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A Guide to Admission Process: MS in US

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My Introduction

I am Mechanical Engineer by profession, worked in multinational in the cross-functional


areas, at managerial level for 25 years, and after leaving a job, started my engineering tool
room and later on, trading business.
I have done adequate research on MS in the US, along with my son, who wants to pursue
MS in Wireless Communication/Telecommunication in the USA.

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I am not counselor or adviser of any sort; moreover, my intention is to share knowledge of


the field with students of this year and future. Information, I have kept in my Google drive
folder is as free knowledge sharing platform; in fact, I am giving data without any selfish or
narrow interests. Moreover, a guide on admission process is an attempt to bring many
wide-ranging particulars under one umbrella and to answer questions students have in
their mind. However, a word of caution to all aspirants do not ever treat guide as the final
word. You will have to put in great effort; while, researching schools and creating your
database; this guidebook shows the only way to do it. The main reason for building this
folder is to make students do their research for finding more information on schools,
programs, courses, etc., and thus, make them self-reliant in all respect.

Finally, I am also likely to make mistakes or misinterpret some topics or facts; however, To
err is human, to forgive, divine, as the saying goes, all I expect is forgiveness. If you find, I
have misread certain details or reality, in those instances, and please do correct me at once.
One piece of advice for students is to register on Edulix and Quora, where you will get much
more information. Quora is a question-and-answer website, where many of your questions
will have answers.
Last but not list, my advice for future students is build up inquisitiveness, let hundreds of
questions come to you mind regarding school and admission process, develop the practice
of finding answers to resolve them.

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My best wishes are always with you. In case, you have any queries, please message me.

Abhay Deshpande

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If anyone wants to give suggestions or have doubts, he/she can either message me on FB
account or email at abhay_d06@yahoo.com address.

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Table of Content
Topic

Page No.
3
4

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Chapter
Chapter 1, Introspection.
Chapter 2, Researching graduate schools.

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Program and Coursework.


Research and its financing.
Renowned Faculties.
Graduation Rate.
Chapter 3, Academics and Academia.
Class Size.
Student to Faculty Ratio.
Geographic factors.
Accreditation.
Timeline
Funding graduate Education
Scholarships and Fellowships
Chapter 4, Financing graduate education.
Working on campus: GA/TA/RA
Cost of Attendance
CPT and OPT
Chapter 5, Career services
Co-ops and Internships
Chapter 6, Reinforcing present profile & Factors constituting overall profile.
Undergraduate Grades.
Standardized Tests.
Chapter 7, Academics Aspects
Research activity.
Papers, Publications.
Internships and Projects.
Statement of Purpose.
Letters of Recommendations.
Chapter 8, Personality, Passion, Purpose,
Assimilating New Skill sets.
and Potential.
Prof-letting.
Work Experience.
Chapter 9, Financial resources for the Application process.
Chapter 10, Shortlisting schools
Chapter 11, Graduate Application Process: Documents Required.
Chapter 12 Profile Evaluations.
Before you apply
Preparing Application Packet.
Mailing Documents.
Chapter 13, Apply Now.
After Application Submitted.
Admission review process.
Arrangement of Finances.
How to respond to admit offers.
Chapter 14, Handling Admit and I-20
Documents in Admission Packet.
Process.
Visa Process.
U.S. Customs and I-94 Process at POE.
Chapter - 15, Plan for pre-departure
Documents to Carry in Hand Baggage.
Arrangements.
Networking skills.
Chapter 16, Important Links.

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5-6

7
8
9

10

11-13
14
15
16-18
19

20-23

24-26
27-28
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Chapter - 1

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Introspection: The first step begins 18-24 months before the academic year when you
hope to attend a U.S. Graduate school. Do realistic introspection and a self-analysis, which
will help realize, your real life passion, and the field that interests you the most; I have seen
students asking seniors, which field, I should pursue? Or, which field has good career
prospects? Is it that seniors will decide what you love most, what you long for, what field
you should work through your entire life; conversely, answer is big NO. You are the one in
control of your life; you know what fascinates you the most, and ready to spend your
lifetime devoting to the field you have chosen. The only way to achieve world-changing
creation is by loving what you do and if, you have not found what you love yet, then keep
looking for it until you find it, and do not settle. Once, an area of passion realized, decide
when, where, and how you would like to pursue masters study. Besides, be prepared to
finish your rigorous studies, and later, professional life in area of passion you chose. Ask
yourself critical questions; before, pursuing graduate study in the USA, are:
What is the purpose of your graduate studies, and the domain you choose?

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Specific reasons, why you want to do it now.


Which academic or professional degree you wish to pursue?
What type of learning or student experience you want to grasp?
Does a study in the USA will give you real career progression?
Have you assessed your financial capabilities? Who is sponsoring your education?
Are your financial supports ready?
6. Am I looking for a job after MS or focus on research through Ph.D. in the US?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Uncover reason for every question, and ask yourself, do my reason make sense? Answers
with logical reasoning will help you to unearth passion and purpose. Perhaps, few
questions must be arising in your mind, ask yourself repeatedly, why? Get an answer to
these concerns as, time commitment, and money involved, both are immensely high.

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Is it your passion to study in the US? Do you want to research and get Ph.D.? I have
seen students are passionate about US education. They desire to accomplish landmark in
their technical or functional domain. Some students are passionate about a research field;
some want to experience and embrace the education system in the USA. The US graduate
schools are having world-class research setup and support students actively, and
researchers backed by grants from the federal and private companies. If the primary goal is
to excel in your area of interest, get MS or Ph.D., and keen to invent a novel product or
service, the USA is perhaps the best choice. The quality of education is outstanding. The
class dynamics, course structure, teacher's help, and hands-on learning are incredible.
Some school may not be right. Pick the right schools for proper education. Consider
finances related arrangements, but goals and passion are more important than money.

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Chapter 2
Researching Graduate School

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The second step of your mission searching graduate schools that best fits your aspirations.
When you have begun the search, try not to fit yourself to the university; rather find the
school that matches your passion, purpose, priorities, and career goals. Second, bear in
mind, when surfing the portal, you are graduate applicant first and international applicant
afterward therefore, need to capture information for both; since, the majority of data is
available to graduate applicants web page, and not on international applicants web page.
Your list must have a decent mix of safe, moderate, and ambitious schools.
Remember, there is no official ranking system exists for universities in the United States;
however, one may gravitate towards using the ranking of various graduate schools in the
USA. Sincerely, there is no harm in following rankings.

