Eligibility Requirements for MS and PhD programs in the USA

In order to pursue a Master’s degree in America, you need to meet the following academic and English language requirements:

  • Academic credentials: A majority of American universities require you to have completed 16 years of education (12+4), i.e. a four-year Bachelor’s degree before applying for MS. This is applicable for students from technical backgrounds like Engineering, Pharmacy, and Architecture. For non-technical fields like Arts and Management, a student is required to complete 17 years of education (12+3+2).
  • A good GRE score: the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is an American standardized aptitude test that assesses a student’s verbal and mathematical ability. The GRE, which is scored out of 340, is an internet-based test and can be taken throughout the year. The score is valid for five years.
  • The minimum required TOEFL or IELTS score: since our native language is not English, we need to show that we have the minimum required English language skills to pursue graduate programs in America. For this purpose, you can take the TOEFL which is scored out of 120. Most good American universities require a score of 80+ in TOEFL. You can also take the IELTS, another English proficiency examination which is conducted by the British Council which is scored on a scale of 9. Most universities require a band score of at least 6.5 in IELTS.
  • Good academic performance: your academics are as important as your GRE score. To get admission in a good university you should have a consistently good academic record in all four years of your degree course. As far as possible avoid backlogs and year-downs.
  • Curricular and co-curricular accomplishments: American universities give weightage to the projects and seminars you have done as part of your course and to co-curricular activities such as the publication of papers in nationally and internationally recognized journals and participation in conferences. To gain practical experience and boost your profile, you should take up internships, whether they are paid or unpaid.
  • Relevant work experience: relevant work experience increases your chances of getting admission to good universities and securing good jobs after you have completed your MS.

To help you get started with your preparation, we offer GRE CoachingTOEFL CoachingIELTS Coaching  and also Admission Counseling  through which we provide guidance on selection of universities, application essays and visa counselling.

Advantages of Pursuing a Master’s degree in the USA

Here are top 7 reasons why you should pursue a Masters in America:

  1. The strong American economy: America is the largest economy in the world, with a GDP of $ 20.54 trillion, which is 24% of the world GDP. For this reason, they have the capacity to absorb thousands of immigrants and offer those with good technical skills high paying jobs.
  2. Shortage of technical manpower: America is the world leader in technology, especially in the field of IT as can be seen by the dominance of tech giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple in this field. However, they are in constant need of technical manpower. Since there are not enough Americans to fill these technical positions, Indians students are always in great demand.
  3. No discrimination: The American social system is unbiased. American universities and corporates welcome people of all nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. Hard working, intelligent and innovative students can prosper in the American corporate world. Good examples are Sunder Pichai and Satya Nadela.
  4. Updated university syllabi: American universities keep updating their syllabi to keep pace with industry trends and the latest technologies. This enables their alumni to get good job opportunities all over the world.
  5. Research-based education: This is perhaps the most important reason why the American education system is so popular. Universities in America lay a strong emphasis on research. Most of their professors are constantly engaged in active research. Likewise, they encourage students also to take up the thesis option and carry out independent research during their programs of study. Their labs are also outfitted with the most advanced equipment and facilities. The overall exposure that students receive greatly builds up their practical skills.
  6. Scholarships and funding opportunities: American universities are non-profit organizations funded by the government and private donors. They offer financial assistance to students in the form of scholarships, Research, Teaching and Graduate Assistantships, campus jobs and internships. This makes education in America very affordable.
  7. Special quota for H-1B Visa: STEM students with a master’s degree have an additional quota of 20,000 for the H-1B visa or work permit over and above the general quota of 65,000.

Considering all these benefits, we strongly recommend that students consider pursuing graduate degrees in the US.

To help you get started with your preparation, we offer GRE Coaching and also Admission Counseling through which we provide guidance on selection of universities, application essays and visa counselling.

