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Study in USA after 12th for Indian Students: 2024 Guide

study in usa after 12th

Table of Contents

This Abroadin article will cover everything you need to know about study in USA after 12th grade as an Indian student—from choosing a university to applying for financial aid or scholarships. We’ll explore everything from admission procedures and available degrees to other essential details like pre-arrival formalities required by the immigration authorities before entering the country.   In this guide:
  • Why do Indian Students Prefer to Study in the US?
  • How to Study in USA After 12th Grade?
  • Conclusion

Why do Indian Students Prefer to Study in the US?

Studying in the United States is a dream for many international students, including Indian ones. The US has many world-class universities, once-in-a-lifetime research opportunities, and many possibilities to pursue passions and careers. However, getting into a top American university is challenging due to the complex admission process, visa requirements and other circumstances Indian students should have. The cost of studying in the US is almost lower than in other developed countries like the UK or Australia. Many scholarships are also available for Indian students who want to study in USA after 12th grade. The number of Indian students pursuing undergraduate and graduate studies in the US has grown by manifolds recently. The following table compares the number of international and Indian students studying in the US during the last four academic years.  
YearInternational StudentsIndian Students
2023-2024Still needs to be released.
  If you intend to study in USA after high school, continue reading this Abroadin guide for more information on requirements and processes. read this article if you want to know more about why study in the USA:

How to Study in USA After 12th Grade?

The following is a step-by-step guide for Indian students who want to study in USA after 12th grade, covering everything from choosing the right program and university to applying for visas and scholarships.  

Choose the Right Program to Study in USA After 12th

The first step in the admission process to American universities is to research the institutions in this country that offer the program you are interested in. Consider factors like academic reputation, campus location, culture, and cost of studying and living. Make a list of your best options and then narrow it down to a few universities you would like to apply to. Here’s the list of top American universities for Indian students based on recent rankings like US News and World Report or QS World University Rankings:
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Stanford University
  • Harvard University
  • Princeton University
  • Yale University
  • Columbia University
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Cornell University
  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
study in usa after high school

Prepare Yourself for the Standardized Tests

Most educational institutions in the US require standardized test scores as part of the application process to accept students in bachelor’s and master’s programs. The most accepted tests are the SAT/ACT, the English proficiency tests, and the TOEFL and IELTS. It is essential to start preparing well before the test date, as this will give you the best chance of achieving a high score. Several resources are available to help you prepare, including test-prep books, online practice tests, and tutors.  

Complete the University Application Process

After taking the tests and having a list of preferable universities, it is time to complete the application process. Each university has its application requirements, so applicants should read and follow the instructions carefully. Common university application materials include personal documents, test scores, language proficiencies, essays, letters of recommendation, and transcripts. In the US, you typically apply to the entire university, not a specific department . The general admissions office will review your application materials, not individual professors. Consider this broader audience when crafting your application to showcase your well-rounded strengths and suitability for the university.  

Apply for Scholarships or Financial Aid

Study in USA after 12th or study in USA after high school can be expensive, so many international students are seeking available scholarships and financial aid options to help them pay for their studying and living expenses. These financial aids include scholarships, grants, and loans. Each university has its financial aid application process, so start this process as early as possible. There are many ways to pay for college in the US after finishing 12th grade in India! Some scholarships come from the Indian government, while American universities or private groups offer others. Good grades are a common way to win a scholarship. Other scholarships consider the financial need or unique music, sports, or leadership talents. There are even scholarships for students from certain parts of India or those interested in specific subjects. Talk to your advisor about finding scholarships. Here are a few popular options:
  • Indian government scholarships for excellent students (up to $25,000 annually!)
  • Tata Trusts scholarships for Master’s degrees (up to $100,000 annually!)
  • Fulbright grants for graduate students
These scholarships can help cover tuition and living expenses. Remember, there might be rules about what you can study with specific scholarships. You’ll also need to apply by deadlines and prove you’ve already been accepted to a US school. The Indian government also offers scholarships based on your grades, not how much money you have. This program is open to all Indian citizens who have two years of study abroad, full-time or part-time. There are even more scholarships for Indian students, like the Tata Trusts program. These can offer a lot of money, but there are usually requirements you need to meet, like having a clean criminal record and getting accepted to a US school first. study in usa after 12th for indian students

