What are American Classes Like?

Question #3 in our Q&A event comes from Joseph who asked:

how is academic and also how can l get a scholarship to study.

Comparison of a lecture classroom (top) and a seminar classroom. These are particularly extreme examples of a really big lecture hall and a really small seminar class. (Creative Commons photos by Flickr users Mira and Marcus Ojeda)
Comparison of a lecture classroom (top) and a seminar classroom. (Creative Commons photos by Flickr users Mira and Marcus Ojeda)

Classes are generally taught either “lecture-style,” which means the professor lectures the whole time, or “seminar-style,” which means most of the class is devoted to discussion.  You’ll probably find that intro-level classes are more likely to be lecture classes, while higher level classes may be more discussion-based.  Classroom participation often makes up a percentage of your final grade, even for lecture classes.

We’ve discussed in the past some things that might be different in the U.S. education system compared to what you’re used to.  In particular, you’ll probably have assignments due throughout the semester, rather than one single final examination at the end (although final exams are still important, and stressful).

In most undergraduate programs, you’ll be encouraged to explore a lot of academic disciplines and will have some time to decide on your academic major.  Some schools even require you to take a certain number of courses outside your major, to make sure you get a well-rounded education.

Read more: Top 5 Ways Academics in the US Are Different

We had an interesting discussion last year as to whether these differences make studying in the U.S. easier or harder compared to what you might be used to.  We ended with opinions squarely on either side of that debate – Mohammed definitely decided it is harder, Ebrahim said it was easier for him.  What do you think?

Read more: Studying in the US is Easier…Or Maybe Just Different

As for scholarships, that’s a question we’ve dealt with before.  Take a look at the advice from our bloggers in this post: How Did You Prepare To Apply For Scholarships?

They’ve got some great advice about how to make the most of EducationUSA and your own online research to find the schools that offer financial aid to international students, and to identify the outside scholarship opportunities from the U.S. government, your own government and private organizations that you are eligible for.