There are five types of schools where you can study in the USA as an international student:
- Universities & colleges
- Vocational & professional schools
- Community colleges
- English language schools
- High schools
Regardless of the type of school where you study, you’ll need documentation from the school in order to apply for a US student visa. So the first step is to decide where you’d like to study and what you’d like to study. Then you apply to that school.
There are plenty of agencies and placement services that will help you pick a school and apply if you need help, but you can also find schools and apply to them directly via their websites. Note that if you want to study in a public high school in the US, you’ll need to go on an exchange via an accredited agency like EF. A public American high school can’t sponsor you for a US student visa.
Once you’ve been accepted at a school, they will guide you through the visa application process. They’ll require you to pay a deposit upfront to confirm enrollment and then they’ll supply you the paperwork you need for your US visa application. You will have to apply for your student visa yourself via the American Embassy in your own country. Your future school cannot apply for you. This is a lengthy process and may involve appearing for an interview at the US Embassy.
For short-term courses and English courses in the USA, you may not need a student visa. It depends on your age, nationality, the length of the course, and the number of hours you’ll be attending school each week. The American Embassy website or your future school can give you more information on your particular case.
Studying in the USA is expensive for Americans and even more expensive for international students. It is likely to be more cost effective to study for up to a year in the USA then return to complete your studies at home. Most of the scholarships available to study in the USA are either awarded by a student’s own university, or they’re awarded by an American university at the postgraduate level.