Right time to take the GRE: A Comprehensive Guide to Timing and Preparation

As you prepare to show off your reading, math, and writing skills on the GRE, it is important to know that this decision depends on a few things, like your school background, what you want to do in your career, and how ready you feel for the test. This blog will guide you through everything you need about the GRE preparation timeline.

Understanding the GRE:

The GRE General Test checks your skills in three main areas: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. These skills indicate your ability to do well in college and at work. Let’s break down what each of these skills means:

Verbal Reasoning:

This part of the GRE looks at how well you know high-level English vocabulary, analyze written information and understand relationships among ideas. For example, you might be asked to read a passage and answer questions about its main idea or the author’s point of view.

Quantitative Reasoning:

This part of the test checks how good you are at math. It looks at elementary concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. It also looks at your ability to interpret quantitative information and solve complex problems using mathematical models. For instance, you might have to solve equations or analyze graphs to answer questions in the GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section.

Why GRE Preparation is Important:

The GRE test can still be tough even if you are good at English, math, and writing because there is limited time to solve each question, and the level of language and vocabulary is high. That’s why studying and preparing for the test is important.

How long should you study for the GRE?

When it comes to the GRE, preparation is key to achieving success on the exam. So, it is best to give yourself about four months to prepare for the GRE. Let’s break this down further:

Practice Makes Perfect:

While individual study habits and schedules may vary from person to person, you will become more familiar with the test format and improve your performance by dedicating time to study and practice.

Identify Weaknesses:

Practice tests can help you identify areas where you need improvement, allowing you to focus your studying where it is needed most.

Boost Confidence:

The more prepared you are, the more confident you will feel on test day, which can positively impact your performance.

Avoid Cramming:

Don’t try to cram all your studying into just two weeks, as that can lead to burnout, and you might not remember everything well. Instead, spread your study sessions over a longer time to help you remember things better.

Also read our blog on Financing your master’s program in the USA.

When should you take the GRE?

Choosing your GRE preparation timeline depends on your goals and deadlines. If you plan to go to grad school right after graduation in India, taking the GRE in the pre-final year of your graduation is a good idea. This gives you time to prepare without worrying about your final-year projects or internships. Plus, your GRE score is good for five years, so you can use it even if you wait a bit before applying to school.

However, that may not always be possible. So, let’s break down some scenarios:

Pre-Final Year Student:

If you are currently a pre-final year student thinking about studying in the USA in August (Fall) 2025, it is best to take your GRE test before the end of September 2024. This gives you about 8-10 weeks to write a Statement of Purpose, get recommendation letters, and take the TOEFL or IELTS exam. This will also give you time to retake the GRE if you want to improve your GRE score. Please note that you can take the GRE only once every 21 days and up to five times a year. Your official GRE score will come about 8 to 10 days after the test.

Final-Year Student:

For final-year students graduating around June 2024 and planning to start their master’s program in the USA in August (Fall) 2025, you should start preparing for the GRE in May/June 2024. Depending on when you feel ready, you can take the test anytime between September and November 2024. This will help you to still meet the deadlines by December 31, 2024.

Working Professionals:

If you are a working professional or want to work for a few years after graduation before studying abroad, it is best to start preparing 8 to 10 months before the deadline. This gives you enough time to balance work and study commitments. Joining a weekend class at Dilip Oak’s Academy one of the best GRE preparation classes in Pune and practicing during the week would be a good way to get GRE-ready.

Ultimately, deciding when to take the GRE depends on your circumstances and goals. By breaking down the preparation process and using examples, this guide aims to make it easier for you to plan and prepare effectively for the exam. Good luck!

As India’s leading Study Abroad Consultant, Dilip Oak’s Academy offers a comprehensive suite of admission counseling services that can guide you through the entire process from Shortlisting Universities to Visa Counseling. With our expertise, we have successfully sent 32,000 students to various prestigious American universities like MIT, Stanford, Cornell, and Carnegie Mellon. We also offer classroom and online coaching for GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS, as well as GRE Self Prep. To explore our services, book a free consultation or call us at 91-20-67444222.

The Ultimate Guide to Getting an Internship During Your US Master’s Program: CPT, Legalities, Tips & More

Are you a student pursuing a Master’s degree in the USA? Are you eager to gain practical experience and boost your career prospects with an internship? Look no further! Here’s everything you need to know about securing an internship during your USA Master’s program!

Understanding CPT (Curriculum Practical Training)

If you’re enrolled in a Master’s program, you’re eligible for CPT, which allows you to work in a position related to your field of study. To qualify, you need to have a valid F-1 immigration status for at least two full-time semesters (equivalent to one academic year). CPT lets you work in a job related to your field of study for up to 364 days.

Why Go for Internships?

Internships aren’t just about making coffee runs, and they offer much more than just workplace experience – they provide invaluable insights into American work culture and help you build a strong foundation for your future career. Typically lasting 10 to 12 weeks during summer breaks (generally from 15th May to 15th August), internships offer opportunities to apply classroom learning to real-world scenarios. Some universities even allow extensions for up to 20 weeks (i.e., for the entire third semester), providing extended hands-on experience. In very rare cases, students can do an Internships during the USA Master’s Program for the full term of 364 days.

The Legal Stuff

Before you jump into an internship, it’s essential to understand the legal requirements. To be eligible for an internship, you must obtain CPT work authorization, which allows off-campus employment for international students (F-1 visa holders) pursuing study programs in the USA and wanting to gain experience in their fields of study. Keep in mind that CPT is not available once you’ve completed your degree program.