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Criteria set by students for shortlisting graduate schools depends only on a few major
factors such as, reputation, ranking, placements, program or major offered, and tuition
cost; conversely, many other important factors, students are ignoring; while, shortlisting
schools, maybe we call it inexperience or indifferent to go in-depth to find the right school.
A school is the best fit for you when meets or exceeds your desires as regards,

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1) Academics and Academia;


a) Program and Coursework.
b) Research and its financing.
c) Renowned Faculties.
d) Graduation Rate.
e) Class Size.
f) Student to Faculty Ratio.
g) Geographic factors.
h) Accreditation.
i) Timeline
2) Financing graduate education.
a) Funding graduate Education
b) Scholarships and Fellowships
c) Working on campus: GA/TA/RA
d) Cost of Attendance
3) Career services
a) CPT and OPT
b) Co-ops and Internships

If, someone feels the list is not exhaustive enough, then one can add more parameters to it.

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Chapter -3
Researching Graduate School: Academics and Academia

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School, Program, and Coursework: Out of 18-24 months, before attending graduate
schools, take a good time, maybe six months to research schools, which matches with your
aspiration. During, these six months research web pages of school for relevant data, which
you require handy for using later, and if, you want to know the key aspects of search, please
click Checklist for New Student.

Store all downloaded information in Universitys folders, a separate folder for each school.
Locate alumni from schools website, from Facebook, find students studying there;
thereafter, get their opinions on acceptance rate, graduation rate, Faculties, research,
coursework, etc. Further, learn more about placements, salaries, on-campus jobs, location
advantage, etc. Prepare the spreadsheet and record vital information to build a real
database. Besides, based on parameters selected, give them scores, picking the suitable
scale is ones choice, add up all parameters score at the end of the spreadsheet, and then,
sort and rank them. Please click, Researched Schools Database-Template.

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Research Activities and expenditures by school: Study from their research webpage
various types of research going on or completed, specifically pay attention to research that
relates to your field of interest. Various faculties involved in research activity and their
achievements and finally research spending by school project-by-project or overall.

Faculty: Try to get answers to the following questions. Are there renowned professors in
the program of your interest? How many full-time tenured or tenure-track professors were
members of the National Academy of Engineering? Do the faculty research topics interest
you? How large is the laboratory space? Are there cross-disciplinary programs with other
educational, cultural, professional and research institutions? What is the research
expenditures and its sponsoring agencies, etc.? You should investigate professors research
from schools website and the Internet and bring about awareness as regards of faculties.

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Graduation Rate: is similar to our universities declaring, 40% result for engineering,
that means out of all enrolled students 40% have passed the examination. The graduation
rate is the measure of the effectiveness of the school, its faculties, and staff; likewise, speaks
about their efforts in ensuring students passing the examinations are adequate or not.
Read, Are Graduation Rates Important? (Give less weight to this factor).

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Class Size: Does class size matter? One factor that many students do not weigh is the class
size in school, although, stressing this factor unjustified; nonetheless, class size does affect
graduation rates. The small class ambiance will give you a much better scope to ask
questions, participate in the discussion, more like interactive class, and have a professor
know you well. Advantages of the small class are all the teaching primarily, done by

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professors, they will show more dedication to teaching, assess your work more accurately,
etc. Again, this need not be deciding factor). Read, What is the best college class size?

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Student to Faculty Ratio: This factor is very similar to the small class size and having
same advantages. When looking at student-to-faculty ratio, it is crucial to see it as one part
of the equation. While, it may influence your decision, it does not have to be a deciding
factor hence, give less weight. Read, Student to Faculty Ratio What does it Mean.
Geographic Factors: It may be worthwhile to catch on information about industries near
to your shortlisted schools explicitly connected with branch or specialization you intend to
pursue. Location becomes decisive when you begin off-campus internships/co-ops, CPT,
OPT, etc. For the job, one may weigh pros and cons and decide to relocate from the east
coast to west coast, but for internships and the like, companies must be located in the
vicinity of your school and must relate to your field of study.

Accreditation: Consider to check, whether schools have accreditation, either by ABET, or


regional authority; and is accessible on schools web pages or else on SEVP-certified
schools, official webpage of the Department of Homeland Security. There are various types
of accreditations and varies with program, e.g. chemical engineering or Engineering
Management will have different accreditations.

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Prepare Timeline: Since, we have gathered enormous information, and absorbed


exhaustive knowledge, then, it becomes necessary to draw up 18-24 months project plan or
timeline for not losing the focus of any petty pieces of the admission process. Therefore,
you need to group data into broad steps and against these steps, write an activity stating
the period when to start and finish it; in essence, the objective of this chart is to keep you
on your toes. To see the template, please click, Timeline or Roadmap for MS in the US.

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Now, done with exhaustive research on schools, their admission criterion and in the end,
selected 25-50 schools matching your passion and purpose, as well as documented it in a
spreadsheet. To arrive at 25-50 schools list, you may have to research more than 75-100
schools and their programs, and if you do this yourself without taking any assistance from a
counselor, you will be in full charge of the circumstances, and fairly aware of all pros and
cons of facets of admission process. Then, answer the next question. Is your present quality
of candidacy suitable to apply to graduate schools? If no, then students still has time to
enhance their profile.

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Chapter 4
Researching Graduate School: Financing Graduate Education

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Funding Graduate Education: Besides, you need to collect information on various types of
options available for funding or financing the graduate education. In the majority of
schools, funding offered to students by way of grants, fellowships, scholarships, research
assistantship, teaching assistantship, graduate assistantship, tuition waiver, etc. My
observation is funding available to academic or traditional masters degrees (merit-based),
and schools may not offer funding of any kind in case of terminal/professional degree
barring graduate assistantship. To learn more, please click, Financial Assistance for Masters
Studies and Funding from Universities for Graduate Studies.

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Scholarships and fellowships: A Large percentage of students in the USA receive some
form of financial aid. Funding is available either on need-based or merit-based, with the
latter based on an evaluation of students finances and the considering academic
accomplishments. Many graduate schools have pledged ample financial assistance to
support all students, who meet the academic criteria desired. Overall, several graduate
schools render additional opportunities for funding to international students. Further
options comprise fellowships, and scholarships offered via the Fulbright Program, Detailed
information is available in following links. How to get Scholarships in US Graduate Schools
for MS, MBA? Edulix thread on Scholarships/Endowments/Interest-free Loans and
University-specific US scholarships for international students.

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Working on-campus or off-campus: In the US, laws prohibit F1 students working offcampus, always keep this in mind. However, GA/RA/TA offered to students for on-campus
jobs, where, one can choose for part-time (10 hours per week) and full-time (20 hours per
week) jobs offered during fall and spring; while, school is in regular session. Whereas, in
summer anyone can work 40 hours per week, even off-campus, to gain practical
experience; for example, Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or pre-completion Optional
Practical Training (OPT), often paid job with proper paperwork done related to USCIS and
permission from DSO of School. To learn more, read A Legal Guide for Living in the USA.