Apply for Student Visa

Once you have been accepted to an American college or university, you need to apply for a student visa. This process can take several weeks or even months. There are two main student visa options for Indian students coming to the US for exchange programs: F-1 and M-1 visas. The type of visa you need depends on what you’ll be studying.
  • F-1 Visa: This is the most common visa for exchange students. It’s for students enrolling in academic programs that lead to a degree or diploma. Accredited colleges and universities usually offer these programs. The F-1 visa allows you to take full-time coursework and participate in practical training opportunities related to your field of study (with some restrictions).
  • M-1 Visa: This visa is for students enrolling in vocational or non-academic programs. These programs focus on specific skills or trades rather than traditional academic subjects. Examples might include cosmetology school, computer programming boot camps, or certain certificate programs. Unlike the F-1 visa, the M-1 visa generally does not allow on-campus work or practical training.
FeatureF-1 VisaM-1 Visa
Program TypeAcademic (degree)Vocational (skills)
InstitutionAccredited college/universityVocational school, training program
Full-time CourseworkAllowedAllowed
On-campus WorkPossible (restrictions apply)Not allowed
Practical TrainingPossible (restrictions apply)Not allowed
  Choosing the proper visa for your program is essential to avoid complications. If you need help determining your visa, talk to your exchange program advisor or the US embassy/consulate in India. You must provide proof of acceptance, financial support, and a valid passport. Applicants must attend an interview at the US embassy or consulate. if you want to know more about US Student Visa for Indian Students read this article:

Start to Study in USA After 12th

Once you have your student visa, you should start preparing to go to the US. This preparation includes making travel arrangements, finding housing, and enrolling in health insurance. When you arrive at the destination, after accommodation, you should start to familiarize yourself with the campus and the surrounding area of the university. The next important thing you have to consider is cultural adjustment. It can be a rollercoaster ride for Indian students moving to the US. Here’s a breakdown of some common challenges for Indian students:
  • Communication: American culture tends to be more informal and direct than India’s hierarchical communication style. It may lead to misunderstandings.
  • Social Norms: Greetings, personal space, and group dynamics might differ. For example, casual physical touch might be more common in the US, while some Indian students might prefer more distance.
  • Food and Lifestyle: The US has a diverse food scene, but it might lack the familiar flavors and vegetarian options many Indian students are used to. Additionally, the US lifestyle can be fast-paced and individualistic, contrasting with India’s potentially more collectivistic and family-oriented environment.
And these are some valuable tips for smoother adjustment:
  • Embrace the Differences: See cultural differences as opportunities for growth and learning.
  • Seek Community: Connect with other Indian students or international student organizations. Sharing experiences can be very helpful.
  • Practice English: Immerse yourself in the language by joining conversation groups or watching American movies and TV shows.
  • Learn about American Culture: Read about American customs, holidays, and history to understand the social context.
  • Step Outside Your Comfort Zone: Try new activities, explore local festivals, and be open to making friends from different backgrounds.
  • Seek Support: If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to contact university resources like international student advisors or mental health counsellors.
Remember, cultural adjustment takes time. Be patient with yourself, celebrate your successes, and focus on building a fulfilling life in the US while cherishing your Indian heritage.  


Study in USA after 12th for Indian students is an exciting opportunity, but it is essential to be well informed and prepared throughout the process. Indian students should consider their options, prepare for standardized tests, complete the application process, apply for financial aid and obtain student visas. If you intend to study in USA after 12th as an international student, Abroadin can accompany you on this journey and show you the easiest way to reach your dreams. Contact our consultants for more information.

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