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Want to study in the United States?

United States of America is the world's most popular destination for studying abroad. If you want to be one of the international students there, then here's a quick guide to everything you should know about studying in the US and how HSBC can help you with it.

What's different about studying in the US

Culturally diverse

Over 350 languages are spoken in the US, and the country houses the largest international student population in the world. American colleges organise social activities around cultural celebrations or holidays, embracing the diversity of their students.

This your chance to prepare for the world beyond school. Meet students on college campuses from different geographies, socioeconomic backgrounds, race and religion, and enrich your cultural experiences. 

You'll return home with more than just an international education. You'll also build a global mindset along with a new network of friends from all around the world.

Flexible learning environment

Higher education in the US comes with quite a bit of flexibility. You can choose classes that are convenient for you. Grades largely depend on coursework, projects and exams, rather than mere attendance.

What to expect in the first few years

For your first 2 years, you'll take general education courses that everyone's required to take, like math and literature. However, if you decide to change your major after a few years, the American system will allow it. You'll focus on your chosen 'major' subject in the last 2 years of study.

Start at a community college to save money

The tuition in community colleges is significantly more affordable. So you can take general education courses there as a freshman, before transferring to another university to finish off your junior and senior years. Many universities have community college affiliates located in the same area.

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Grading is not just about the final exams

GPA (Grade Point Average), the standard measure of academic success in the US, is important but it isn't everything. Universities also look at the student's participation in extracurricular activities and commitment to community service, in addition to their academic performance.

Top academic institutions usually require at least a 3.5 GPA (out of 4.0), but employers won't necessarily ask for your scores when you're applying for jobs. A good GPA can, however, get you into coveted clubs and organisations.

Emphasis on analytical skills

Unlike Chinese and Indian universities, which evaluate students on test scores, students in the US are graded on their analytical and problem solving capability.

Final exams account for only a portion of the GPA, which allows for a fairer evaluation of the student's knowledge and not just their ability to cram.

Study almost any subject you want

Why do a lot of students go to the US to study? Educational choices are pretty much like American culture itself: diverse. With a huge selection of elective courses, there's greater intellectual freedom in the a liberal arts education.

Compared to UK universities, which emphasise depth in 1 or 2 subjects, US colleges offer an array of subjects mandatory for everyone in their first 2 years. While degrees in the UK and India take 3 years, (except in Scotland), expect to study an extra year in the US.

If you've already arrived, this checklist for settling in might make your first week or two as an international student, easier.

How much it will cost

Tuition fees(*)

The tuition fees will vary from USD 3,500 to 50,000/year:

  • High school: USD 20,000 to 50,000/year
  • Community college: USD 3,500 to 12,000/year
  • Public university system: 10,000 to 20,000 USD/year
  • Private university system: 15,000 to 50,000 USD/year
  • Master's program in public school: 15,000 to 30,000 USD/year
  • Master's program in private school: 20,000 to 40,000 USD/year
  • Doctoral program in publich school: 15,000 to 30,000 USD/year
  • Doctoral program in private school: 30,000 to 50,000 USD/year

Living expenses(*)

In the US, there are 3 popular types of housing for international students, including dormitories, rental apartments and homestays (living with locals), the cost will also vary depending on the type of housing and city. Here are some housing expenses for your reference:

  • If you choose to stay in a dormitory: USD 9,000 to 20,000/year
  • If choosing to live with locals (homestay): USD 10,000 to 18,000/year.
  • If choosing to stay outside in rental apartments: USD 15,000 to 20,000/year. You can reduce costs by sharing the apartment with your friends.

Besides tuition, international students need to prepare other living expenses such as housing, transportation, meals, books and personal entertainment. Here are some of the basic expenses that you may incur during your stay in the US:

  • Food: USD 3,600 to 6,000/year
  • Travel costs during study: USD 600 to 1,200/year
  • Utilities bills (internet, electricity, mobile phone): USD 240 to 600/year
  • Shopping: USD 1,200 to 2,000/year
  • The cost of books depending on the course requirement: USD 1,000 to 2,000/year
  • Entertainment: USD 600 to 1,200/year
  • Medical insurance: USD 300 to 500/year

According to the Value of Education, published in 2018 by HSBC Holdings plc., a global study into education trends, the average amount students say they spend over the course of a 4-year degree is USD 99,417.

(*)The information in this article has been obtained from various sources and is for reference purpose only. Tuition fee and living expenses may be lower or higher than the reference range, depending on your study program, school, city where you learn and yourself.

University students take up part-time jobs to cover their costs. 85% USA students are working in paid employment while studying, and for the majority (53%) this is out of financial necessity. Others work to gain experience that will help enhance their employability at the end of their course.