7% country cap on green cards likely to be removed; great benefit to Indians students and H1-B visa holders

Untitled design (1)

Following the US presidential elections, a major turnaround of events has taken place in favor of Indian students and immigrants with the new bill passed by the US Senate last Wednesday, December 2, 2020. The bill eliminates the 7% per country cap on the employment-based immigrant visa (EB-2 and EB -3 categories) green cards. The bill has proved to be a huge relief for Indian immigrants stuck in the green card backlog for years.

Every year, the US grants more than a million green cards for the following types:

  1. Family-sponsored Green cards: This type of Green Card is given only to immediate family, such as spouses, children, siblings, or parents of a US citizen or a US permanent resident.
  2. Employment sponsored Green cards: This Green Card is given to you if you have found a job in the US and your employer is going to pay for the forms and application procedure and sponsor your stay in the US.
  3. Returning resident Green Card: This Green Card is for those who previously had a Green Card but travelled outside of the US and did not come back for more than one year for unavoidable reasons.
  4. Diversity Visa Green Card: Every year the US holds a visa lottery for citizens of countries with low immigration rates to the US.

The employment sponsored green cards are further categorized into the following types:

  1. EB-1: Employment-based first preference, priority workers with a 40,040-annual cap.
  2. EB-2: Employment-based second preference, professionals with 40,040 workers with offers of employment in jobs requiring an advanced degree or higher.
  3. EB-3: Employment-based third preference, skilled workers: 40,040 workers with offers of employment in jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree and skilled workers with at least two years of experience.
  4. EB-4: Employment-based fourth preference, special immigrants: 9,940 religious’ workers, broadcasters, US government and military employees, and abandoned juveniles.
  5. EB-5: Employment-based fifth preference, investors: 9,940 foreign investors who made investments in a new commercial enterprise in the United States.

Out of these, the EB-2 and EB-3 visas apply to students pursuing masters and bachelor’s degrees in the US. Every year, as the number of applicants for green cards kept increasing, the backlogs also kept accumulating due to the 7% country cap.

As of November 2019, the backlog for EB-2 and EB-3 green card applications for India is a whopping 706,097 and only around 8000 green cards are being cleared annually because of the 7% country cap. Considering these figures, it might take 89 years to clear this backlog. As of December 2020, EB-2 applications up to 15th May 2011 and EB-3, applications up to 1st January 2014 have been cleared.

But there are chances that the clearance process for these backlogs will now accelerate if the 7% country cap is removed, and the number of green cards cleared annually will increase from only 8000 to 1,40,000, thereby benefiting H1-B visa holders and aspiring students.

However, even if the Senate has passed the bill, the chambers must reconcile their differences before the bill goes to the president. It is not yet clear whether President Trump would sign the bill into law, as the White House has previously expressed opposition to the concept of removing per-country caps and anti-immigration groups are publicly opposing the bill.

 

How to choose the right subjects for Bachelors in the USA?

How to choose the right subjects for bachelors in the USA_

Dilip Oak’s Academy recently conducted a webinar on how to select the right subjects (minor and major) for bachelors in the USA. The webinar was presided over by Maithili Khandekar, BS from the University of Arizona, now studying in Medical School. Here is an overview of the few key points she spoke on about the overall subject selection system in the US and its advantages:

Decided/Undecided major:  Unlike India, there is no hard and fast rule in the USA to select subjects before joining the university. Students can either decide before joining the university or join undecided and explore their options upon starting the course. Usually, every university offers general courses in the first year for streams like Math, Science, English and Humanities. Math stream usually includes subjects like Calculus 1, and Calculus 2, Science stream includes Biology, Physics, and Chemistry, while Humanities includes contemporary architecture, literature, art etc. Students can decide the subjects they want to pursue depending upon what they have studied in the 11th and 12th grades, their goal, and the credits they have earned.

