Education Systems



FAQ for Study USA

please also refer to "USA Education Glossary' page under 'Study USA' menu.

The terms, college and university, are used interchangeably and mean the same thing in the U.S. As a general rule, colleges tend to be smaller and usually offer only undergraduate degrees, while a university also offers graduate degrees. Within each college or university you will find schools, such as school of arts and sciences or the school of business.

The Academic year will be slightly different for each university but normally runs from end of August/early September to the end of May. It may be divided into two terms of 18 weeks called semesters. Alternatively, the university may have "quarters" or "trimesters", which are about 12 weeks in length. In addition, universities very often provide six to eight week summer terms. These are optional and students attend if they wish to get through their degree faster, to decrease their course load during the regular terms, or to make up for courses not completed successfully during the regular academic year. There are at least two main holidays during the academic year: a two to four week break over Christmas and a one week "spring break" sometime between early March and mid-April.

Students transfer every year from other countries into U.S. degree programs and successfully complete their degrees. However, the structure of degrees in other countries rarely matches the structure of U.S. degrees, making the transfer process more complicated. The types of institutions in other countries also vary from those in the United States.



The Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL, evaluates the potential success of international students to use and understand English in academic settings. It is an admission requirement for non-native English speakers at many colleges and universities in more than 130 countries worldwide.

For the iBT test, online registration is the easiest method. Go to, create a profile, register and pay for the TOEFL iBT test, and designate who should receive your score reports. It is important that you remember your username and password, so that you can return after you test and view your scores online.

You must bring valid identification (passport) and your registration number on test day.


IELTS - you can register for IETLS through Litz USA Student Service

The International English Language Testing System tests the four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. You can choose from two types of IELTS test: Academic or General Training, depending on whether you want to study, work or migrate.

IELTS can be registered through authorized agents (Litz USA Student Service). IELTS is available on 48 fixed dates a year, please contact us for further info.


iTEP - this test is also offered by Litz USA Student Service

The International Test of English Proficiency, iTEP, is an innovative, Internet-based English assessment tool developed by Boston Educational Services.
There are three iTEP exams available and utilized world-wide for various purposes:

  • iTEP Academic and iTEP Academic-Plus exams, used by universities and English language institutes
  • iTEP Business and iTEP Business-Plus exams, used by businesses and government agencies
  • SLATE and SLATE-Plus exams, used by high schools and academies

The U.S. has placed restrictions on foreign students in U.S. Public elementary (kindergarten through eighth grades) and secondary (grades nine through twelve) schools. For international students aged 15-18 they may study in public high schools for the maximum of one academic year through the exchange student program. Certain states in the US also allow international students to enroll with a F-1 student visa for the maximum of one academic year, given the fact that they pay their tuition in full.


Student VISA - with close to 100% Visa success rate, we can save you the trouble and risk in applying for the visa

Most non-U.S. citizens who wish to study in the United States will seek an F-1 (non-immigrant) student visa, but there are other visa types that are sometimes authorized for those who study in the U.S. Here is a short description of the different visa types that involve study:

F-1, or Student Visa: This visa is the most common for those who wish to engage in academic studies in the United States. It is for people who want to study at an accredited U.S. college or university or to study English at a university or intensive English language institute.

J-1, or Exchange Visitor: This visa is for people who will be participating in an exchange visitor program in the U.S. The "J" visa is for educational and cultural exchange programs.

Students may apply for the visa 120 days prior to their departure.

Even if you have been issued a visa to enter the United States and it is your first entry as a student to the United States, you will not be allowed to enter the country more than 30 days before the start of your program. Returning students do not have this requirement. Using the earlier example, if the program of study starts on September 1, you will not be permitted to enter the United States until August 1 or later.

Compared to other countries, admission procedures in US universities are very competitive for international students. Universities and colleges have their own criteria in selection of their students. Most of them prefer the students to apply to them at least one year in advance. With Litz's large network of schools, many can offer more flexibility to our students with regard to the application time and conditions. At the same time, students starting from one of our schools, can also transfer to one of the Top 60 Universities under "2+2" University Transfer System.

Once again, Litz can help you out with the tedious application procedures. In short, before applying for the visa, the student needs to be accepted by the institution. After the institution accepts the candidate, they will provide the necessary approval documentation which is required to apply for the visa. The main requirements include:
-Intend to depart from the United States upon completion of the course of study
-Possess sufficient funds to pursue the proposed course of study.

Working while study is a popular option for students in the United States. Students are allowed to do part time jobs up to 20 hours per week as a full time student. During holidays this is extended up to 40 hours per week.

International students are provided with scholarships by the universities to support their education expenses. This ranges from a few hundred dollars to full scholarships. Private scholarships are also available. They are the educational gifts given by various organizations or individuals, predominantly for academic merit.

USA is considered to be one of the most widely chosen study destination for international students. Apex institutions of learning, infinite study choices, international recognition, industrial training and research, flexibility, exciting campus life, global vision are the main features that make USA perfect for the international students.

Most undergraduate programs require four years of study and in some cases give credit for time spent studying in one's home country. Master's degrees typically require two years of study, awarded after two years of study. PhDs usually require at least three years of study and a lengthy dissertation.