Still studying for your GRE? Explore our numerous blogs on GRE Quantitative Reasoning and GRE Verbal Reasoning.

How to Secure an Internship during your USA Master’s Program?

• Outline your major responsibilities within your previous professional work experience. Include action words (such as facilitated, led, managed, maintained, operated, recommended, etc.) that highlight your skills.
• List relevant courses or projects you have worked on.
• List your extracurricular activities or volunteer experience.
• Keep the formatting simple and clean.

Every university has a career center or an internship coordinator for co-op and internship programs. Approach them to apply to the positions that interest you. Generally, every university also has a career center website showing internship opportunities in various corporations. Students are advised to visit this website regularly for updated listings and resources.

Explore Online Platforms:

Use job boards like LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed, and Glassdoor to search for internships in your field of interest. Create profiles and set up job alerts to stay informed about new opportunities. You can also use online forums like Glassdoor to look at the interview questions asked in companies that interest you.

Network, Network, Network:

• Request Referrals within Your Network: Connect with individuals in your network within the US and inquire if they are acquainted with employees at companies you are interested in. Internal referrals from existing employees can significantly increase the likelihood of your resume being considered for an interview.
• Career Fairs: Universities typically host career fairs each semester, providing an excellent opportunity to engage with potential employers and alumni. These events offer insights into industry hiring trends, facilitate networking, and present internship prospects.
• Information Sessions and Tech Talks: Universities often arrange information sessions and tech talks featuring various companies, especially during career fairs. These sessions allow current employees, often university alumni, to share insights about their companies and potential opportunities. Prepare a targeted resume to distribute and ask insightful questions beyond what’s available on the company’s website.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you – take action now! Update your resume, reach out to your network, and start exploring internship options today. Whether you are aiming for a summer internship during your USA Master’s Program or seeking opportunities during the academic year, now is the time to kickstart your career journey.

As India’s leading Study Abroad Consultant, Dilip Oak’s Academy offers a comprehensive suite of admission counseling services that can guide you through the entire process from Shortlisting Universities to Visa Counseling. With our expertise, we have successfully sent 32,000 students to various prestigious American universities like MIT, Stanford, Cornell, and Carnegie Mellon. We also offer classroom and online coaching for GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS, as well as GRE Self Prep. To explore our services, book a free consultation or call us at 91-20-67444222.

Understanding the I-20 Form: Importance and Purpose

When you’re accepted into a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school in the United States as an international student on an F-1 or M-1 visa, you’ll receive a Form I-20 from your designated school official (DSO). This I-20 Form, issued by the Department of Homeland Security, is crucial as it certifies your eligibility to travel to the US as a student, distinguishing you from an immigrant.
Remember that your I-20 is essential for visa application and entry to the US but is NOT a visa. Visas are issued by US consulates, while the I-20 is produced by your school.

Key Points to Verify on Your I-20 Form

Your I-20 is a 3-page document containing essential details, with the most crucial information on the first page. Before accepting your I-20, it’s important to check the following:

Personal Information

Verify that the following details match those on your passport:

• Surname/Primary name
• Given name
• Country of birth
• Country of citizenship
• City of birth
• Date of birth

School Information

Confirm that the following details are correct:

• School name (name of the university)
• Education level (degree applied for)
• Major (field of study)
• Start of classes (start date of the course)
• Program start and end date

In case there’s a mistake in the above information, you can request the university to send a revised and corrected I-20.

Note: While the typical duration between the start and end dates is around 21 months, on certain I-20 forms, it may extend to 28 or even 36 months. However, this does not imply that your course will be longer. The university provides a grace period for completing your studies. Most programs are completed within 3 to 4 semesters, totaling 16 to 21 months.

Financials

Review the estimated costs and funding sources on the form, including scholarships, personal funds, and other financial assistance.
Most universities provide the estimated average cost for 9 months, while some cover expenses for 12 months, which includes living costs for the Summer semester.
The estimated average cost specifies each of the following items separately:

• Tuition and fees
• Living expenses
• Expenses of dependents
• Other miscellaneous costs, such as health insurance

This section also mentions Funding sources, which may include

• Funds from the school (scholarships/financial assistance)
• Personal funds, funds from another source (Family funds)
• Funds from other sources

During the visa interview, students must present financial documents demonstrating access to liquid funds equivalent to the total cost specified on the I-20.
Note: Liquid funds include funds in bank, education loan, employee provident fund, investment in shares and mutual funds.

School and Student Attestation

Confirm that the appropriate university official has signed the I-20. It is also important for you to sign it before your visa interview.

Understanding the Second and Third Pages of the Form I-20

The university utilizes the second page of the I-20 for employment authorization during Curriculum Practical Training (CPT), which allows the student to work in the United States. It also serves as a travel endorsement for a student’s re-entry to the same school after a temporary absence from the United States. Each endorsement remains valid for one year. The third page provides essential instructions for students.

Electronic I-20 Copy for Visa Application

An electronic copy of your signed I-20 is acceptable for visa appointments and entry to the US. Print the signed copy for your visa interview and travel.

Visa Application and SEVIS Fee

After receiving your I-20, you can apply for your visa by scheduling your interview within 360 days before the program start date. Before the interview, ensure you pay the \$350 SEVIS fee online. To pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee, go to FMJfee and fill out the SEVIS Form I-901.

Dependent I-20s

Your family members (spouse or unmarried children under 21) must have their own separate I-20s. They will need these I-20s to apply for and enter the US with F-2 visas.

