Higher education

1. Admission requirements 

Out of more than three million students who graduate from high school each year, about one million go on higher education. Getting accepted at your choice college or university can be challenging. Universities tend to favor the overachievers, but for us average students what can we do to gain admission to a quality education?

Students apply to one or more colleges or universities by submitting an application which each college evaluates using its own criteria. The college then decides whether to extend an offer of admission to the student. The system is decentralized: each college has its own criteria for admission, even when using a common application form. Common criteria includes: 

- ACT (American College Testing) 

- SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test)

- extracurricular activities 

- Grade Point Average 

- general college admission essay.

Even if you're planning on going to a local community college, having a good overall grade will help immensely. Community colleges usually accept all different students at different levels who are serious about learning. Many of them require a preadmission test, only to see what level you're at and to let you what you need to do before starting their classes. They also have advisor's ready to listen and help figure out what’s right for you. Remember, they want you to succeed.

Universities are a bit more strict and look for more than just a good GPA. Some require you to write an essay telling all about yourself and proving to them why you should be there. They want to see how sincere you are about learning, what your lifestyle is like and how well you do around people. Having a good social standing is observed and taken into consideration as well. They want to make sure you won't hinder others in achieving their goals. They don't want you to waste their time either. A university generally costs more than an average college, but offers higher degrees, services and status. In the end, they favor students that really want to learn and have shown in the past their willingness to work hard.

If you are one of those over-achievers perhaps you are on your way to a scholarship. Many places will often pay for you to go to your desired school. If you have impressed the people around you, achieved many goals and met the requirements for certain scholarships you will automatically be accepted.

Being ahead of the crowd, working hard, and most importantly taking your education seriously will get you admission much easier. The Universities and colleges of the USA have one goal and that is to help their students succeed and build futures that will last.

2. Types of schools in higher education

Higher education in the U.S. is also called postsecondary education. The system of higher education in the US comprises three categories of institutions: 

1) the university, which may contain 

a) several colleges for undergraduate students seeking a bachelor’s (four-year degree)

b) one or more graduate schools for those continuing in specialized studies beyond the bachelor’s degree to obtain a master’s or a doctoral degree

2) the technical training institutions at which high school graduates may take courses ranging from six months to four years in duration and learn a wide variety of technical skills 

3) the two-year, or community colleges, from which students may enter many professional of may transfer to four-year colleges.

Any of these Institutions, in any category, might be either public or private, depending on the source of its funding. Some Universities and Colleges have  

One of the most distinctive features of U.S. universities is the flexibility in choice of courses within a college or university. More importantly there is also the option for students to move between one institution and another. Completing the first two years of a degree at one institution, usually a community college, and then moving to another, is very common. All these have made the United States, a dream destination, for thousands of students.

3. Degrees of higher education

As far as we know after completing high school or the twelfth grade, students are admitted to college or university for higher education. Study at a college or university leading to the Bachelor's Degree is known as "undergraduate" education associate degree. Study beyond the Bachelor's Degree is known as "graduate" school, or "postgraduate" education (Master’s degree). Advanced or graduate degrees include law, medicine are doctorate degrees.

Associate Degree

Associate degrees are awarded to the students after the completion of the two-years or 60 credits semester hours. Now, associate degrees are available online, allowing you to study whenever or wherever you want. Once you get an associate degree, you typically need another 2 years or 60 credit hours to earn a bachelor (college) degree. 

Bachelor’s degree (undergraduate education)

There are a large number of programs available for Undergraduate education within the US. In all major universities, Undergraduate programs have high standards of admission. 

In the United States, most undergraduate education takes place at four-year colleges or universities. In the United States, students in their first, second, third, and fourth years of study are called respectively, freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Some institutions offer primarily or exclusively undergraduate education, while most universities offer graduate study as well. Successful completion of undergraduate work generally requires the completion of many courses of varying subject and difficulty and a concentration or major that focuses on a particular academic discipline. 

Most students have to pay a huge amount of tuition fee which varies for different categories of students, for example, for instate students, the fee is less than out of state students and international students have the highest amount of fee. Once students take the standardized tests, they choose their kinds of programs depending on the type of degree they want to pursue.

Master Degree

After completing post graduate program in a particular discipline Master degree is awarded to a student. The post graduate program generally lasts from one to three years. Bachelor’s degree is a necessary requirement for gaining a Masters’ degree. A master's level education can mean entry into a profession, the chance for promotion in an existing position, or personal enrichment and achievement. It's a degree only three percent of Americans ever attain.

Doctorate Degree

A doctorate degree is the highest academic degree. It demonstrates expertise in a particular subject and indicates that the earner is able to conduct and present research of a scholarly nature. The doctorate program can be taken up after the Masters degree.  It usually takes 3 to 6 years to complete a doctorate program. 

4. Credit System

In the US system of education the term course is different from what we know. Academics in higher education is divided into modules called ‘courses’. Each academic course includes fieldwork course, laboratory course, lecture course, studio or performance course, practical course or seminars or research course. 

At the undergraduate level you are required 4 years of study and minimum number of credit hours. Credit hours are the number of hours of instruction that are scheduled per week. On successful completion of a course, a student’s performance is judged with both the course grade and a set number of credit hours.

In the semester system, academic year is divided into two semesters – the fall and the spring. Students usually take up 16 credits each semester (32 each year). There may be an optional session during the summer. Number of credit hours is also decisive factor for determining your status as the full-time or part-time student.

At the graduate or the master’s degree level, the minimum number of credit hours required is 30. A student can get his or her master's degree by taking 8 courses of subjects with 3 credits each.

5. Educational Methods

Inquiry Seminars are conducted as large group resource sessions. They are designed to provide opportunities to explore and discuss major topics of professional interest and theoretical concepts which are central to the development and practice of the profession. Presentations by guest lecturers, small group activities, large group discussions, and student presentations are commonly used formats to enhance learning. Inquiry seminars serve to promote critical thinking and provide the theoretical perspectives to guide and support the learning process.

Problem-Based Tutorials are central to the learning process. Students, in small groups, meet the course objectives by exploring a variety of health and professional problems likely to be encountered in practice. The focus is on problem-based learning to gain knowledge, and on clinical reasoning to apply and integrate knowledge within a relevant context. The tutor functions as a facilitator of learning rather than a disseminator of information. Tutorial size may vary from five to eight students. Tutorial group membership is changed each term to maximize interaction among faculty and students. 

6. The Universities. This top colleges and universities list has been created after careful consideration and evaluation of numerous factors, including reputation, competitiveness, admissions criteria. Like all lists of top universities and colleges, the criteria used to determine rank is somewhat subjective

7. Conclusion

College or Institute gives an opportunity to work hard and achieve success. The students can have an enjoyable, balanced experience and adopt a healthy approach to their studies and College life. There is a wide range of enrichment opportunities and support a range of activities to broaden and enhance their student experience. They can take part in as much or little as they wish.