Most schools require qualifications comparable to a U.S. Bachelor’s (Honours) degree (Four Year Degree Program). That means a minimum of 16 years of formal education. In the Indian context, it implies qualifying in a professional four-year degree like engineering or other such courses.
For Doctorate programs, most universities require a Master’s degree in that subject. In a few exceptional cases like a good undergraduate engineering degree, they may offer a direct admission to a Doctorate course.
If you have completed a three-year degree program in India, the advisable plan of action to maximize eligibility for U.S. graduate schools is to apply for a Post Graduate degree here in India. A one-year university affiliated program will make up for the fourth year of a U.S. Undergraduate degree.
Your past academic record is one of the most important deciding factors in securing admission to a college abroad. Most schools require you to have a reasonably good academic record especially for programs and courses offering a master’s or doctoral degree. Each university has its own minimum requirement for its programs, which are flexible depending on the candidate’s profile.
Universities in USA have their own marking and evaluation systems, which are considerably different from the Indian system. They follow the GPA (Grade Point Average) system which is based on the 5 points scheme – A,B,C,D & F.
It is advisable not to convert your marks in the Indian system of grading to the American Grade Point Average system or any other system since the conversion may not be accurate. You may attach an explanatory note from your college to indicate your rank in your class and/or university. The letter may also indicate your relative place in the class and the university average, along with the number of students in the class and the number of colleges and students in the university. You may also provide any other information or documents that you feel may help you in the admission process.
Students applying for Graduate courses (MBA, MS etc) are required to submit an official transcript (mark-sheets) from each college or university that they have attended after secondary school with complete details of the subjects/credits involved (for each year) and other details like correspondence courses, diplomas etc. Most universities ask for the transcript (mark-sheets) to be sealed in an envelope and signed and attested across the seal by the registrar. This procedure is to be done for each and every college that you have attended. Some universities may ask for more than one copy of the transcript.
If the transcripts are in a language other than English, they must be translated into English only by the issuing authority or university.
Many Courses and Universities in US require you to take one of the standardized tests like GRE, GMAT along with English Proficiency tests like TOEFL, TWE and TSE.
English Proficiency Tests
TOEFL: This test is mandatory for International students applying to a Graduate course or University in US. The minimum score required by most universities for admission is 570 (Paper-based test) and 230 (Computer-based test).
TSE : This test is important if you intend to apply for a Teaching Assistantship. Though many universities don’t mention it, but it is advisable to take this test if you are looking for a Teaching Assistantship.
Different programs require you to take certain standardized tests for admission and there is a certain minimum that you have to score in those tests to get admitted to those universities :
The various tests are:
- GMAT: For Graduate Courses in Management.
- GRE: For Graduate Courses in fields other than Management.
- LSAT: For Admissions to Law Schools.
- USMLE: For Admission to Medical Colleges.
Work Experience Details
A number of professional and vocational courses require relevant work experience. For instance, many MBAs or master’s courses in information studies require at least a couple of years’ work experience. Most Australian universities are pretty strict about this.
A detailed Résumé is an important part of your application. It should include all information of professional work experience along with the details like positions held, achievements and range of work.
Letter Of Recommendation
Letters of reference or recommendation letters play a very important part in your admission especially in courses that earn you a master’s or doctoral degree. A recommendation letter is a signed statement from a person who knows you well professionally or has taught you in a subject that is related to the course you are applying to. It should list your positive and negative qualities, strengths and other such information.
Many universities have their own format and questions that have to be answered by the person who is giving the letter of recommendation on your behalf. Letters, which do not give enough information, can jeopardize a candidate’s chances of selection.
Statement Of Purpose
The personal essays, and/or statement of purpose, play a very important role in the process of evaluating your application for both admission as well as financial aid because it gives the faculty assessing your application their most significant impression of you as an individual. This section is the key to distinguish your application from other suitable candidates and a chance to market yourself.
A personal statement should include your reasons for choosing a particular course, the suitability of your education and experience for the chosen course, your personal interests and career goals.
Types Of Visa: There are mainly two types of student visas:
- F-1 (Student Visa). The F-1 visa is for full-time students enrolled in an academic or language program. F-1 students may stay in the US for the full length of their academic program plus 60 days. F-1 students must maintain a full-time course load and complete their studies by the expiration date listed on the I-20 form.
- J-1 (Exchange Visitor Visa). The J-1 visa is issued for students needing practical training that is not available in their home country to complete their academic program. The training must be directly related to the academic program. The J-1 visa obligates the student to return to their home country for a minimum of two years after the end of their studies in the US before being eligible to apply for an immigrant (permanent residence) visa.
- Valid Passport
- One Passport size photograph (Black and White or Colour)
- A Non-immigrant Visa Application (Form 156) available from the Consular section.
- Form I-20 executed by the authorizing official of institution concerned, signed by the applicant.
- Evidence of financial ability to cover the costs of the education and maintenance involved
- Visa fee to be paid in Indian Rupees by Bank Draft .
- When to apply
An applicant may apply for a student Visa not earlier than 90 days before the registration date specified on the FORM I-20. If the registration date is already passed or the applicant cannot reasonably expect to arrive at the school by the registration date, the applicant should obtain an amended I-20 or a letter of extension from the issuing institution stating by what date the applicant may arrive.
After the Completed application forms along with the documents are submitted.
In most cases, the visa will be issued within a few hours or days of the submission of the application. In some instances, the process may take longer depending on the time of year, consular caseload or other factors.
If your application is denied, you should ask the Consular Officer for a "written denial decision." This will provide you with the official reason for your visa denial.
- Your total personal annual income
- Total annual income of your Parents
- Your average annual living expenses
- Some details of you and your parents' assets
- Sources of funding for your education other than from the Universit