While studying as an F-1 student, having your I-20 with you is important whenever you travel. You’ll need to carry it along with your passport and F-1 visa when traveling internationally and returning to the US. Make sure to get your I-20 signed by an advisor from the International Center at least once a year if you plan to travel outside the US.

Other Uses of the Form I-20 Form

Your Form I-20 serves as proof of your legal enrollment in a study program within the United States, which is essential when seeking benefits accessible to F and M students. Whether applying for a driver’s license, a Social Security Number, or commencing employment on or off campus, remember to carry your Form I-20 with you.

In Conclusion

Understanding your I-20 is crucial for a smooth transition to studying in the US. By carefully reviewing its contents and following the necessary steps, you can ensure compliance with immigration regulations and enjoy a successful academic journey in the United States.

As India’s leading Study Abroad Consultant, Dilip Oak’s Academy offers a comprehensive suite of admission counseling services that can guide you through the entire process from Shortlisting Universities to Visa Counseling. With our expertise, we have successfully sent 32,000 students to various prestigious American universities like MIT, Stanford, Cornell, and Carnegie Mellon. We also offer classroom and online coaching for GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS, as well as GRE Self Prep. To explore our services, book a free consultation or call us at 91-20-67444222.

The Ultimate Master’s Program Application Guide: Expert Tips for Spring 2025

Missed the Fall 2024 application deadlines? Not sure what to do next? You’re in the right place! While Fall semester applications are more common, Spring 2025 semester admissions are equally feasible and offer ample opportunities, and we’re here to guide you through the application process. Let’s break it down step by step.

Why Apply for Spring 2025?

Opting for the Spring semester doesn’t just offer flexibility; it unlocks doors to a range of academic opportunities. Numerous universities offer admissions for both Fall and Spring semesters, allowing students to select the timeline that perfectly fits their needs. Choosing Spring 2025 isn’t just about avoiding a year-long wait due to a missed Fall deadline; it’s about seizing the chance to align your academic aspirations with your preferred start date, ensuring a smooth transition into your Master’s program.

Application Timeline

To help you navigate the application process smoothly, let’s break down the timeline:

Pre-requisite Tests: February-June 2024

Before diving into the application process, it’s essential to complete the necessary tests:

GRE and TOEFL/IELTS:

Aim to complete these exams by June 30, 2024. You can explore the comprehensive study options at Dilip Oak’s Academy here: GRE Classroom Coaching, TOEFL Classroom Coaching, and IELTS Classroom Coaching.

Gather Necessary Documents: June-July 2024

Assemble the required documents for your applications:

Statement of Purpose (SOP):

The SOP is a crucial document that offers insight into not only your reasons for choosing the course and university, but also your personality, field experience, and long-term goals. It should be concise, compelling, grammatically correct, and technically sound, spanning approximately 500 to 800 words.

Transcripts:

Obtain official transcripts from your previous institutions. Apply for transcripts well in advance, as some colleges or universities may require more time to process them.

Recommendation Letters:

Recommendation letters are critical documents that vouch for your qualities, background, and achievements as a candidate for the master’s programs. Virtually every university requires applicants to submit three recommendation letters. Choose your recommenders (college professors, project guides, or employers) carefully as these letters are meant to provide a comprehensive view of your suitability for the academic program.

Selection of Universities for Final Application: July-September 2024

Once you’ve completed your tests, it’s time to research and shortlist universities. Consider the following factors:

Specializations:

Not every university provides all specializations. To identify the right fit, explore each university’s course structure, programs, and research areas of professors, aligning them with your academic interests and career goals.

GRE Score:

Usually, universities don’t specify the minimum required score for applications. The score needed varies based on the university’s rank and reputation, information that’s often not available on their website. To gauge the score required, you can refer to the database of previous students admitted to these universities. Dilip Oak’s Academy maintains an extensive database of over 32,000 students who enrolled in various American universities since 1996, including those universities that offer a GRE waiver post COVID. Thus, our extensive database can help you gauge the scores accepted by various institutions.

TOEFL/IELTS Score:

Students must achieve the minimum qualifying score set by the university. Typically, most universities require a TOEFL score of 80, but some may ask for a higher score, up to 100. Similarly, for IELTS, a band score of 6.5 is commonly required, although some universities may seek a higher band, up to 7.5.

Your academic record from your bachelor’s degree plays an important role in the application process. A strong year-wise GPA is necessary for admission to reputable universities. It’s advisable for students to avoid backlogs or year gaps.

Co-curricular Activities:

Projects, internships, paper presentations, publications, and seminar participations will strengthen your profile, increasing your chances of acceptance into better universities.

Budget:

Tuition fees and living expenses vary among universities, with state universities generally being more affordable than private ones. Students should carefully consider their financial situation when selecting universities. Additionally, students can explore education loans offered by various financial institutions to help cover costs.

Sending applications to universities: July-September 2024

Select 6 to 8 Universities:

Based on the abovementioned criteria, narrow down your choices to 6 to 8 universities for your final applications.

Complete Online Applications:

Make sure to finish the online application process before the university’s specified deadlines. Some institutions may require additional documents via courier alongside the online submission.

Forward Test Scores:

Request ETS to send your GRE and TOEFL scores to the selected universities (scores typically take a minimum of 2 weeks to arrive). The additional score reporting fee for GRE is \$27 and TOEFL is \$25.

