How to Study in USA – A Guide for Indian Students

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 Overview

Students in the USA

Being a diverse country, the United States is the safest place for students particularly for Students from India and there is no need for any reason for racism. So in that sense, the US is a safe country for Indian Students who want to study in the USA.

If you have decided to study in the US, your choice of the country requires no validation as the US is considered the best study abroad destination.

Although the reasons to consider a country may differ widely among students, there are few standout features that make everyplace different from others.

The US government claims that the US  that Immigrants from India are better educated, more likely to have strong English language skills, arrive on employment-based visas, and are less likely to live below the poverty line than the overall immigrant population.

Many Indian works in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, (STEM) fields.

Why Study in the USA

Why study in the USA

In the 20th and 21st centuries the US has become the magnet for hundreds of thousands of bright ambitious students around the world.

By 2019, 1,095,299 students from almost all countries around the world studied at higher education in the US. In the same period 202,014 students from India, which is 20% of all international students, studied on American campuses.

The US is preferred for Indian students because US higher education institutions offer Academic Excellence, Cutting edge technology, Extensive support services for international students, generous funding opportunities, and a wide variety of education options, flexible curricula, and hands-on training.

How  to Study in the USA

How to study in the USA

United States – India Educational Foundation (USIEF), Education USA AdvisingEducation  Services (EAS) provides accurate, comprehensive, and current information to students, who are interested in pursuing higher education and scholarships in the US.

USIEF does not endorse or rank any college or university but students in pursuit of a US degree. Specialized seminars and workshops on admission, application procedures and strategies, education fairs, and pre-departure orientation programs are held all year-round.

USIEF advising centers are located in New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai.

USIEF centers administer the following tests at their respective locations. :

New Delhi: SAT1, SAT11, ACT, PSAT, and AP exams.

Mumbai: PSAT and AP exams.

Kolkata: SAT1, SAT11, AP exams, and PSAT.

Chennai: SAT1, SAT11, and PSAT.

Hyderabad: PSAT test.

More details of these tests can be obtained from the centers via email or phone.

USIEF offers a fee-based memberships plan to individual students. Members have access to our library resource books, test preparation materials, CD-ROMS, Student Profile, Individual Counselling, and special, seminars, and workshops. Information about any accredited US University and college can also be checked.

The Ed USA toll-free hotline 1-800-103-1231 is available between 2 pm and 5 pm (Monday to Friday).

How can we help you?

  •  Read our websites for extensive information and graduate studies.
  • Visit our offices (Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, and Mumbai) to meet our staff.
  •  Use our libraries and computers to explore opportunities for study in the USA and prepare for standardized tests.
  •  Receive advice over the phone about US study from our Education USA advising help desk 1-800-103-1231.
  •   Attend specialized presentations on a variety of topics and meet US university representatives.
  •   Receive weekly emails about scholarship opportunities.
  •  Become a fan of our Facebook pages.
  •  Get your original mark sheets and certificates attested for a reasonable fee.
  •  Receive unbiased advice about the US visa process from a US embassy consular officer at our Viva counseling session.

Getting Started

Preparation of Undergraduate Study in the USA

In order to undertake undergraduate studies in the US, international students need to have completed 12 years of schooling.

For graduate studies, international students need to have the equivalent of a US Bachelor’s degree. In other words, 16 years of school. education before graduation.

Applying to a US graduate school is a time consuming, but fair and rewarding process. A few general points should be emphasized as you set started in the process.

#  Allow yourself enough time for this process. Taking standardized tests, organizing letters of recommendation, getting mark sheets and credentials and writing ( and rewriting) application essays is a time-consuming process. Allow between 12-15 months for this entire process.

#  Do not underestimate the importance of essays. Admission officers take the application essays and statements of purpose (SOP) very seriously. Working hard to craft, proofreading, and edit these essays many times over is an effort that will pay rich rich dividends.

# Shortlist universities Universities with a larger plan in mind. Ensure that you apply to a range of institutions that your academic reach. Also, you may want to keep in mind factors such as the university proximity to relatives or friends, geographical location, scholarships, climate, and the cost of living, as factors such as entertainment, rural or urban setting, and so forth.

