Many Nordic students are familiar with the US as a destination for exchange studies, but all the more students are choosing to study a degree in the US as well. The US boasts around 4000 higher education institutions, many of which are among the highest ranking in the world, so there's definitely options to pick from! There are vocational degrees, Associate degrees that prepare the students for university studies, Bachelor degrees in colleges and universities, and Master's and Doctoral degrees in universities.
There is no general application period or an application portal to apply to universities in the US. Instead, each university has its own application period of which they inform on their channels. Some universities have a so called open application system, which means that they are receiving applications year around, and if you are successful, you can start your studies on the next starting semester. Fulbright Center offers excellent information on the application process to Bachelor and Associate level degrees in Finnish.
The application process with all the paperwork and dates to remember can be a bit of a hassle. If you are interested in studying in the US, our partner KILROY has a number of partner universities in the US, and their free study counselling is happy to help you through the process, should you decide to apply via KILROY. With Project Assess you can find a mentor, who has gone through the same process and will thus be able to help you avoid the common mistakes and errors with the application, and also write the best application possible.
Student life in the US and financing your studies
Studying in the US is quite expensive in comparison to Nordic and European universities. One academic year at a top university can cost you tens of thousands of dollars and on average one academic year costs around 20 000 - 30 000 USD. On top of this, the student will have to cover costs for housing, transportation, school books and study materials, insurances and all other living expenses. During the application process there are also application fees for approximately 50-100 USD for processing the application.
Although studying in the US may sound astronomically expensive, there are multiple scholarship options for international students to cover at least a part of the fees, while some scholarships may cover half or the entire degree. Universities grant scholarships to international students themselves, but there are also organizations supporting international students planning on studying in the USA. For more information about scholarships and grants in general check out our Scholarships and grants student life article.
Apartment and living costs
Students usually live in on-campus student housing at their university or college or in privately rented flats close to their school. Many universities and colleges aim to offer on-campus housing to first year students, and living in a student dorm is a fantastic way to make friends and be actively participating in life on the campus also after school hours. Certainly, living in a student dorm also means sharing your space and facilities, and you are bound to witness some late night (or early morning) partying at the student halls. A privately rented flat for just you usually means more peace, but usually also costs more, and you'll pay electricity, water, internet and all other utilities on top of your rent. These apartments are also often not as closely located to your school as on-campus student dorms, so you'll have to reserve a bit more time to getting out of bed and to your morning lecture on time than you would in on-campus housing.
Living expenses in the US vary sometimes greatly according to the location of the university/college. Principally, the costs are higher in big cities and their close proximity, and on-campus accommodation can be a lot more costly at top universities in comparison to housing at lower ranked institutions.
Whether your choice is on-campus accommodation or a privately rented flat, make sure you start browsing for accommodation well in advance!
EducationUSA: Your 5 Steps to U.S. Study
Study International: How to Find Student Accommodation in the USA