Study in United States of America - USA

Are you looking for complete information about how to get to study in the USA? Looking for a complete resource/reference page? Check this page to know complete information about the USA and how Indian students can smoothly go through the process of getting a Student visa to learn in the USA.

Introduction to studying in United States of America


Studying in the USA is any student’s dream and desire to excel in their careers. Upon understanding it correctly, helps to get through the so-called difficult process of getting the education in the USA.

The first steps


The first steps of getting to study in the United States of America is to research and find out the options, institutes that you can do so, as a student from India. Many of us try to fit ourselves into criteria set by a single college or university, as that is our dream school or university. Usually what happens is most of us end up with getting a rejected message/letter. The approach now considered more appropriate is not fancy an institution, but rather to find the different institutes that match our priorities and our long-term desires and goals.

Time line – rough ideas


Whichever course you choose, the application procedure should begin 12 to 18 months in advance.

What are the criteria that tell us the best colleges and schools?


The United States of America is a big country and hosts the top institutions in the world. But given the widespread of the country and the variation in education they can offer, the best colleges would be the ones that meet your academic, financial and personal requirements. Below would be some of the questions that one can keep in mind to decide upon the best institutions for themselves.
  • Why do I want to study in the United States?
  • What type of education do I want to gain in the USA?
  • Which education stream as an Indian student, would you fit in best?
  • Accordingly, which colleges or universities would offer you proper and legitimate education?
  • Are you able to sponsor yourself? Or do you need any financial help in forms of loans and guarantee?
  • What is the timeline that you will need to work on?
  • Where is it that you would like to live in the USA?


On the basis of what you answer to the questions above, you will get a fair idea as to what do you want to do exactly in the USA. Thus, you are one step ahead of the startling statement: - I want to study in the USA.
Depending on what you answer, you will then have to understand the level of study you want to go through. Levels of study are similar to what are present in India. In India, we typically have Schooling, Diploma, Undergraduate, Postgraduate, Research, PhD. Similarly, in the USA, the various levels available for studying are Community, undergraduate, Graduate, Short Term, English Language and Online learning.

Do I need to prove my English Language Skills?


As you may already be aware of, all education in the United States of America happens in the English language. Communication, writing, understanding, debating and examinations happen in the English language.
If you are applying for a SEVP certified university or college, your English will be assessed either through own examinations conducted by the college/university or through tests mentioned below:
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Michigan English Language Assessment Battery(MELAB)
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic
. Certain degree programmes may accept scores from different tests, or certain academic programmes will accept only certain tests, thus making these tests acting as a bridge to the course. Try to get financial aid for English language testing if the costs may be unaffordable, but keep in mind that you will not get any refund from the English language schools and testing facilities. Thus, if you take a financial assistance, you will have to repay it, irrespective of you clearing the English course and test.

Prepare your Finance options to study in USA


Preparing your finance options is like investing in you. When you prepare at the correct time and plan, you will be able to smoothly wade through and get USA education at an affordable price tag and even repay your liabilities at ease.
While the best time to start for your endeavour is at least 1 to 2 years of time, start with your planning as early as possible. You need to understand whether you are investing in the right path for your future career. While you can always change your career path at your will and possibilities, investing into self-education in the USA as an Indian student is a huge responsibility and can become a huge liability as well. So, think wise and clear.

  • Thus start with first understanding what kind of education do you want to pursue, what kind of college you want to learn in and the locality in the USA you want to study in.
  • These factors will give you answers as to what your cost of education and living in the USA would be.
  • The major factors are Tuition, Fees and living expenses.
  • You should also keep in mind that tuition costs increase 6 to 10% per year.
  • It may sometimes also be beneficial to have a Education Advisor. Advisors can get you into a Competitive applicant pool with better knowledge and compete for admissions and financial aids.
  • The South of the USA and the Midwest and rural areas offer lower cost of living and also less tuition and fee costs.
  • Research a wide variety of schools and colleges which provide the type of education you are looking for.
  • Check for education loans in India for getting an education in the USA. Further, you can check for loan assistance from Government agencies, US government assistance, private sources and banks and also from US universities.


