A listener in Poland recently sent us an e-mail. Slawek Loboda writes: "There are many American universities and colleges that provide long distance education to the world. The trouble is that each university says that it is the best. After an hour of searching and reading what they have in their offer, one gets a headache. You simply don't know whom to trust and what to choose."
The United States has more than four thousand colleges and universities to choose from. They come in all sizes from a few hundred students to enough to populate a city. And students may not even have to be in the United States to take classes. Some universities have campuses in other countries. And, as Slawek pointed out, many programs are offered over the Internet
Over the coming weeks, we will talk all about the American system of higher education. Our reports will take you inside some of the nation's colleges and universities. We will explore programs of study and report on student life. We will talk about financial aid and employment, and about admissions tests and English language requirements.
Britain's American colonies broke with the mother country in 1776 and were recognized as the new nation of the United States of America following the Treaty of Paris in 1783. During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions. The two most traumatic experiences in the nation's history were the Civil War (1861-65), in which a northern Union of states defeated a secessionist Confederacy of 11 southern slave states, and the Great Depression of the 1930s, an economic downturn during which about a quarter of the labor force lost its jobs. Buoyed by victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the US remains the world's most powerful nation state. Since the end of World War II, the economy has achieved relatively steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid advances in technology.
North America, bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean, between Canada and Mexico
mostly temperate, but tropical in Hawaii and Florida, arctic in Alaska, semiarid in the great plains west of the Mississippi River, and arid in the Great Basin of the southwest; low winter temperatures in the northwest are ameliorated occasionally in January and February by warm chinook winds from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, rare earth elements, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, timber, arable land
Note: the US has the world's largest coal reserves with 491 billion short tons accounting for 27% of the world's total
white 79.96%, black 12.85%, Asian 4.43%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.18%, two or more races 1.61% (July 2007 estimate)
note: a separate listing for Hispanic is not included because the US Census Bureau considers Hispanic to mean persons of Spanish/Hispanic/Latino origin including those of Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican Republic, Spanish, and Central or South American origin living in the US who may be of any race or ethnic group (white, black, Asian, etc.); about 15.1% of the total US population is Hispanic
English 79.2%, Spanish 12.9%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 3.3%, other 0.9% (2011 est.)
Note: data represents the language spoken at home; the US has no official national language, but English has acquired official status in 31 of the 50 states; Hawaiian is an official language in the state of Hawaii
Protestant 51.3%, Roman Catholic 23.9%, Mormon 1.7%, other Christian 1.6%, Jewish 1.7%, Buddhist 0.7%, Muslim 0.6%, other or unspecified 2.5%, unaffiliated 12.1%, none 4% (2007 est.)
321,368,864 (July 2015 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 4