How to choose a university in America
The American system of higher education is recognized as one of the most effective in the world. According to UNESCO, it includes about 6,000 higher education institutions. A huge number of students are studying in the USA – more than 14 million – more than in any other country in the world! America is a world leader in higher education both in scale and number of students, and in quality of education. American universities occupy the top positions in world rankings and surpass even such a recognized leader as the UK in these indicators: among the 45 leading universities in the world more than 30 (i.e. 2/3) are located in the USA; More than half of the top 200 universities in the world are American universities.
Higher education institutions in the United States are very diverse: these are private and public universities, colleges of liberal arts, and so-called. community colleges. All of them play a significant role in the US higher education system, but how can a foreign student understand them and choose a suitable university?
This is not an easy task, because in the USA there is no single universally recognized ranking of universities, as, for example, in the UK and Australia. The education system is decentralized, and most powers are the responsibility of the states, so there is no official rating for educational institutions of the Education Committee or a similar government agency. Moreover, a closer look reveals that the ranking methods used in the UK and Australia, with 115 and 39 universities, respectively, are not applicable in the United States, where there are several thousand higher education institutions. In Australia, students usually focus on the top 10 universities, in the UK – on the Top-30, which includes only 25% of all universities in the country. If you use the same approach to American universities, then the student will have to deal with more than 1000 universities! It is clear that in this way the task of choice for the student becomes even more difficult.
We recommend collecting and evaluating information from various sources. Many students turn to the rating of the Princeton Review company, which is engaged in test preparation and educational consulting. The company has identified 373 leading US universities. However, the rating relies heavily on students’ opinions and is often criticized for inaccuracy and lack of an integrated approach. Quite popular is the rating of US News and World Report, which annually publishes a list of the top 100 universities in the United States. This includes the well-known and reputable universities of America, however, in general, the rating is only the private opinion of a separate publication, which, among other things, compiles the ratings of the best hospitals, cars and uses limited evaluation criteria.
The classification of the Carnegie Foundation universities, which has been published since 1973, is very useful. It is based on a variety of indicators, including the features of the university’s curriculum, analysis of the student community, campus, and educational and research activities of the university. According to the classification of the Carnegie Foundation, only 4,200 of the 6,000 educational institutions can be called universities, since only they give students a four-year education and a bachelor’s degree upon successful completion of the program, while the rest offer two-year education and graduate students with Associate’s Degree (an analogue of our junior specialist) .
Of the selected 4,200, only 400 are full-fledged universities that offer undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in a variety of specialties. As a result, only 96 universities (of which 63 are state-owned) remain in this group, which have the highest research category Tier 1. These are reputable rating universities that annually attract a large amount of funds for research. This is a narrow elite layer of the best universities in America, which include the world famous Harvard, Princeton, Yale universities and other institutions of the Ivy League.
In this highest qualification category Tier 1 are partner universities of the educational concern INTO (in particular, Oregon State University and University of South Florida), which makes it possible to enter the best American universities and with which DEC education works.