Frequently Asked Questions about studying in the USA
What is the difference between graduate and undergraduate?
The undergraduate phase consists of the first four years of study at a college or university after high school and leads to a Bachelor's degree. During the first two years, students are introduced to a broad academic program in order to decide on a major. The last two years consist of taking classes related to the specialized field. The graduate phase is a specialized program that can take from 1 to 6 years, leading to a Master's (1-2 years) or PhD (4-6 years) degree.
What is the difference between a 'university' and a 'college' in the U.S.?
Colleges generally only offer four-year undergraduate programs, whereas universities also offer graduate programs as well. Whether an institution is called a college or a university has nothing to do with the quality of the school.
What is a junior or community college?
This is a locally oriented institution of higher education, offering two-year programs, leading to an Associate's degree. Admissions to the programs are generally less competitive, tuition is cheaper, and there is often more individual attention for students. In certain cases, it is possible to transfer to a four year institution to purse a third and/or fourth year of study after completion of the Associate's degree.
Does the American government give financial aid to foreign students?
Yes. The Fulbright Program is funded by the American Government together with the government in the partner country. Fulbright grants for students from the Netherlands are co-funded by the American and the Dutch governments. See also Grants for Study in the U.S. and the Netherlands.
Is it possible to take your Dutch government aid ('studiefinanciering') with you to the U.S.?
Yes. If you take part in a bilateral exchange program between your own university or 'hogeschool' in the Netherlands and an American university, you can keep your 'studiefinanciering' while abroad. The international office or the information department at your institution can provide you more information concerning this subject. Also, when you study in the U.S.A for a year or longer in another program than a bilateral exchange program, there are possibilities to receive 'studiefinanciering'. Contact the educational adviser of the Fulbright Center to find out the details.
Is it possible to study medicine right after high school?
No, medicine is always a graduate degree program. American students first do a four year undergraduate degree, often in a field related to medicine, before entering medical school.
Is it possible to study law right after high school?
No, law is always a graduate degree program. American students first do a four year, general undergraduate program before entering into law school.
Does a Dutch 'doctorandus' or Master degree or the diploma of a Dutch HBO-institution give automatic entry to a U.S. university?
No. Every student must apply and each U.S. university must decide if it accepts your 'doctorandus' or Master's degree or not. It is not a problem to register at the undergraduate level if you already have your Dutch degree, but some universities may not admit you for graduate study unless you have taken extra courses.
Is an American Bachelor's degree equivalent to the Dutch 'doctorandus' or Master's degree?
Not quite. If you wish to continue studying in The Netherlands, it is up to the Dutch university to determine what the value of your Bachelor's degree is. This is very much dependent on the courses you have taken as well as those which you wish to take upon return to The Netherlands.