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Chapter - 5

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Researching Graduate School: Career Services


CPT and OPT: All aspirants have a dream to come to the USA for higher studies, but at the
same time have the leading question on the back of their mind, whether I can work legally
off-campus. If yes, when? How can I work once my graduate studies completed? If you are a
nonimmigrant F1 student, first you may work on-campus. Besides on-campus employment,
you can work after nine months (or even before in selected cases) after entering the US
using a couple of options available of Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional
Practical Training (OPT). A brief excerpt of CPT and OPT penned here, for detail article,
please read, Working CPT and OPT in The USA as Student.

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Internships and Co-ops: Both are for getting work experience related to your academic
program and major. Internships usually for one term, mostly in summer. Internships taken
in summer are same like full-time co-ops, which typically stretch for ten weeks. Whereas,
co-ops are multi-term; for example, you might work fall semester, go to school for the
semester of spring, then work in summer, go to school in fall, and again work for the next
spring semester. Internships are either part-time or full-time depending on the employer,
while, co-ops are always full-time positions. Internships can be paid or unpaid; at large, this
depends on employers' preferences, but co-ops have paid positions. You need to work hard
to find jobs opportunity through internet, schools career services. Utmost imperative for
you is to develop good networking skills for connecting with professors, career services
office, and alumni to get the suitable opportunity. Also, you need to take permission from
schools DSO (Designated School Officer) and USCIS. To know about internships/co-ops,
please read guidelines of Virginia Tech and Edulix thread on CPT, OPT, Internships, but you
may need a login to view this thread.

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Chapter 6
Reinforcing Profile

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The Third Step is reinforcing your current profile. What is overall profile? How to
strengthen it further?

The two statements written on Princetons Undergraduate admission webpage, I liked the
most, which depicts what school expects from student and his quality of candidacy.
We value liveliness of mind, motivation, creativity, perseverance, and independent thought. A
prospective students intellectual curiosity and academic excellence are the most important
factors in our decision.

We don't value one type of activity over another. Rather, we appreciate sustained
commitment to the interests you have chosen to pursue. Some of the students we admit have
one well-honed talent; others have participated in a range of activities. We take particular
note of leadership and exceptional talents or accomplishments.

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These statements are worth pondering and teaches us how improve our quality of
candidacy. What factors constitute your complete profile?
1. Undergraduate percentage or pointers or grades,
2. Statement of Purpose (SOP)
3. Letters of Recommendations (LOR)
4. Standardized tests like GRE, TOEFL, or ILETS.
5. Research activity, if any.
6. International publications of papers or paper presentation in Conference, if any.
7. Exemplary skills assimilated recently, which may bolster your overall profile.
8. Internships.
9. Work experience (More than one year in the relevant field).
10. Voluntary work you carried out with NGOs.
11. Any creative works you have done.
12. Extracurricular activities (Mention talents, which are unique and of highest order,
devoting one para on your participation in college cricket tournament is worthless).

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Some schools prefer all rounded profile with adequate performance in the range of
activities showing one's genuine ability. Whereas, some schools look for a spiked profile, in
essence, one of the talent student possess sets him apart from other students. By nature,
these students are unique; in fact, have distinct, nurtured passion since long, have worldchanging ability, and perseverance to pursue their burning desire. These students do not
belong to well-rounded applicants pool. After having done rather great so far, and
prepared to pursue passion persistently; indeed, such students stands out from the crowd,
and expressly, depicts one well-honed talent, and sustained commitment to the interests
students have chosen to pursue, may earn the berth in ivy league school too.

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Chapter 7
Academics Aspects

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Undergraduate Grades: This is the most important aspect of your profile. While, you
enter final year, you have one full year on hand to enhance academic grades or percentages
to new high. Prospective university in the USA needs is either four years, or last two years
cumulative percentages or CGPA. A requirement of CGPA for review is university specific;
hence, search and document it when, you delve into schools portals. In general, all schools
ask for 3.0 GPA out of 4.0. There is no correlation or comparison of USAs GPA system and
Indian percentage system. The best agency to assess GPA is the graduate school and WES.
So, do not convert percentages to USAs GPA. Besides, you need to concentrate and stay
focused to boost grades for the final year with the aim of surpassing current overall CGPA.

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Standardized Tests: GRE and TOEFL tests you will give after final examinations are over.
Hence, prepare for these examinations rigorously from June onwards and plan to give the
test in mid-October or end October. Beforehand, start habit of reading and writing, math
problem solving from your third year itself, it will benefit you in many ways. You have
noted down GRE score requirements of individual school in your database, including your
dream school. Although academic grades play vital role and all other parameters of your
profile are equally important, high GRE: Quantitative, Verbal, and AWA may strengthen
your case further. How to prepare for Test and earn good scores, GRE Study Timeline, and
How should I plan my preparation for GRE?
Research activity in the undergraduate programs, our Indian education system barring
IITs, ISC and NITs practically nonexistent; hence, try hard to get 2-3 months research
internship in IITs or ISC, it is a critical factor one can not disregard. How to apply for a
research position after Bachelors Degree, and Edulix Thread on Research Internships.

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Papers, Publications: During your third year itself initiate process to publish papers in
international journals, not only, to expand your profile, but also, add to your knowledge.
Consult your faculty member, search internet for getting information on how to publish
papers. Do a good job in this area. Read Edulix thread on Publications and Impact Factors
and for publication read, Microsoft Academic Search.

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Internships and Projects: Last two years, try taking one or two internships relevant to
your field of interest. You need to not only apply what you have learned so far but also,
learn from the professional organizations overall system in place, their technology, how
they apply those in day-to-day operations. Secondly, work on your project from beginning,
select some innovative and challenging project, not the run-of-the-mill. Think of an
innovative project where you will put in hard work and your intellect. The project should
impel you to bring about new ideas, research through various journals, publications and at
the same time, gain valuable learning through the project, as well as, Internships.

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Chapter 8
Personality, Passion, Purpose and Potential

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Statement of Purpose: While writing tips for SOP, many notable authors have written
numerous articles, but suggestions by Vince Gotera, University Northern Iowa, and Tips on
writing an SOP - by Arun Vasan- UMCP, I liked the most. Before we go through how part of
SOP, you need to understand the cardinal rule in writing SOP: Captivate, Characterize,
and Convince. Captivate your reader with an engaging storyline. Portray your personality
and unique qualities. Convince the readers of your abilities by using concrete examples.
Admission committee member will read your SOP in roughly 4-5 minutes. Hence, it
becomes very crucial for you to keep him engaged in first 1-2 minutes or first paragraph,
and if you succeed in doing that, it will compel him to go through the entire SOP, and I
guess then, other members will go through it too, maybe multiple times. He must find your
SOP different and captivating than hundreds of other SOP, he reads every day.