Also, there is more information and advice on our website regarding US Universities and Scholarships. Students are also advised to download our handout on graduate study.

ApplicationTimelines

# 12 to 18 months before enrolment.

It is prior to the year in which you hope to enroll.

  •  begin researching programs and financial aid and required standardized tests.

# August

  •  request admissions and financial aid applications
  •  register for tests ( TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, or GMAT)

# September – December

  •   Request official transcripts and letters of recommendation.
  •  submit completed applications.
  •  take standardized tests.

# January  – April

  •  Verify that you have met the deadline.

# April – June

  •  Receive admission decisions.
  •   which school to attend and complete the necessary paperwork.
  •  organize finances and finalize arrangements for housing and medical insurance

# June – August

  •   Apply to US embassy or consulate for visa and complete SEVIS  I -901 form upon receipt for I-20 form.
  •  make travel arrangements.
  •  contact the international student office to detail arrival plans and confirm orientation for new students or universities.

Talk to an Education USA advisor about all the opportunities available to you.

Please note that applications for MBA’s programs have three rounds:

First Round – October – November),

Second Round: December – February),

Third Round: March  –  April

We recommend students apply no later than Round two.

Standardized Tests

Standardized Tests to study in the USA

The main requirements for admissions to educational to institutions  in the US are :

  •  Strong Academic background.
  •  Demonstrated command of the English language.
  •  For many programs, scores on one or more standardized admissions tests such as Graduate research Examination (GRE) general test or a Demonstration of proficiency in field GRE general test, or sometimes both.
  •  Adequate financial resources.

These standardized tests provide US universities with an objective standard by which they can assess your academic potential.

The most common tests are the following :

SAT Tests

SAT Exam to study in the USA

The SAT has three sections — mathematics, writing, and critical reading

Mathematics: Topics include functions, data analysis, and other college maths topics.

Critical Reading: Sentence completion and reading comprehension questions.

Writing: Reasoning essay, improve sentences and paragraphs.

Duration: Three hours and 45 minutes.

Cost: $99 Maximum Score: 2400 and an essay score of 12   (Ivy League universities want a score of 2000 and above)

universities want a score of 2000 and above)

SAT Subject Tests

SAT Subject exams to study in the USA

The SAT subject tests  are subject-specific (chemistry, physics, literature, and so on)

Duration: Generally one-hour for each Subject Test

Cost: $83 for one test or $103 for three tests at the same time (not including any language tests).

Maximum Score: 800 in each Subject Test (Ivy League universities want a score of 750 and above in each SAT Subject Tests).

GRE General Tests

GRE General Tests to study in the USA

If you are planning to apply to a Master’s or Ph.D. program in a field other than medicine or law, you will most likely be required to take the GRE general test. It has three sections:

Quantitative Analysis.

Verbal reasoning.

Analytical Writing.

The new GRE  has a maximum time limit of 190 minutes.

The scoring is 130-170 in one point increment.

GRE Subject Test.

GRE Subject tests to study in the USA

Some graduate programs may require GRE subject tests. Check with the academic department or graduate admissions office of the university to which you are applying to confirm. Subject tests are offered in the following fields of study.

  •  Biochemistry, cell, and molecular biology.
  •  Biology.
  •  Chemistry.
  • Computer Science.
  • literature in English.
  • Mathematics.
  • Physics
  • Psychology.

GMAT

GMAT EXAMS to study in the USA

Most students applying for an MBA program will be required to take the GMAT.

The GMAT will have a 30-minute Integrated Reasoning Section with new question types.

The Integrated Reasoning Section will replace one of the two essays of the current Analytical Writing Section (each essay of the Analytical Writing Section is currently 30 minutes). Also, the scoring of the GMAT will stay the same — 200 to 800 points. Students will have a separate score for the Analytical Writing essay and the Integrated Reasoning Section. Top business schools want scores of 700 and above.

LSAT 

LSAT Exams

For the three-year Doctorate degree in American law.

MCAT 

The MCAT is required for entrance into most MD graduate programs in medicine.

