1. Country Overview
1. Country Overview
USA, the Land of The Big Apple, the American Dream and dazzling tall skyscrapers conjures up images of a country that is always on the move towards progress, especially the very large International Students Community that can be found in many Colleges and Universities in all the States of USA.
USA has one of the world’s best education system offering a broad range of graduate and undergraduate programs to International Students being admitted all through the year with different intakes. The teaching methodology is flexible and bears global perspective in delivering courses. Thus, students graduating from US Colleges and Universities fetch highly lucrative jobs worried commanding high salaries, benefits, benefits and privileges.
The easy-to- adapt work environment accommodates people from different cultures, ideologies and working styles. Thus, as an International Student, studying and working in the USA helps them gain a global perspective, carving out brilliancy career pathways for life.
2. Why Study in USA?
2. Why Study in USA?
Some of the TOP Reasons:
- A strong belief that a US educational qualification promises a bright career and future ahead in life
- US Colleges and Schools consistently rank high in world rankings
- Academic Excellence featuring some of the world’s best Universities with outstanding Programs being offered at the Undergraduate level in traditional as well as professional disciplines
- Students have a first-hand opportunity and experience of working with some of the finest minds in their chosen field of study
- A large variety of educational opportunities to chose from Programs based on broad educational principles, practical, employment-related skills, arts, social sciences or technical fields
- The USA leads with Cutting Edge Technology in education as well – making the best possible equipment and resources available to their students. Even in other fields apart from science or engineering, student’s have opportunities to become skilled in using the latest technology to conduct research, as well as obtain and process information
- Students get an opportunity to be connected with researchers, teachers and experts in their fields from all over the world.
- Many graduate programs offer training and teaching opportunities that enable students to become teaching assistants to undergraduates and/or research assistants on special projects exploring different aspects of your field of study.
- International Students are some of the most valued teachers and researchers in US universities because they bring new skills and ideas to the classroom and library or laboratory.
- Flexibility to tailor your coursework to fit your specific academic goals, needs and interests
- Most of the universities financially support International Students either in the form of providing teaching or research assistantships
- Impact of getting a global education is reflected in the demand that employers place in recruiting Graduates educated in the USA
- Campus Life Experience for International Students not only broadens their educational experience, but also springs up many cultural opportunities as well.
3. USA Education System
3. USA Education System
USA Education System is world famous because:
- It is the world’s most flexible education system
- students can study their area of interest as specialization
- Due to decentralization, each institute can determine its program and admission standards
- Lateral movement in the education system is possible any time.
Types of Institutions
The Ivy League
Small Liberal Arts Colleges:
The GPA system is followed throughout the United States to judge student’s performance. It is graded on the scale of 0 to 4. Following is the evaluation of GPA.
Grade Points Grade Points Equivalent
>4 >A High Achievement
>3 >B Satisfactory
>2 >C Minimum Passing
>1 >D Failure
Types of Degrees awarded
The Academic year is based on a semester system, the main one being the Fall semester, which starts in August/September. Many universities also offer admission during the Spring semester, which starts in January. A few universities offer intakes during Winter semester, starting in November and also during Summer semester (in April).
Colleges offering admission during three terms are known to be operating on a trimester system.
Colleges offering admissions during all the four terms, are known to be operating on a Quarter system.
Education system in US allows students to seek a ‘transfer’ from one program to another (within the same university) and one university to another. During such transfers, whatever ‘credits’ the students obtain during their previous study are be transferred to the new course/university depending upon the policies of the new university.
USA Public Institutions
UG US$ 8000 – 15000
PG US$ 10000 – 20000
USA Private Institutions
UG US$ 10000 – 20000
PG US$ 15000 – 25000
On an average, a student spends Approx $10000 – 12000/year. Depending on where you stay, expenses could go up to $15000 in comparison to a student studying in a suburban area where the expenses are around $8000 to $10000 per year.
Most of the educational institutions in USA will assist you in finding accommodation while studying in USA. Accommodation is of two types:
- On-Campus (Halls of Residence/Students hostel)
- Off-Campus (Home stay, Apartments/Flats)
Staying Off-Campus is much more cheaper than staying On Campus but it is always advisable that the student should stay on campus for the first six months.
Insurance Policy for International Students is mandatory. Insurance costs approximately between $500 – $1000 per year. Make sure that it covers medical expenses, personal accident, dental, treatment, study interruption, passport loss, etc.