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SOP is not your life story; hence, do not mention early life experiences than College years,
except one inspiring event for creating a passionate hook. Your SOP has to be candid,
honest story about your passion and purpose, explaining academics you learned, your
projects, research interests, extracurricular activities (less emphasize), academic
achievements, why this school, why this program, why the USA, imminent academic, and
career goals; while, proving how school and its program is the best fit to your aspiration
depicted in the narrative style. You write it, no one else and in your words.

In early years of the undergraduate studies, academics or GRE if, affected due to some
reasons, explain extenuating circumstances that hindered attaining excellent scores, in 80100 words maximum; but ensure not a single word having negative meanings. Universities
do give guidelines or ask questions, what they expect from a prospective student, which
you should answer in its entirety.

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I have set my writing style rules for SOP; please go through to learn more. You need to go
through articles from Vince Gotera and Arun Vasan 10 times, and each time, browse the
Internet to see sample SOP. Please do not copy and paste from the Internet as US schools
check plagiarism to see whether someone has copied the paper? Hence, when you read the
sample SOP, pick only the idea, grasp the narrative style, and understand the organization
and structure of the SOP. Read, the Basic Format for Statement of purpose.

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Rule of Thumb for SOP:


1. If the school has given word limit, never cross that limit. Indeed, it speaks about
compliance and respect to what school has requested.
2. If word limit not specified, then write SOP of 1 to 1.5 pages, with 1.15-line spacing.
3. Do not highlight, underline, and make italics any part of SOP, it distracts the reader,
using double quote sometimes acceptable.

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4. If at all, one needs to mention URL of the web page where you write blogs, or
research papers or any other material, use citation method. To learn more, please
click on Plagiarism and Citation.
5. Make essay readable by applying simple formatting styles; use times new roman
font, 11-12 or Cambria or Calibri 12 font size, and Margin 1 inch from all sides. Do
write on top, your name, program, and school you applied for and date of birth.

Finally, SOP should have mentions about professors name whose research work interests
you the most, and matches with your interest; furthermore, you look forward attending
specific teachers classes, locational advantages of school, etc., and included in the
paragraph where you write why this school, why this program, etc. Study in-depth for
uncovering professors research work or classes he teaches. Information on research and
teaching is available on Schools web pages. Hence, write separate SOP for all schools.
How much time should we assign for writing SOP? You write as many as possible drafts
until you are satisfied, then show to close friends, professors, and parents, get it proofread
by them and create the final version. Normally, 2-3 months and more than 25 drafts are
customary, so do not get surprised! Beforehand, develop formal and concise writing skills,
use active and positive voice than passive and negative voice to make it happen.

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Letters of Recommendations: What is LOR? Every part of application portrays the image
of your personality in the minds of the admission committee. The letters of
recommendation provide a third person viewpoint of a student. What a recommendation
letter articulates about you would boost the image you are trying to project.

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Who writes the LOR? Letters of Recommendations supposed to be a confidential document.


Your professors, who have taught you various courses in undergraduate studies (At least
one course); moreover, you have grasped his teaching and obtained good grades in their
classes; in effect, write letters of recommendation. They have known you downright as a
person; as well as, quite aware of your progress in studies or projects. They help the
admission committee to visualize a complete portrait of your fortes, unique qualities, and
potential. An unwritten rule, all the LORs should be from academia, if you are working in
the organization, then one LOR from your immediate manager is acceptable.

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When you enter detail in LOR section of the online application, one question asked to you,
Do you waive your rights Yes/No. If you do waive your rights then, you will never be
able to see what your professors written in LOR for a lifetime. Still, most ideal approach is
to waive your right, showing great trust in teachers.
Your role in the process of getting LOR summarized as,
1.
2.
3.
4.

In the seventh semester only, select Professors, Asst. Professors, Head, prudently.
They should be well acquainted with your academic progress, if not, make them.
Professors should mention in LOR since when; they know you.
Provide them your academic records and other academic achievements.
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5. To make sure, LOR are generic and does not include prospective schools name or
professors name.
6. To ensure LOR focuses your fortes, unique qualities, potential, academic successes,
and vigor and rigor you possess to complete graduate education. Do not mention
any extracurricular activities; moreover, LOR should focus academics only.

Rule of Thumb for LOR; LOR should be on college letterhead duly signed and sealed by
teacher or college along with envelope in the event of mailing paper copies to prospective
schools. Otherwise, official email ID of college provided to teachers used for sending it
electronically, when the paper copy not required. (But, if paper copy required, then LOR on
letterhead along with envelope duly signed and sealed suggested). There is no third option.
Certain schools applications asking you to upload LOR in the application never do that and
be firm on professors to upload LOR. Click on Link for LOR, SOP, etc., to see further links.

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Assimilating New Skill Set: Additional skill set you must grasp to reinforce your qualities
of candidacy. The overall profile is maybe lacking in some areas or may not be. However,
grasping a new set of skills relevant to your field of study would boost your overall profile.
There are many online free courses available nowadays, such as Coursera and MIT Open
Courseware, to name a few. Search the Internet, find some courses about your field of
interest, select maximum as you can, and finish those.

Prof-letting: Next logical leap forward for aspirant would be to connect with professors in
their programs of choice even before applying. Contacting is essential; primarily to seek
advice and information from teachers who are actively following research in the field of
mutual interest for the aspiring graduate student and the teacher, Edulix has a brilliant
article of Prof-letting, please read that here and here. Again, you require login to get access.

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Work Experience: Many students or even some experts say that work experience is not
mandatory. For gaining admission to most of the MS program, one need not have any
experience. Nevertheless, if you have 1-2 years of experience related to your field of study,
then it may add some value and influence admission Committee to pick you over student
without any work experience with the similar profile. Secondly, this will help you in
securing internship during studies and job opportunities after your studies.

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We will not delve into point 10 to 13 explicitly here, as they are self-explanatory.

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Chapter 9
Financial Resources for Application Process

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You need to plan and arrange in advance for all the costs will have to incur throughout the
application process, until you apply for Visa. The table below shows the element-wise costs
break-up. Students can change the figure and add/remove items as per his requirements.
I have assumed that student is applying to ten schools, two school requires WES evaluation,
GRE & TOEFL four reports are free, five applications need mailing, and one application you
need to mail after admit then, calculations of the cost involved are as below.
Activity

One-time
Registration
Fee

No. Of
reports
Required

$170

$19

$195

$27

$205

10

$60

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TOEFL Examination; (Free


4 and paid reports - 6)
GRE Examination; (Free
4 and paid reports - 6)
WES ICAP - Evaluation
charges for 2 schools
Avg. Application fee of 10
Schools
SEVIS Fee

Fee per Delivery


Delivery Reports
Report
Cost

$200

Visa Fee
$160
Edulix-DHL Express costs
for five Applications and
6
Rs. 870
one after admit
Total Costs throughout the process of application and admission.

Total
Costs

Total in
INR.

