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EDUCATION REPORT - Foreign Student Series, #2: First Steps - 2004-09-08

Broadcast: September 9, 2004

This is Gwen Outen with the VOA Special English Education Report.

We begin a series of reports for students who want to study in the United States.

Step one is to visit an American educational advising center. There are more than four hundred of these offices around the world. You can find them through the State Department Web site for international students. We will give that address later. Or you can ask the Public Affairs Office at a United States Embassy to tell you where to find the nearest one.

These centers advise students about higher education and study opportunities in the United States.

Some schools, for example, offer one-year certificate programs. These are in subjects like computer programming, public relations, administrative work and other jobs.

Schools known as junior colleges or community colleges offer a two-year associate degree. These can prepare students for skilled jobs. Students also spend a lot less money than at a four-year school. Many universities accept this work as the first two years toward a bachelor’s degree.

To get a bachelor’s degree, students traditionally take general subjects during the first two years. These include areas like history, literature, mathematics and science. After that they take classes in their major area of study.

At the graduate school level, a master’s degree can take two or three years of full-time study in a subject. A doctorate can take longer. There are also professional schools in areas like medicine and law. Such programs require three to six years of study beyond college. Some specialties may require even more study.

Whatever you choose, educational advisers say you should begin to plan at least two years before you want to start classes in the United States.

Our reports will appear on our Web site, voaspecialenglish dot com. We will also include a link to the State Department site for international students. That address is Again,

If you would like to ask us a question about education in the United States, send it to Please know that we cannot help with individual cases. But we might be able to answer some general questions on the air as our Foreign Student Series continues.

This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Nancy Steinbach. This is Gwen Outen.