Selecting academic minor: Along with a major, students can also explore their interests and passion by choosing a minor. For instance, a Computer Science student can opt for an economics minor only for the sake of interest in the field. Choosing a minor has several benefits like:

  1. It complements the major: If you choose a minor that is closely related to your major, it will add to your knowledge and in future, also improve your chances of securing a job by demonstrating your deep interest in the subject.
  2. It helps you explore personal interests: A minor opens up good opportunities to pursue your talents and passion. If you are keen about art, history, music, theatre etc. you can select a minor in these areas alongside your major and make the most of your college life.
  3. Strengthens your academic profile: If your minor turns out to complement your major well, you can talk to your advisor and declare it as your second major. This will allow you to integrate the subjects and make your academic profile even more impressive.

Considering all these points, you can carefully plan and select both your major and minor subjects.

Flexibility for change of majors: One of the biggest advantages of pursuing bachelors in the USA is the academic flexibility that the universities offer. Students can change their chosen majors anytime throughout their degree course. A student can also switch his major in the final year and start with a new major without any hassle.

Flexibility for change of fields: A student who has not studied Science in 11th or 12th can also pursue a STEM-related bachelor by undertaking certain pre-requisite courses in the first year. This enables students to pursue their field of choice and does not limit their options. 

For more details on these points, and other pre-requisites for pursuing bachelors in the USA like SAT score requirements, and extra-curricular activities, watch the full webinar here:

Impact of COVID-19 on American universities & admissions: An overview by SUNY Binghamton

IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES & ADMISSIONS (1)

Last week, Dilip Oak’s Academy conducted a webinar on the current scenario in American universities, the impact of COVID-19 on admissions for Master’s degree, and funding opportunities in the USA. The webinar was presided over by Maggie Wolford, director of graduate admissions and recruitment, SUNY Binghamton. Here is an overview of her valuable insights into the scenario in America concerning several important pointers viz.:

  1. Location: Universities in the major cities like San Francisco, Chicago and New York have been more affected by the pandemic as compared to those in remote areas, like SUNY Binghamton, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, University of Oklahoma, Norman, etc.
  2. Financial impact: High class, Tier 1 research universities (those offering STEM courses) can sustain the effects of the pandemic, but liberal arts and other smaller universities have incurred significant losses.
  3. Factors for resuming in-person instruction: Universities will decide whether to start the in-person instruction soon or wait, depending upon the number of COVID cases in the area, cost of testing, and testing policies. (whether they have compulsory testing, voluntary testing, or symptomatic testing, and the budget for each)
  4. Spring semester schedule: The majority of the universities are quite likely to push their spring semester start dates. Usually, the spring semester commences in January, but universities might extend it to February. In that case, students will have extra time for project completion, but their holidays will be reduced.
  5. Impact on funding: Due to online instruction, positions for Teaching Assistantships are likely to reduce. Research Assistantships will also depend upon whether the university is funded by the government or by private agencies. Government funding has been reduced significantly for other fields, but a few like Supply Chain Management and Healthcare Management will still receive enough funding. Graduate Assistantships won’t be affected since university jobs like web page development, networking, etc. will continue.
  6. Impact on CPT and internships: CPT is activated only after completing two on-campus semesters. If you join in the spring semester, you cannot work on the CPT in summer. In that case, you can utilize the time for summer courses and graduate early, or take campus paid internships which don’t require CPT. For example, lab assistant jobs, office jobs, admin jobs, etc. You can also take up certification courses free of cost, which will add to your résumé.
  7. Impact on admissions: Presently, the examination system all over the world has been disturbed due to the pandemic. Many universities have waived the GRE requirement, and they are accepting unofficial transcripts as well. But the situation will remain uncertain for a few more months.

For the full webinar, you can visit our YouTube channel:

and subscribe to it for regular updates and videos on higher education in America.

For detailed guidance on higher education in America, Canada and Germany and assistance on university selection, drafting SOPs and LORs, join our admission counseling today!