You can search for the following to get more information about how to get funding for Indian students.
  • IIE Funding for US Study Online – http://www.fundingusstudy.org/
  • EducationUSA Financial Aid – https://educationusa.state.gov/financial-aid
  • InternationalScholarships.com – http://www.internationalscholarships.com/
  • Scholarship Help – http://www.mycollegescholarship.org/
  • International Education Financial Aid – http://www.mycollegescholarship.org/
  • Global Student Loan Corporation – http://www.globalslc.com/
  • International Student Loan – http://www.internationalstudentloan.com/
  • Access Group – https://www.accessgroup.org/
  • Guaranteed Scholarships – http://www.guaranteed-scholarships.com/
  • MeritAid – http://www.meritaid.com/
  • On a general note, loans offered by US banks and financial institutions may be better than Indian banks. The simple reason being, US loans are having a interest rate of 7 to 8 percent while Indian banks offer loans at 12 to 17 percent.


USA offers education through the following type of institutions:
  • Community college
  • Undergraduate
  • Graduate
  • Short-term
  • Online learning

What are community colleges?


Community colleges offer 2-year education programmes which help in gaining an Associate of Arts (AA) or an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree. These degrees are offered through technical and vocational programmes and are linked to secondary/high schools or community groups and even with employers in local communities. These colleges also have multiple campus locations in urban or suburban areas or may have a campus in rural areas.
Students can earn academic credits through these community colleges. Earning credits help towards education in bachelor education colleges and thus lowers the cost of education when earning a bachelor degree.
Many times, community colleges can match up with colleges and universities who have a 4-year education programme which awards a bachelor degree. The usual 4-year bachelor program can be then completed in 2 years if a student has successfully gained an Associate degree.
As a student from India, taking education through a community college first helps to earn a degree at a lower cost and also allows adjusting learning pace with that of a US academic life.

Financing for community colleges


As mentioned above, community colleges are low-cost benefits and also help to carry further the benefits of credits to Bachelor degree education. This helps to save the number of years spent in education from community colleges to Bachelors/Undergraduate colleges. This step also saves thousands of US dollars from being spent on education.

What are Undergraduate colleges?


Undergraduate colleges offer education through colleges and universities which lead to getting a degree and thus making eligible for getting a job or taking admission to Postgraduate colleges.
Applying for Undergraduate education can either be first through education in Community colleges or through the proper procedure to apply in undergraduate colleges.
Education in the United States is conceptualised on liberal arts and sciences. There are multiple choices for pursuing a bachelor degree. The degree is awarded after one earns a certain number of credits in the major field of study. The degree may usually be completed in 4 years of full-time study.

Financing for Undergraduate education


If you plan to direct entry into undergraduate education, your financial liability increases quite a lot. Over here you may have one more option in scholarships – Athletic scholarship. This and other types of scholarships although helpful, will cover only a part of the costs of your education. Also to keep in mind, that these awards or scholarships may not be available for the first year of your study. After all, everyone would want to be sure that you are a good student.

What are Graduate’s degree?


With over a 1000 universities offering Master’s and doctoral degree, one can be sure of multiple numbers of options and potential programmes to get according to choice. These degrees involve research and coursework. One receives in-depth training, specialised instructions with self-directed motivation.

Financing for Graduate education


Apart from the above mentioned general points, for Graduate (Masters, PhD) level education check with the institution that you will be learning at, if they have graduate teaching and Research assistant opportunities, which will help get a Tuition Waiver and/or also a stipend.
The different types of assistance from universities could be:
  • Fellowships
  • Teaching assistantships
  • Research assistantships
  • Administrative assistantships


The most important step for Graduate students who are looking for Masters, PhD level education is to get in touch with the professors and Head of Departments of the US universities that you one wants to apply for. This personnel give good guidance about identifying and choosing grant and funding students in the respective departments.

What are short-term courses?