After Sending Applications: Await Decisions and Prepare for Visa

Anticipate admission decisions around September/October 2024. Once you receive an offer, promptly accept it. You’re allowed to accept multiple admissions before finalizing your choice for visa application.

Obtain I-20:

Upon acceptance, fulfill the necessary documentation requirements. The university will then issue you the I-20, a crucial immigration document for obtaining a visa.

Prepare for Visa:

Verify the accuracy of the information on the I-20 and gather the required financial documentation to apply for your visa.

Visa Application Process:

Schedule a visa interview date upon receiving your I-20. You can apply for an F-1 visa (student visa) within 360 days from the course commencement date mentioned on the I-20 form. Once you secure the visa date, proceed with the interview and complete the remaining formalities leading up to your departure.

Ready to dive into your Master’s journey for Spring 2025? Step up your game by gearing up for your GRE and TOEFL/IELTS exams with us! Already aced those exams? Reach out today to kick start your application process with confidence!

As India’s leading Study Abroad Consultant, Dilip Oak’s Academy offers a comprehensive suite of admission counseling services that can guide you through the entire process from Shortlisting Universities to Visa Counseling. With our expertise, we have successfully sent 32,000 students to various prestigious American universities like MIT, Stanford, Cornell, and Carnegie Mellon. We also offer classroom and online coaching for GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS, as well as GRE Self Prep. To explore our services, book a free consultation or call us at 91-20-67444222.

There are two categories of student visas: F1 and M1. The M1 visa is given for non-academic or vocational education for a duration of less than a year, and it includes fields such as gemology, aviation etc. F1 visa is given for a full-time program leading to a degree such as a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree, which lasts at least one year. In this blog, we will discuss about the F1 visa. Below are a few important and frequently asked questions.

a) Where can you apply for an F1 visa?

Before COVID-19, applicants could only apply for appointments at the consulate closer to their residence. For example, applicants residing in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh could only apply to the US Consulate – Mumbai.

But now, there is no such restriction. You are allowed to apply to any Consulate where the appointment dates are available. Sometimes, you may get an appointment for OFC at one consulate and a visa interview at another.

The current visa application fee is \$185, payable in INR 15540/-.

b) When will appointments for F1 visas begin for Fall 2024 applicants?

Applicants can apply for an F1 visa within 365 days of the course’s start date mentioned on the I-20. In other words, to ensure you get an early and timely date, you may apply for a visa as soon as you receive an I-20 from any university. Every year, the US consulate tries to accommodate all the students intending to apply for an F1 visa. However, since the number of students applying for visas is quite large, it becomes difficult to get an interview date if they apply in July or August. Therefore, it is advisable that students apply for the interview date as soon as they receive the I-20 from any university.

Later, if you receive an I-20 from the desired university, you can fill out a new DS-160 mentioning the name of the new university. You must bring the original DS-160 confirmation page you have used to schedule your appointment AND the corrected DS-160 confirmation page to the consulate or document drop-off location on the day of your appointment. If you are unable to bring your original DS-160 confirmation page and your corrected DS-160 confirmation page, you must cancel and reschedule your appointment by entering your corrected DS-160 application number.

Still figuring out which universities to apply to and their deadlines? Here’s a Complete Guide to Fall 2024 MS Program Application Deadlines

c) What is an I-20 form and how do I obtain it?

The Form I-20 is an official US Government form issued by a certified school, which a prospective non-immigrant student must have to get an F-1 or M-1 visa. Form I-20 acts as proof of acceptance and contains the information necessary to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, apply for a visa and be admitted into the United States. Form I-20 has the student’s SEVIS identification number, which starts with the letter N followed by 10 digits, on the top left-hand side.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information Service (SEVIS) has been introduced by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IMS) for students. Before appearing for an F1 visa interview at the consulate, you need to pay SEVIS charges of US \$350.

d) If my visa was rejected the first time, can I reapply for it?

Students are allowed to reapply as many as they want.

e) What is the Dropbox facility (Interview Waiver)?

With effect from 1st January 2024, if you have any other valid US visa except a B1/B2 Visa, then you are eligible for a visa through Dropbox, which is nothing but a visa interview waiver that allows eligible individuals to obtain a visa without a face-to-face interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Instead, these applicants can submit the required documentation at a designated Dropbox location.

To become eligible for the Dropbox facility,

• The visa has to be issued after 1st January 2008
• The visa should be issued after your 14th birthday.

If your visa has already expired, you can avail of the Dropbox facility, provided your visa expired not more than 4 years ago.

g) How to book an F1 Visa appointment?

• Fill up the D-160 form
• Create a profile on www.ustraveldocs.com
• Choose the schedule appointment option and select visa type (Non-immigrant)
• Follow all the instructions given on the website

Ready to take the next step towards your US academic journey? Contact us today to explore our exclusive USA visa counseling services. Our Services consist of the following:

1. webinar providing detailed information about the Visa process and guidelines
2. help with the preparation of financial documents
3. one-on-one appointment with Mr. Dilip Oak for a mock visa interview.

You are also eligible to attend the pre-departure orientation program organized in June.

To enroll, call us at 020-67444222 or email us at support@dilipoakacademy.com.

Finance Your MS in the USA: Guide to Unlocking Your Educational Dream!

An education loan covers the cost of tuition, living costs, insurance, and other incidentals. Given the wide variety of choices available today, finding the best deal to finance your MS in the US is possible. In fact, taking an education loan is a smart move, as you don’t need to break into your savings while taking advantage of tax benefits.

