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EDUCATION REPORT- September 26, 2002: Foreign Student Series #2 >First Steps - 2002-09-25


This is the VOA Special English EDUCATION REPORT.

This week, we start a series of reports about how people from foreign countries can attend a college or university in the United States. Copies of these reports can be found on the Special English Web site at w-w-w dot voa specialenglish dot com.

Experts say you must plan early if you want to study in the United States. They say to begin at least two years before you want to start your studies.

The first step is to visit an American educational advising center. There are more than four-hundred such offices around the world. You can find the one closest to your home by using a computer. Go to this Education Report on the Special English Web site and click on the link to the State Department Education Foreign Student Web page.

Or ask the Public Affairs Office at the United States Embassy in your country to tell you where the nearest American educational advising center is. Educational advising centers have information about American colleges. They have computers so you can do a search to find the best school for you.

Colleges and universities in the United States offer different kinds of degrees that require one or more years of study. For example, some schools offer certificate programs. These programs offer one year of training in subjects like office work, computer programming or car repair.

You may also choose a two-year junior college or community college. Such programs lead to an associate degree. For example, some two-year programs prepare students for skilled jobs in electronics. Studying at a community college costs much less than at a four-year college. Many colleges and universities accept community college work as the first two years toward a four-year bachelor’s degree. To get a bachelor’s degree, you study general subjects like English, history, mathematics, and science during the first two years. During the last two years you take classes in your major area of study.

If you already have a college degree, you may want to get an advanced degree at an American graduate school. A master’s degree usually takes two or three more years of full-time study in one subject. You must attend graduate school if you want to be a college professor, medical doctor or lawyer. These special degree programs require between three and six years of additional study.

This VOA Special English EDUCATION REPORT was written by Nancy Steinbach.