Most Frequently Asked Questions About Deferrals And Student Visas

FAQs about deferrals and Student Visa

With the current pandemic situation and uncertainties about deferrals and Visa regulations, most of you who are in the process of joining US universities for MS or who are planning to join next year, have a lot of queries and doubts. To guide you better and help you make a decision, here are the answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1) I am currently taking GRE classes, and I plan to apply next year. Is it safe to go next year?

Answer: Yes. You can safely apply for Fall 2021 since the situation will normalize by then. Things will begin to get under control right after the November presidential elections.

Q2) Should I defer my Fall 20 admission to Spring 21 or Fall 21?

Answer: At the moment, you can defer your admission to Spring 21 since it is likely that the situation will be under control by then and in-person classes will resume. Otherwise, you will have to extend the deferral to Fall 21.

Q3) I have received admits from eight universities. Will all of them accept deferral for Fall 21?

Answer: No. All the universities may not accept deferral for Fall 21. Some of them are asking students to reapply next year for the fall session.  In that case, your application will be evaluated along with the new applicants. Fortunately, the number of students applying next year will be comparatively less. Therefore, your chances of acceptance will not be hampered.

Q4) When should I book my visa dates if I want to go in Spring 21?

Answers: Visa booking dates for October are now available. Visit the official website of US Consulate for booking your date.

Q5) I am planning to defer to Spring 21, and hence I have booked my visa date for October 20. If I again extend my deferral to Fall 21, do I have to book the visa date and pay the visa fee again?

Answer: In case you book the date for October but instead of joining in Spring 21, you decide to defer to Fall 21, you have to cancel the booked date and reschedule another date, anytime within a year. You need not pay the Visa fee again.

Q6) Will the current situation in the US affect my internship?

Answer: According to the SEVP Advisory, all Indian students pursuing/looking to pursue practical training opportunities, including Curricular Practical Training (CPT), pre-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), post-completion OPT, and/or the STEM Extension OPT are advised to remain in contact with their Designated School Official (DSO) regarding their situation.

Q7) Will the pandemic affect research and other funding opportunities offered by universities?

Answer: Since majority students are not joining universities for Fall 20, it is affecting their financial condition. On this backdrop, it is most likely that the funding opportunities will be difficult for at least the first two semesters.

Q8) Will the current situation and new rules affect the STEM category?

Answer: As of now, there is no official declaration about it, so it should not be a matter of concern.

Q9) Many universities are exempting GRE, SAT, and English Language Test scores for admissions for spring 21 and in some cases, even for fall 21. Should we not give these exams?

Answer: Very few students are applying right now hence the universities are offering exemptions. We still recommend you to appear for these exams because when the number of applicants increases next year, GRE and SAT scores will give an upper hand to your application.

For any other query about GRE, US admissions and jobs, visit our FAQ Section.

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How will the new F1 Visa regulation affect existing and new students?

What will happen to my F1 visa_ When can I return to the US_

This blog is regarding the recent announcement by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about the continuation of F1 visas for students studying in the US and taking fully online classes for the fall 2020 semester due to the pandemic.

As per the regulation, students are not allowed to take fully online courses in the fall semester while in the US and they have to return to their home country before the semester begins. After returning, they can continue to pursue their semester online from their home country but they cannot return to the US until the university resumes in-person instruction. This does not mean that their F1 visa has been cancelled. It means that the embassy will not renew the F1 visa until the university resumes in-person instruction.

Students will not lose any credits earned in the fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters. They will be required to take a break for only one semester, and again resume their studies in spring 2021. Also, this will not affect CPT or OPT in any manner.

The regulation also states that as an alternative, the student can either transfer to another school with in-person instruction or adopt a hybrid model with a maximum of one class or three credit hours online. This decision will not hamper the current visa process for students aspiring to join next year or those who have deferred their fall 2020 admissions to spring 2021.

