Mumbai: Every year, thousands of Indian students navigate the U.S. university application process, which often proves to be a difficult task, without knowing about EducationUSA and the counselling services it offers as a part of the U.S. Department of State.
Students who wish to study in the US can successfully navigate university applications by following these five tips laid out by the U.S. Consulate General, Mumbai :
1) Define your priorities, research options, and short-list universities: The first and often ignored step is to define your priorities, research options, and short-list universities. Students need to understand the various options the U.S. has to offer. Researching universities is another integral part of the first step. Students should look at a range of factors when short-listing universities – factors including course structure, faculty profiles, student-to-faculty ratio, facilities available on campus, internship opportunities, scholarship options, and cost of the program.
2) Financing your education: The second step consists of financing your education. The total cost of attending college includes not only the tuition but also other expenses such as housing and books. It is important to set a budget for the entire duration of the study (typically four years for a Bachelor’s degree and two years for a Master’s degree). Funding options are available for international students, especially for graduate programs including many fully-funded Ph.D. programs in STEM, and it is crucial to thoroughly research all funding options well in advance.
3) Complete your applications: Step three has students complete the application. Students are evaluated holistically and are usually required to submit transcripts, standardised test scores such as the SAT/ACT for undergraduates, GRE/GMAT for graduates, proof of English proficiency (IELTS/TOEFL exam), application essay(s), letters of recommendation, and any additional documents the university requests. It is very important to follow all application instructions and submit the application packets before the deadline.
4) Apply for your student visa: Once students apply and receive their admission offers, they move on to step four where they apply for a student visa. The Consulate and the EducationUSA centre conduct information sessions with visa officers who provide detailed information on the visa application, interview process, and student visa (F1) regulations.
5) Prepare for your departure: After receiving the visa, students can prepare for their departure – the final step in the process. During this time, students can attend a Pre-departure Orientation at their nearest EducationUSA centre. The orientation provides an excellent opportunity for students to meet other students going to the U.S and learn about port of entry procedures, life in the U.S., academic culture as well as the sociocultural environment.
Students should start planning and preparing well in advance and follow the 5-steps to make the application process easy and stress-free.
(This column by the Consulate General of Mumbai is part of a series of articles by the Free Press Journal, Mumbai’s Study Abroad Guide for August 2022.)