$114

$284

19,312

$162

$357

24,276

$24

$229

15,572

$600

$600

40,800

$200

13,600

$160

10,880

$77

5,236

$1,907

129,676

GRE & TOEFL preparation, as well, counseling charges not considered here, as it may vary
from consultancy to consultancy. The student is the best judge to decide for this.

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Students must visit fairs organized by US Schools in India, at least, six months before
applying, go to schools website and fill the form of Request Information, by doing this you
get into their registered mailing list, after that, check their emails for information on
Webinar. Attending fairs or webinars, you get application fee waiver, by this way, you can
save valuable application amount required.

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Chapter 10

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Shortlisting Graduate Schools


Shortlisting schools: Database you have prepared for 25-50 schools, now it is high time to
prune it down to 10 schools max. Many experts advise only six schools, but if the profile is
not very strong, we need to stretch it further to 10 schools, three ambitious, three
moderate, three safe and one extra-safe or else you may decide on combinations to be used.
Students must freeze shortlisting of schools by Mid-August or early September.

I have sample college comparison spreadsheet in my Google drive folder, comparison given
here(for few schools, prepared for my own use) is undergraduate level and not graduate
level, but still one may use this to compare schools. Take five schools at a time to compare,
shortlist 1-2 out of this and repeat the process again until you reach the list of ten schools,
else, if you have any better method, use that.

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One more option available is College Navigator; again, this option gives information at
college/undergraduate level, but barring some data, exhaustive information is applicable
for undergraduate and graduate both. It has data on student to faculty ratio, graduation
rates, cost of attendance, campus security, accreditation, type of school, Carnegie
Classification and many more feature. Use this effectively to shortlist schools that matches
your profile.

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Additionally, use information from Find the Graduate School That is Right for you, a unique
informative website with graduate school statistics provided by the National Research
Council (primarily for PhD students). The best thing about this website is that you can use
the interactive rankings form to generate rankings matching to your requirement. They
prepare ranks of each branch every year. The analysis becomes handy when you want to
weigh things like financial aid much higher than other factors. Start building database
(different now) as per Master Sheet of Shortlisted schools.

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Chapter 11
Graduate Application Process: Documents Required

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Fourth Step is of the Application process: Before we start the topic, we need to
understand documents we need for completing the application process. What are they?
Documents Required for Graduate Application process:

1. Online application form: Fill this application form online only; besides, study

application form PDF copy, or else, register on school's website for the login and dig
into the online application. Areas unclear to you, seek answers from seniors on FB,
or Schools will have their application process page where, they provide information
on how to fill the form clarifying which, field to skip and which fields is mandatory.

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2. Standardized test scores: You shortlisted schools to 10, somewhere in August or


September as per timeline. Now, select four schools, write universitys codes (and
Departmental code, if they ask for) for GRE and TOEFL score reporting list.
According to ETSs official policy, mailing of scores to you and the four institutions
you designated on the day of the test, about ten days after you take the test. One can
assume the same duration for reporting additional scores (paid reports) to new
institutions since it is electronic now.
3. Transcripts: Official transcripts (mark sheets) from all previously attended higher

education institutions uploaded to your online application. If a transcript not in


English, both an original language version and English translation provided.
The Transcript must be complete.

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The transcript must show proof of degree awarded (Our Transcripts does not
mention degree completion, and hence, degree certificate necessary along with
transcripts).
Records must show all coursework completed and grades/marks received.
Electronically generated transcripts are unacceptable (few schools accept this).
Notarized transcripts or degree certificate are unacceptable (Few accepts this).
A grading scale of your institution and your rank should be included.
DO NOT convert your GPA to the 4.0 scale

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You need to take transcripts from your college and then get it attested from Universitys
Office of the Registrar with university seal, stamp, signature; this is original
transcripts. Together, get envelopes with signatures, stamps, and then seal it, this is
Official Transcripts as originated from universitys Office of the Registrar. Find out
from the shortlisted schools (ten), which schools ask to send Original and Official
transcripts, this means you will have to dispatch the sealed transcript to such graduate
schools. If they mention Scanned copy of the original/official paper version originated

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from the Registrar's Office uploaded in your online application and only admitted
students who enroll required to submit official paper copy transcripts to the Graduate
School. You need not send any paper copies of transcripts to these schools; upload only
scanned images. After admit they will ask to submit Original and Official transcripts.

Based on your database find out which schools requires paper copies mailed to them
and which schools wants to upload scan copy in the online application, this will decide
the number of transcripts you want attested from university plus five extra copies,
which you will require for later use. Autonomous colleges accredited by National
Assessment and Accreditation Council and having the status of Deemed University are
allowed by University Grants Commission to award Degree certificate and transcript. All
attestation done in your college is acceptable, no need to go to university, provided your
college name in the present is the list of Deemed University on UGCs website.
4. Degree Certificate: Final Degree completion certificate or provisional degree

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completion certificate is required to show evidence of degree earned. If you have


completed a degree in recent times and do not have final degree certificate, then
provisional degree certificate issued by college accepted by many schools, although, for
some schools it is unacceptable. Take paper copies of this and along with transcripts
(mentioned above) get this attested from your university, the explanations provided in
Transcripts applies to degree certificate too, and everything precisely followed here, as
described in transcripts.
5. Statement of Purpose: Other names are a Personal statement, essay, and goal

statement. You have painstakingly made efforts to write one strong SOP, use this to
upload in online application. There is one more useful articles on how to write Statement
of Purpose by Robin Walker; please go through that
6. International/Foreign credential evaluations: NACES is an association of private and

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independent foreign educational credential evaluation services committed to framing


and maintaining ethical standards of foreign educational evaluation. NACES accredited
members carry foreign credential or transcript evaluation. WES (World Education
Services) is one its member and popular among graduate schools. Evaluations are
mainly of two types, Document by Document; which indicates periods of education and
delivers an equivalency of documents and degree. It validates the authenticity of the
credentials received but, does not provide the complete analysis; whereas, Course-byCourse evaluation does degree equivalency, an assessment of courses giving grades and
GPA. Check on schools website, if they are asking for transcripts evaluation or not, if yes,
then what type? Read, WES Evaluation process, for documents required, and fees. Read,
Schools that require WES Evaluation.

7. Research Interests: Separate research statement describing research done, further

interests and plans, something is worthwhile. If someone wish to add research work to

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his/her portfolio, but had not done any research, do it now (as per the timeline drew up
earlier), if you have the time to engage in some research activity.

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8. Recommendation Letters: In the online application, enter information about

professor's, Name, Email ID, Cell No., and Designation, etc. After you complete this, then
automatically link sent to teachers (or you may press the button of Send Link, or for
some schools, after submitting the application), enter information for only those No. Of
recommender, which asked for, do not enter more than this.
9. Resume/CV: Listing professional and extracurricular accomplishments, in few schools

this is optional.