 

 

 

 

How to get funding and scholarships from US universities

How to get funding & scholarships from US universities

Every year, thousands of international students apply for a master’s degree in the US. This is mainly because the US education system offers well-structured programs, research opportunities, exposure, and most importantly, funding opportunities. US universities are very generous and provide a lot of financial assistance in the form of full funding, scholarships, or RA/TA/GA.

However, in order to avail of these funding opportunities, students must keep in mind the following 7 criteria:

  • A high GPA: To avail of scholarships, a student should have a consistently high academic record throughout the bachelor’s program (75% and above/GPA of 9.0 and above).
  • Paper presentations: Students who have a strong research aptitude and have published papers in nationally and internationally recognized journals and conferences, have high chances of securing full-funding. Looking at their potential, universities do not hesitate to invest in such candidates. At Dilip Oak’s Academy, one of our students, who presented three papers in international forums including Italy and the USA, received full funding for PhD in Computer Architecture from Georgia Tech, Ohio State, and Yale University.
  • Location: This is a very important factor that students often miss out on, while applying to universities. The majority of students apply to universities in the states of California, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, Texas, Illinois, etc. Due to a very large application pool, getting financial aid from universities in these states is difficult. But if they were to apply to universities in the states of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Idaho etc. their chances of getting aid would be higher because the number of applicants is relatively low. The quality of education in these universities equally good.
  • Professors: Students need to thoroughly research all the professors of the universities they plan to apply to. One can directly find them on university websites or (add name) study their work, their experience and interest, get in touch with them, and see if they are ready to offer any assistantship. Of course, applicants need to have a very strong academic background to receive a positive response from the professors.
  • GRE score: Along with other factors, the GRE score is also important. A GRE score above 320 (preferably above 330) maximizes your chances of securing funding.
  • SOPs and LORs: The Statement of Purpose plays a crucial role in securing financial assistance. Students need to ensure that their SOP brings out their intent, their story, their passion and why they deserve to receive funding. Similarly, strong recommendations from professors, project guide, or team lead (for working professionals) makes a strong impact on the application.
  • Relevant work experience: A relevant work experience of at least two years acts as a testament to one’s skills and commitment to the field and convinces the admissions committee that the applicant is a deserving candidate for a scholarship/funding.

Hence, if you are planning to apply for financial assistance, keep the above points in mind and plan it accordingly.

For detailed assistance on university selection, drafting SOPs and LORs and planning your MS in the US, join our admission counseling today!

 

 

 

 

How to apply for PhD in top American universities?

Untitled design (9)

Along with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, a lot of international students are now keen on pursuing PhD at American universities because the programs are comprehensive and structured, and encourage a lot of independent research.  Apart from world class facilities, well- equipped research labs and qualified professors, American universities also offer funding opportunities to deserving candidates which makes it easier for international students to pursue PhD in America. American universities have a global standing and they lead in innovation. This provides numerous job opportunities to PhD degree holders in academia, research institutes, government, and private research agencies all across the world.

However, in order to apply for PhD in top-notch American universities and reap maximum benefits of these programs, students must fulfill certain eligibility requirements and follow certain steps as given below:

Eligibility requirements:

  • Bachelor’s/Master’s degree: To pursue a PhD program in any American university, students must have a minimum of 16 years of education, which means, they must have completed their bachelor’s degree at the least. Many students also apply after their master’s degree, either in India or in the USA. Students can also apply for a combined program for MS and PhD.
  • Good scores in qualifying examinations: In order to qualify for a PhD, students should have a high score in the GRE (320+) and sometimes, in the subject GRE.
  • Good academic record: In order to pursue PhD at a top American university, students should have a consistently high academic record throughout the bachelor’s program (75% and above/GPA of 8.5 and above). If the master’s has been done from the USA, the GPA has to be 3.5 and above.
  • Research aptitude and work experience: Students who have a strong research aptitude, who have undertaken seminars and paper presentations, and who have relevant work experience are usually preferred. At Dilip Oak’s Academy, one of our students, who had a 70% academic record in Computer Engineering, four years of work experience, and who presented three papers in international forum including Italy and USA, received full funding for PhD in Computer Architecture from Georgia Tech, Ohio State, and Yale University.

