholarship!
4. Your first week will feel like a typical American college movie!
Just like in some universities and colleges in the country, your first week will be your “orientation week” or “welcome week.” However, this time you will not be in the Philippines.
You’ll get lost, you’ll find yourself in classes you’re not supposed to be in, you’ll be confused more often than not and you will be hungover and drunk! Yes! Parties are pretty common in college campuses all over the United States and to make friends, you will have to attend some.
So best be prepared and make sure to have enough discipline in your soul to stop yourself from indulging too much of the glamorous American college lifestyle!
5. It costs to study in the USA.
Since the USA has one of the world’s top leading economies, the price of basic necessities such as food, water, transportation, education, and such will cost more than what you will expect. Plus, higher education in the USA is known to be quite expensive!
It’s wise to have a financial plan before you study in the USA. You can also check out student loans and study abroad scholarships to lighten the financial load that an education in the United States will bring upon you.
6. Expect great student services.
Universities and higher institutions in the United States are known for their great student services. You might have noticed in movies that school counselors often play a big role? This is because counselors and college services are a big part of American college systems.
So if you need financial aid, career advice, on-campus counseling or someone to talk to about your courses, you’ll never have a problem finding someone. Just go to your student center and you’ll have a counselor waiting for you.
7. Universities and colleges offer great flexibility.
When you’re a college student in the Philippines, the last thing you’ll think of doing is change your course. In the USA, universities are open to students changing courses as much as possible. This might sound pretty weird to you, but that is the culture when studying in America. You can switch and go after what your heart truly desires even if it takes you years to know what it is!
You can even easily change colleges by using your college credits and it won’t cost you a dime!
8. Textbooks can be really expensive!
It is a well-known fact in the US that textbooks can be really expensive. Good thing Gen Zs and millennials are resourceful and you won’t have a problem looking for resources online! US students usually have online groups on social media dedicated to sharing reading materials for their lessons. Just make a friend and you’ll be in student-sharing heaven in no time!
9. Sports are a big thing!
This may not be surprising for you since college sports in the Philippines also matter. School spirit is a big part of college life in the States as well. Sporting events are also some of the biggest social events you will experience as an international student! So be ready for some school spirit because wherever you find yourself in, you’re going to need a lot of it!
10. You’ll meet people from all over the world.
The US is famous for a lot of reasons and one of them is the vibrant, one-of-a-kind student culture! This attracts students like yourself, from all over the world! So expect to have a diverse group of friends and get ready to meet, experience and hear stories about all sorts of things. It will definitely be a memorable experience for you!