A short term is a course which spans for a time of 12 months or even less. These short courses help to gain more skills, related to your main course of study. These programmes are offered under the US Department of State’s J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program. In this programme, one can get multifaceted opportunities to teach or study, conduct research, demonstrate special skills or receive on-the-job training. The programmes covered in this category include:
  • Exchange programs
  • University exchanges
  • Professional exchange programs
  • Certificate and executive education programs
  • Internships
  • Visiting fellows and scholars

Admission to short-term courses can also be taken through the international education office at the education institution that you are studying at in the United States.

Financing for Short-term courses


Financing for short-term courses in the USA may be little more difficult.
  • Check for University Exchange programmes in your Indian university and college. If exchange programmes are available, then special tuition fee arrangements are done by the institution itself and you have to bear a lesser brunt.
  • For Non-degree programmes kind of short-term courses, check with certain individual foundations for financing. Fullbright Commissions in USA is an example.

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* We will connect you with the admission consultants to guide you through the admission process.

Student Visa Application Process

Applying for the US Student Visa


Once you have applied to a school, college or university which is SEVP certified, the same will provide you with I-20 and DS-2019 forms.
You will be enrolled on the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The next step is to pay the SEVIS I – 901 fees. SEVIS fees can be paid at this official website: https://fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.jsp

I-901 SEVIS fees for Indian students (May 2016 update)


The I-901 SEVIS fees depend on what kind of Visa you are applying for. The eligible visas for students are either F1, J1 or M1.
  • Full payment for F or M visa is $200
  • Full payment for J visa is $180
  • Special J-visa category subsidized payment is $35
  • Fee for Government visitor (G1, G2, G3 or G7) is $0 (No payment required)


Remember that these fees are separate from Visa fees and School SEVIS administration fees.
Why?
Visa fees are for your Visa itself – F, J or M.
School SEVIS fees are the fees that the school itself charges to cover their SEVIS charges.

SEVIS fees can be paid online at FMJfee website as mentioned above. Fees can also be paid by Cheque, Money orders or bank drafts. Fees have to be paid in US dollars only.

Check this link to get Payment receipt: https://fmjfee.com/i901fee/desktop/checkstatus/loadSearchPage.do
You will need your SEVIS ID, Last name and Date of Birth correctly to get a printed receipt.

Be sure to collect your I-901 SEVIS payment receipt.

Get assistance for I-901 SEVIS Fees over here
E-mail address: fmjfee.SEVIS@ice.dhs.gov
I-901 SEVIS Fee customer service hotline at 703-603-3400

With the SEVIS details and completed application forms you can approach the US Consulate and embassies in India at the following website address:
Chennai web address
http://chennai.usconsulate.gov/

Hyderabad web address
http://hyderabad.usconsulate.gov/

Kolkata web address
http://kolkata.usconsulate.gov/

Mumbai web address
http://mumbai.usconsulate.gov/

VPP Bengaluru web address
This is a Virtual consulate office and no physical location
http://chennai.usconsulate.gov/vppbengaluru.html
Online applications from this portal are not accepted.

New Delhi website address
http://newdelhi.usconsulate.gov/

Filling the Student Visa application form DS - 160


After checking for requirements at the embassy websites, visit this web page which presents the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS – 160. This is the official form that a student has to fill online to apply for the Visa.
If you are wondering which Visa application you will need, then do not worry about the same. Your school in the USA will tell you about what kind of Visa application you would require.

Which Visa do I need to apply?


You can apply for the following types of visas only 120 days in advance of your date of start of schooling in the USA. The date of start of schooling will be mentioned on your I-20 and/or DS – 2019 form.
The different types of visas that a student can apply for gaining the education in the USA can be one of the following:
  • F1, F2 for Academic students
  • J1, J2 for Exchange visitors
  • M1, M2 for Non-Academic students
  • B1, B2 Tourist visas for Not-for-credit professional certification courses and visas

F1, F2 for Academic students


  • F1 visas are awarded to students who would prospectively be enrolled for full time study in the US.
  • F2 visas are given to spouses and children of the F1 visa holder, so that they can legally stay with the F1 visa holder.
  • There is yet another category of F visa but which does not apply to Indian students in most of the cases. F3 visas are for those who would like to border commute. They can reside in their country of origin and come to study in the USA.