Scholarships and Financial Aid: These are fee waivers awarded to international students on the criteria of merit and need of it. Candidate with strong academics, good performance on standardized exams and in extra-curricular achievements are eligible for scholarship awards and financial assistance. To benefit from these opportunities, one has to make sure to send all the required documents by particular deadlines. In addition to this, the presentation of the application package is also important because one is judged by the image one projects.
There are various types of Scholarships:
Fellowship-Scholarship: This is usually offered on the student’s ability, competence and performance.
Graduate Assistantship: Generally it may involve a teaching or research assistantship. Students receive aid, in the form of a cash stipend or a tuition fee waiver or even a reduced tuition fee.
Sports Scholarship: Seldom offered to International Students, but athletic or sports scholarships are available in a wide range to outstanding and talented athletes.
5. Student life in USA
5. Student life in USA
Understanding US Currency and keeping it safe on your person
United States currency is based on a decimal system, with one dollar ($1 or $1.00) equal to one hundred cents. Coin currency is used for amounts less than one dollar; the most common coins and their equivalencies follow:
A penny equals one cent or 0.01 dollars
A nickel equals five cents or 0.05 dollars
A dime equals ten cents or 0.10 dollars
A quarter equals twenty-five cents or 0.25 dollars
It may take a few days to get used to the new currency. You will learn, for example, that $1 is a reasonable price for a can of cola out of a vending machine; two dollars for the same item is expensive. Five dollars for a pizza is inexpensive, while twelve dollars is expensive! Paper currency, all printed in green and white, is most often circulated in the amounts of $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 or $100. The slang term for a dollar bill is a “buck,” so $50 may be referred to as “fifty bucks.”
Playing it safe with your money
- Do not advisable to carry large amounts of cash around with you
- There are other options such as credit cards, traveller’s checks or bank cards (also called debit cards), which are all valid forms for making payments or purchases anywhere in the USA
You may want to open a checking account with a bank on or near your campus within a few days of your arrival in the USA. campus. The bank representative may ask you for your Social Security Number. If you do not have one, fill out an IRS Form W-8, which the bank can supply. Once you get your Social Security Number, you may directly deposit traveller’s checks for free in most cases, or arrange for a wire transfer from your home bank for a fee of about $35. Typically, you may make an unlimited number of additional deposits or withdrawals thereafter. Be sure to always have sufficient funds in your account to cover all outstanding checks; if you “overdraw,” the bank may impose expensive fees.
Don’t be ‘shocked’ by the “Culture Shock” – Just learn to adapt as fast as you can!
Most probably you will see things you have never seen before, hear things you have never heard before, go places you have never gone before, meet other students from countries you never knew existed before – it’s OK! All you need to do is just keep your ‘shock’ level as low as possible. Keeping in touch with family and friends back home is a good idea, but make sure you don’t feel home sick all the time. Other forms of support to help you overcome the shock will come from new friends, an academic advisor or psychological counseling centers.
- Some American schools offer accommodations for International Students on-campus, or near the school’s classrooms, libraries and other facilities.
- “Dormitories” (buildings with many rooms for sleeping and living), often come with two or three people (of the same gender) per room.
- Dormitory residents typically share large bathrooms which include showers and toilets.
- Many first-year students prefer to live in on-campus dormitories because they are convenient to both academic and social activities.
- Another advantage is that it is not likely that you will not need a car to commute to campus.
- On-campus accommodations also offer close proximity to the cafeteria and other eating establishments.
- Often, the office coordinates activities to help students find a compatible roommate to share expenses
- They also provide information about the local neighbourhoods, including popular restaurants, shopping areas, parks and recreation, and public transportation.
- Ask new friends and other students if they have any suggestions for a good apartment.
- Check classified advertisements in the local newspaper (Sundays usually have more apartment listings than other days of the week
The USA offers one of the most advanced transportation systems in the world. You have a fabulous choice of Buses (such as Greyhound for long-distance travel), Trains (Amtrak), Subways, and Taxis. However, for commuting to your campus, riding a bicycle is not a bad idea. It’s convenient, reliable and keeps you fit and healthy because you get to exercise yourself a bit every day. Just remember to keep your bicycle locked wherever you park it.
6. Application Procedure
6. Application Procedure
US universities have 4 Intakes in a year:
Note: Major intake is the Fall intake, but most of the universities are open for Spring and few of them for summer & winter intake too. However all subjects commence in Fall and only some in Winter and Summer intake.
