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

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.

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

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.

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

Finance Your MS in the US: Guide to Unlocking Your 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

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

Finance Your MS in the US: 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

Rate of Interest and Margin Money when Financing Your Education

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

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.

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

Financial Aid for Higher Education

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.

Graduate School Fellowships

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.

Financial Aid for Higher Education

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.

Graduate Assistantships (GA):

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

Financial Assistance for Higher Education in the USA

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

Financial Aid: Summer Internsip

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.

It’s not too late to apply for fall 2023

The United States is without a question every student’s first choice when thinking about studying abroad for master’s. To convert this dream into reality, many of you may have already started with your applications for the fall 2023 intake. Most universities began accepting applications in October. You might be thinking that it’s too late to apply for the fall of 2023 now that January has arrived. The good news for you, It’s not too late!

Let’s delve deeper into this topic.

  • Roughly 10% of the universities had their final deadlines on 31 December
  • Around 10% have their final deadlines on 31 Jan.
  • However, the majority (about 80%) of universities allow you to apply till March and some of them even accept applications till May.

Which means that you can still secure an admission in a good university even if you start with your applications now!

Why Fall 2023

Fall intake is usually the most preferred among Indian students and for good reasons

  • Fall intake offers a more diverse range of courses
  • Fall intake allows students a better access to funding
  • Many universities have waived of GRE requirement for Fall 2023
  • It also allows students to explore part-time on-campus job opportunities such as research assistant and teaching assistant
  • Probably the most important reason for the popularity of fall admissions is the higher availability of post-study work options for students who start their studies during fall

You must move quickly

Although most universities will still be accepting applications till march, you need to consider time required for documentation and university shortlisting. Documentation includes procuring transcripts, drafting SOPs, personal statements, diversity statements LORs and resumes. University shortlisting involves lot of research to select right universities according to your profile and interests. You also need to move quickly because even after securing an admission, securing a visa can be equally tedious considering you are already on a tight timeline.

We are here to help you

We at Dilip Oak’s academy are here to help you.

  • We are the best when it comes to admissions counselling. We will provide you with a well-balanced list of universities with safe as well as ambitious options, thus increasing your chances of admission.
  • We offer counselling for SOPs (statement of purpose), LORs (letters of recommendations) and resumes and help you prepare everything from personal statements to diversity statements
  • We also provide guidance for visa along with mock visa interviews

Dilip Oak’s academy can be your perfect guide into this often confusing admission process. We have been in this business since 1996 and we have more than 30,000 success stories to attest to our expertise in this field. Our counselors are experienced professionals who interact with every student personally to understand his/her unique requirements and provide guidance accordingly.

Best Wishes and Happy applying!!

As India’s leading Study Abroad Consultants, we offer GRETOEFL, 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 UK.

Master’s With Thesis or Non-Thesis?

Once you approach the first semester of your degree program in an American University you will be asked to meet the academic advisor. You will have to decide on your academic plan, during which you will select whether you would like to complete your master’s course with or without thesis. Almost all American universities offer an option for thesis.

Why should I choose thesis option while pursuing Master’s degree in USA?
Course structure varies from university to university. If you apply for master’s with thesis option the course gets divided into research in a specific area, after completing your core courses. Under the thesis option, you will work under the guidance of a professor with a focus on a specific research area. You would are required to successfully complete and defend the thesis after which it could be published in journals or conferences.

Expenses during your degree program can be taken care of, as you may get funding from the professor in form of teaching, research or graduate assistantship. However this should not be the consideration for taking up the thesis option.

Master’s with Thesis option may help you to get a good research-oriented job. Even if you are not inclined towards a research-oriented job, such research-based academic background can help you land a better job as you have an edge over your peers who chose to do their master’s without research. Additionally, your professor will highlight your research capabilities such as creative problem solving, knowledge, motivation, and intelligence. His / her recommendation letter will hold a lot of weightage at the time of campus recruitment or application to doctorate programs, if you may so decide after your master’s.

If you plan to pursue a doctorate, the university you will be applying to would be interested in knowing more about the thesis topic/s and the reasons behind choosing it. Thesis is a very important factor for getting admission for PhD – it acts like rungs of a ladder leading to admission to a good PhD program in a university of your choice.

Life at ‘University of Maryland’, College Park

By Aditya Kulkarni, ENTS Major, Class of 2014

Aditya, an alumnus of Dilip Oak’s Academy shares his insights on the University of Maryland:

University of Maryland: An Overview

The University of Maryland (UMD), located at College Park, just north of Washington DC is a Public University and is the state’s flagship educational institution. Its suburban campus is spread over 1,250 acres (5.1 sq. km.) and has roughly 38,000 students (2012-13 stats), with a teacher-student ratio of nearly 1: 10.

UMD is well known for its state of the art M-Square research park, a new performing arts center and a quantum science lab among other things. The University houses 13 colleges offering courses in Arts and Humanities, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Music, Behavioral and Social Science, Computers, Math, Natural Science, Engineering, Education, Information Studies, Journalism, Business, Planning and Preservation, Public Health & Public Policy. Admissions are ‘very selective’ with an acceptance rate of about 40%. GPA averages for bachelor’s students range from 3.8 to 4 and for master’s level students from 3.5 to 4.

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