Higher Education in Israel
Israel has eight public universities that are state-subsidized, with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem ranked among the best universities in the world. The University of Haifa, the Weizmann Institute of Science and Bar-llan University are several of Israel's other major universities that have produced numerous Nobel-winning scientists over the past decade. However, before students who successfully complete their secondary education in Israel begin higher education studies, most are conscripted into the military, or the IDF (Israel Defense Forces). Some may be able to request a delay to entering the military so that they can enroll in a college or university. Israelis who choose this route enter a program known as atuda, where the army pays tuition for a student's bachelor's degree.
Israel requires students take an entrance exam comparable to the SAT or ACT given in the U.S. that is called the Psychometric Entrance Test. This tests consists of questions concerning English, verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning. The test can be taken in Spanish, Arabic, French and Russian as well as the national language of Hebrew. Students are expected to receive good to excellent grades on the PET before they are accepted by one of Israel's public universities, which pay most of a student's tuition through state-issued subsidies. Alternately, international students should apply for scholarships well in advance of enrolling in an Israeli university to help offset tuition costs.
Foreign students can earn bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees that are comparable to those offered in the U.S and European Union countries. Many students apply to an Israeli university to learn the Hebrew language, study religion, major in Middle Eastern studies or take part in the country's excellent science and technology degree programs.
Non-Israeli students will need to obtain a student visa prior to officially enrolling in a higher education institute. The documents you use to get your student visa are the same documents required to apply for a regular visa once you have entered the country. These documents include a passport that has been valid for two or more years; letter of acceptance from the university at which the student applied; completed application form; two passport photographs and proof of enough funds to cover living expenses and tuition while in Israel. Students may live on campus, stay with a host family or take advantage of free youth hostels located in the Old City of Jerusalem. Heritage House is one of these hostels that allows you to stay for free whenever you like, as long as you are gone from the hostel between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm each day, except Shabbat. In addition, Jerusalem's Heritage House provides free internet service to anyone staying at the hostel.
Why Study in Israel?
The nation of Israel is a historically fascinating and culturally diverse country that contains a wealth of famous places to see and explore. While studying in Israel, students will have the chance to see the famous Dead Sea, shop in Tel Aviv's Carmel Marketplace, gaze at the beauty of the Baha'i Gardens in Haifa and investigate many religious sites dating back several thousand years ago.