Eligibility for Bachelor’s Programs in the USA

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

  • Formal education: you should have completed 12 years of formal education (primary, secondary and higher secondary) in your home country
  • Pre-requisite examinations:
  • SAT: this test has two sections – Math and English Language Reading and Writing. Each section is scored out of 800, and the total score is out of 1600

                                                       OR

  • ACT: this test has the following sections: English, mathematics, reading, and scientific reasoning. The ACT is scored on the scale of 1-36.
  • AP: The Advanced Placement test, which is optional, assesses students’ grasp of 38 specific subjects including AP Calculus AB, AP Computer Science, AP Chemistry and, AP Physics. You can choose courses for subjects related to the career of your choice and the program you intend to pursue in college. AP exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5, in which each score corresponds to a college course grade equivalent. AP exams help you earn extra credits and sometimes even tuition waivers.
  • TOEFL/IELTS: Since our native language is not English, we need to show that we have the required minimum English language skills. For this purpose, you can take TOEFL which is scored out of 120. Most American universities require a TOEFL score of 80+. Another commonly taken English proficiency examination is the IELTS which is conducted by the British Council and is scored on a scale of 9. Most universities require an IELTS band score of at least 6.5
  • Academic Record: American universities require that you have a consistently good academic record in standards 9, 10, 11 and 12 (if available).
  • Extra-curricular and co-curricular activities: American universities require a versatile student with a strong extra-curricular and co-curricular profile. Your profile can include participation in academic projects, seminars, Olympiads, school and interschool competitions, community projects and, leadership activities.

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

 

Advantages of Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in the USA

The last few years have seen an increasing number of Indian students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in America. This trend has been strengthened by the increasing economic power of families who now want their children to benefit from the high-quality education that is available in America. For this reason, many professionals and those in business or top corporate positions are now sending their children to join American bachelor’s programs.

This trend has been further boosted by the fact that even parents who are not financially very strong can still afford an American education because their children can get tuition waivers and scholarships if they have exceptional academic credentials and high scores in the SAT, ACT or AP exams.

But what else makes getting a bachelor’s degree in America a good choice?

Tough Competition in India

Getting admission to top-ranked Indian institutions like the IITs, BITS, and NITs is now even more difficult than it used to be. Around 10 lakh students appear for the entrance examinations for these institutions but, only 11,300 secure admissions to the IITs, 19,000 to the NITs and 380 to BITS. This amounts to a total of 30,000 students, which comes to hardly 3% of the total number of applicants. As a result, other intelligent and above-average students who often miss getting admission by very narrow margins have to take admission into local colleges which do not provide the same level of facilities as the elite institutions. Nevertheless, it is still possible for such students to get admission to even some of the best US universities which offer high educational standards and world-class facilities.

American Education can be Affordable

As mentioned above, students who get high SAT scores (more than 1400 out of 1600) and have good academic records in standards 9, 10, 11 and 12 (if available), can get tuition waivers and scholarships from good American universities. In addition, campus jobs as tour guides, library assistants, food court and front desk staff and other such positions pay enough to take care of living expenses. This makes education in America can be affordable.

Academic Flexibility

In India, you are required to select your desired branch of study (e.g. Mechanical, Electrical or, Computer Science) right at the beginning of your bachelor’s degree and then, you cannot change your field of study.  However, in the US, you are allowed to take general courses and study different subjects of your choice in the first one or two years. Then, in the second or third year, you can select your specialization from a broad range of programs. The initial exposure you gain in the first two years of your course allows you to make an informed decision regarding which specializations to take up. You can also take a dual degree, e.g. as an engineering student, you can also take economics as your minor and graduate with both the degrees, an advantage that you do not have in India.

Updated Courses and the State-of-the-art Labs

With curricula updated according to the latest trends in education and industry, US universities offer students excellent exposure. The courses focus on practical skills and in-depth application, and research labs are well-equipped. This means that graduates from American universities are always among the best-trained in the market which increases their chances of securing good jobs anywhere in the world.

To help you get started with your preparation, we offer SAT 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

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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: