How do you select the best university or graduate school for you? It’s a choice that can change your life, especially during these uncertain times. For more than a million international students from around the world each year, the answer is the United States. Far more international students study in the U.S. than in any other country.
Why do they choose America? The United States offers world-class academic institutions, top-notch faculty, diverse student bodies, cutting-edge labs and libraries, and mentoring and links with employers that position students for successful careers. U.S. universities comprise over half of the QS World University Rankings top 20 list for 2019, including the top four spots.
At a U.S. university, you will encounter world-class professors who respect student views and encourage critical thinking and meaningful dialogue. American colleges and universities value international students for the unique perspectives they provide both inside and outside the classroom.
You will have opportunities to join social, cultural, and athletic activities within an environment that promotes student health, safety, and inclusion. U.S. universities provide international students the chance to be part of a diverse and motivated community, together with Americans and other international students, experiencing life in a dynamic American city or a unique college town.
With more than 4,000 accredited institutions of higher education in all 50 states, there’s an American college or university that’s right for everyone. The U.S. offers a wide array of quality educational institutions, from large public and research universities to liberal arts colleges and community colleges, situated in diverse geographic regions across the country.
Many of the world’s leaders and innovators are graduates of U.S. universities, and now they are working to solve some of our toughest global challenges. The thousands of Singaporean alumni of U.S. institutions include national leaders, creative entrepreneurs, scientists, artists, public servants, and educators intent on improving our world. They include many of the frontline workers keeping us safe at this critical time. A U.S. education would put you among these distinguished alumni, connecting you to many others through your alumni network.
We recognize the serious challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has posed to students and their families. We hope that Singaporeans who had planned to study this fall in the United States will still do so.
On July 24, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that students on F and M visas will be permitted to engage in distance learning in excess of regulatory limits due to the public health emergency generated by COVID-19. This accommodation provides greater flexibility for students to continue their education in the United States, while also allowing for proper social distancing on open and operating campuses across America. Additionally, student visa applicants who plan to pursue 100 percent online classes, who were enrolled in a course of study in the United States on March 9, 2020, and who are listed as “active” in SEVIS may be issued visas if otherwise eligible.
Students already in the United States may remain in the country to continue their studies following the guidance of the institutions where they are enrolled, including for online learning. U.S. colleges and universities are best positioned to direct international students as to when and how classes will be offered on their campuses; and so we encourage all admitted students to stay in close touch with their U.S. host campuses.
My colleagues and I stand ready to help facilitate your travel. U.S. Embassy Singapore has resumed regular student visa services; and appointments can now be booked through our website now.
If you want to learn more about which U.S. institutions are right for your academic and personal goals, contact one of our EducationUSA advisers who will guide you to a wealth of information and resources. Advisers offer virtual one-on-one and group advising sessions, webinars, virtual college fairs, and digital information to help international students find the answers to their questions about U.S. colleges and universities.
They can also help international students identify opportunities for financial aid or special programs like Optional Practical Training, which allows students to stay in the United States after earning a degree to get work experience in their field. You can find an adviser at educationusa.state.gov or through the U.S. Embassy website.
U.S. institutions take pride in providing safe, welcoming environments for all their students. This fall will be no exception. As always, U.S. colleges and universities are committed to providing a high quality education, while prioritizing students’ health and safety. You can be certain that U.S. higher education institutions are doing everything possible to ensure that an investment in a U.S. degree today is an investment in a successful future.
I encourage you to consider studying in the United States. I know that my studies at the University of California, Irvine changed my life for the better, and I hope you will think about how the American educational experience might fit into your own life trajectory. While things seem uncertain during this difficult moment, a U.S. degree is still the best way to expand your world toward a successful and bright future.
-Rafik Mansour serves as Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Singapore, where he leads 24 U.S. government agencies in advancing the U.S.-Singapore bilateral relationship. Visit sg.usembassy.gov or reach an EducationUSA advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org.