 Steps to follow:

  • Choose your research topic well in advance: Narrowing down your research topic in advance will help you a great deal in making an informed decision. Study the topics, and see which topic would be viable for a PhD project. Choose your program accordingly.
  • Research your PhD guide: When it comes to PhD, a good research guide is far more important than a good university. Hence, study the research work performed by professors from various universities, get in touch with them, and see if you can get approval from them for supervising your work. For PhD programs, it is always beneficial to first narrow down the right research guide and then finalize the university.
  • Lookout for funding opportunities: Pursuing PhD in America can be very expensive and hence it is recommended to first look at universities that offer funding opportunities, scholarships, and research/ teaching assistantships and make your PhD tuition affordable.
  • Finalize the universities: Once you decide your research topic, supervisor, and funding opportunities, shortlist your universities and start the application process.

For more guidance on university selection and admission process, enroll for our expert admission counseling today!

 

 

 

15 cheapest and 15 most expensive American universities for international students

 

cheapest & costliest American universities

Pursuing M.S. in the USA is often expensive, especially for international students because unlike American citizens who pay in-state tuition fees, international students have to pay full tuition fees. For example, if an annual in-state tuition fee is $8000, an out-of-state tuition fee can be as high as $20,000. These tuition fees are also dependent on the ranking of the university. US universities are given rankings by certain private agencies like the US News, Princeton Review, etc. and as a thumb rule, the higher the ranking, the costlier is the university. Generally, state-funded universities are cheaper than private universities. Of course, there are certain exceptions to this.  However, just because the universities are cheaper, it does not mean they do not offer quality education.

Taking all these factors into consideration, at Dilip Oak’s Academy, we have shortlisted around 150 accredited universities which offer quality education and also offer good job opportunities.

Below is a list of the 15 most expensive and the 15 cheapest universities you can apply to, for pursuing a master’s degree program in the USA. The list is based only on tuition fees for fall 2020 and is not inclusive of living expenses because the living expenses mentioned on the I-20 form are on the higher side and the actual living expenses are less than that.

15 cheapest universities

SR.NO               Name of UniversityState CodeTuition Fees
1Minnesota State UniversityMN7424
2University of Central MissouriMO8697
3South Dakota State University – BrookingsSD8876
4University of South DakotaSD10330
5University of Texas – El PasoTX10664
6Brigham Young UniversityUT11160
7Bowling Green State UniversityOH11611
8Sam Houston State UniversityTX11630
9North Western Polytechnic UniversityIL12150
10Indiana State University – Terre HauteIN12260
11University of Wyoming – LaramieWY12566
12Texas A and M University – KingsvilleTX12839
16University of Arkansas-LittlerockAR13320
13Arkansas State UniversityAR13500
14Wright State University-DaytonOH13800
17California State University-Long BeachCA14568
15Central Michigan UniversityMI15300

15 most expensive universities

SR.NO               Name of UniversityState CodeTuition Fees
1Columbia UniversityNY58656
2North Western University – EvanstonIL56067
3Dartmouth CollegeNH55605
4Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteNY53757
5Johns Hopkins UniversityMD52170
6University of Michigan – Ann ArborMI50326
7Boston UniversityMA49886
8Carnegie Mellon UniversityPA49372
9Brown UniversityRI49146
10Duke UniversityNC49080
11Cornell UniversityNY48900
12New York UniversityNY45426
13University of PennsylvaniaPA44814
14University of RochesterNY44608
15University of Southern CaliforniaCA46948

For more guidance on university selection and admission process, enroll for our expert admission counseling today!

