(music playing) CHRISTINA SEYFRIED:
Hi guys. I’m an Austrian college student in Los Angeles, California. And I can tell you, studying in the United States is fascinating. So let’s talk about the U.S. system. On first glance, the U.S. university
system can be fairly complicated. And there are a lot of schools,
majors, and programs. But when you take a closer look,
the whole system follows a very simple structure.
After graduating high school, you need to go to college and
pursue an undergraduate degree, which is either a bachelor of arts
or a bachelor of science. After this, you move on to go to grad school
and pursue a master’s degree or a PhD. There are two institutions
that offer degrees. First, you have colleges, and
second, you have universities. Colleges only offer undergraduate degrees.
This is, again, bachelor. And universities offer both
undergraduate and graduate degrees. So, bachelor and master and PhD.
This is the reason why a lot of universities have
colleges included on their campus. At the moment, I’m in my
second year of college. College is intended to let
people explore their interests. This is the reason why a lot of
colleges require a certain core program. This is a set of classes that you
have to take, and this is from a variety of different fields,
from liberal arts to natural science. For example, I am taking
Buddhist Thought or Religious Studies. Additionally, you have to declare a
major by the end of the fourth semester. This is a specific field you want
to have your bachelor in. For example, I am double majoring in
diplomacy/world affairs and economics. After four years of college,
you’ll receive your bachelor and move on to grad school,
or if you want, to work. So far, we have talked about
undergraduate studies. What are graduate studies, though?
They have two different schools there. You have graduate schools, which
do not offer specific classes for jobs. And then you have professional schools,
which offer specific training for professional studies in
medicine, law, et cetera. Graduate studies can take from
one year to six years, and they are very focused in one field.
They also include original research, which means writing and defending
of a thesis or a dissertation. Applying to college can be a
tough, yet exciting process. When I started my applications,
I had no idea about what to do. So I guess some tips might help. Applications include the
following components. First of all, you have to take the SATs.
These are standardized tests that all Americans and
international students have to take. They consist of three parts:
critical reading, writing, and mathematics. You will receive up to 800
points for each section, and it’s going to be a cumulative score.
Americans prepare for a long time for these SATs because your scores are
very important in your application process. Second, colleges require a lot of essays.
They vary in length and structure, but everyone is looking for
excellence in writing and creativity. Third, you need letters
of recommendations. I, for example, needed up to eight
letters that were written by my professors, teachers, and mentors.
And I was not allowed to see them. They were only sent to the college,
and they are also part of your application. Also, I am an international student,
so I also had to pass a language exam, which is called TOEFL
or Cambridge Exam. College can be very pricey.
So colleges also offer financial aid. Financial aid is divided into
two different components. First of all, colleges give
out need-based aid. This means that if you’re admitted
to colleges, the college itself gives out loans, scholarships,
or other kinds of financial aid, that help you pay for college.
Second, colleges give out merit-based aid. This is based on your excellence
during high school, extracurricular activities, et cetera.
These scholarships are very competitive. I’m glad to say that I got one,
so I can tell you, it’s really worth applying to.
So good luck for all your applications. (music playing)