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  • Debra M. Shively

Why earn a university degree from the US?

Updated: May 1, 2023

Global academic reputation

The US is home to some of the world’s most highly regarded academic institutions. Fifteen out of the top twenty ranked global universities are located in the US.

Scale and choice

There are over 4,000 widely diverse colleges and universities in the US. Institutions range in size from less than 1,000 students to over 50,000 students and offer almost every area of study imaginable. Once offered a place at a university and commencing your studies you have the flexibility to sample an array of academic courses before making a decision on an academic major (usually) at the end of your second year.


When applying for admission to a US university, most time you will be applying to the university, or larger school within the university, rather than a specific course, as you do here in Australia. The first year or two of a US university education include an array of core subject courses or foundation & elective courses which allow students to experience an array of their chosen subjects. This offers students significant flexibility in their degree and an opportunity to sample individual courses within an academic field before fully committing to earning a degree in that discipline. And those courses would still count toward the degree, once identified. Students usually aren't required to declare their area of study until after the first or second year of study.

Cultural engagement

By studying a full degree in the US you will be provided an opportunity to live on campus and take part in student life within the campus community. Unlike Australia, very few students live at home whilst they study. You will be exposed to students from all walks of life, some similar to you and others that will challenge your view points. Your involvement within university clubs and activities may include volunteer work or leading a club of like-minded students. The personal growth you will experience as part of a university community is comparable to no other.


The US is home to the largest economy in the world which means more opportunity and more jobs. The economy of the state of California alone is the eighth largest economy in the world and is larger than that of the whole country of Australia. Opportunities align themselves with scale.

Networking opportunities

More people, more opportunities. The US’s economic scale and population will naturally create more and larger networks; and there are qualitative differences too. Your network can be no closer to the main global source of investment capital. America’s self-starting culture lends itself to a more supportive network outlook. And US alumni have an incredibly strong allegiance to their universities - as a result of the high proportion of students relocating from home for the course of their undergraduate education their social and academic relationships are necessarily more tightly woven. Fellow alumni as well as professors and classmates will round out the foundations of your professional network upon graduation. International students are also provided optional practical training (OPT) to work in the US after their studies which will enhance their CV and make them more appealing for future employers.

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