J1, J2 for Exchange visitors


  • J1 visa is awarded to students who wish to come to the USA on a work and study based exchange visitor programme.
  • J2 visas are for spouses and dependents of the J1 visa
  • If you apply through J1 visa, you will be required to come back to India for a minimum of 2 years after you complete your study.

M1, M2 for Non-Academic students


  • The M1 visa is for students who want to be a student in vocational and technical schools. Students on an M1 visa cannot work on or off campus. They cannot change the visa to F1 type.
  • M2 visas are for spouses and children to allow them to accompany and stay in the United States.

B1, B2 for short-term activities like meetings and conferences


The B1 visa is 10-year valid multiple entries allowed visa on which you can attend business meetings, seminars, conferences, and attend Non-Credit courses. B1 visa is for the business-related purpose, while B2 is for pleasure purpose.

Carefully fill up the form and complete the online application. Print the application form confirmation page and keep it safe. You will need to bring it to the interview.

How to pay my US Visa fee?


All fees paid, are non-refundable, non-transferable. If you make a mistake or there happens to be an Internet connection problem, and you land up on an error page with your bank account being deducted, then do not pay the second time. Approach the US Visa Official support centre by sending an email over here: support-india@ustraveldocs.com.

You will first have to create a profile on this official website:
https://cgifederal.secure.force.com/?language=English&country=India

The Visa fees are always mentioned in US Dollars but must be paid in Indian Rupees. The fee equivalent in Indian rupees is leveraged to current consular exchange rate which is updated from time to time.
The fees for F class education Visa for Academic students are $ 160.
The fees for J class education Visa for Academic students are $ 160.
The fees for M class education Visa for Academic students are $ 160.

Visa fees can be paid through the following channels:
  • National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT)
  • Mobile Payments – IMPS
  • Cash – Over the Counter at DRUK Bank
  • Cash – Over the Counter (AXIS Bank and Citibank)


Please keep in mind the following information about Indian banks:
  • All Indian banks will remain closed on 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month. Banks will remain open on 1st, 3rd and 5 th Saturdays. Thus take care of the NEFT, IMPS payment timings. DRUK banks are banks of Bhutan. These banks will take 1 to 2 days to process your payments.

    If you are applying or a J Visa and participating in a US Government sponsored education programme, then you do not need to pay for your US Visa.

    Do I need to appear for US Visa interview?
    Forage up to 13 years, there is no interview requirement.
    For age 14 to 79 years, the interview process is required.
    For age 80 and above, the interview step is generally not required.

    How to apply for Interview for US Visa?


    1. Documents required to schedule your Visa interview appointment:
      1. Your passport number
      2. The Visa application fee receipt number
      3. The 10 digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page
    2. Login to your profile over here: https://cgifederal.secure.force.com/?language=English&country=India
    3. Click on schedule appointment to initiate the process. .
    4. You will have to book two appointments.
    5. First appointment will be at the Visa Application center. The Visa application center will take your fingerprints and photos. This should be done at least a day prior to your interview at the consulate.
    6. Your second appointment will be for your interview at the nearest consulate.


    On the day that you visit the Visa Application Center, you will need to bring the following documents for verification:
    1. Your valid Indian passport as mentioned in guidelines below.
    2. Your DS-160 confirmation page
    3. Your Visa Interview appointment confirmation page
    4. One photograph as per guidelines mentioned below


    On the day that you visit the Visa Interview, you will need to bring the following documents for verification:
    1. Your valid Indian passport as mentioned in guidelines below.
    2. One photograph as per guidelines mentioned below.
    3. The DS-160 barcode page – the full application may not be carried.
    4. Visa fee receipts
    5. Appointment letter from UStraveldocs website.
    6. Students applying for F or M Visa should bring along the SEVIS receipt and I-120 form.
    7. Students applying for J Visa should bring the SEVIS receipt and DS – 2019 form.
    8. Students applying for Science and Technology courses should bring documents supporting the said education.


