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Academic Difference in the USA: How to Understand and Excel in a New Education System

Updated: May 17, 2023


While studying in the USA is a dream for many, moving and adapting to a new environment can be challenging. Nevertheless, comprehending the new education system and considering other factors can make it easier to adjust and succeed. Therefore, this blog will cover tips on understanding and excelling in a new education system.

India vs. USA: Academic Difference

The following table illustrates some of the significant critical differences between India and the USA;




Cost Associated

Undergraduate programs can cost INR 10,000 to INR 3,00,000 per year (USD 135 to USD 4,050), while postgraduate programs range from INR 20,000 to INR 5,00,000 per year (USD 270 to USD 6,750) on average.

Higher education in the USA can be expensive. In-state students paid an average of USD 10,560, and out-of-state students paid USD 27,020 for tuition and fees at public four-year institutions in the 2021-2022 academic year, as per College Board. Private universities cost more, with an average of USD 38,330 per year.

Duration of Graduation

Three years for undergraduate degrees, two years for master's degrees, and 3-5 years for doctoral degrees.

Undergraduate degrees usually take around four years to complete.

In comparison, master's degrees typically take one to two years, and postgraduate degrees can take anywhere from three to seven years to complete.

Grading System

Universities generally use a percentage system to assign letter grades based on a specific percentage range; the passing grade usually falls between 40 and 50%.

The USA's grades are typically on a 4.0 GPA scale, with A being the highest grade and F indicating failure. The grading system is often curved; letter grades are given for individual assignments, tests, and final grades.

Entrance Examinations

Entrance exams in India are expected for admission to higher education, especially for fields such as engineering, medicine, law, and management. Popular exams include JEE for engineering, NEET for medical and dental, CUET for various undergraduate and postgraduate courses, CAT for control, and CLAT for law. Universities and colleges may also have their entrance exams.

US higher education entrance exam requirements vary depending on the institution and program of study. Some programs require exams such as the GRE or LSAT, while others don't. For undergraduate programs, SAT or ACT exams are commonly needed for undergraduate programs to evaluate students' readiness for college-level coursework.

An Overview

In India, students can specialize in their chosen field of study from the start, and the system is based on a semester system. Grading is based on a percentage system, and teaching is primarily lecture-based. Accreditation is done by the University Grants Commission in India.

The USA has a more prolonged course duration than India and emphasizes general education alongside major-specific coursework. The credit system is used in the USA, and the grading system is based on a 4.0 GPA scale. The teaching methodology in the USA prioritizes interaction, while research opportunities are abundant. Regional accrediting agencies carry out accreditation.

The table compares the course structures of higher education in the USA and India, highlighting differences in degree levels, duration, and grading systems. It also presents the various entrance exams required for both countries' admission into higher education institutions.


To succeed academically while studying in the USA, students must comprehend the differences between the educational systems of the USA. This blog has compared the educational systems of India and the USA, emphasizing the significant differences in costs, graduation duration, grading practices, and entrance examinations. By considering these differences, students can better equip themselves for the challenges of adapting to a new academic environment and improve their chances of success in their chosen field of study. With the appropriate mindset and preparation, studying abroad can be a satisfying and pleasurable experience.

We know and understand that the application process can be overwhelming, so we are here for you. The study abroad experts at Hello Study Global are there for you every step of the way. From preparing for entrance exams to college applications, we will guide you to success.

Feel free to reach us at Hello Study Global.

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