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Studying in the USA - Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to help you know the USA better

Moving to a new country is not easy. The lifestyle, classroom environment, transportation – everything is going to be different from Sri Lanka. And we know you have a lot of questions in your mind, so have answered common questions students like you raise about studying and living in the US.

Do American institutions accept 10+2+3 education system of Srilanka?

This varies from university to university although most American institutions accept 10+2+3 system for masters programs.

What and where to study in the US after 12th?

Choosing a program and an institution in the USA solely depends on your interests, academic background, and budget. To decide where to study and what to pursue, you can start by creating a list of your interests and skills and spend some time reflecting upon it. Do your research to understand which skillset or interest has a good scope professionally. Narrow down your choices accordingly and search for relevant courses and institutions. You’ll also have to take intakes of your preferred courses into consideration, because not all universities or colleges offer programs in all three intakes.

Our handy guide can help you choose a course that suits your profile and needs the best. You can also book a free counselling session with our experienced counsellors who can advise you on course selection, application submission, and visa procedure.

What and where to study in the US after graduation?

Pursuing masters in the US can be one of the best decisions of your life since it’ll not only enhance your technical skills but also give your CV an edge over others. As a Srilankan student with an undergrad degree, you should be ideally looking for an institution that emphasises on practical knowledge, hands-on experience and getting you job-ready.

Universities in the US place great importance on diversity, which means you’ll study with people of different ages, religions and nationalities. This provides a stimulating and rich learning environment that encourages cross-cultural understanding and networking. Since the American education system focuses on practical learning that encourages creative, independent thought and debate, it’s a favourite destination to study.

There are two main categories for graduate programs in the US - master and doctoral.

  • Master’s programs in the US are available in many different areas and have two main course types, academic and professional.
  • The highest degree available in the US is the doctoral degree. Students are required to produce an original piece of research in a doctoral degree. Doctoral students in the US are still required to complete coursework and written examinations rather than just focus on their research.

Begin by taking a look at the subjects you learnt in your undergrad program, list down the ones that interest you. Narrow down to your preferred niche and search for possible programs and universities. Applying to American universities and institutions would also require you to take language and/or aptitude tests. So, do consider your academic scores while deciding what and where to study. Look for the intake offered for your preferred courses and prepare accordingly.

Our experienced counsellors can help you identify and secure the university or college where you can thrive. Visit your nearest IDP office for free advice on how to further your post-graduate career in the US.

Which English language tests are accepted by American institutions?  

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Test of English as a Foreign language (TOEFL) is accepted by universities and colleges in the US. However, we recommend you to check with your preferred institution for the same.

Can students work during studies in the US?

All students with F1 visa are allowed to work 40 hours per fortnight and full-time during vacations.

Are American qualifications recognised worldwide?

Yes, degrees from US institutions are accepted worldwide and known for their quality of education.

What are the accommodation options available in the US?

As a Srilankan student, you can opt for on-campus residence facility or look for an off-campus accommodation. Most universities in the US offer dormitories, sororities, and fraternities for students from other countries. You need to apply for it separately and well ahead in time to secure a slot for yourself.

You can also opt for an off-campus accommodation wherein you can share apartments with other students from Srilanka or put up in a home stay. Your university may also be able to help you with off-campus accommodation since they usually have a list of options available. Student notice boards in your institution will mostly have information on accommodation listings nearby.

Remember, the rentals vary from city to city. Understand that home stay hosts do not make too much money out of the rent you pay; it’s mostly about their love for hosting international visitors so do not over expect from them and ensure to adhere to the house rules, if any.

If you arrive before the date of your course commencement, you’ll have to look for short-term accommodation options in the US. You can try staying at backpackers’ hostels, discounted/budget hotels or your institution may offer you a temporary housing while you settle in a new country.

Is there any special requirement for under 18 students to study in the US?

All students under 18 years of age must have arrangements for a guardian in place for the duration of their stay in the US until they turn to the age of 18. If you do not have a guardian in the US, you can opt for government verified local guardians at a minimal cost. Your IDP counsellor will help you out with the same.

What are some interesting facts about American universities?

Some interesting facts about American universities

As per stats collected for Fall 2018, 19.9 million students enrolled in American colleges and universities

The US hosts the maximum number of international students

The US spends over USD 500 Billion on Research and Development

Yale University is known to have the rarest of books in its library

Harvard has the largest academic library in the nation with 13.6 million volumes


  • Read More
    List of Top Universities in USA
Student visa assistance for the US

Student visa assistance for the US

To study in the US, you’ll have to obtain a student visa first. Our experts can guide you towards the process and update you with the latest information. Know more!
Scholarships in the USA

Scholarships in the USA

Apply to a range of scholarships and grants available for Sri Lankan students
Education system in the US

Education system in the US

Seven out of the top 10 universities as per the THE World University Rankings are from the US, which explains American education is like no other. Know all about it.
Study abroad intakes in the US

Study abroad intakes in the US

American universities offer three major terms for students – Fall, Spring and Summer. Know all about it.

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