Studying in the States

Sejal Gupta
Monday, 10 September 2018

Educational University Fair, organised by EducationUSA in the city recently, offered students an insight on colleges and the five most important things to keep in mind while applying

The number of Indian students going to the USA for undergraduation and graduation courses is increasing every year. With the next admission process beginning soon, students must have a good understanding of how to go about it. 

EducationUSA, which is the US Department of State network of over 425 international student advising centres in more than 175 countries, had organised Educational University Fair in Pune on September 3. The network offers students around the world accurate, comprehensive, and current information about opportunities to study at accredited postsecondary institutions in the USA. 

EducationUSA also provides services to the US higher education community to help institutional leaders meet their recruitment and campus internationalisation goals. 

Students must keep in mind that the entire process must start 18 months prior to seeking an education in the USA. We spoke to some of the university representatives at the fair to know what the institutes have to offer.  

Foothill–De Anza College 

Located in California,  Foothill–De Anza is one of the most preferable community colleges. Pranav Pradhan, the international advisor said, “Shockingly, community colleges are not popular in India. People are apprehensive but once they understand the benefits offered by us there’s no looking back. Those who study with us can cut down their education fees by half and transfer to their choice of prestigious college for the last two years. Our college is seven times cheaper than most Ivy League colleges. Our notable alumni are Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple; Danielle Hayes, director at Columbia; Gene D Block, chancellor at UCLA, and many more.” 

He further mentioned that studying at a community college does not make a student any less bright, an opportunity is an opportunity. He points out that the alumni from community colleges too have made it big in the world and now are leaders. “It all comes down to the focus and interest areas of students and the path they choose to get themselves on the world platform,” added Pradhan. 

When it comes to seeking admissions abroad it is best to visit the college websites, research the admission process and, most importantly, participate in the online student fair to understand life on campus.  

Berkeley College

Berkeley College, founded in 1931, is a private academic institution in the heart of the Big Apple. Ryan Hemmesch, director, international marketing and outreach, said that Berkeley is unique in the sense it is global. They are based out of New York metro area and have programmes which are available on-site and offline. 

“When it comes to selecting a college it is important to cross check if the programme that you are selecting offers valuable and practical experience through programme-related internships or job-related assignments, because that is the first step you take into any industry and build good contacts,” he said adding that it is not just the curriculum one needs to research but also the community on campus. “We understand students will be away from family so if there are activities that will keep their minds occupied while studying, it is always a plus point,” he mentioned.

THE BIG FIVE

At the fair, Ryan Pereira, regional officer USIEF, elaborated on the five steps to education in the US: 

Research your options

The foremost task here is to self-evaluate, understanding yourself will lead you to the path where you will give the best to your abilities. Start by answering some basic questions like:

  • Why do you want to study in the USA?
  • Where will you fit in best? 
  • Which colleges or universities will meet your needs? 
  • Will you need financial assistance?
  • What are the application and financial aid deadlines?
  • Where do you want to live in the USA?

So instead of focusing on ranking, concentrate on the one that is best for you and meets your requirements — academic, financial, and personal.

Finance your studies

  • Start by making a budget. Then look at ways to reduce expenses, depending on the universities you are aiming for. 
  • At the undergraduate level, there are various options like advance placements or applying to community college for the first two years and then transferring to the prestigious university you are looking at or applying for scholarships, both merit and need-based. 
  • At the graduation level, look for programmes of one or one-and-a-half years so as to reduce the cost. Students can also apply for assistantship, where you either do research work for the professor or teach younger students. 

In such scenarios, the tuition fee is almost always completely waived off and students might even be given a stipend. 

Keep in mind that the USA is a large country and the cost of living varies greatly from place to place. You need to assess your funding and what you are able to spend on your education and living expenses.

Complete your application 

The completion of application process involves collecting recommendations, writing essays, short-listing colleges, gathering transcripts of the last four years of your education and routing the results of required standard examinations. Plan to give this step the time, concentration and effort it deserves for a successful result.

  • Apply for student VISA 
  • Request an I-20 from your university 
  • Visit www.ustraveldocs.com/in and complete your DS-160
  • Pay your visa fee 
  • Schedule biometric and interview appointments
  • Pay your SEVIS fee https://www.fmjfee.com
  • Arrive for your visa interview 

Get ready for life in the USA 

Making travel arrangements, attending a pre-departure orientation at your local EducationUSA centre or online, gathering pre-departure materials and documents for arrival, as well as reporting to your school and attending orientations.

Check your new institution’s website for additional pre-departure information that will be more specialised and have information about health insurance, average local temperatures throughout the year, local transportation options, housing, and more.

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