10. Bank Statements/Certificate: You must show adequate liquid assets (Fixed deposits

and cash balance) available in your bank account (your or sponsors, saving or current
bank account and multiple accounts are also acceptable), six to nine months before you
take classes. Click the link for FAQs on Bank documents and affidavit of financial support.

11. Affidavit of Financial Support: US government's regulation makes it binding on all the

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schools to get affidavit form filled by the student and his/her sponsors; once, admit
decision is conveyed, and before issuing I-20(Certificate of Eligibility). Regulation
ensures students after coming to the USA does not become a public charge (liability to
Govt. & Schools). Without I-20 form, you cannot apply for visa and loan too. Bank
document/certificate must back affidavit of financial support.
12. Interview: For some students, an interview may be requested (such as MBA applicants)

while the call for an audition is likely for students applying for programs in the arts.
Some schools ask for an interview from MS candidates, but not all.
13. Portfolio of Work: Architecture or Arts (Fine Arts) students may also need to submit a

portfolio of work. The portfolio requirement is not applicable to Engineering, MIS,


CS/CE, Finance/Economics, etc., programs.
14. Writing Samples: Schools requests students applying for research-focused degrees to

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submit a writing sample of their work. Through writing samples, graduate school
reviews your capability to express a written message.
15. Application Fee: Around $25-100 per application: Check out application fee for

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Universities, get a credit card and ensure allows the international transaction.

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Chapter 12
Profile Evaluation

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Most popular posts on Facebook are of two types, first, asking members to evaluate the
profile, or requesting them to suggest graduate schools matching their profile or which is
the best among 3-4 schools he listed, and second, query related to application deadlines. All
the post, I have seen are basic in nature and apparently, shows a lack of research and
understanding by the students on schools admission criterion and all information related
application process, and program; moreover, many students are unaware of various
aspects he must know. Sadly, other students who have as well not followed the research
path enough, applied to just 2-3 schools, suggest matching schools to other fellow students.
How, one can post such queries on FB and others gauge the profile with less than half data
available, how pathetic!
Then, who is best to assess profile? As per me,

1. Graduate schools pre-application screening; beforehand, check with prospective


schools, whether they accept such requests.

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2. Graduate Admission Committee: reviews four-year transcripts, SOP, and LOR along
with, Research Papers, Publications, and other data during the admission process.
3. Student himself.

In fact, student is the one who created an excellent database with great care and
understanding with his six months in researching schools, on top, he knows his academic
strengths and grades very well, moreover, he has written very persuasive SOP and received
outstanding LOR from professor based on his input; while, being aware of his true
potential, vigor, and rigor, he is ready to accept the challenging program of masters and
thus, student is the best person to evaluate his profile apart from Graduate school.

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And if, you have not done an adequate amount of groundwork or research, then others will
suggest you schools not recognizing your power, passion, purpose, and potential, and you
may land up school, which is at variance considering your profile and potential later, do not
blame anyone then. So, start researching schools with a greater depth and breadth that
matches your profile.

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Chapter 13
Apply Now

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Check the deadlines of schools, and plan to apply 20-25 days in advance; while, ensuring
time required for following activities.
1. You need to mail documents for those schools wants in paper copies (4-5 Days)
2. Co-ordinate with professors after LOR link sent to them to fill up LOR online.
3. Order additional score reports of GRE and TOEFL, if needed.

Many schools are having rolling admission, which means students can apply throughout
the year, and in such schools, early applying may have an edge over other applicants of
getting admits decision quite fast. Many experts say this is a myth!

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Many applicants make two common mistakes; first, selecting International applicant page
instead of Graduate applicant and second, mainly related to computer science applicants,
where they select MCS program, which is under applied science department instead of
MSCS, which is engineering program. Please avoid such mistakes. If you want to change
your program from MCS to MSCS then your admission in MCS is revoked, application file
sent to computer science department for review and they will take fresh decision.
Before you apply: Get information on online application,
1. Application process checklist, or
2. How to apply list, or

3. Application form in PDF, or

4. By login into your account, explore application form.

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Once, you are acquainted with the application form and process checklist, and then the job
becomes easy. You know now, which fields are mandatory, what information they are
looking for, which documents needs uploading, all are self-explanatory. Hence, one should
not face any problem. Field box where you enter information if, it has * (Asterisks)
symbol beside it; kindly note, all such fields it is compulsory to enter relevant information
failing which the application will be incomplete. Fields without asterisks symbol are not
mandatory; the choice is with you to provide information or not. Application forms are
university specific, same information asked in a different way, words, and sentences by
another school, but the intent is the same and documents are also the same.

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While filling up online application form prepare a spreadsheet, and against schools name,
write necessary information; in particular, Username, Passwords, University Identification
no., Payment Receipt No., Reference No., Application No., and Status of application and save
sheet. The worksheet will be hand for checking application status or making an inquiry
with Graduate Admissions.

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Do not click the button of SUBMIT in a panic, almost all schools online application do not
allow changes, once the application is submitted, and this information is available on
schools login screen, read it carefully. Before submitting an application, you may change
information entered or view, or delete files. You ought to ensure you go through online
application repeatedly and complete it in all respect, once satisfied with the application
then, press the button of SUBMIT. Click here, to see filled sample form of CSULB. Likewise,
complete submissions of remaining all nine applications.

Preparing Application Packet: Prepare application packet enclosing documents listed


below for the schools requiring official and original before the deadline for review.
Remember to prepare address list for schools you are applying having address for courier
mailing of documents (by DHL, UPS, etc.) and not postal address. Second, time required for
documents to reach school is 4-5 days; hence, prepare to courier them, at least, ten days in
advance. Below is the list of documents and further process one must follow.
Documents in Application Packet

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1. Cover Letter (See Sample letter)


2. Original and Official transcripts are originated at, and attested by the office of
registrar or controller of examinations of your university and given to you in sealed
envelope for mailing to your prospective graduate school.
3. Final/Provisional degree certificate originated at, attested by the office of registrar
or controller of examinations of your university, and given to you in sealed envelope
for mailing to your prospective graduate school.
4. Passport Identity page copy (First and last page).
5. Essay / Statement of Purpose.
6. Resume, if applicable
7. Letter of Recommendations issued by my professors and college in sealed envelope.
8. Bank Certificates; Balance Confirmation by the bank manager.
9. Proof of Financial Support duly filled and signed.
10. Photocopy of TOEFL and GRE Score Sheets (OPTIONAL)
11. Extra-Curricular Certificates (attach only if activity is of state/national level)
12. Research or publications, if any
13. Project Synopsis, if any
14. Other supplementary documents, you have uploaded in the on-line application form.

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You have now two types of envelopes, one for LOR(s) and other for transcripts and degree
certificate. Now you take third envelope bigger than these and put all envelopes and other
documents serially arranged in big envelope, write graduate schools address at the center,
write your name, address, ID No., Application No. date of birth, mobile no., at the bottom
left corner or backside of envelope. After that, hand over to DHL or any other courier, get
AWB (Air Way Bill) No., and start tracking from next day.