New students, who have deferred their admission to spring 2021, can continue with their visa process since it is likely that in-person instruction will resume by January 2021. However, if the spring semester is also changed to online instruction, you will not be able to go to the US. In that case, you will have to defer your admission to fall 2021 and accordingly get your visas reissued for fall 2021.

How to get into the best US universities for MS

Making it to the best US universities (2)

Getting into the best US universities is a dream of every student who aspires to pursue a master’s in America. However, these top universities have higher academic and co-curricular requirements that one needs to keep in mind before starting the preparation and application process.

Following are the key requirements to make it to the top 25 US universities:

GRE score above 320: Topmost US universities require a high GRE score, usually more than 320, and a Quant score of 165+. At Dilip Oak’s Academy, our experienced faculty offer thorough guidance to make sure you score well. Two of our students scored 340/340, and two others scored 339/340, along with many others who scored more than 330.  Our GRE Online Coaching is as interactive as classroom coaching, and we already have more than 1000 students enrolled with us.

Good academic performance: A consistently good percentage (70% and above) or a GPA above 8.5 in your bachelor’s program is ideal for securing the best admits. If you are still in your third year and your GPA is not up to the mark, you have a good chance to amp it up.

Projects/internships: Projects and relevant internships contribute a lot to the selection process. Make sure that you have worked on good academic projects that demonstrate your technical skills. Internships show your practical experience and knowledge of the subject.

Paper presentations: Some of the best US universities often require students to publish research papers in nationally and internationally recognized seminars and reputed international publications. If you have enough time and you have not presented any paper yet, go for it. It is a great way to upscale your academic credentials and also stand out among the many applicants.

Work experience: Work experience is often an add-on to your other achievements. If you are not in a hurry to pursue MS right after graduation, we recommend you to work in your relevant field for at least one or two years and then apply for MS. This will give an edge to your application and also help you get a good job after your MS.

Strong SOP and LORs: A Statement of Purpose is a crucial document in the application process because it explains why you wish to join the university and the program. Your intent must come across strongly for the university to find you suitable for admission. At the academy, our SOP faculty helps you to draft appealing SOPs and LORs as per the university requirements.

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Amidst the pandemic, when do I take the GRE and start my application process?

Spring 2021

The coronavirus pandemic has severely affected education systems worldwide, and most US universities have moved to online coaching for the fall 2020 session. If you are planning to join an American university in the spring 2021 semester, be aware that this has a few downsides. So it would be a good idea to postpone your plans to the fall 2021.

Firstly, it will not be possible to give the GRE in July due to the ongoing lockdown, and the chances of giving it in August are also bleak. Therefore, it will be difficult to complete the application process before 31st August which is generally the deadline for spring 2021. Secondly, there is no guarantee that your visa will be processed in time or that you will be able to join for the spring semester.

A ‘GRE at Home’ option has been made available but it is not feasible: for one, the stringent equipment prerequisites are difficult to meet and further, questions are being raised about the fairness of online tests.

Considering this, it is safer and wiser to prepare for fall 2021, for which, you must take the GRE before mid-Jan 2021. Most universities also accept scores until March end so; you can plan to take the test accordingly. To help you kick start your preparation, we offer online coaching for GRE which is at par with classroom coaching. Our online classes are interactive, and over 1000 students have already enrolled with us. Check out our GRE online batches here: https://www.dilipoakacademy.com/gre-online.html

Meanwhile, you can proceed with your application process. Aim to finish it by March 2021, before the university deadlines. At Dilip Oak’s Academy, we also provide admission counselling and guide you through the entire application process. For details, visit: https://www.dilipoakacademy.com/study-in-usa.html

GREat Five-Minute Reads: Episode 12

Dear Reader,

One of the easiest ways to learn new words is through association. Instead of trying to learn by remembering the equivalent of a word in your mother tongue or its usage in English, you can learn by thinking of words in groups. These groupings can be grammatical: all action verbs or nouns related to knowledge (ending with -logy), for instance; or logical: as found in our VocabApp.

Today, all our links and questions are about pictures and photographs, which can be helpful in recollecting a bunch of words. Here are some of those words, see how many you can guess correctly.

