Application timeline for Spring 2023

Are you planning to go for MS in Spring 2023? 

The right time to apply for the spring semester is around June or mostly July, which means if you haven’t already started working on your applications, you need to start right now! 

We strongly recommend that you write the GRE and TOEFL before the 15th of July so you can submit all your online applications and courier the necessary documents before the 25th of July.

Of course, many universities accept applications even till the second week of August, but if you want admission to a good university, it is better to apply before July 2022. Submitting your application early will also help you to get your I-20 early and thus you will be able to apply for a visa by October or November, or at least in early December.

Therefore start preparing for GRE and TOEFL now and book your test date at the earliest.

At Dilip Oak’s Academy, we have begun enrollments for admission counseling for Spring 2023. Click here to enroll and get complete assistance in drafting your Statement of Purpose (SOP), transcripts, and recommendation letters, sending applications, university selection, visa documentation, and mock visa interview! 

For further details, contact us on 020-67444222 or email us at support@dilipoakacademy.com.

Things to do before applying for a Ph.D. program in the USA 

Along with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, a lot of international students are now pursuing Ph.Ds. 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 Ph.D. in America. 

To pursue a Ph.D. 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. Students can also apply for a combined program for MS and Ph.D. In order to qualify for a Ph.D. students should have a high score in the GRE (320+) and sometimes, in the subject GRE along with a GPA of 8.5 or above in their undergraduate program. If the master’s has been done from the USA, the GPA has to be 3.5 and above.

However, below are a few things you need to keep in mind and start preparing well in advance if you are planning to pursue a Ph.D. in a top American university: 

  • 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 Ph.D. project. Choose your program accordingly.
  • Research your Ph.D. guide: When it comes to a Ph.D., 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 Ph.D. programs, it is always beneficial to first narrow down the right research guide and then finalize the university.
  • Lookout for funding opportunities: Pursuing a Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. tuition affordable.
  • Finalize the universities: Once you decide your research topic, supervisor, and funding opportunities, shortlist your universities and start the application process.

 SAT to go fully digital from March 2023

The College Board recently announced a major change in the SAT examination system. Till now the SAT was strictly pen-and-paper based but it will now be delivered fully digitally starting March 2023 in all the International test centers and at the U.S. test centers from Spring 2024, thereby discontinuing the pen-and-paper based model. 

The main features of the Test will remain the same. It will still be scored out of 1600, it will continue to be administered in a school or a test center with a proctor and students will continue to connect to scholarships and College Board National Recognition Programs. 

Then what’s changing with the digital SAT? 

  1. Shorter and faster:  The digital SAT will be shorter, of two hours only and will have only two modules (Reading, Writing and Math). The reading passages will also be shorter with one question tied to each. Calculators will be allowed for the entire Math section of the test. A reference sheet will also be provided for the Math section consisting of the most common formulas. 
  2. Scores availability: Instead of weeks, the digital SAT will enable students to receive their scores faster, within a few days. 
  3. Test availability: Instead of 5 times a year, the digital SAT will now be available 7 times a year at all the centers, including India. 
  4. More secure and flexible: Each student will see a unique version of the test and schools will have more flexibility as to when to conduct the test. 
  5. Device flexibility: Students will be able to take the test either on a laptop or a tablet and they can use either their own device or a  school-issued device.
  6.  Relevancy: The digital score reports will also connect students to information on two-year colleges, institutions, career and training programs. 

Students will be able to register for the first digital SAT administrations at international test centers starting in fall 2022. For more information, keep following our blog and our social media handles! 

All you need to know about the AP exam 

Along with the standardized tests like SAT and ACT, we often suggest students aspiring to pursue a bachelor’s degree in America, to take the Advanced Placement (AP) Test. 

AP Exams are standardized college-level exams designed to measure your mastery over a specific subject and help you earn credits.  Under this, there are 38 courses from various disciplines to choose from like AP Calculus AB, AP Computer Science, AP Chemistry, AP Physics etc. You can choose the course for subjects related to your career of choice and your expertise. AP exams are scored on the scale of 1 to 5, where each score corresponds to a college course grade equivalent.

Taking AP exams has several benefits, especially for Indian students: 

Boosts chances of getting into a top-ranked university: AP scores add weightage to your college application and help you stand out among hundred others. Top-ranked universities prefer students who give AP exams because performance in AP demonstrates your thoroughness in the subject and ability to manage university-level studies.

Reduces tuition cost:  Taking AP exams helps you to earn college credits even before starting with the college. A high AP score of 4 or 5 allows you to earn enough credits so as to skip a semester or even a year. In that case, you can graduate almost 6 months to 1 year early and save on your tuition fees by thousands of dollars. 

Scholarships and funding opportunities: Most US universities offer good scholarships to high AP scores. This enables the student to further save up on the tuition cost. Some universities also offer an Advanced Placement International Diploma (APID) to Indian students who score exceptionally well in more than 5 AP exams. Hence, even if you have a humble financial background, your AP score can help you complete your bachelors in a high ranked university at a relatively low cost.

When to take the AP? 

The ideal time to give the AP is in your 11th or  12th grade, depending on the number of exams you want to take and your level of preparation. 

