Top Universities in the USA

What IB students need to know about Top Universities in the USA


The USA is one the most popular university destinations for IB students. Clearly, results obtained on the IB exam papers are an important decider for USA university applications. Improved IB results will clearly yield better outcomes for IB students. This will allow you to attend some of the top universities in the USA. Many college and university applicants rely on getting higher marks to get a chance to enter these famous universities.





In this article, we will give an overall introduction to University education in the USA.


In the US, there are over 4,500 institutions in the higher education field, which are managed by independent regional governance bodies. The most common kind of tertiary education is a Bachelor’s degree, which is the major type of undergraduate and normally involves four years of full-time study. Students needs to complete a certain amount of credits in a a specific field. To obtain a bachelor’s, there are very types of institutes that students can attend. Firstly, there are state colleges and universities, which are subsidised by the US state government, and it designed to provide a cheaper kind of tertiary education to citizens. Next, there are private institutions, which do not receive government funding, but rather, receive funding from donations and tuition fees. Thus, private institutions are generally more expensive to attend. Lastly, there are eral arts institutions that offer more specialised courses, and are usually private institutes.


Apart from a bachelor’s degree, students can apply for associate degrees, which normally require only 2 years of studying and are normally offered in community colleges. These kinds of institutes are generally less selective, and accepts most students who applies.


In the US, universities are often categorised by group, and universities in 1 group normally share similar characteristics, in terms of reputation, and prestige. For example, Ivy league is a group of eight top universities in the Northeast region of the US, which all rank in the top 15 universities of the US.


Many parents often ask about US university rankings. While there is not an official ranking system, there are private independent organisations that aims to conduct rankings annually. Generally speaking, US universities are ranked top globally.


Another common question is how to apply for US universities. As most US universities are independent, each university may have a different application process and set of requirements. In recent years, a non-profit organisation, The Common Application, was created to allow students to apply to over 600 universities through a centralised system. While the popularity of the Common Application is certainly growing, but there are still many schools that are not under the system. Moreover, many schools under the common application still have unique and special requirements.


Many parents also are curious about how top US universities select its students. Relative to other regions like the the UK and Hong Kong, US universities tend to evaluate students with a more holistic approach, and consider various aspects in addition to academic results. It is also important to note that there is not an official entrance exam applicable to all universities, but many universities will look at students’ SAT and ACT results. In addition to academic results, most US universities will look at students’ personal essays, proof of english proficiency and letter of recommendation.


Each US university have a slightly different deadline as well, mostly in around December and January. As you may realise, the deadline comes before the IB final exams, which is why US universities generally look at IB student’s predicted grades.


Unlike HK and UK universities, top US universities generally do not set a required minimum score for accepting students. Instead, they look at a varieties of factors, including interview performance, the application essay, the letter of recommendation, performance on the SAT or ACT, and even athletic and extra-curricular achievements. Most universities also do not list out their requirements on their website. Thus, if you are really keen on applying to a certain university, we recommend that you should try to speak to the university representatives directly to get a clearer picture.


US universities generally are very receptive to IB students. Many even offer university credits to students who have completed certain IB courses. This means that IB students can make fewer courses to graduate, as certain IB courses can count towards university credits.

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