Question 1

For a ______ like myself, there was no wrong age to take up photography: I just had to get a smartphone!

A] tyro

B] sage

C] transgressor

 

Question 2

The light cast by the setting sun is the most _____________ and hence, it is known as the Golden Hour in Hollywood.

A] voluble

B] voluminous

C] luminous

 

Question 3

Whenever I look at these pictures of people from my past, I am filled with _________.

A] nostalgia

B] animosity

C] catharsis

 

Question 4

4] The only surviving picture of my great-grandmother is a small painted __________.

A] frieze

B] vignette

C] coda

 

Question 5

Editors often __________ black-and-white photos with colour images to choose the best ones.

A] riddle

B] amalgamate

C] juxtapose

 

Tell us your guesses in the comments section and look for the answers in our next edition!

Here are some articles you might interesting:

Hi-Res in Space!

Everyday Exemplars…

Recycling Could Help You Make Millions

 

Answers for last week’s questions:

1] “We found the glass splashed on little pieces of bone that were by the hearth, so we know that the molten glass had landed in this village while people were living there,” said coauthor Allen West, a member of the Comet Research Group, a nonprofit organization aimed at studying this particular cosmic impact and its consequences.

2] B] No magnetic marks, characteristic of lightning strikes, were found.

3] A] Climatic changes

4] B] exceptional D] atypical

5] A] imitate D] prevalent

Trump’s new executive order of H1B Visa suspension will not affect Indian students

H1B Visa

President Donald Trump, on Monday, June 22, issued an executive order temporarily suspending stamping for new H-1B and few other work visas till December 31, 2020.

While the news may come as a setback for IT professionals aspiring to go to the US this year, students completing graduation in the USA, need not panic.

Who will be affected by this executive order? 

IT companies 

This move will affect the IT companies in India that work for US clients and send their employees on H1B visas or L Visas to work at client sites. The suspension will prohibit the entry of IT professionals in the USA on work-related projects till December 2020. The freeze will apply to the following visas:

  1. H1-B Visas: Used by Tech workers
  2. H4 Visa: Dependents of H1B visa holders
  3. L visas – Transfer within the same company
  4. J Visa – Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa
  5. H2-B – Visas for low-skill jobs

H1B aspirants of 2020-21 fiscal 

The H1B lottery process for 2020-21 fiscal has completed. The sponsoring companies of those picked in the lottery had hoped to complete the application process by June end and have the employees onboard this year itself. However, with the new ban, the employees will not be able to join this October and will have to wait till December.

No effect on F1 visa and OPT

Students pursuing their education in the US are on an F1 student visa. You can still find an internship or co-op on CPT while studying. Also, on completion of your graduation, you can start working in the US on OPT. Students who are already on OPT and whose H1B visas have been picked in the lottery, will not be affected by the order. However, it is highly recommended that they do not travel outside the US under these circumstances.

 Better chance for employment to students with strong academics and US degrees  

Following this order, Trump has also directed his administration to reform the H-1B visa system and move in the direction of merit-based immigration. Additionally, the lottery system which picks up applications randomly will now be replaced by a merit-based system that will prioritize the highest salaries to “get the best and the brightest”.

Therefore, students who have demonstrated excellent academics and have advanced degrees in the US universities will increase their chances of securing a high paying job and benefit them greatly.

6 Easy Hacks to Get You Back in the Online Learning Game!

As convenient as they might seem, online classes do demand extra efforts when it comes to concentrating. It is quite easy to focus during classroom lectures as there is two-way communication and the right kind of environment with no reasons to get distracted. However, in online classes, it is a task to focus and soak everything in as it is comfortable and there is no fear of being noticed or called out by the teacher! This lack of concentration might leave you with no substantial learning at the end of the day.

To enable you to stay focused during your online lectures, and make the most out of them, here is our quick video blog of 6 easy hacks to get you back in the learning game!