English Language Requirements
All students must have TOEFL score of 90 or above for Postgraduate and 80 above for Undergraduate studies. IELTS score of 6.0 or above for Undergraduate degrees and 6.5 or above for postgraduate degrees is required..
Entry Requirements and Eligibility
- Undergraduate: Schooling 10+2
- Graduate:16 years of education required (10+2+4)
- Some institutions accept 15 years education into their Bridge /Masters Programs
- Good and strong academic background
- Good scores in entrance exams like SAT, TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, IELTS etc
- Strong Recommendation Letters
- To the point Statement of Purpose/Personal Statement, Essays and Resumes
- Certificates of Achievement and Extra -curricular activity participation
- Strong financial background or good grades to get a scholarship
Covering Letter, Application Fees, Application Form, Statement of Purpose, Essays, Resume, Recommendation Letters, Transcripts, Mark sheets and Certificates, Bank Statement, Affidavit of Financial Statements, English Language Test Score Report
7. Visa guideline
7. Visa guideline
F1 Visa is the US Student Visa for International Students who wish to pursue their studies in the USA. The key to a successful application is providing sufficient genuine intent to study, accurate documentation and filling up three forms. According to U.S. visa laws and regulations, most F1 Visa (US Student Visa) applicants must demonstrate to the consular officer that they have strong ties to their country of residence and must show that they intend to depart the United States after their study.
Who can apply for a F1 Visa US Student Visa?
International Students who have been accepted and approved for their program by an accredited University, College or an Institution in the USA can apply. Once accepted, educational institutions and program sponsors will provide each applicant the necessary approval documentation that needs to be submitted when applying for the visa.
The visa interview days are Monday-Friday and the majority of successful applicants normally receive their U.S. visas within two business days. You should plan your Travel Itinerary in advance keeping in mind that making early visa applications are important, since visa applications are subject to a greater degree of scrutiny than in the past, Please obtain a new passport prior to your interview if he film on the biographic data pages of your passport (i.e., page with your photo and back page with your parents’ information) is separated from the pages in your passport or your passport is otherwise torn, damaged, mutilated or has been washed or laundered.
To be eligible for the F1 US Student) Non-Immigrant Category Visa, you must demonstrate that you possess sufficient funds to support yourself and your family for the entire period of your study stay. You must not intend to seek or undertake a job, have no criminal record and intend to strictly comply with the laws of the country. Besides, you should also submit the Original Form I-20 or DS-2019 as applicable and Form I-901 (SEVIS Fee Receipt).
Understanding the Key Importance of SEVIS Fees for F1 Visa (US Student Visa)
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) acts as a source of information for government organizations who want to keep a record about foreign students. It is designed to help the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of State better monitor school and exchange programs and F, M and J category visitors. SEVP administers the F (academic) and M (vocational) visa categories, while the U.S. Department of State manages the J exchange visitor program. As such, schools and exchange programs are required to verify the enrolment status of all continuing and new foreign students and exchange visitors. However, the visa cannot be issued until your SEVIS fee has been paid which has to be online and the receipt submitted along with your Visa Application.
The Required Documents for F1 Visa (US Student Visa)
As an International Student applying for the F1 (US Student Visa), you are required to submit (along with your Visa Application), the following:
- Mandatory Documents
- Additional Supporting Documents required at the time of interview
- Principal Applicant’s Documents.
Types of US Student Visas
F-1 or US Student Visa is the most common for those International Students who wish to engage in academic studies in the United States. It is for people who want to study at an accredited U.S. College or University or even to study English at a University or an Institution offering Intensive English language courses.
M-1, or US Student Visa is for those who will be engaged in non-academic or vocational study or training at an institution in the U.S.
Dependents of F1 Visa (US Student Visa)
Dependents are defined as Spouses and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany or join the principal visa holder (U.S, Student Visa holder), in the United States for the duration of the student’s stay. Such dependents require a derivative F or M visas as the case may be. However, if Spouses and/or children who do not intend to reside in the United States with the principal visa holder, but visit their U.S. Student Visa holder for purposes of spending their vacations only, may be eligible to apply for the U.S. Visitor (B-2) Visas.
Note: Spouses and dependents are not allowed to work in the United States on a derivative F or M visa. If they are seeking employment, the most appropriate Work Visa application is required to be submitted.