The exam is held only once a year, in the month of May. For 2022, the AP exam dates are May 2-6 and May 9-13. The first window for registration was between September and mid-November 2021. However, some test centers are offering a second registration window (February to mid-March) at an additional fee (Pune center last registration date is 6th March 2022) 

For more details on AP exam in India and other registration details, visit https://international.collegeboard.org/students/ap/taking-ap-india

Co-curricular activities that strengthen your application

For those of you who want to pursue higher studies abroad, it is time to focus on preparing a strong application and considering all the key aspects required to strengthen your profile, including co-curricular activities. 

Especially for those of you applying for undergraduate programs, your co-curricular and extra-curricular activities carry equal weight along with your academic and SAT scores. For the master’s program, your co-curricular activities will definitely set you apart.

Here are a few important co-curricular activities you can highlight and work on, to strengthen your profile: 

Undergraduate Applicants

  • School Headboy/girl, Class Prefect, House Captain, Model United Nations (MUN) speaker 
  • Editor or writer for college newsletters and magazines 
  •  Participation in Science clubs and projects
  •  Inter-class and inter-school competitions and state/national level competitions, elocution, etc.
  • Self-driven projects, seminars, and workshops 

Graduate Applicants

  • Technical quizzes during college fests
  • Filing for patents
  • Articles contributed for academic publication, state/national level technical competitions 
  • Seminars and projects 
  • Internship/ apprenticeship 

For detailed guidance on building your profile and going about the application process, enrol for our admission counselling services today! We provide thorough guidance on drafting of SOPs, selection of universities, application essays, and visa counselling. 

Eligibility Requirements for MS Programs in Canada

1. Academic credentials

A majority of Canadian 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).

Canadian universities have a very high cut-off percentage. Hence, you need to have a minimum of 70% to 75% in your degree course and an equivalent CGPA of a minimum of 7.5 to 8.5. Top universities especially, give a lot of emphasis on your performance in the last two years (i.e. the 3rd & 4th years) of your degree course.

If you are planning to pursue an MS in Business Management, Finance, or Business Analytics, you are required to have relevant work experience of minimum 1 to 3 years.

2. Qualifying examinations

TOEFL or IELTS: certain minimum English Language Proficiency Test scores are mandatory for admission to Canadian universities. A minimum IELTS band score of 6.5 to 7 or a minimum TOEFL score of 85+ is required by a majority of Canadian universities. At Dilip Oaks Academy, we offer  TOEFL coaching and  IELTS coaching along with rigorous practice sessions and mock tests.

3. GRE: Though a majority of universities in Canada do not require GRE scores, some of the top universities do, and so we recommend that you give your GRE if you aim to get into one of these universities. Our GRE Coaching will help you thoroughly prepare for the GRE exam. (hyperlink underlined words to GRE landing page)

We also offer Admission Counseling (hyperlink to Admission Counseling Masters in Canada page) through which we provide guidance on the selection of universities, application essays, and visa counseling. 

Advantages of Pursuing a Master’s Degree in Canada

With its international student population touching 6.4 lakhs this year, Canada has become the 3rd most popular destination for foreign students, especially Indians, who constitute 34% of this number. Since 2014, the Indian student population in Canada has grown by a massive 350%.  Premier but affordable education, internationally recognized degrees, and opportunities for Permanent Residency have led a large number of students to apply for Master’s degrees in Canada. Additionally, its small population of 37 million, and the steady growth of its economy have opened up multiple job avenues over the last decade, especially in the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec, making them the most sought-after areas to settle in.

Here are the top six reasons why you should pursue a Masters in Canada:

1. Quality education and internationally recognized degrees: Canada is home to around 30 high-ranked universities offering degrees that are internationally recognized as equivalent to corresponding degrees earned in the US. These universities have highly qualified professors, mostly doctorates, with enormous experience in their fields.

2. Affordable tuition fees and living costs: compared to American universities, Canadian universities have a very affordable fee structure; in fact, their fees are the lowest of all English-speaking countries. This is because the Canadian dollar is much cheaper than the US dollar and the Euro. Further, living costs – the total housing, food, and other expenses – usually do not exceed 1,000 CAD per month which can be covered by on-campus jobs. Students can also apply for full-time jobs during summer and winter breaks and earn enough to cover their tuition costs.

3. Easy immigration and PR laws: unlike the US, there is no annual quota for work permits in Canada.  Also, under the new system, international graduates from Canadian programs of study can obtain up to 30 additional CRS points which count towards getting a Permanent Residency.

4. Job opportunities: the Canadian university curriculum is designed to meet the changing demands of the industry. So by the time students finish their master’s studies, they are well-placed to land good jobs and generally manage to do so within 6 months of completing their course.

5. Research-based education:  Canada ranks 4th in the world for the quality of its scientific research and Canadian universities actively encourage students to carry out research. Companies and government institutions in Canada also extend their support to Canadian universities by organizing learning programs and workshops for their students. The University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia have been recognized as the best Canadian universities due to the high impact of their research.

6. Cultural diversity:  Canada has rich ethnic and cultural diversity. Universities also conduct a number of cultural programs that help students to develop a broader global perspective.

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

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.

 

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!