DAT

DAT is required for most doctoral programs in Dentistry.

USMLE

A graduate of Indian Medical schools who wish to conduct a post-degree residency in the USA is required to take the Multi-Port USMLE test.

English Proficiency Tests

Preparation for English Exams to study in the USA

International students whose native is not English may be required to take a test to establish their English language proficiency. Students should visit the individual college websites for information. Options include :

TOEFL – Test of English language as a foreign language.

IELTS: – International English language testing system.

PTE  academic—  Pearson test of English academic.

If you are unsure which tests you need to take, consult official university websites for more information. Pay close attention to the university and application deadline and plan your exam schedule accordingly.

Shortlisting  Universities

Selecting Colleges and Universities to study in the USA

Shortlisting graduate or Ph.D. programs can be a challenge because of the enormous variety of available programs.

Researching the 4000 or more US higher education institutions that offer various undergraduate, masters, and Ph.D. programs is not a simple task. We suggest narrowing your search using the following tips.

The key to short-listing universities is to begin by setting your own priorities. After you set your priorities, use a university search engine or print guide to narrow down your search to 10-20 universities meeting your criteria. The most up to date information about a university will be on its official website.

Thoroughly review university websites using these steps.

  •  Begin with the international admissions page for information on the university’s selection criteria, the application process, and deadlines.
  • Read the financial aid page for information on costs and university-funded scholarships, fellowships, or assistantships.
  •  Research external funding opportunities from private foundations, businesses, and other organizations.
  •  Review the department website to learn about the academic environment and the intellectual resources of the faculty and the facilities you can expect to access the department.
  •  Read the student services and international student pages for information about campus life and activities. Each university tends to have a unique “campus culture.”

Consulting alumni of American universities and current university students, conducting campus visits, and speaking to EducationUSA advisers at USIEF can also help you narrow your search and chose 4-6 universities to which you will apply.

After deciding the type of degree you would like to complete, begin by researching the academic fit and suitability of departments. Make this your top consideration. Then, take into account location and campus setting/size, the competitiveness of admission, cost of attendance and funding, and accreditation and reputation.

Your academic fit within the department should be your top consideration, before location, the brand name of the university, and pretty much anything you can think of! It is essential to research the department to find the right ‘academic home’ for you.

Applying to US Universities

Applying for the US Universities to study in the USA

Students need to submit separate applications to each U.S. graduate program that they want to apply to. Students can apply to as many universities as they wish, though for time and cost purposes we recommend you choose 4-6 universities. Each university will set its own deadlines, application requirements, etc. Fortunately, most applications will follow a similar format, and you’ll be able to re-use or adapt the materials you prepare for each application.

Most applications  will include:

  • Application Form
  • Standardized test score.
  • Transcripts:  You need to submit official records of your academic work called transcripts. Besides mark sheets, foreign students should ask their school to provide a list of the subjects they studied each year for their last four years of study along with the duration of the program. Detailed break-ups, if available, indicating the number of times the class met per semester should be included with the examination results. Ensure that official copies are procured from your academic institution in a sealed envelope. USIEF also attests academic documents for a fee.
  •  Declaration and Certification of Finances: Most colleges and universities include a Declaration and Certification of Finances form in their application packets. This must be signed by your parents, or whoever is meeting your college/ university expenses, and must be supported by a bank letter signed by the manager.
  • The statement of Purposes: Personal statements which are also called The statements of purpose or SoP. The statement of purpose essay is required by many graduate institutions, which is a narrative about your interests and academic goals. This may be a page or two long, describing your background and achievements and future plans. Some colleges or universities specify essay topics.
  • Separate research statement: Sometimes called describing your research interests and plans.
  • Two to Three Recommendation letters: Institutions generally ask for two or three letters of recommendation. A member of the faculty of, head of the department, a project as your supervisors at work, may write these.

Send supplementary materials as appropriate.

Find the right match by selecting a university or a college well suited to your needs and work hard on your applications.

When you receive a letter of acceptance, you are required to confirm your admission. A simple email confirming your acceptance should be fine. Some schools may require a deposit to confirm your admission.