Eligibility

Students pursuing full-time higher education, graduate or postgraduate studies, and professional education, irrespective of age, can borrow the required funds to finance their MS in the US. Most loan providers require that students show proof of admission to the graduate or postgraduate program. However, some private institutions and cooperative banks sanction a loan even before getting admission.

Tax Benefits of Financing Your Education

People with sufficient funds are also advised to take a loan to finance their education since they get tax deductions under Sec 80E of the Income Tax Act. There is no limit for Section 80E exemption up to which you can claim the deduction. All interest paid in a financial year is tax deductible, regardless of the sum. The interest component of the education loan can be claimed under Section 80E just as deductions under Section 80C and Section 80D are claimed before arriving at your total income to calculate the tax liability. However, it is important to note that you can claim a tax deduction only for the interest portion. You cannot claim a tax deduction for the principal part of the EMI.

You will be eligible to claim a deduction under section 80E only if you take the loan from any bank/financial institution or any approved charitable institution. Loans from friends or relatives for higher education do not qualify for this deduction.

Loan Amount and Repayment

I-20 or Admission Letter mentions the total cost of education for one year. Students can get a loan for up to double the amount mentioned on the I-20. Depending on the loan provider, there are slight variations regarding the application process, documentation, interest rates, guarantees, etc. Students are not expected to pay any EMI for the first two years. (Some loan providers may demand interest during these two years.) Generally, loan repayments begin one year after the end of your course or six months after you secure your first job, whichever is earlier. Most lenders also allow for additional time in case the student is unable to finish the course on schedule. Loan repayments are spread over 10-15 years to ensure that you are able to comfortably finance your MS in the US and include options for early repayment.

Rate of Interest and Margin Money

Most Nationalized banks and financial institutions offer fixed or floating interest rates in the range of 9-12%. Girls generally get a 0.5% concession from banks.

There is also the all-important factor of “margin money”! What this means is that most lenders will not loan you the entire cost of education – they also expect you to pay part of it. In other words, if, for example, your education cost is Rs. 40 lakhs in all, and there is a margin of 10%, then the bank will lend you Rs. 36 lakhs, and you will have to put up the remaining Rs. 4 lakhs. The idea is to ensure the loan seeker can bring money in and demonstrate responsibility. However, not all lending institutions insist on margin money; for example, loans from HDFC CREDILA do not need a margin.

Guarantors & Collateral

A guarantor is a third party (different from the applicant) who agrees to repay the loan if the borrower can’t. Besides this undertaking, lenders also request collateral in the form of fixed deposit receipts, property, or other security. They keep this collateral in their possession until you repay the loan. Banks or lenders do this to safeguard themselves against a bad debt. The lender may waive the guarantee if the borrower’s previous repayment track record or financial history is very sound.

If payments are defaulted on, i.e., not made on time, the loan contract has provisions for penalties/late payment fees. Besides, defaulters also risk being ‘redlisted’, which severely limits their future credit options. However, most bankers or institutions are receptive to negotiation and allow for extensions on payment tenure or reduction of EMIs in case of genuine difficulties.

So, look around and see your options! A good loan deal can be a big asset in helping you finance your dream of an American education.

As India’s leading Study Abroad Consultant, Dilip Oak’s Academy offers a comprehensive suite of services, including GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS coaching, as well as GRE Self Prep. Furthermore, our admission counseling services can guide you through the entire process from Shortlisting Universities to Visa Counseling. With our expertise, we have successfully sent 32,000 students to various prestigious American universities like MIT, Stanford, Cornell, and Carnegie Mellon. To enroll in our comprehensive overseas education consultancy services, book a free consultation or call us at 91-20-67444222.

Complete Guide to Fall 2024 MS Program Application Deadlines

Attention, Fall 2024 MS program applicants! Securing your spot in the upcoming academic year is critical, and timing is everything. In our comprehensive blog, we’re unveiling the essential details of university application deadlines that you’ve been eagerly awaiting.

As the deadline window approaches, students are gearing up to submit their applications before universities’ specified dates. It’s crucial to adhere to these deadlines, ensuring your applications receive the attention they deserve.

Our blog outlines a range of popular universities along with their application deadlines, spanning from December 2023 through July 2024. Additionally, we’ve included a section highlighting universities with rolling admission deadlines, offering students flexibility in their application submissions.

While we’ve meticulously curated this list, it’s important to note that universities may adjust their deadlines throughout the academic year. We strongly advise cross-referencing the dates directly on the official university websites to stay updated with any changes.

Stay ahead of the game by accessing our detailed guide, empowering you to plan your application submission effectively and secure your place in the Fall 2024 MS program.

As India’s leading Study Abroad Consultant, Dilip Oak’s Academy offers a comprehensive suite of services. Our admission counseling services can guide you through the entire process from Shortlisting Universities to Visa Counseling. With our expertise, we have successfully sent 32,000 students to various prestigious American universities like MIT, Stanford, Cornell, and Carnegie Mellon.

We also offer online and classroom coaching for GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS, and GRE Self Prep, a self-paced learning module, for those who prefer to learn at their own pace.

To enroll in our comprehensive overseas education consultancy services, book a free consultation or call us at 91-020-67444222.

Navigating Financial Aid: A Guide for Indian Students Pursuing Higher Education in the US

The dream of pursuing higher education in the esteemed universities of the United States often seems financially daunting. However, there’s a silver lining: a multitude of financial aid options are available to deserving students. For many Indian students, the costs have been significantly mitigated through the generous financial assistance programs offered by US universities.