    Valid Indian passport guidelines


    Your current Indian passport and previously issued passports if any. Apply for a new Indian passport if:
    • Your passport will expire in less than 6 months from the time you enter the United States.
    • The film on the biographic data page of the page you’re your photo and the back page with your information is separating from the passport page.
    • The passport is torn, damaged or mutilated.
    • The passport is washed or laundered.


    Valid photo guidelines


    One recent photograph meeting the following guidelines:
    • 50 mm x 50 mm colour photograph with a white or off-white background.


    Keep in mind the wait time to receive an interview appointment after online application.

    Delhi
    31 calendar days + 2 working days for processing

    Mumbai
    24 calendar days + 2 working days for processing

    Chennai
    29 calendar days + 2 working days for processing

    Hyderabad
    21 calendar days + 2 working days for processing

    Kolkata
    27 calendar days + 2 working days for processing

    VPP Bengaluru
    Applications are not accepted or processed at this consulate.

    Visa Application Center addresses:


    Mumbai:
    Trade Center, Gr. Floor, G Block,
    Bandrakurla Complex,
    Bandra East, Mumbai - 400051

    Chennai:
    Good shepherd, No 82, Kodambakkam High Road,
    Numgambakkam, Chennai 600034

    Hyderabad:
    1-8-384/385, Gowra Grand, S.P.Road,
    Begumpet, Secunderabad - 500003

    Kolkata:
    Jasmine Tower, 31, Shakespeare Sarani (1st Floor)
    Kolkata – 700017

    Delhi:
    S - 1 American Plaza, (Hotel Eros Managed by Hilton), International Trade Tower
    Nehru Place, New Delhi – 110019

    How do I know the status of my Visa application?


    Your US study visa application can be tracked online over here:
    https://ceac.state.gov/CEACStatTracker/Status.aspx?eQs=WwjqOlbeRYzCYubaSQI+RA==

    Details of the mentioned status:
    1. Origination Scan: Your passport has left the embassy or consulate and is on transit but not yet available for collection.
    2. Ready for Pick up: You can collect your passport from the mentioned delivery location.

    Lifestyle

    Lifestyle in USA


    Lifestyle in the USA is different than that of in India. Most families in the USA consist of a parent and 1 to 3 children. Many times, there is only one single parent and children when they graduate from school will leave home and start leading an independent life and earn for themselves. Elderly people are not considered dependents and they have to look after themselves. Family functions are considered as a get-together and families take benefits of these opportunities to meet each other. Thus occasions like weddings, reunions, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas etc are observed with great enthusiasm.

    Time punctuality is observed very well among people; whether it is work-related or personal. People in America love to walk. Walking, jogging, running and gym activities are quite popular among the American people. And yet you cannot walk anywhere you would like.

    One of the other differences in the Indian and American lifestyle is that people in America of the same sex would not touch each other or put arms around other person’s arm. While this is considered as a gesture of friendship in India, the same is considered as a gay relationship in the US.

    People visit each other only if and when invited. And it is a part of the customs to bring a return gift for the host of the party. The gift can be according to what you feel would be correct for the type of the event.

    At work, try and not call colleagues or superiors on weekends. Festivals are celebrated in the weekends. Indian festivals like Diwali, Holi are observed on weekends and not necessarily on the actual day of occurrence. Festivals like Navratri which is for I days is observed on 3 weekends for 3 nights each.

    Cost of Living for Students

    The United States of America is a large country and accordingly, the cost of living differs according to the county you would live in to complete your education.
    Following are some of the major expenses you would have to take care of when planning to pursue an education in the USA.

