Do you want to go to college in the United States? There are a few basic yet important things that you should know about attending a college or a university in the U.S.*
First, most colleges require students to pay tuition. While a college education in other countries might be free or offered at a low cost, in the United States tuition for a full year of college can cost between $5000 to $50,000 a year. Most students have to take out loans to pay for their education; however, some financial help is available through scholarships and grants.
Some schools require students to live on campus. Students who live on campus live in residence halls or dormitories. They share a room with one or more students. They also share bathroom facilities. Students eat together in large dining halls that provide a wide variety of food choices. Most dining halls are all-you-can-eat, so no one leaves hungry.
Some students live off campus in apartment buildings, or they rent houses. Other students live in fraternity or sorority houses. Fraternities and sororities are college organizations that attract students with special interests in particular areas of study; however, the main purpose for fraternities and sororities is social activity. They are well-known for hosting special events, fundraisers, and parties.
The first year of college is called freshman year. A freshman is usually 18 or 19 years old and away from home for the first time. Freshman students take general courses intended to provide a solid foundation for the academic courses that they take in the following three years.
The second year of college is called sophomore year. Sophomores take general courses while considering a narrower focus on courses that are related to a particular major. A major is the main area of study that provides preparation for a career. Majors are offered for many different fields: art, economics, business, education, history, philosophy, architecture, computer sciences, and so on. A large university is very likely to offer a major that can match a student's interests.
The third year of college, junior year, and the fourth year of college, senior year, are focused almost entirely on a student's major. By this time, he or she knows which academic area is the best fit. After graduation, students can enter directly into a career or they may attend graduate school to pursue an advanced degree.
Although it's expensive to attend college, the costs are well worth it. Some say this is the best time in a person's life because young people are so open-minded and eager to take advantage of the opportunities offered by a college education. They meet people who have similar interests and they learn how to focus on achieving success. Anyone with enough ambition and a strong desire to learn may fulfill his or her academic and personal goals at an American college.
*Note: The words "college" and "university" are used interchangeably in the United States.
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