GREat Five-Minute Reads: Episode 11

Dear Reader,

As promised, from this week onwards, we will present some old and some new articles along with questions on Reading Comprehension, Sentence Equivalence, and Text Completion from the Verbal Reasoning section.

Tell us your guesses in the comments section and look for the answers in our next edition!

Dinosaurs weren’t the only ones!

Question 1

Select a sentence in the article that provides evidence that the comet struck while the village was under human habitation.

 Question 2

Why did the scientists rule out earthly causes such as volcanic activity or thunderstorms for the fires? Select all that apply.

A] They found evidence that natural sources of fire can also reach such high temperatures.

B] No magnetic marks, characteristic of lightning strikes, were found.

C] Molten metal was not found at the site.

Question 3

None of the following were reasons for the Abu Hureyra culture becoming agrarian EXCEPT

A] Climatic changes

B] Technological modifications

C] Survival of a few people

D] Animal husbandry

E] Ground-breaking invention of systematic agriculture

 

Alterations to Art

Question 1

The presence of halos as identifying appurtenances of holy figures in early Netherlandish paintings is as ________ an occurrence as it is commonplace in Italian paintings of the same period.

Select the two answer choices that, when used to complete the sentence, fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole, and produce completed sentences that are alike in meaning.

A] trite

B] exceptional

C] recognizable

D] atypical

E] perceptible

F] sacral

The representation of mortals as saints, reflecting a desire to (i) ________ the lives of the saints and to follow their sacrifices and devotion to Christ, becomes increasingly (ii) _______ in the early sixteenth century. The practice reflects an extension of the beliefs of and widespread adherence to the Modern Devotion, a popular reform movement begun by Geert Grote in the late fourteenth century and initially practiced by the Brothers of the Common Life.

 Question 2

For each blank select one entry from the corresponding column of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text.

Blank (i)Blank (ii)
A] imitateD] prevalent
B] animateE] predictable
C] stippleF] pretentious

Four ways to build a great career profile during lockdown

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We know how this lockdown has affected your future plans, delayed your dream of flying to the US to start your master’s, and has left you wondering what to do! Well, our suggestion: Do not let the pandemic dampen your spirits. While at home, seize the opportunity, enhance your skillset and start building a strong career profile. Value-addition is the need of the hour and with ample hours at your disposal, you better spend them productively.

Here are four great ways to build a solid profile and skyrocket your career:

  1. Add to your certifications: There is nothing more comfortable than sitting on the couch, snacking and taking an online lesson without the hassle of travelling, or sitting in a class of 100 people! Lookup for online courses, certifications, short term diplomas and get started. There are various websites that offer tons of free courses that are certified and recognized by recruiters.
  2. Internship/Job: If you aren’t already working and you have made up your mind to defer your MS admission to spring 2021 or fall 2021, you have enough time to take a high leap and start working. Look actively for a job that matches your skillset or you can also try something that is not directly in the spectrum of your profile but you are enthusiastic about. Not only will this help you utilize your time prudently, but will also make you independent.
  3. Freelancing: If you do not want to go for a full-time job because you are still dicey about your deferral decision, take up freelance projects. It is flexible, keeps you occupied, gives you hands-on experience, and pays you well! It is a win-win situation.
  4. Learn something new: Co-curricular activities and unique skills are always appreciated by US universities and recruiters. Challenge yourself and pick up a new skill. If not great at it, you will have learnt something 20 other students of your batch or 50 other candidates for the position you apply for, do not know!

So gear up and get going!

GREat Five-Minute Reads: Episode 10

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We celebrate the big 10 with a nod to big transformations and changes! From the tiniest of organisms to the infinite vastness of space, small changes tend to have big repercussions. From the next edition of the reading list, we will change too. To know more, keep following our lists.

Happy Readings!

  1. From Amoeba to Alpaca
  2. One small step for man…
  3. Marvel at the long history of an art you can read!
  4. Da Vinci: gone for 500 years, still schooling us!
  5. How technology changed us over the last 5,000 years…

Look out for a new Reading List every week on Thursday!