    Housing and utilities


    An average apartment in the USA would cost in between $500 to $1500 per month. This rent would sometimes include some of the utilities and sometimes may no. The points below mention as to what different types of expenses may be incurred.
    • Electricity charges may range in between $50 to $100 per month, depending upon the size of your apartment and your appliances. If you would use heating appliances, then the electricity bill can go to $150 as well.
    • Cooking gas could be $10 to %15 per month. If you want to use gas for heating purposes, then the expenses for gas can go up to $100 per month.
    • Internet is cheap. You can get a good internet package in between 45 to 50 US dollars per month.
    • Mobile phone bills can vary around $50 without a data plan. Data plans to have internet on your phone pushes your expenses to 100+ dollars.
    • If you need to play for water, sewer, trash, then your expenses can go up by $50 - 75 per month.

Online education through US Universities and colleges


Online learning is the modern way of the then distance education. Distance education previously used to be through Post and courier. In the progress of today towards going paperless, Online education is being conducted through websites, mobile apps, email, telephones and related media. Online learning saves a great deal of money spent on travelling; staying in other country and it also allows you to continue with your current jobs.
Online learning is facilitated through the current universities and they offer credits and recognition of the degree in the USA. There is yet another channel for getting USA education and is through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). There is usually no tuition for these courses but at the same time they do not offer credits and are not recognised by most organisations when it comes to applying for jobs. The US Department of State is also offering MOOC camp programs which can be considered while being in India itself.

In online learning there can be two types of programmes. One would be where you do not need to visit the parent institution at all. Thus you do not require any US Student visas for this purpose.
There are yet other programmes where you may be required to visit the USA for a few weeks in the whole course. These are called Low Residency programmes. A USA Student visa is required for the same.

Advantages of USA Distance online education programmes

  • One does not have to leave your job to start learning. You can continue to work earn your salary and learn at the same time.
  • If you have the responsibility to take care of children or elderly, there is no hindrance to stop you from doing so.
  • Online learning removes all stoppages like Economic, Cultural or political reasons


Things to check if a particular online course is legal and stands good

Check if the university is accredited.
  • Check about since how long has the institute/university been enrolling students for the said course.
  • Check how the programme and the institute gets reviewed for its Quality and standards.
  • Check about how much would be the average time that students require to complete the course. The institution gives the minimum and maximum time required to complete the course, but how much is required on an average. Would you be then willing to do the course study for that much amount of time?
  • Check how to find evaluation and reviews of the said programme.
  • Check about what kind of employment can you get in the USA after completion of this programme. After all, that is what you are looking for.
  • Last but not the least, check whether the said programme is also valid and recognised in India and by your futuristic employers


  • Next step: Completing the application for studying in USA


    Now that you are aware of what all different types of education avenues, levels of education and financial aid is required, your next and most important step is to make an application to colleges in the USA.
    Application for a university in USA broadly requires:
    • Collecting recommendations
    • Writing Essays
    • Routing the results of standard examinations

    Each of these steps require a good amount of time and dedication t0 be given and thus should be done in a proper manner.
    Education in the USA is not controlled by one central body. Thus this makes application to each university unique in its own manner. Although there are different aspects of applying to each institution, there could be similarities on a broader aspect.
    When you have knocked down to a short list of institutions that you want to apply, get in touch either through website, email or telephone with the international admissions office of each institution. This is where you will get completely correct information about how to apply for admission in each institution.
    Be sure to keep your personal information same at all places. For example, do not write Sandip Raghav Patil on one form and Raghav Sandip Patil on another form. Making changes in your name itself is also not recommended.
    Always be calm, thoughtful and reflect on each step that you write for USA education application. Being hurried and worried about what will happen next is not a good mood to be in.

    General requirements when applying for Community colleges


    • Online application form
    • Educational credentials
    • Standardised test scores could be required by some colleges while could be optional. In case they are marked as optional, then you would be required to go through placement tests in English language and the area of your study.
    • Other required documents could be your status of finance, health insurance, vaccination records, passport and visa.

    Admissions to Community colleges are easier than Undergraduate colleges. The reason being the admissions are done nearly 4 times in a year and your admission papers are kept on a rolling basis. Thus if you miss your deadlines this time, then you would still be able to take part in the next round of admissions.
    Thus, it is wiser to take into consideration the deadlines for admission mentioned on the institute’s website, well in advance. Keep in mind that an ample amount of time is required to complete application forms and then to get test score results and to register for classes. Always remember that no one in this world is perfect and mistakes are bound to happen. People will accept your errors and will give ample amount of chances to improve on the mistakes.
    Having said this, it is even more important to present a perfect and polished application as possible. What’s more, a polished application creates a good impression and speeds up the process of application.

