Review your goals for your MS in US and choose some specific areas in which you would like to specialize.
- Register for the GRE and TOEFL examinations – if you are targeting the top 10 or 15 universities, you should take these examinations preferably by September 2014. If you are targeting other universities, you may take these exams by 20 December 2014 so you can meet the deadlines of universities which are in December 2014.
- Register for the Subject GRE – important for doctoral programs in pure sciences and biological sciences in top schools.
Note: the exam is held once in a year in November, however, seats usually get filled up by August.
Make a preliminary list of about 30 universities which meet your requirements considering:
- Costs of living and education
- Broad specializations you are interested in (for departments and specializations see the ‘university info‘ page on online.dilipoakacademy.com)
- Recommendations by seniors, your professors etc.
- Whether your academic profile fits the universities requirements.
For more details, see: Selecting a University for Your MS in the US. Also refer to our post on university information available on the social media
- Arrange for 10-13 sets of transcripts in sealed covers from your college or university – some universities insist on university transcripts/university attested mark sheets
- Choose your recommenders (generally 3 recommendations are required, at least one of which should be from the educational institute last attended) and give them the necessary details – resume, copies of your mark sheets etc.
- Start working on your Statement of Purpose and resume
- Take the GRE and TOEFL exams latest by 20 December
- Carry out a comprehensive review of the 30 universities considering:
- Your academic performance in bachelor’s degree
- GRE and TOEFL scores of students admitted in the past
- Any minimum cut-offs with respect to GRE and TOEFL scores
- Whether courses of your choice are offered in the Fall semester
- Cost of education
- Make your final shortlist of 8-10 universities.
- Complete your Statement of Purpose (SOP) and resume
- Request the ETS to forward your GRE and TOEFL scores to the universities you are applying to, specifying the correct codes for the universities/departments you are applying to.
Note: some universities require certain documents to be sent to the department you are applying to.
- Complete online application process and send the required documents by courier
This completes the application process; however there are further steps to be taken:
- Track the status of your application on your status page of the university’s website. Though universities generally communicate decisions or requirements by either e-mail or post, it often happens that the only source of information is your status page.
- If there are any deficiencies in your applications (missing documents, non-receipt of GRE or TOEFL scores, recommendations etc.) immediately correct the deficiencies.
- When you receive an offer letter from the universities (or when your status page shows that you have been given admission) email your acceptance(This is very important especially when you are offered funding)
- When you have accepted the university’s offer of admission and the documentation formalities are complete, the university will send you the 1-20, an immigration document, which is essential for obtaining a visa.
- When you receive the I-20, check that it is correct in all respects:
- Your name and date of birth should be exactly as in your passport
- Your course and course duration should be correctly specified
- The financial sources indicated should exceed the costs etc.
- Prepare the visa documentation
- Study the visa application formalities specified on the websites of the applicable US Consulate and the VFS (Visa Facilitation Services)
- Apply for a visa interview date – you can apply for a visa interview 120 days before the joining date mentioned on your I-20.
For further details on the F-1 visa see our previous blog on the subject.
Note: Dilip Oak’s Academy organizes a ‘Pre-departure Orientation’ in June-end every year for students who have been admitted to the fall semester. In the Orientation, Mr. Dilip Oak covers matters such as:
- the student (F1) visa
- foreign exchange
- airport formalities (port of entry/immigration procedures)
- medical checkups & immunizations
- initial formalities in the university
- accommodation (on- & off – campus)
- financial and other formalities for the first semester of studies
Keep a look out for our announcement of the Orientation. The announcement will appear on this blog sometime in June.