 

 

 

Student visa application for Spring 2021

 

Deferred admission to spring 2021_

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most US universities could not offer in-person classes for fall 2020 semester and almost all of them offered online classes instead. However, a majority of students did not opt for online classes due to the following reasons:

  • Even for the online medium, students will have to pay full tuition fees for the entire semester. (Some universities have reduced fees by 20 to 25 per cent)
  • The online semester will mean no financial assistance, no campus jobs/RA/TA which then makes the course unnecessarily expensive to bear.
  • The online semester does not offer the exposure and opportunities that a student otherwise gets while on campus.

Considering this, most of the students have deferred their admissions and are now gearing up to join the spring 2021 semester. However, looking at the rising numbers of coronavirus patients in the US, there is confusion about whether universities will take in-person classes for spring and whether it will be feasible for international students to join the semester.

Though a majority of universities plan on resuming in-person classes for the spring semester, they are yet to make a final decision. Some universities are still sceptical whether they would resume in-person classes for spring at all. For instance, California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White recently announced that all 23 campuses, including Chico State, will conduct winter and spring 2021 courses primarily virtual. More details will be forthcoming as Chico State receives further guidance from the government.

Universities have also observed that most international students did not opt for online classes and hence they are considering introducing hybrid courses which will enable students to get F1 visa.  However, the final decision of universities is expected to be announced by the end of November/early December depending upon the pandemic situation in America.

In this case, we would recommend students to request an I-20 for the spring semester but not rush into applying for the visa. The Consulate has also advised students to observe the situation and apply for visa three to four weeks before the date of reporting. In case you apply for a visa and obtain one, and the university cancels in-person instruction for the spring semester, you will have to revalidate the visa for fall 2021. For revalidation, you will require new I-20 for fall 2021 and it can be done through the Dropbox facility.

 

 

 

 

Application timeline for Fall 2021

 

Untitled design (7)

If you are applying for fall 2021 the clock has begun to tick. So, don’t delay. Here is a detailed Timeline to help you start and streamline your application process:

October-December 2020 

Register for the GRE and TOEFL examinations – these examinations should preferably be taken by 15th December 2020.

October 2020

  • Make a preliminary list of universities which meet your requirements considering:
  1. Broad specializations you are interested in
  2. Expected GRE score
  3. Academic record
  4. Budget
  5. Recommendations by seniors studying in American universities

November 2020

  • Documentation
    1. Start working on your Statement of Purpose (SOP). SOP is a crucial document that provides insights into your purpose of joining the course and university, your personality, experience in the field and long-term goals. It should be around 500 to 800 words long, precise, interesting, grammatically and technically sound.
    2. Arrange for 4 sets of college and university transcripts.
    3. Choose your recommenders (preferably college professors/project guides/employers) and keep recommendation letters ready.

  November-December 2020

  • Test and application process
  1. Take the GRE and TOEFL exams latest by 20th December 2020
  2. Shortlist your final 8 to 10 universities.
  3. Complete online application process latest by 30th of December and send the required documents by courier. Of course, universities accept applications even till 31st March, so you can send them by January too in case of any delay.
  4. Request the ETS to forward your GRE and TOEFL scores to the universities you are applying to. (scores take minimum 2 weeks to come)

 After sending the applications

You will most likely receive admission decisions from Feb/March. Once you receive the decisions, email your acceptance. This is very important especially when you are offered funding.

  1. 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. Some universities send I-20 along with the acceptance letter.
  2. Prepare the visa documentation according to the total cost of one year mentioned on the I-20
  3. Study the visa application formalities specified on the official website of the applicable US Consulate.
  4. Apply for a visa interview date – you can apply for a visa interview 120 days before the joining date mentioned on your I-20. Generally, students start applying for a visa from the third week of April. Once you get the visa date, proceed with the interview and complete the remaining formalities until your departure date.

At Dilip Oak’s Academy, we provide detailed guidance on these processes under our admission counselling services that include, selection of universities, drafting SOP and LOR, documentation process and visa counselling. Till date, we have sent 30,000 students to various universities in America including MIT, Stanford, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon and other top-ranked universities. To enrol, call us on 91-020-67444222, 91-8007878495.