There are four basic institutional types: state universities, private universities, community colleges, and technical/vocational colleges. State and private universities usually offer 4-year bachelor's degrees, community colleges offer 2-year associate's degrees, and technical or vocational colleges usually offer certificates.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): Almost all U.S. institutions require international applicants whose native language is not English to demonstrate their English language proficiency by taking the TOEFL before they are considered for admission. A new, Internet-based version of the TOEFL test (TOEFL iBT) is being introduced beginning in 2006. The TOEFL iBT score assesses speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

SAT Reasoning Test: The SAT Reasoning test is a 3-hour 45-minute long paper-pencil test that assesses how well students analyze and solve problems – skills learned in school that are needed in college. Almost all institutions require the SAT Reasoning Test for undergraduate admission. SAT scores, course grades, and other information about an applicant's academic background help college admission officers evaluate how well prepared the student is for college-level work. Because courses and grading standards vary widely from school to school, scores on standardized tests such as the SAT help colleges compare the ability of students from different schools in different countries.

SAT Subject Tests: The SAT Subject Tests are 1-hour, multiple-choice tests in specific subjects. Unlike the SAT Reasoning Test that measures general abilities, SAT Subject Tests measure student knowledge of particular subjects and the ability to apply that knowledge. Not all colleges require SAT Subject Tests for admission or placement. Many colleges may either require specific combinations of subjects, or permit students to choose from among the various tests. Check the requirements of the colleges where you might apply before deciding which subject tests you need to take. Subject Tests falls in five subjects areas: literature, foreign languages, history, mathematics, and sciences.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): Almost all U.S. institutions require international applicants whose native language is not English to demonstrate their English language proficiency by taking the TOEFL before they are considered for admission. A new, Internet-based version of the TOEFL test (TOEFL iBT) is being introduced beginning in 2006.
The TOEFL iBT score assesses speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE): The GRE test is required for students to enroll in master's or doctoral programs in the arts, sciences, humanities, and engineering fields. It consists of two independent tests, the General GRE and the Subject GRE. The General Test is a computer test that measures verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing skills developed over a long period of time and not necessarily related to a particular field of study. The Subject Tests are designed to measure knowledge and understanding of subject matter related to graduate study in specific fields and also to assess whether a student has the prerequisite background to undertake graduate study in a particular field. Since most graduate departments within a university establish their own entrance requirements, including tests, you should write directly to the universities in which you are interested to find out whether the Subject GRE is required and in which subject.

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT): The GMAT is designed for business schools to assess the qualifications of applicants for advanced study in business and management. It does not test specific knowledge attained through college course-work or achievement in a particular subject area. It measures general verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills developed over a long period of time.

An intensive English language program is a set of courses offered to students who wish to learn English quickly. Programs vary in length but can sometimes be completed in just a few weeks. Programs are available from schools, colleges and universities all over the USA. See our Find English Schools section for more information about specific programs.

This is a very common question! The answer is, it depends. It depends on how much time you spend in the USA, how motivated you are, how much you challenge yourself, and even what your first language was.

As soon as you can! Schools have different deadlines when it comes to accepting applications.

Yes. The United States has one of the world's finest university systems, with outstanding programs in virtually all fields.

No, an international student is not allowed to work off-campus under any circumstances, but is allowed to work 20hrs/per week On-Campus Only.

A transcript is a summary of your academic grades, the number of hours per week that a subject has been taught at class, the marks you have obtained, the maximum marks along with an explanation of the grading system that your college follows.

A major is your primary academic area of interest. If you are studying towards a bachelors degree, there will be a time when you will be required to choose or declare a major field of study. This is a very exciting and important decision -- one that can be fun to determine. Many international students will choose to attend a wide variety of classes or courses during their first two years to help them decide what they will study as their major. There are many major fields of study: journalism, art, forestry, computer science, business... the list goes on. It is a good idea to check what major fields of study are available at the college or university that you would like to attend. You very likely will be able to find a school that has many subjects which interest you. At some institutions, you will also be able to choose a minor field of study. Your major and minor fields of study may not be similar at all. The choice will be up to you!

Once you decide your major field of study, there will be a specific number and type of courses you must take to earn a degree for that particular major. These courses will be very interesting and specialized to help you master the details and skills of your chosen field.

Note: You can change your major before you graduate, but be careful! Often, you may have to meet different course requirements to earn a degree in your new field of study. This can be time-consuming and expensive.

When you register for classes at your college or university, you will notice that each of these courses will be assigned a specific number of credits or credit hours. In order to graduate with a degree, you will need to complete a specified number of credits. Some courses will be given a higher number of credit hours than others. Sometimes this can be an indication of the difficulty of the class, but generally it means that you will be attending a class for this certain number of hours each week.

Typically, students studying toward a bachelors degree in the United States will sign up for 12-15 credit hours each term. (Important! Check with your international student advisor in the United States to determine what is an appropriate amount for your college or university. You will also need to know information to legally maintain your full-time status as a student while in the United States.)

Each college and university determines its own academic year, so this will vary depending on where you study. The academic year in the United States usually begins in late August or early September and continues through May or June. Each year is divided into terms. Typically, a school will have either two terms per academic year (semesters), three terms (trimesters) or four terms (quarters). Many schools divide the calendar year into four "quarters", then designate three of those quarters (usually fall, winter, and spring) as the academic year.

This refers to a Grade Point Average. At the end of a term, each professor or instructor will evaluate your work and your test results to determine a grade for the course. At most U.S. universities and colleges, you will be given a letter grade with a numerical equivalent. This number will be used, along with your other grades, to determine your Grade Point Average. Students in the United States work very hard to maintain an above-average G.P.A.

In many cases, they will be asked to supply G.P.A. information to potential employers after graduation. Graduate schools will also use the students' G.P.A.s when they consider candidates for a graduate degree program.

*If a student receives an F or failing mark for a class, the student will not be awarded credit toward a degree for that class. If the class is required for the completion of the degree, the student must repeat the class and earn a passing grade or higher.