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U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Study in the States

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Guide to Studying in the States

Guide to Studying in the States

International students who come to the United States must follow a specific set of rules. However, different rules apply depending on your student type and education level.

Use this tool to create a guide for understanding these rules. Then, work with your designated school official (DSO) to make sure you follow them.

Choose Your Student Type

To begin, please select the type of student you are or want to become. Navigate between each student type with your mouse or arrow keys. Accepted students can refer to their Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” and student visa for confirmation of their student type.

If you are unsure which student classification is right for you, please visit the U.S. Department of State’s website.

International students enrolling in an academic program at a university, college, high school, private elementary school, seminary, conservatory or another academic institution, including an English language program.

International students enrolling in a technical program at a vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution, other than a language training program.

Choose Your Education Level

Next, please select the level of education in which you are enrolled or want to enroll. If you do not know the education level of your program, please refer to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program-certified school’s website for more information.

You must select an education level to complete your guide. Navigate between each education level with your mouse or arrow keys.

After you select an education level, select the Submit button below to view your guide.

In the United States, students usually begin a formal educational program around age five or six in kindergarten. Children then complete primary and secondary school which spans from first grade through twelfth grade.

In the United States, students usually enroll in postsecondary schooling as adults (over the age of 18) and this category includes technical and community colleges, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs.

In the United States, non-native English speaking students enroll in intensive training programs that have the sole purpose of increasing fluency in the language. Students of all ages can enroll in English language training programs.

In the United States, students usually enroll in postsecondary schooling as adults (over the age of 18) and this category includes technical and community colleges, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs.