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Getting an Internship during your USA Master's Program

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?

Here are some simple yet effective tips to help you land your dream internship:

Polish Your Resume:

  • 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.

Tap into Your University’s Resources:

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.

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.

Traveling with your I-20 Form

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.

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.

Academic Record:

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

Admission Decisions:

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.

IELTS Myths vs Facts

Many misconceptions surround the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), leading to confusion among test-takers. In this blog, we’ll debunk some common myths and clarify the realities of the IELTS exam.

Myth: There is a passing or failing score.

Reality: Forget the pass-or-fail mindset! IELTS provides a score on a scale of 1 to 9, reflecting your true proficiency level. 

Contrary to some common misconceptions, IELTS does not follow a pass-or-fail system. Instead, it employs a scoring system, with individual Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking scores on a 1 to 9 scale. These scores are averaged for an overall band score ranging from 1 to 9. Rubrics associated with each band level detail the language abilities, providing a nuanced profile. This absence of a binary pass or fail approach allows for a more informed assessment of a test taker’s English proficiency, aiding decisions by universities, employers, and immigration authorities.

Myth: The more complex your vocabulary, the better your score.

Reality: High scores in exams like IELTS are not solely tied to complex vocabulary or ‘big’ words. Effective communication is key!

While diverse vocabulary is valuable in the writing and speaking sections, effective communication is key. Using overly complex language without considering clarity and accuracy can hinder rather than enhance communication. IELTS evaluates a candidate’s ability to express ideas clearly and accurately, valuing appropriate vocabulary use in context. Overly complex expressions, if misused, may lead to confusion.

Thus, test takers should strike a balance between vocabulary and accurate expression.

Myth: British English is the only accepted form in IELTS Writing.

Reality: Whether your pen follows the Queen’s English or dances with the Stars and Stripes, it’s about clear expression and grammatical finesse.

IELTS Writing embraces variations in English usage, including American English, prioritizing effective communication and grammatical accuracy.

In essence, while the IELTS test expects candidates to demonstrate proficiency in formal English, it does not penalize for minor variations in spelling, vocabulary, or grammar between British and American English. Instead, the focus remains on clarity of expression, coherence of ideas, and accuracy in language use.

Myth: You must have a British or American accent to score well on the Speaking test.

Reality: Accents don’t define your score! Whether British, American, or another variation, clear pronunciation is what matters in the IELTS Speaking test.

IELTS assesses proficiency beyond British English, recognizing global language diversity. This aligns with the test’s international nature, catering to diverse linguistic backgrounds. Thus, the test gauges comprehension and communication abilities, irrespective of specific accents, ensuring fair evaluation for test takers globally.

Myth: You cannot prepare for IELTS.

Reality: Preparing for IELTS is key to success! Familiarize yourself with the format, practice sample questions, and enhance your English skills for a confident performance.

Preparation is crucial for IELTS success. Understanding the exam format and getting familiar with sections, question types, and time constraints builds confidence. Practicing with sample questions helps develop effective strategies and improves time management. Enhancing English language skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking is integral. Exposure to accents, academic vocabulary, and writing styles contributes to proficiency.

Thus, reading literature, newspapers, or articles and engaging in English conversations is the key to doing well in IELTS.

Myth: It is better not to guess if you do not know an answer.

Reality: Guessing strategically on the IELTS maximizes scoring opportunities! Don’t hesitate to make an educated guess; incorrect answers carry no penalty.

In the IELTS exam, there is no penalty for incorrect answers, meaning that test-takers do not lose points for guessing. So, if you are unsure about an answer, it’s better to make an educated guess rather than leave the question unanswered. Guessing on the IELTS is strategic, as it maximizes scoring opportunities, potentially boosting the overall score.

Myth: The computer-based test is easier than the paper-based test.

Reality: Don’t let myths cloud your judgment! Both computer-based and paper-based IELTS tests have the same content and difficulty level.

Contrary to popular belief, both formats of the IELTS test have identical content and difficulty levels. The primary difficulty lies in the delivery mode, not the question complexity. Content, including question types, topics, and evaluation criteria, is consistent in both formats, so the difficulty level remains unchanged.

The key distinction is interaction—based navigation versus physical interaction in the paper-based version. While the computer format allows easy editing, it does not affect question complexity.

Understanding this reality is crucial for candidates choosing a format based on preferences and tech comfort.

Myth: You must speak for a specific time for each question in the Speaking test.

Reality: Express yourself naturally! There is no specific time requirement for each answer in the IELTS Speaking test. Focus on clear expression and effective communication.

There is no set time limit for responses; the focus is on expressing ideas clearly, coherently, and effectively. The Speaking test evaluates spoken English proficiency and communication skills across three parts with varied questions. The absence of strict time constraints allows candidates to express their thoughts naturally and engage in a conversation with the examiner, addressing progressively complex queries. This aligns with the broader IELTS goal of assessing language proficiency in real-life situations. Thus, candidates should prioritize clear expression, effective vocabulary, grammar usage, and effective communication skills instead of meeting a specific time requirement.

By debunking these common myths and misconceptions, we hope to provide clarity and empower test-takers to approach the IELTS exam with confidence and preparedness. Remember, understanding the realities of the exam is key to achieving success!

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.

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.

f) How long will it take to receive my passport if I apply for the F1 visa through Dropbox?

You are likely to receive your passport within 7 working days.

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.