Top 5 Tips before Applying to Universities in US

The US serves as a dream study destination for students across the globe. Each year international students applying to universities in USA for MS is increasing from prior year. A sizeable majority of these students want to pursue masters after finishing up their undergraduate studies. If you are looking to go down this route then here are the Top 5 Tips before committing to the application process to study MS in US:

Taking the GRE

The GRE or Graduate Record Examinations is a standardized test that is essential for getting into most graduate schools in the United States. Think of it as a SAT for graduate studies, only more difficult. It is advised that you give your first GRE test at least a year prior to the closing of your actual application window. Thus giving you ample time to improve your score if you don’t meet the range requirement of a majority of your schools. Additionally, it cannot be stated strongly enough that your GRE score forms an integral part of your application. It is right up there with your undergraduate performance and essays in importance. A good GRE score serves to indicate your readiness to be enrolled in a US university for MS, especially if you are not an Anglophone.

Funding Your Study

The United States government doesn’t regulate the fees of the educational institutions functioning on its soil. Therefore there would be a wide disparity among tuition fees for various schools. So, you need to weigh your options before applying to a school and look for universities that offer scholarship programs if you are short on cash. Furthermore, do keep a window open for merit-based scholarships. Many universities in US, often in partnership with philanthropic institutions, offer merit-based scholarship for international students in the range of $6,000-25,000. However to get these scholarships you have to demonstrate unparalleled academic proficiency throughout the course of your studies. Also, you can try and apply for the Fulbright Student Program for Graduate Studies that offers to completely cover your tuition fees and associated costs if you qualify.

Language Requirements

The medium of teaching in American universities is English. Therefore they understandably require non-Anglophones to demonstrate the required proficiency in the language before they can be deemed fit to study at a US institution. Normally Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is the requisite test, however most universities accept IELTS too. It is advised that you take the test at least one year prior to when you are looking to apply, like in the case of GRE. This will give you an opportunity to better your scores if you don’t get the desired result the first time around. Many students don’t get scores that reflect their true potential the first time around because they are still in the acclimatization phase, where they are looking to familiarize themselves with the test. Once you know what the test is all about in practicality, you can attain higher scores.

The Visa

You might have gotten into the university of your dreams but the final decision of the realization of your plan to study in US rests with the embassy officials. Whether or not you will be granted a F1 visa to pursue MS in US depends upon how your interview went, your financial stability and your academic eligibility. You should make sure you have a through application and you are prepared for all the questions. It is strongly advised that you do not give the impression of relying on potential income in meeting your expenses. Always stick with what you have rather than what you will have. Additionally, show the visa offer that you are passionate about attaining your degree. This can be reflected in the university you have chosen. For instance, you want to major in computer science and you get into a college that is known for its research and academic work in said subject. Now it would be far easier to convince the visa officer about the genuine nature of your plans.

Internship during Studies

Many international students have the misconception that the F1 student visa carries a restriction on applying for an internship, as it strictly prohibits from acquiring a job. This is not true, while studying on a F1 visa, there is a transition period of about 9 months before you become eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) that allows you to get paid during your internship. Normally, there are restrictions on who can apply for CPT therefore you would have to contact your on-campus international student coordinator in this regard. Lastly, look for getting into a big city school which will open up a multitude of avenues for you on the internship front as well as increasing the likelihood of you getting hired by a local company after graduation.


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