So, let’s imagine you have attained your first degree from your own country and you are now interested in studying something new or deepening your knowledge of what you already know. Yet, you don’t want to go through the whole process of getting admitted to a rigorous Master's program, where you have to take the GMAT or GRE. Certificate programs are for international students specifically, because they provide you with an F1 Visa as well as an OPT on your graduation. OPT gives you a one year work permit, so you can work in the US and gain valuable work experience. Another positive thing about the certificate programs is that many of them have internships, so you’re able to work for an American company while you study.

The admissions' process for these programs invovles just taking the TOEFL or IELTS and if you have two years of education in English or an English-speaking country, you don’t even have to take those exams. You just have to fill in the application form.

Check out: How to Self-Prepare for English Tests

An important thing about the certificate programs is that they are much cheaper, compared to Master's programs in the U.S. If a good Master's degree in America costs about USD 40,000, a certificate program will be around USD 8,000. However, if you’re a talented student – high GPA, good exam results – then there is a chance that you can get a scholarship to do your Master's program. There is no financial aid to do a certificate program.

Sometimes you just want to go to the United States for a couple of weeks and do a really short course. There are some amazing programs in Stanford that fall under the umbrella of continuing education. You can take those courses in anything. They cost around USD 300. What is amazing about these courses is that you actually go to the university, you get to use their facilities and hang out with students. However, if you’re not sure about your level of English, you should probably consider taking an English course first.

Check out: US Students Look for Grad Opportunities Abroad