Undergraduate degree, usually in the form of Bachelor’s degree, is the first step of university education. This degree could usually be obtained after 3 of 4 years of studies (it depends on specialization and country). In some countries universities may provide different types of undergraduate degrees, such as BA, BSc, LLB or Honors degrees, but these differences are usually not very important. In some countries it is also possible to obtained an “associate” degree or a degree in applied sciences, which is usually less academiccally intensive comparing with “traditional” Bachelor’s degree, but does not allow you to be admitted into graduate school and continue you education. In certain countries academic career and PhD programs are only available for those who managed to be admitted to Honors programs, which integrate ordinary classes and research training.
Undergraduate programs are not very focused comparing with graduate ones: students may choose among a wide array of different subjects and often to change their major during their studies. Undergraduate classes may be very crowded, especially in large universities, when hundreds of students listen to the same introductory lectures. In most countries there is no need to write a thesis or work on your research project during your undergraduate studies. For example, in the United States, students do not have to choose their major (i.e. area of studies) when applying to the university of their choice. They could make their decision later, during the first and even the second year of their programs.
Most ot the undergarduate programs include mandatory classes: they are either general education classes, which help you to acquire basic knowledge about the world or fundamental classes in your field of study. For instance, all MIT students have to choose at least one class in Biology, Physics and Chemistry, even if they chose to study something different, such as Computer Science.
In order to be admitted into undergraduate program prospective students have to demonstrate their academic abilities and motivation to study in this particular university or to choose a specific field of study. They have to provide their high school transcripts and motivation letter (or statement of purpose, depending on university of your choice). While it’s absolutely normal not to know exactly what are you going to do after your undergraduate studies, it’s important to demonstrate your general eagerness to study and to deepen you knowledge. However, students with clear plans about their future careers usually have higher chances to be admitted to the top universities worldwide.