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Simply leave your details and our Premier team will get in touch with you to help you with saving costs to study in the US.

How to prepare for studying overseas 

English proficiency

Having foreign language certificates not only makes it easier for you to acquire knowledge when studying, but is also necessary for you to adapt to life in the US. The requirements for English proficiency vary for different levels and schools. 

English certificates are not necessary for high school students. However, they need to pass the SLEP test with a score above 45.

Most American colleges and universities require students to have TOEFL iBT from 61 to 79 points, and IELTS score above 5.5. 

If you are looking for conditions to study in the US, work on building your English proficiency. 

Financial proof to study in the US

If you are looking to study in the US, you are required to prove that your financial resources are sufficient to meet your expenses during your stay. 

Although there is no specific amount to prove, on the Form I-20 provided by the school, students must confirm their own banking account balance. Usually the account balance is 1.5 times the required learning amount. The higher the balance, the greater the success rate of financial proof.

Assistance available at HSBC for overseas education

Open a U.S. account remotely, before you leave

Open an HSBC Premier account before studying abroad to enjoy privileges both at home and abroad, be well-prepared to have memorable international experiences.

  • Relationship Manager
    We have a dedicated team of Relationship Managers to support you not only in Vietnam but also worldwide, to get exclusive access to HSBC Premier Centres worldwide.
  • Premier account for Next Generation
    Access to a wide range of exclusive privileges without maintaining a minimum Total Relationship Balance with your very own Premier account. Thereby making it easier for you to receive financial support from your family while studying in the US.
  • Collect your card right at Vietnam
    Open your HSBC account online before you arrive in America using secure video technology. Collect your ATM cards in Vietnam before your departure for free.
  • Global View and Global Transfers
    Through our unique Global View and Global Transfers feature in Online Banking, parents and students can easily manage money between countries while studying abroad. You can also make easy and secure transfers anytime globally with no fees from eligible Premier accounts.

This is to help you easily pay for tuition fees, housing and other living expenses anytime, anywhere without any additional fee.

Join HSBC Premier today!

Simply leave your details and our Premier team will get in touch with you to help you with saving costs to study in the US.

Exclusive benefits for HSBC Premier Mastercard

Make local and global payments with your HSBC Premier Mastercard. While you're learning, enjoy these exclusive privileges and rewards.

  • Free unlimited Wi-Fi through Boingo
    Enjoy free Wi-Fi coverage at over 1 million hotspots worldwide and to connect up to four devices wherever you go. Register with Boingo now and connect your device to their network at the nearest available hotspot during your trip.
  • Lifestyle privileges & benefits
    Contact Mastercard Travel & Lifestyle Services at +1-228-0517 (Viettel); +1-203-2482 (VNPT) to get dining recommendations, access to concerts, gifting & delivery options and more.
  • Emergency cash advance and card replacement
    If you lose your Premier card, call us on +1 314 275 6781. Emergency cash can be arranged before you receive the new card. You can collect cash valued at up to USD 2,000 at over 245,000 outlets across 200 countries/ regions. Our emergency support services apply to any family members holding an additional Premier credit card.

New to U.S. Services Program

Whether it's planning for your move or settling in, we are dedicated to support your journey every step of the way. We can help you with a complimentary 12-month access to a wide range of relocation benefits, including a free 30-day SIM card and exclusive pricing on select services.

  • Booking travel
  • Travel discounts
  • Referrals to moving companies
  • Referrals to international medical assistance
  • Referrals to tax services
  • Help with planning your move
  • Neighborhood guides

A free 30-day SIM card with unlimited international calls

The supplier will provide and deliver applicable SIM Card. Currently, wireless carrier is T-Mobile. Both the supplier and wireless carrier are subject to change. We will cover your cost for the first 30 days, thereafter, you may pay for a special pricing to continue using with the same SIM Card.

This SIM card is for use in USA only. It requires a handset compatible with 4G and above. The plan includes: 

  • 2 GB data
  • Unlimited calls to over 190 countries (as determined by the supplier)
  • 200 texts messages

For more information, check out Studying in the U.S with HSBC.

The US has always been a country that attracts a large number of international students to study abroad every year. Studying in the US not only helps you experience the world's top quality of education, but it also grants you an opportunity to establish independence, confidence and maturity. You will need time to adapt to the American lifestyle and culture. However, it is certain that studying abroad in the US enables you to step out of your comfort zone and you will find that every day of your life will be an opportunity to experience something new, either big or small.

Join HSBC Premier today to make your dream of studying abroad in the US come true!

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