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USA

Higher education in the United States is an optional final stage of formal learning following secondary education. Higher education, also referred to as post-secondary education, third stage, third level, or tertiary education occurs most commonly at one of the 4,599 title IV degree-granting institutions, either colleges or universities in the country. These may be public universities, private universities, liberal arts colleges, or community colleges. High visibility issues include greater use of the Internet, such as massive open online courses, competency-based education, cutbacks in state spending, rapidly rising tuition and increasing student loans.

Strong research and funding have helped make United States colleges and universities among the world's most prestigious, making them particularly attractive to international students, professors and researchers in the pursuit of academic excellence. More than 30 of the highest-ranked 45 institutions are in the US as measured by awards and research output.

Admission process:
Students can apply to some colleges using the Common Application. There is no limit to the number of colleges or universities to which a student may apply, though an application must be submitted for each. With a few exceptions, most undergraduate colleges and universities maintain the policy that students are to be admitted to (or rejected from) the entire college, not to a particular department or major. (This is unlike college admissions in many European countries, as well as graduate admissions.) Some students, rather than being rejected, are "wait-listed" for a particular college and may be admitted if another student who was admitted decides not to attend the college or university. The five major parts of admission are ACT/SAT scores, GPA, College Application, Essay, and Letters of Recommendation. Not all colleges require essays or letters of recommendation, though they are often proven to increase chances of acceptance.