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Mailing Documents: For mailing transcripts and other documents, cheaper option is
service provided by Edulix and DHL Express; where, you need to register Edulix-DHL
Express on Edulix website, fill details of universities you want to send transcripts.
Afterward, on the same day or next day, DHL person will reach your home to collect
documents, they deliver documents in 3-4 working days, and charges are Rs. 870 per
envelope as against of Rs. 1390/packet (By DHL Express) without Edulix tie-up. Please note
two things before mailing the application packet to schools first, use mailing address of
courier service (DHL, UPS, etc.) and not postal address, second, write your UID no.,
application no., email ID, and date of birth along with name and address on the envelope.
Filling up online application form is somewhat straightforward, does not take more than 20
minutes. It is not obligatory for you to complete the application form in one sitting. You
need to save work, log out and resume next day. Before starting this process, all fifteen
documents mentioned above (as applicable) you should have placed in a subfolder of that
universitys folder. Name this sub-folder such as application packet or similar.

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After Application Submitted: You strived for last two years through the admission
process of MS in the US and now, time to relax, check the status of the application, and
emails. Besides, doing these small activities, try to engage yourself in securing new skill
sets, or an internship in a related field, reading books related to future courses or else
improve writing and vocabulary skills, this will help you to do better when classes begin.
Admission review process: In the USA, all graduate schools have a holistic approach to
reviewing applications. All parameters of your profile are given due importance, and not
only, GRE or GPA. In fact, SOP, LOR, Research, Papers, and other features of your profile
given proper weight, and reviewed with due diligence before arriving at a final decision.

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The admission committee comprises faculty members from the department. Sometimes, a
few students of the graduate program take an active part. The decision-making is a multistage process. For efficient use of all the committee members' time, the process begins with
a preliminary screening of applications where, many of the applications are rejected based
on hard constraints, which committee thinks are not meeting minimum expectations of
their university. The criterion can be minimum cut-offs on GPA, GRE, TOEFL, etc.
Applicants, who clear the first round of screening, are the real potential candidates, and
their application packet studied rigorously by the committee members.

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Hundreds or sometimes thousands of application divided between various members and


each application not only, reviewed by a member-in-charge but also, by more than one
reviewer. During the scrutiny process, admission committee meets and decides on final
shortlisting of applicants to reach admission target of school with few selected for the wait
list. (I have taken excerpts from the blog Demystifying the American Graduate Admissions Process.
by Karthik Raghunathan, and re-written with simple words).

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After this, application files go to graduate admission with recommendations from the
department and a final decision informed to applicants by email and status updated in the
portal, entire process takes 6-8 weeks time. Let us read what experts say about admission
process; Karthik Ragunanthan - Demystifying the American Graduate Admissions Process and
by Mihir Gupta on how admission reviews are done.

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Arrangements of Finances: Since we are already in December or January, it is high time to


start organizing finances, be it cash or FDs be it solvency certificate, or any other means of
finances from the bank. Check from your prospective schools website, what type of funds
or finances are acceptable. Get the bank certificate from branch manager ready; you may
require all this proof along with an affidavit of financial support ready by the end of
January to submit as soon as you receive admits and start process of I-20.

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Chapter 14
Admit Offers and I-20 Process

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Fifth Step of Admit and I-20 Process: Before we discuss on admits, please recall that
more than a month elapsed since we applied to schools having a deadline in December to
January, and may start rolling out admit anytime from now on. At the same time, get set to
submit applications to schools having an application deadline from March to May.

How to respond to offers of admits: For, accepting an admit offer, the school may or may
not specify the period. The admit offers are of two types. First is with some funding such as
graduate scholarship, assistantship, fellowship or traineeship; where, almost all schools
and even students are obligated by The Council of Graduate Schools resolutions on the set
of guidelines governing the acceptance of funded graduate admissions offers.
Admit offers with funding: Resolutions speaks about two most important aspects. First,
before April 15, schools should not give the admit offer to students having a deadline for
accepting it earlier than April 15, which violates resolutions, and students are under no
obligation to follow that early cutoff date.

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Second, students may accept several admit offer on or before April 15, which allows him to
keep one school he desires to join and regret another school by just sending regret letter,
this one must do it on or before April 15.

Furthermore, resolutions states that admit offer by schools after April 15 are conditional in
nature, where students if, accept such offer after 15th April, has to get written release letter
from previously admitted school and submit to the new institute. In such instances, you
have only 15 days to accept the offers including obtaining written release letter from
earlier accepted school; indeed, a tightrope walks for any student.

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Admit offers without funding: These types of offers are simple to deal with, and not
complicated as above, but one must adhere to the deadline of April 15 in this case also,
which allows schools to release offer letters to waitlist candidates. Normally, practice is
offers received on or before April 1, one must accept/decline on or before April 15, and
offers after April 1, you should respond within 15 days time.
Waitlist: Graduate school has placed you on the waitlist, do not panic, and wait for results
from other schools you have applied. By mid-March, contact school seeking clarification on
your position in waitlist and how far, you are from acceptance zone, just this, nothing more.
This type of proactive email might help you to move up the ladder to acceptance region.

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Actual process of accepting an admit and after that,


1) Information reaches you from graduate admission by email and on the portal.
2) They will provide a link in email, after clicking that page for accept/decline button
appears, and click that button.

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3) New tab/page opens and asks you to upload,


a) A copy of passport,

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b) Bank documents/certificate; showing funds are available in banks,

c) Affidavit of Financial support; duly signed by applicants and sponsors.


Documents in Admission Packet: admission packet sent to you includes:

1. Acceptance letter: A letter, informing your acceptance of the graduate program.


2. I-20: Certificate of Eligibility that certifies your admission.

3. Information Letter: Describing documents required, and advice on your arrival.


4. Immunization

requirement letter: Describes mandatory immunization


requirement and health form, which you should fill, get it certified by a physician.

5. Visa Information: A brief procedure on how to apply for Visa at US consulate of

your country and documents required for Visa.

6. Housing Information: Available housing options, once you reach the USA.
7. Pre-Arrival Checklist: Some schools provide this information.

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I-20 Process: Since above explanation helps you to accept admit offer say, from four
schools, and then, initiate the further process to get I-20 from all four schools. There is no
restriction on you, not to accept more than one admits and I-20. However, for paying the
SEVIS fee in the visa process, you have to keep one school and regret remaining until 15th
April. Starting the process of I-20 is school specific, and they may need 20-21 days for
preparing I-20, generated by using USCISs website. This is the first instance of registering
your name with the US Governments web site. Once, you upload documents (as mentioned
above, 3: a, b & c); rather, wait for further instructions to come. Next, by email, the school
will inform you about admission and later, they will send admission packet containing
documents mentioned above. Arrangements for pick-up of such admission packet has to be
arranged and costs to be borne by you, use Edulix DHL Express for this too.