    General requirements when applying for Undergraduate colleges


    The international admissions office and the institute’s website is your reference for tracking and planning your deadlines.
    As a rough idea, the admissions for courses which begin in September would be accepted between November to January of the previous year.
    • Keep your education credentials ready. Scans of your secondary high school, junior college, diploma, degree certificates should be sent to the college. If your certificates are not in English, then get them translated as the institutions will accept only English language certificates.
    • Complete your standardised tests and keep your scorecards ready. Tests related to the academic course and English proficiency will be required.
    • Letter of Recommendation: get letters of recommendation from your seniors and guides. These could be the principal of the school, your tuition teachers, supervisors, teachers and professors. The format of the recommendation letter should be able to describe your working ability and should be able to assess your capabilities to be able to pursue your education in USA.
    • Write an essay about yourself. Describe your strengths, personal goals and the reason to study in the USA.


    General requirements when applying for Graduate (PG) colleges


    While most of the requirements are the same as above, it is more important to get as many good reference letters as possible. Make sure that you are getting them from your professors, previous employers. The recommendation should be as much in-depth as possible. Also, provide all listed requirements in the same order as asked for. This helps to speed up the process.

    General requirements when applying for Intensive English Program


    IEPs stand for Intensive English Programs for learning English in the USA. These programmes are particularly helpful if you are proficient in your trade and want to improve your English. The requirements for learning English through IEPs are:
    • You must complete Secondary level education and should be able to provide certificates of the same.
    • You should be able to provide certificates/transcripts to show your English level.
    • Some institutes provide conditional admissions to their programmes. The conditional level programmes ask students to take an English language placement test upon arrival in the USA. On the basis of these tests, the institute will decide whether you need to be enrolled in any additional English language courses before taking up the course you have applied for.


    General requirements when applying for Short-term courses in the USA


    Short-term programmes are the need of the hour. They do not take a lot of dedicated and full time from your Jobs and your daily routine. Just be sure of the following aspects when considering a Short-term course study in the USA.
    • What are your goals for which you want to pursue this programme?
    • Is this really a degree that you want to earn or is it out of interest that you want to pursue this programme?
    • What are the total costs of the programme? Are you able to provide complete costs of the programme?
    • Have you checked the fees? Do they include the costs of books and shipping?
    • Is there anything else that has to be paid for?
    • While not many offer financial aid for Indian students looking to study in the USA, have you still tried to get financial aid?
    • Are you aware of academic and technical assistance that you would require during the programme?
    • Have you considered about where you will live in the USA?

    Many of the Short-term programmes are also offered as distance or internet courses with low residency requirements. Check for yourself through the following questions to find out where do your stand:
    • Do you have a place at home or work where you can be without being disturbed and be able to pursue your education?
    • Will it is possible for you to travel to the USA, to attend the residency part of your programme? Depending on the length of the programme, you might need to travel 1 to 5 times during the whole course of the programme.
    • Do you feel that you want to complete the programme in India, without needing to go to the USA?
    • Would you be able to attend the programme at a particular time. Keep in mind the time difference with USA and India is 11 to 12 hours.
    • If the course can be delivered through internet and using your computer, do you have the correct equipment?
    • How are the postal services in your locality?

    Preparing for your departure


    Once you get your visa stuck/stamped on your passport and your passport is in your hand, you are ready to travel to the USA for your education.
    Get in touch with your university/college where you will be studying. Check with the, about the time when they would want you to arrive at the campus.
    Check for health insurance, inform your friends and family so that they are aware of your education plan and also check for flights.

    You can also take part in pre-departure orientations which are usually done by advising centres. In these orientations, information about the USA is provided about culture, motivation, housing and other handy tips.

    Also to remember, that you should be ready with your documents to be inspected by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers.

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