The International Student Office will later send you the I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility), which is required for you to apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy.

Paying for the US Education

Applying for Scholarships to study in the USA

Generally speaking, there are four types of funding for study in the U.S.:

  •   Personal/family savings
  •   Educational loans
  •   Funding from U.S. universities
  •   Scholarships from external funding bodies.

Here are the course fees in the US for undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

UNDERGRADUATE

Course Average Fees

  • Engineering $12,000 – $25,000
  • Sciences $12,000 – $22,000
  • Arts $12,000 – $20,000
  • Business Management $12,000 – $25,000

POSTGRADUATE

Course Average Fees

  • Engineering $15,000 – $28,000
  • Sciences $12,000 – $25,000
  • Arts $12,000 – $23,000
  • Business Management $15,000 – $40,000

After assessing your personal and family savings, your best resource for funding will likely be from a U.S. university. The good news is that two-thirds of students in the sciences and engineering and half of the students in the humanities report receiving significant funding from their university.

There are two main types of university-based funding:

Fellowships

Assistantships.

Usually both types of funding are renewable from year-to-year if the student maintains specified academic standards (such as a minimum 3.0 GPA). 

Fellowships can be thought of as an outright grant, while assistantships are funding offered in return for services provided to the university – either teaching, research, lab supervision, or working in a campus office for approximately 15-20 hours per week.

Assistantships are not only an excellent way to fund your studies but can also be a way to network and gain valuable experience in your field.

Funding from External Bodies

External funding bodies may include a wide range of professional, charitable, or government organizations with a vested interest in supporting further education. Generally, external funding bodies award scholarships or financial awards that do not have to be repaid and do not come with any work requirements as you will see with university assistantships.

  • Funding for U.S. Study
  • International Education Financial Aid
  • eduPass
  • Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowships for Leadership Development
  • International Fulbright Science and Technology Award for Outstanding Foreign Students
  • East-West Center Graduate Degree Fellowship Programs
  • Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral and Professional Research Fellowships
  • World Bank
  • PEO International
  • American Association of University Women
  • EducationUSA
  • Rotary Club

Student Visas

Applying for US Students Visa to study in the USA

The process for Indian citizens to apply for a visa to study in the U.S. is straightforward, if the necessary steps are completed in a timely and accurate manner. The U.S. Department of State and U.S. Embassy offices welcome visa applications from international students.

Types of Visas for U.S. Study

The two most common visas for U.S. study are the F-1 Student Visa and J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa. Please note you will not have to choose which visa to apply for. Your university or sponsoring organization will determine your visa type.

F-1 Student Visa: Most students pursuing full-time study at an educational institution recognized by the U.S. government will enter the U.S. on an F-1 Student visa.

Spouses or children accompanying F-1 visa recipients will travel on an F-2 visa. Please note that spouses are not able to work but may accompany and/or apply for their own visa to the U.S. to work or study.

J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa: The J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa is for students, visiting scholars, or lecturers pursuing an exchange program. For example, Fulbright scholars and many students on short-term study abroad programs from Indian universities will travel to the U.S. on a J-1 visa. Spouses or children accompanying J-1 visa recipients will travel on a J-2 visa. Please note that spouses are able to work when permission is obtained in advance.

General Steps to Apply for an F-1 or J-1 Visa

How to apply for the US Visa to study in the USA

~   Read the information provided by the U.S. Embassy on F-1 Student Visas and J-1 Exchange Visitor Visas

~  Once you accept an offer of admission, your university or sponsor will require proof of funds (bank statements, scholarship offer letters, loan documentation, etc.) for the first year of study. This figure will be based on the cost of attendance listed on the financial aid webpage of the university. Please note you may use any combination of personal/family savings, scholarships, and loans to fund your studies.

~  The university or sponsor will then send you the relevant certificate of eligibility form, the I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1).

~  After receiving your I-20, complete the SEVIS I-901 form to register with the international visitor database. You will also need to pay the SEVIS fee ($350 for F visa and $220 for J visa) online using a debit or credit card.

~ After paying for your SEVIS fee, book an appointment for a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy within your jurisdiction.