Fellowships are generally merit-based awards to support a student in a full-time course of study. The student is nominated by their graduate program. Generally, the awards are given to students admitted to Ph.D. programs in the department and, as a rule, exempt students from any specific duties. The students are expected to perform full-time research and may occasionally be required to perform teaching duties for a semester as a part of their program.

Assistantships

One of the primary avenues for financial assistance is through assistantship programs. Several universities award assistantships in the form of teaching and research assistantships to master’s and doctoral program students. These require awardees to perform certain services for a specified number of hours per week. The awards are usually for the current semester and may be extendable depending on the awarding requirements of the department and the funds available. Continuation also depends on the student’s maintaining a good academic record.

These include:

Research Assistantships (RA):

It provides opportunities to work on university research projects under the guidance of faculty. The selection may involve an interview/written exam to test your aptitude, knowledge and skills. Research assistants are not independent researchers and are not directly responsible for the outcome of the research.

Teaching Assistantships (TA):

It involves aiding faculty members in teaching (mostly elementary lab courses), conducting tutorial/problem-solving sessions or grading answer scripts. Depending on their competence and interest in the subject, teaching assistantships may also provide students opportunities to work outside their department in areas like Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics. Many universities assess these through a test.

Both teaching and research assistantships require students to work up to 20 hours a week and carry a stipend and tuition waiver depending on the extent of the award (the full 20 hours or less). Generally, even a 10-hour job substantially reduces tuition and compensates for living expenses. The student’s performance in the duties assigned is closely monitored. The student is also required to maintain his academic performance in the graduate program and show good progress in his research work.

These are not specifically designated for teaching or research. Duties assigned to this category of graduate assistants may include assisting faculty with a variety of academic tasks, including but not limited to: providing technical support for courses taught by faculty; working on grant funded projects related to program development, evaluations, outreach, among others; gathering, organizing, and analyzing data for faculty. Graduate assistantships require students to work up to a maximum of 20 hours a week and carry a stipend.

Tuition Waivers

Universities often offer tuition waivers based on academic performance. These waivers can be full or partial, covering semester fees or specific credit charges. Some universities even extend in-state tuition benefits to international students, substantially reducing overall costs.

On-Campus Employment

International students on F-1 visas can engage in on-campus employment. These part-time roles, such as positions in cafeterias, libraries, or administrative offices, typically pay between \$10 to \$14 per hour, allowing a maximum of 20 hours per week.

Summer Internships

After completing two semesters of full-time education, students can pursue paid internships related to their field of study, aligning with their academic training. These internships fall under Curricular Practical Training (CPT) during the program. For example, if a student joins in the Fall semester (August), after completing Fall and Spring semester in the month of May, a student can work for three months, till August, in any organization outside the university. Many universities allow students to extend their internship in the third semester.

Scholarships offered by Indian Government

The Government of India (GOI) offers scholarships for advanced education to SC and ST students, and the Social Welfare Departments of respective state governments administer these. GOI also has a scheme of supporting higher education in areas where India lacks facilities for such education.

Private Trust Scholarships

Several private trusts, like Inlaks, Sakal India Foundation, J N Tata Trust, and K.C.Mahindra Scholarships, offer substantial amounts to students going to top-ranking universities. However, the trust may have certain specific criteria that the applicant must meet. The announcements for these scholarships appear in leading newspapers.

Conclusion

While the costs of education in American universities may seem prohibitive at first glance, a myriad of financial aid options exist for Indian students. From assistantships to scholarships and on-campus employment, these avenues help alleviate the financial burden, making the dream of studying in the US a tangible and achievable reality for many.

Remember, these opportunities are competitive and often require outstanding academic records or meeting specific criteria. Researching and understanding the various forms of financial aid can significantly bolster your chances of securing assistance for your academic journey in the United States.

As India’s leading Study Abroad Consultant, Dilip Oak’s Academy offers a comprehensive suite of services, including GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS coaching, as well as GRE Self Prep. Furthermore, our admission counseling services can guide you through the entire process from Shortlisting Universities to Visa Counseling. With our expertise, we have successfully sent 32,000 students to various prestigious American universities like MIT, Stanford, Cornell, and Carnegie Mellon. To enroll in our comprehensive overseas education consultancy services, book a free consultation or call us at 91-020-67444222.

Graduate admissions in the United States are highly competitive, with top universities receiving thousands of applications each year. A well-crafted recommendation letter can be your secret weapon to stand out in this fierce competition. In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of recommendation letters and provide tips on securing strong ones for your graduate admissions journey.

What is a recommendation letter?

In the context of higher education in the United States, recommendation letters are critical documents that vouch for your qualities, background, and achievements as a candidate for doctoral or master’s programs. Virtually every university requires applicants to submit a minimum of three recommendation letters along with their application. The purpose of these letters is to provide a comprehensive view of the applicant and assess their suitability for the academic program.

Who Should Write Your Recommendation Letters?

• If you are a student, your recommendation letters should ideally come from teachers who have substantially interacted with you. This could include those who have taught you important subjects or supervised research projects, seminars, or papers. The best choices are professors who can speak highly of your academic work and compare you favorably with your peers.
• If you are a working professional and your work experience is relevant to your intended field of study, a letter from your immediate supervisor is valuable. In cases where you have significant work experience from different organizations, obtaining letters from multiple relevant supervisors is acceptable.

Qualities of Effective Recommenders

Your recommenders should possess the following qualities:

• They should know you well and be able to provide specific insights into your academic abilities and personal qualities.
• They should be able to write persuasively and effectively.
• It’s also beneficial if your recommenders have good credentials and a clear understanding of your educational goals.