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Visa Process: Indian student who wants to enter the USA for the purpose of study must
obtain a Visa, a nonimmigrant student visa F1 or J1 for a temporary stay. Earliest you can
apply for a visa is 120 days before program start date (You can apply visa more than 120
days also, but consulate will issue visa in stipulated 120 days period only). To get detailed
information Visa procedure click on Documents required and How to apply Visa-process.
Moreover, wish to see the possible question, and then see, Visa Interview-Probable
Questions_1 and Visa Interview-Probable Questions_2.
Steps in scheduling visa interview are as give hereunder.
1. Check accuracy of your I-20 against passport information to ensure that your name
and date of birth (DOB) are correctly written and spelled. If it is not correct, contact
the school official (ISSO) who sent you the Form I-20.

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2. Pay your SEVIS fee using for I-901 form on FMJFEE website and print receipt of the
same and secure properly, this will be required to show during the visa interview.
3. The next step is to complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160)
form. Read, Guidelines for Completing the DS-160 Form carefully.
4. Pay the visa fee. The visa fee page lists the visa types and correlating visa fee in US
dollars and native currency. To pay your visa fee in INR only. This page explains
how to make your visa fee payment.
5. Schedule your appointment for a visa. Now you will need to login to your profile
with the same credentials you used to pay your visa fee.
6. On the day of visa interview make sure you reach at least one hour in advance and
carry all documents required as I have mentioned above, then, visit to the Visa
Application Centre to have your photo and fingerprints taken, you will then visit the
U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the date and time for your visa interview.

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Chapter 15
Pre-departure Arrangements

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Sixth Step: Plan for pre-departure Arrangements: While preparing for your flight,
remembers that every airline has different size and weight regulations; as well as, charges
for all types of luggage you take; hence, get information before booking tickets. Check out if
tickets booked early, you get any discount on the price.
Also, remember you can carry maximum $10,000 in person with you that is the sum of your
US Dollars and Indian Rupees. Do not forget to take with you a proof of cash and travelers
checks. Ideal distribution of $10,000 should be $7,000 in the form of travelers check and
$3,000 in cash and Rs. 7,500. If, you are carrying more than $10,000 with you, then please
declare at the port of entry to CBP officers giving valid justification. Whatever Indian
currency you will carry has the maximum limit Rs. 7,500, which required to pay airport
taxes, sundry expenses, and may be required when you return to India on break.

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Do not worry about tuition and fees payment. When you report to your school, and a class
begins, your tuition payment is due to pay. Beforehand, visit Bursars office and if, you want
to get this converted to a monthly plan, do that with little charges you need to pay. From
Bursars office, get the details of universitys bank account details and send it across to your
sponsor in India, where he visits the bank and fills up FEMA Form-A2 for money transfer
and pays tuition amount. What to pack and what to carry, there are excellent articles on the
Internet, explore that and decide.

U.S. Customs and I-94 Process at Port of Entry (POE): You may not enter USA earlier
than 30 days before classes begin or class start date on your I-20 or DS-2019 form. You
should reach in time for an orientation program, which occurs a week before classes starts.
The earliest you can land in the USA is 15 days before classes begin and is adequate time.
During this period, you report to ISSO and submit documents asked, for them to update
SEVIS record. You need time to find mates, housing and shopping household articles apart
from what you did not bring with you. Attend student orientation day. Therefore, for
settling down 15 days is more than sufficient.

ha

Arriving in the USA is a significant step you have taken. If you have all documents ready
and have extensive knowledge related to school, program, courses, financing your
educations, etc., it will be a very smooth experience.

Ab

At the port-of-entry, present your I-20/DS-2019 and passport to CBP Officer. The inspector
will first try to verify status by using the SEVIS. The officer will go through papers and ask
you some questions about your stay in the US. Officer will enter visa status (F-1, J-1), the
date of entry, and valid period of your stay. The CBP officer will also give you an entry
stamp in your passport. If CBP officer at the port of entry not able to confirm your

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information, or if you do not have required documents, you may have to face to an
interview area known as secondary inspection.

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If the CBP Officer needs to verify information with your school or program, then
immediately provide contact information of your DSO (Designated School Officer). In case,
you arrive during non-business hours (evening, weekends, and holidays), you must also
have an emergency or non-business hour phone number available for DSO.

Failures to comply with U.S. government entry procedures may result in denial of entry to
the United States. Under certain circumstances, the CBP officer may issue a Notice to
Student or Exchange Visitor Form (I-515A), which authorizes temporary admission into
the United States. Work along with your schools officials to submit the proper
documentation required for the Form I-515A.
DOCUMENTS TO CARRY IN YOUR HAND/CABIN BAGGAGE

Once you have all documents in hand including visa and prepare to depart the home
country, ensure you pack the documents mentioned below in your hand luggage and not in
check-in luggage, as you require these documents to show at the port of entry.

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1. Passport has a validity of at least six months beyond the date of your expected stay.
2. For I-20: (Form I-20 for F1 students and Form DS-2019 for the J 1 student).
3. Affidavit of Financial Support and Bank Statements.
4. Admission Letter.

5. SEVIS Fee paid Receipt.

6. The contact information of International Student & Scholar Services office at school.
Detailed information relating entire process read I-94 process at the port of entry and
Arrival procedure for students at the port of entry.

Ab

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Networking skills: You may be a scholar, extraordinary in academics; however, when it


comes to professional world after masters searching for a full-time job, or even quite before
that when, you are struggling to get co-ops, internships, assistantships; you need to possess
excellent networking skills. Just as, you land in the USA, start working on improving this
unique quality, as soon as you land in the USA. When you draw up career objectives, you
determine, where I want work, and at what positions, for which you will need to nurture
genuine relationships with people from cross-functional areas. Friends in your network are
going to help you out by informing such position exists. There is a beautiful article on
networking in Quora by Joe Gobel, please read that. You may need a login to view the post.

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Chapter 16

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Some Important Links


Just click on topic you want to read for further fine points.

Ab

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1. Access to my Google Drive folder.


2. Application deadline for spring and fall for USA Universities.
3. US News and world report- All Engineering Rankings.
4. MIS Program in USA Universities.
5. MS in Engineering Management.
6. Interesting info on CS, CE, SE, ECE-VLSI, Embedded.
7. Concise writing; The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.
8. Future of your field.
9. List of 20 majors and specializations.
10. Credit Hours-Know US Education System.
11. The difference between MS and MEng.
12. Career Guide for International Students by Cornell University.
13. H1B Visa Process.
14. Can I transfer to another US university?
15. Grad School list for ECE specializations.

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