~ After paying for your SEVIS fee, book an appointment for a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy within your jurisdiction. You should also save often, as the system times out after several minutes. Additionally, be sure to include all educational institutions you have attended since age 11 in the Education section, as well as your full criminal background if applicable.

~ After completing the form, you will be asked to take a print confirmation of your interview.

~ You may wish to prepare for your visa interview. Student visa applicants should be able to demonstrate three criteria to visa officers:

  • that you are completing a bona fide degree or study abroad program in the U.S.
  • that you have funds for the first year of your stay in the U.S. and a plan for the remaining years
  • that your activities are in line with the purpose (and in particular the non-immigrant intent) of the visa you will travel on.

Be prepared to describe your reasons for studying in the U.S., your program of study and why you chose this particular university, your long-term goals, and how studying in the U.S. fits in with these goals, and your plans after you finish your degree program and return back to India.

Visa applicants are assumed to be intending to immigrate to the U.S. and overstay their visas. You will, therefore, need to prove to the immigration officer that you do not intend to overstay your visa. You will be asked to demonstrate your significant personal, cultural, or professional ties to India, the country to which you would presumably return after your studies.

Before your appointment, read the U.S. Embassy’s information on security information and plan your journey to the Embassy. Gather the documents you need for your interview, such as your passport, appointment letter, I-20/DS-2019, MRV receipt, DS-160, photo, SEVIS receipt, etc.

Before your appointment, read the U.S. Embassy’s information on security information and plan your journey to the Embassy. Gather the documents you need for your interview, such as your passport, appointment letter, I-20/DS-2019, MRV receipt, DS-160, photo, SEVIS receipt, etc.

You will then wait until your number is called for an initial processing procedure called intake. Then you submit your visa application, passport, and photo, as well as have your fingerprints taken.

You wait again until your number is called for your actual visa interview. Although the interview itself may only take a few minutes, you may be at the Embassy for a few hours in total.

You will leave your passport with the U.S. Embassy after the appointment. Expect to receive your visa and passport back within an average of 5-7 working days. Average visa waiting times are available online.

After you receive your visa, book your travel to the U.S. F-1 visa holders may enter the U.S. 30 days prior to the start date on their I-20 and stay on 60 days following the date of completion of your program listed on the I-20.

J-1 visa holders may also enter the U.S. 30 days prior to the start date on their DS-2019 but may stay on only 30 days beyond the date of completion listed on the DS-2019.

The U.S. is a very welcoming place for Indian students. Each U.S. university has an international student services office with trained counselors available to answer your questions and guide you through the process of adapting to U.S. university life.

The international student services office also organizes a variety of regularly scheduled events for international students. Many U.S. campuses also have Indian student associations, which also organize events on a regular basis.

Tips before you go to the US

Steps to be taken before leaving to study in the USA

USIEF      www.usief.org.in:

This is the official website of the United States–India Educational Foundation. It provides information on various fellowships and scholarship opportunities for Indian scholars.

EducationUSA

www.educationusa.info:

A guide to U.S. higher education and practical information for living in the United States.

Petersons

www.petersons.com

Peterson is a leading search engine of colleges and universities, graduate schools, online degrees, private schools, and study guides to students. Undergraduate.

Schools     

www.collegeboard.com

It offers information for students, parents, and educators regarding taking standardized tests (SAT I & SAT II, or ACT), planning for college, finding a college, applying to universities, colleges, and tuition fees.

Standardized Test

www.ets.org/toefl;  www.ets.org/gre;  www.mba.com

Offers information about test-taking, test dates, fees, registration, reporting scores to U.S. Universities and sample paper

Application packet 

www.educationconnect.com,  www.commonapp.org. http://www.statementofpurpose.com/

Provides information in preparing a successful application

Visa Information :http://newdelhi.usembassy.go,   www.vfs-usa.co.in ,

The United States Embassy, New Delhi website has lots of information on visas, current affairs, and the American Information Resource Center.

Overview of the U.S. Education System

www.edupass.org,  www.ed.gov

The smart student’s guide to study in the United States.

www.educationusa.state.gov

All you need to know before you pack your bags to the U.S

 

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