What Recommendation Letters Should Include

An effective recommendation letter should encompass the following points:

• The recommender’s relationship with you specifying how long they’ve known you and in what capacity.
• Special achievements, especially in projects or research papers.
• An evaluation of your communication skills, particularly how well you can present seminars or projects.
• Some background information about the recommender, particularly if their work is not widely recognized outside India.

What Elevates a Recommendation Letter

A truly excellent recommendation letter goes beyond summarizing your performance and qualities. It substantiates its claims with real-life examples of your initiative, creativity, perseverance, intelligence, leadership, or other admirable qualities in various contexts, such as project work or seminars. These specific incidents add credibility to the recommender’s assertions. A letter that conveys genuine enthusiasm and endorsement can leave a lasting impression on graduate admissions committees. More importantly, recommendation letters should be well-structured, error-free, and easy to read.

Practical Considerations

• It’s crucial to maintain a positive and respectful relationship with your recommenders, as writing recommendation letters is a time-consuming task.
• If you’re submitting the letter in a physical format, the recommender must seal and sign it. Many universities now prefer online submission.

In essence, a well-crafted recommendation letter is an essential component of your application to American universities. It offers a holistic view of your qualifications and character and can significantly influence your admission prospects. Therefore, it is crucial to choose the right recommenders and assist them in providing a persuasive, detailed, and unique letter. Remember, a well-written recommendation letter is not just a piece of paper; it’s your advocate in the admissions process.

At Dilip Oak’s Academy, we understand the significance of this journey. Thus, we offer comprehensive GRE coaching in Pune, both online and classroom, to support you in this crucial aspect of your academic journey. Further, our admission counseling services can guide you through the entire process from Shortlisting Universities to Visa Counseling. With our expertise, we have successfully sent 32,000 students to various prestigious American universities like MIT, Stanford, Cornell, and Carnegie Mellon. To enroll in our comprehensive services, book a free consultation or call us at 91-020-67444222.

We offer GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS coaching, GRE Self Prep and guide students with university selection, application essays, and visa counseling under our Admission Counseling Services for USA, Germany and Canada.

Prerequisites for Pursuing an MS in the USA

Pursuing a Master’s degree in the United States is a dream for many international students. However, before embarking on this educational journey, there are several academic and English language requirements you must meet. Here is a comprehensive guide to help you prepare for your MS in the USA:

• For Technical Fields (e.g., Engineering, Pharmacy, Architecture): Most American universities require applicants to have completed a four-year Bachelor’s degree, which amounts to 16 years of education.
• For Non-Technical Fields (e.g., Arts, Management): If you’re aiming for such fields, you will generally need 17 years of education (12+3+2), which often includes a Master’s degree after completing a traditional bachelor’s degree.

2. GRE Score:

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is a standardized aptitude test used by American universities to assess a student’s verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills.

• As of September 2023, the test duration has been reduced to 2 hours. A strong GRE score is essential for admission.
• While some universities have waived the GRE requirement due to the pandemic, many reputable institutions still consider it important. Thus, having a competitive GRE score can still greatly benefit your chances of acceptance.
• A score of 320+ is competitive for top 40 universities, with a minimum of 300 usually required for most institutions.

3. TOEFL or IELTS Score:\

Since English may not be your native language, demonstrating proficiency is crucial. Universities often require one of the following English language tests:

• TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): Most American universities require a score of 80 or higher out of 120.
• IELTS (International English Language Testing System): This test is scored on a scale of 9, with many universities requiring a band score of at least 6.5.

• Ideally, aim for a GPA of 9.0 or higher for admission to top-tier American universities.
• A GPA of over 7.0 is often sufficient for admission to good universities.
• Avoid backlogs and year-downs

5. Curricular and Co-Curricular Accomplishments:

American universities value not only your academic achievements but also your practical experiences and involvement in extracurricular activities:

• Engage in projects and seminars relevant to your field.
• Consider publishing papers in nationally and internationally recognized journals.
• Participate in conferences and gain practical experience through internships, whether paid or unpaid.

6. Relevant Work Experience:

7. Documentation:

Applicants for the GRE examination must provide a valid passport as the only authentic ID proof.

Embarking on an MS journey in the USA is an exciting opportunity, and meeting these prerequisites will set you on the path to success.

At Dilip Oak’s Academy, we understand the significance of this journey. Thus, we offer comprehensive GRE coaching in Pune, both online and classroom, to support you in this crucial aspect of your academic journey. Further, our admission counseling services can guide you through the entire process from Shortlisting Universities to Visa Counseling. With our expertise, we have successfully sent 32,000 students to various prestigious American universities like MIT, Stanford, Cornell, and Carnegie Mellon. To enroll in our comprehensive services, book a free consultation or call us at 91-020-67444222.

We offer GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS coaching, GRE Self Prep and guide students with university selection, application essays, and visa counseling under our Admission Counseling Services for USA, Germany and Canada.

Applying for MS in Computer Science Without GRE: Considerations and Advantages

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, GRE test centers across the globe faced closures, leading to a significant disruption in test-taking opportunities for aspiring students seeking to study in the US. To counter this, ETS introduced the option to take the GRE from home, but many students didn’t opt for this alternative. Consequently, numerous American universities granted GRE waivers for admissions during Fall 2020 and Fall 2021. However, the landscape has since shifted, with an increasing number of universities now requiring GRE scores for applications, especially in the highly sought-after Computer Science department. As we approach Fall 2024, the trend toward recommending the GRE is expected to continue, necessitating thoughtful consideration from prospective applicants regarding their application strategy.