Where to Apply:
US Visa is an Interview based visa, Applicant has to apply to US embassy for their Interview, available in 11 cities
If an applicant wish to make an inquiry or require clarifications on the U.S. Visa application process, please visit a VFS Centre, call the Helpdesk or sent an email enquiry to a location within your consular location. Email queries receive responses from Monday to Friday, within two working days.
How Many Days Prior Can a student Apply for Visa and enter US?
You may be issued F1 student visa no more than 120 days prior to start date. You may travel to US within 30 days of commencement of the course of study as stated on your I20, regardless of how early your visa was issued.
1. Visa Application form DS – 160 (Online fill able form)
2. Original Passport
3. Bank Receipt
4. SEVIS Fee Receipt
5. Interview Appointment letter
6. All Academic Documents including TOEFL, GRE, GMAT Score sheet
7. Evidence of Financial Resources
8. Form 120
Visa Application Fees
Current Fees being charged by the US Embassy the amount being paid through a DD favoring. “US Embassy Visa Fee”.
SEVIS Fee of $ 200 has to be paid online with the help of the credit card
When Visa is granted, the passport is returned with visa stamp within 72 working hours. Student can collect it personally from VFS center on the day when the visa section hands over the passport to VFS center.
8. Work Permits for Students
8. Work Permits for Students
International Students can take up On-Campus jobs. They are allowed to work 20 hrs per week during semester (on-campus). On campus jobs may include teaching assistantship or research assistantship where a student is paid on an average $8 to $10 per hour thus student earns approximately $ 500-$ 1000 per month or can get a waiver in tuition fees. With this, a student can also do internship in the related field which may be paid.
The student is allowed to work for 40 hrs per week. On completion of the course, student is allowed to work for 1year popularly known as OPT (optional practical training). Students with certain degrees are allowed to work for 29 months. On completion of their OPT; the student can later apply for work on a H1 B visa (Work Permit Visa).
USA Work Study Program
The USA Work Study Program provides an excellent opportunity to International Students or a Professional/Fresher to work full-time on a regular salary during their course of study, which entitles them to earn an internationally recognized and respected Masters Degree in the USA. For Professionals engaged in sectors such as Information Technology, Management and Healthcare, it’s a great opportunity to acquire multiple skills, besides achieving success succeed within their respective chosen professional fields.
This is also a very easy way to gain entry into the USA, as the possibility of getting the USA Work Study Program is very high. Unlike other Visas, there is no mandatory requirement of a job offer to be eligible. The F1 (US Student) Visa is issued for a 5 year period with opportunity and choice to study in prime business hubs in the USA such as California, Florida, Kentucky, and Arizona.
Eligibility for pursuing a US Master’s Degree Program
As an International Student, you should have a proven and excellent command of English language (GRE/GMAT/TOEFL/IELTS though recommended is not a mandatory requirement). You should have completed at least a 15 or 16 year Bachelors Degree and possess a 2 years work experience, which will work towards your advantage in terms of securing your F1 Visa with high success. You should be willing to study for at least part of your time in the USA. Besides, you should have sufficient funds to support yourself for the first 3 months in the USA. These funds are approximately estimated at $12000 and may vary depending on your lifestyle. Additionally, a Bank Statement from your sponsor is also required showing at least $15,000 as funds in your Sponsor’s Account.
What makes the F1 (US Student) Visa so attractive?
The sheer innovation of the Program along with a highly appealing and effective Curricular Practical Training Module being good starters, form an integral part of the course. I-20 granted by the University shows that the program requires the candidates to work in order to complete their Degree.
As a F1 (US Student Visa) Visa holder, you can also work Full-Time as you pursue your Us Master’s Degree Program. Adequate Job Assistance will be provided once you reach the USA, so that you may be able to select your own type of job. It’s quite common to find out that in most case, candidates are able to secure a job find a job within the 1st month of arrival in the USA.
The other Advantages of holding a F1 (US Student) Visa
As an International Student, you can convert your F1 Visa to H-1 Visa anytime you may wish to. You don’t have to exit the USA or go back to your home country to convert your Visa. It’s that simple! Healthcare professionals also find that this facility works best to their advantage as it provides them a head-start in terms of their industrial training.
The minimum process time for obtaining your F1 Visa is 4-6 weeks from the date of submission of completed documents of your I-20 Form.