Studying in United States can be a great experience in terms of the knowledge we gain, vivid experience and exposure, communication skills?etc. I would like to share my experience as a student in USA. The content below is strictly my experience, lessons I learnt from my mistakes or some information which were not passed on to me when I was in need of it the most.
Coming to USA for studies requires lot of planning, ground work, preparation, visa process all of which is explained below:
Planning: The ideal time to start planning for masters in USA would be from third (first sem of second year) semester of BE/B.Tech, as a start try to get in touch with your relatives who studied/studying abroad and gather as much information as you can about USA, studies, universities. Internet now is a rich source of information. Browse some websites like 'gradschools.com' which has a list of all universities and university websites, visit their homepages and checkout their education system, requirements and see which universities suit you. You might want to consider cost of living, school standards, financial aid, and your relatives around the city where school is located as primary factors when deciding on a school.
Preparation: Preparing for GRE/GMAT/TOEFL should be started very soon after you begin planning, trust me, out of my experience?it is not possible to make good scores by cramming bunch of books before the exams, you will require lot of dedication, try to do things like watching English movies, sports channels, commentaries, reading newspapers?etc. Not everyone can have good vocabulary but everyone can try and speak good English in simple plain terms. If you cannot make good scores in vocabulary in GRE, do not be disheartened you can prove your skills by making good score in TOEFL which is a test of plain simple English. Join a good institution which gives training, the advantages being, some quality coaching and most importantly?you meet new people who always know something we do not from whom we learn new things about universities about GRE/TOEFL and what not? Ideal time to take GRE test would be late 6th (3-2) semester or early 7th (4-1) semester. As part of preparation keep making a list of universities for various score ranges and short list them, like (1000-1100 score x,y,z universities, 1100-1200 score a,b,c universities).
Please do not delay in executing these steps which might cost you a lot of time. Take some mock exams and keep track of the scores you are making and finalize the list of four schools that you want to send scores which you had planned during preparation and after taking mock exams.
Visa Process: After applying to schools and getting I-20?s join a reputed consultancy that will take care of all the paper work and set you up for visa interview.
During the visa interview, please do not give prepared answers for (why USA, why xyz university, why CS/electrical) ? respond to the question naturally whatever is in your mind (let it not be crazy answers like, to make money, it is fun, for nightlife?etc), do not be tensed and project yourself as if you are desperate to get here.
Note: Prepared answers and desperation in your face will lead to denial of a US visa.
Having arrears/backlogs in Bachelors will not affect coming to USA.
Life is easy in USA; it is easy to make money.
Join a consultancy which helps you choose schools and get I-20.
Having arrears/backlogs can not only affect your admission, financial aid but your US visa is also at stake.
Life is not so easy for a masters student in USA, you will have to live life the hard way, save every penny you earn, do all your work yourself...this makes us a better human being and we learn how to enjoy by knowing what hard work is.
Consultancies which guarantee you admissions in schools are total rip off, they get you admissions to schools which do not have funding, which grant admission to anybody who applies.
After arriving in USA, try to find an on-campus job which makes your life easier, try to avoid off-campus work, take drivers license even though you do not have a car. Speak to seniors and make the most out of it because every university is unique in its own way in terms of the course availability, course difficulty and seniors are the best people to help us choose what is good for us.
Message for people who want an easy way to earn their masters degree:
This section is for people who want an easy way to earn masters degree, and whose motive is to get out of school and make money.
Masters in USA will be awarded to a candidate upon meeting certain requirements, which varies for every university. Some schools require 36 credit hours for graduation. Every course you take is awarded 3 credit hours (1 course =3 credit hours) which mean 12 courses will award masters degree. Some schools offer 33 credit hours for graduation, some offer 30, there are schools that offer 21 credit hours which you would want to look for (University of Illinois at Springfield). Some schools offer 30 credit hours with no project work, which will help you, graduate soon and enter the job market to make money.
For better understanding, generally a 36 credit hour program consists of 11courses + 1 project work = 33 credit hours + 3 credit hours.
I would like to conclude saying life in USA is very exciting and fun. It is a land of opportunities and the bottom-line is ?Your development will directly lead to development of your family back in India.?
Please feel free to e-mail your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org, we will be more than happy to assist/advise you.
Student life in USA: By Srikanth