The Shift in GRE Requirements:

Based on our data for Fall 2023, it’s evident that nearly 55% of universities offering MS programs in Computer Science in the US mandated the submission of GRE scores. This percentage is projected to rise even further in the upcoming application cycles. Notably reputable universities, especially those situated in states like California and Texas, have leaned towards making GRE scores an important component of their application evaluation process. Given this scenario, it is strongly advisable to take the GRE as it significantly broadens your application prospects.

Insights from Recent Surveys:

A survey conducted among 306 students at our academy between May 2023 and July 2023 provided valuable insights into score distribution:

Note: Many universities require a GRE score of 300+, and most students who got a score below 300 in their first attempt are retaking the GRE and are confident that they will be able to achieve scores above this threshold in their second attempt. Of course, a few universities do accept GRE score of 292+ if the academic records are strong.

Ease of GRE Preparation and Upcoming Changes:

Contrary to misconceptions, the GRE is not an insurmountable challenge. With roughly three months of focused preparation, achieving your target score is attainable. The forthcoming new GRE format, scheduled to launch on September 22, 2023, aims to streamline the test. The duration will be reduced to two hours from the previous four hours. Changes include reduced number of questions in each section and the removal of one essay section, resulting in a more efficient and less tiring test experience. These modifications make a strong case for considering the GRE. Read what ETS, the people who create the GRE, have to say about the new test format.

Advantages of Submitting a GRE Score:

Enhancing GPA: A robust GRE quant score can offset a lower undergraduate GPA, bolstering your prospects of admission to esteemed universities.

Scholarships and Financial Aid: Many institutions tie GRE scores to scholarship eligibility. A quant score exceeding 165 and a Verbal score surpassing 160 may qualify you for tuition waivers or financial assistance.

Deciding whether to take the GRE:

Explicit Requirement: If a university explicitly states that GRE scores are mandatory, taking the GRE is imperative to achieve your dream of pursuing an MS program in the US.

Recommended: Universities suggesting GRE submission on their websites imply its importance in the application process.

Avoiding Last-Minute Regrets:

Over the past two years, many students have initially opted against taking the GRE, only to find that their desired universities require it. This realization often occurs during the shortlisting process, leaving inadequate time for preparation. To circumvent such scenarios, careful planning and early GRE preparation are highly advisable. Click to know more about the upcoming GRE batches.

Navigating the choice of applying for an MS in Computer Science without a GRE score warrants thoughtful consideration. Evolving trends underscore a growing preference for GRE scores among universities. As demand for Computer Science education remains robust, planning ahead, recognizing the GRE’s significance, and seizing the opportunities it presents are prudent steps.

At Dilip Oak’s Academy, we understand the significance of this journey. Thus, we offer comprehensive GRE coaching in Pune, both online and classroom, to support you in this crucial aspect of your academic journey. Further, our admission counseling services can guide you through the entire process from Shortlisting Universities to Visa Counseling. With our expertise, we have successfully sent 32,000 students to various prestigious American universities like MIT, Stanford, Cornell, and Carnegie Mellon. To enroll in our comprehensive services, book a free consultation or call us at 91-020-67444222.

We offer GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS coaching, GRE Self Prep and guide students with university selection, application essays, and visa counseling under our Admission Counseling Services for USA, Germany and Canada.

Looking to Pursue Higher Education in the USA? Follow this Comprehensive Application Timeline!

If you are applying for Fall (August) 2024, the clock has begun to tick. So, don’t delay. To help you streamline your application process effectively, we have prepared a detailed timeline. Take a look at the steps you need to take:

Register for GRE and TOEFL/IELTS: Take the first step by registering for the GRE and TOEFL/IELTS exams. We recommend completing these exams by 15th December 2023. Dilip Oak Academy can assist you with your preparation for these exams. We are also now an ETS Authorized Test Center for GRE and TOEFL exams.

Research and Shortlist Universities: September-October 2023

Explore university websites and make a preliminary list of universities which meet your requirements considering:

Broad specializations you are interested in: while shortlisting, ensure that the programs offered by your selected universities align with your interests.

Expected GRE score: depending on your GRE score you can choose rank of the universities where you want to apply.

Academic record: your academics play an important role in the entire application process and a good academic record can compensate for a low GRE score.

Budget: select universities keeping your finance in mind; however, there are many universities and financial institutions that offer financial assistance to deserving students.

Recommendations by seniors studying in American universities: first-hand reviews from your seniors who are currently studying can prove useful in shortlisting rather than depending on the information given on the university website.

Gather Necessary Documents: August-November 2023

Craft a Stellar 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.

Arrange Transcripts: Prepare four sets of college and university transcripts.

Request Recommendation Letters: Choose your recommenders, preferably college professors, project guides, or employers, and request recommendation letters. Most universities require three recommendation letters.

Finalize University Choices and Apply: October-December 2023

Shortlist 8 to 10 Universities: After thorough research, finalize your preferred universities.

Complete Online Applications: Ensure that you complete the online application process by 31st December 2023. While many universities accept online applications, some may require physical documents via courier, so be mindful of deadlines.

Apply Early: While many universities accept applications even till 31st March 2024, we recommend that you apply before 31st December.

Forward Test Scores: Request ETS to send your GRE and TOEFL scores to the selected universities (scores take a minimum of 2 weeks to arrive).