Selecting school in the U.S.

A father wrote to me: “I am planning for my children to study in the U.S. but there are many universities, both private and public, and I do not know how to select them or how to start. Please advise.”

Answer: Before selecting any U.S. university, you must investigate carefully to make sure that they are legitimate. The most important question that you must ask is whether the university accredited? Accreditation is the most important factor to ensure that companies and other schools will accept the degree. There are hundreds of “Phony universities” advertised on the Internet and magazines with a lot of promises and scholarships so you must be careful. You need to understand the ownership of the university whether the school is a private, public, or own by a company or persons. This is important because you need to know all you can, before sending your children to study there. There is a list of best college and universities publish by U.S. News and Report that you can also use as a reference:

It is important to select the right field of study BEFORE applying to a school. You want to make sure that the degree your children earn will help them meet their career objectives. If they know what to study, this should be easy. For example, if they want to be a teacher, they may select a degree in education; if they want to be an engineer, a degree in engineering is a logical choice. However, if they want to get a job in the U.S. after graduation, it is essential to choose a degree that U.S. companies will need. For example, a degree in computer science, software engineering, or information technology may be more useful than a degree in history or literature.

The question that your children must ask is will the degree prepare them for career or continue to advanced degrees such as MS or Ph.D.? Make sure that the program they select offers up-to-date curriculum to ensure that when they graduate, they will have the skills employers need. You may want to go deeper in your research by learning more about their graduates’ success after earning their degrees. (I.e., their placements, and graduate rankings) .


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University

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