How many universities are now in the U.S.? What are the types of universities that exist? How do they admit prospective international students? Do they all offer room and board? What factors are taken into consideration to rank them? How much do they cost? These are just some examples of common questions that we have received from students over the last year; so we are guessing you have similar, if not the same questions.  We recommend each of our students spend some time on this page understanding what is behind universities. In the end, the more you know about this the easier it will be for you to choose the universities you would like to apply for. Now, let’s dive into the exciting world of universities in the U.S.

College of Fine Arts, Ball State University, Indiana

Arthur S. DeMoss Learning Center, University in Lynchburg, Virginia

Everglades Hall, Florida International University, Miami

Types and Number of Universities

There are currently more than 4.500 universities in the U.S. Over 1.500 are 2 year colleges (most commonly known as community colleges) and 4 year colleges or universities. Community colleges (public or private) offer 2 year programs (also known as associate degrees) in most cases at a very reasonable price. See price section below for further details. Also, they serve as a pathway to a four year degree being an excellent option for those students that are not sure if they want to spend four years to obtain a degree.  After completing the associate degree, the student can transfer to a four year program and transfer all the credits obtained in the associate degree leaving him with only the remaining two years to complete a bachelor’s degree. 4 year colleges or universities are what you are probably are most familiar with and what could be compared to a university in your home country. 

There were 19.9 million students attending a university in Fall 2018. If you divide this amount by the more than 4.500 universities in the country, it gives you an average of 4.500 students per universities.  However, there are big universities like Florida International University in Miami with more than 55.000 students enrolled in 2018 and St. John’s College in Maryland with less than 500 students in 2018. This can give you an overview of the many differences between the thousands of universities currently serving domestic (U.S.) and international students in the U.S.

There are currently more than 4.500 universities in the U.S. Over 1.500 are 2 year colleges (most commonly known as community colleges) and the rest (more than 2.500) are 4 year colleges or universities.

Are all universities private and have a religious affiliation?

Universities can be private and public.  Private universities account for approximately 60% of all universities while public account for the remaining 40%. Public universities are mostly funded by the taxes of the people that reside in the state where the university is located. This is why public universities are typically cheaper than private universities for students and families that are residents of the specific state. Private universities are funded through tuition, endowments and donations provided by private donors. Also, private universities are more prone to give scholarships to international students than public universities. 

According to the U.S. Department of Education there are thousands of universities that support one of more than 50 different religious affiliations.  Some of these religious affiliations can be Catholic, Jesuit, Jewish, Presbyterian, Islamic, Baptist, or Methodist.  Among universities that support a religious affiliation, there are religious colleges, which you can probably easily identify because they have some type of religious connotation in their name and non religious colleges, which account for the most.  For religious colleges, their religious values and faith are very important and greatly influence the rules and teaching approach. Most students that go to these religious colleges want to be professionally involved with the religion after graduation. For the rest, which account for the majority, the differences between a university that has a religious affiliation and one that does not in most cases cannot be noticed by most students. In other words, their religious affiliation does not affect the class curriculum. There might be some activities that are in line to the religious affiliation but students in most cases are not required to follow.

How do you know that a university has any type of religious affiliation and which degree? Most universities are very open about it and they disclose all the information about their religious affiliation in their website. Sections like “About us” or “Mission and Values” are good sources to find this type of information. Also, you can communicate to us if you have any preference in terms of religion and we can accommodate offering you only universities that adapt to your preference.

What programs and degrees do they offer?

The list of degrees (associate (community colleges), undergraduate or master’s) offered by universities in the U.S. are almost endless. We recommend you take a look at this page to learn more about the different types of degrees that they offer. Just remember, for those of you seeking to complete an associate, undergraduate, or master’s degree, you would need to choose at least a major to graduate. A minor is optional and there are ambitious students who decide to graduate with multiple majors and/or minors. Do you want to know more about the difference between major and minor

Also it is important that you get familiar with the name of each year of your four years in university.

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    You will be called to be “freshman” during your first year. Sometimes you will hear the term “frosh” instead.

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    During your second year, you will be a “sophomore.” According to Merrian Webster’s dictionary, the word “sophomore” comes from the Greek term “sophos,” which means “wise” and the term “mōros,” which means “foolish.” So the words is meant to describe somebody confident because he believes is wise, but in reality is quite the opposite.

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    The third year of university you will be called a “junior”

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    The fourth and last year of your undergraduate degree, you are called “senior.”

There are no similar terms for when you are studying your master´s degree. You will just be a graduate student.

Do all universities offer the same academic calendar?

Most universities use one of the following two systems.