Studies in the land of opportunity : in the USA

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Ever thought about studying in the USA? To save your time on meaningless meditation, StudyEnjoy has explored its educational system.

The USA has the world’s largest international student population which keeps growing. About 800 thousand students from all over the world chose this country because of potential career opportunities. But let’s take a closer look at how to take the first steps toward your dream.

StudyEnjoy has interviewed Alexandra Keosayan, a foreign student currently getting her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and TV Production at the University of New York.

Alexandra Keosayan

Her journey to the USA was definitely not the easiest: Alexandra has completed 10 years in a Russian gymnasium with a stress on German language and culture. She has left one year before her graduation to continue her studies at TASIS, The American School in England, where she spent two years completing a full IB (International Baccalaureate) program.

“Application process was happening in the fall of my Senior year, so I was able to find out where I got accepted already in spring. I was required to send in my SAT score, while also providing test results for TOEFL as a non-­native English speaker, predictions for my IB grades from every professor and a creative portfolio. I sent in a short film and a couple scripts I created, together with letters of recommendation and essays assigned by NYU that year”

Studying programs

The variety of studying programs is a strong point of American education. At the graduate level, you can find a major in almost any desired field from a degree in EcoGastronomy to Equine Studies.

Although the undergraduate level usually offers programs in more common disciplines, it doesn’t mean that you won’t find courses that are interesting for you. In the US, you can find colleges with relatively flexible distribution requirements, which make it possible to combine different courses in order to build your own curriculum based on personal preferences. One of the best known colleges with an open curriculum is Brown university.

Although most colleges are fairly conservative and won’t give you complete freedom in of choice of courses. Normally you’ll be supposed to yield a certain number of credit points in required academic areas but in any case, you will get outstanding research and educational opportunities.

Costs

The only but is probably the price.

First, you have to keep in mind some pre-departure expenses as those for TOEFL or IELTS, if your native language is not English (usually between one hundred fifty and two hundred dollars depending on country). SAT, a test widely used for college admissions (circa $100) and probably some other tests depending on the chosen university. And in any case don’t forget about the application fees that may vary between universities, but normally are about $50 per application.

Although SAT is not an admission requirement for all the American universities, it’s strongly recommended to pass it anyway. Why? This test is an absolute must for applying for almost any scholarship and we are sure you understand why getting material support is so important especially in the case of studies in the USA. 

Statistics of the College Board and the U.S. Department of Education show that even for a 2-year studies in a public college you have to budget at least $11,000 for a year, and it won’t actually be a full degree. What you end up with is called an associate’s degree and can be completed within 2 or 3 additional years of studies to a full bachelor degree. 

To get a full degree you have to be prepared to pay from $19,000 per year depending on the school of your choice.

“For an International Student without Financial Aid or Scholarships, studying at NYU Film amounts to almost $60,000 per academic year. Housing in one of the dorms would be approximately an extra $1,700 per month. Students can also obtain Meal Plans for the dining halls. NYU doesn’t cover transportation via subway, but we do have buses circulating as well as safety rides at night, which can pick you up if you are in danger”

We hope that those numbers didn’t scare you, although those costs for transport and living will add some $5,000 to your annual expenses.

Besides getting a scholarship there’s another great way of reducing costs. If you’re not afraid of leaving campus, you can save on housing even if living on your own may look a bit frightening first.

“Compared to the rest of the United States, New York is a whole other animal, so to speak, and it can get overwhelming here. A couple of secrets: you don’t have to spend your first years in the dorms; you could live, say, in Brooklyn or even closer, a reasonable commute away from campus, and pay less for an apartment rental. Finding a place to rent is a very quick process in NYC; be ready to decide on the same day or even on the spot”

After you got the confirmation of enrollment from your university, there’s only one step left on the journey to your dream college: applying for a student visa ($160) and paying the SEVIS I-901 Fee which is part of your enrollment ($200).

Cutting-edge

Even if studies in the USA are controversial because of their high price, the fact that American universities are at the forefront of technology can’t be denied. And for those who are interested in building a career that requires technical affinity and excellent know-how, this is a good reason to chose this country.

Motion picture industry is one of those fields where American leadership is omnipresent and therefore doing studies in the land of opportunity is a fixed idea for everyone dreaming of a successful cinematography career.

Alexandra Keosayan in production 2

“Hundreds of thousands of people try to get into my school or just be present in the film scene both on the East coast and in the West. The States are the hub of film production and success to many, and it shows through the competitiveness of the environment. But it is so worth it. If I make it here, I would be set for a long time”

Alexandra Keosayan in production

Choosing the right city

If you’re still in hesitate, which place to choose for your studies: between a megacity like New-York or a calmer region like New England, here is a point which will probably help you to make you mind up:

“I believe there are two types of people : those who can’t handle NYC for more than two weeks, and those who fall in love with it. I cannot imagine living anywhere else, now that I moved. It has everything one would want, and if one wants to get out of the urban space ­ ocean beach, mountains to hike or forests are all within an 1hr train ride from the city. It is easy to feel lonely in such a crowded and busy city that doesn’t stop for a second, but if the pace attracts you ­ there isn’t a better place for a young ambitious person”

Anyway if you ever want to leave, American universities are offering nice mobility opportunities for their students:

“We have an array of amazing programs all over the world, including Florence, Paris, Shanghai, Abu­Dhabi, London, Cuba, etc. Personally, I am not planning to leave, because I want to use all the time available to me in NYC as a student and get the best out of it”

17178926219_ccbab87595_o     Olga Spivak for StudyEnjoy

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