If you want the very best education available, or if you want to further your career by working with top professionals in your field, the United States is the place for you.
An education in the United States is the best preparation for achieving your professional goals. America has a lot to offer to international students: the highest-ranked education in the world, renowned universities, natural parks, vibrant cities, a multicultural population, artistic and athletic events… the United States has it all!
Every year hundreds of thousands of students come from around the world to take advantage of the excellent and varied educational opportunities and resources available in the United States. These visitors range from those pursuing bachelor’s degrees at liberal arts colleges, to doctoral students making new discoveries and honing their skills at some of the world’s foremost scientific and medical research institutions.
HOW TO SELECT THE RIGHT INSTITUTION?
When you are looking for the right university, you should start by first looking within to determine your goals, interests and abilities. Then start compiling a list of colleges based on their curricula, eligibility criteria, costs, availability of financial aid, college type, location, size and environment.
It is not advised for the students to apply to too many schools, because that can get too time-consuming and expensive. Previously, collecting all this information was a big challenge, but now you can find all of this information online. Resources like college search engines, college web sites, virtual campus tours, and online college catalogs and guide books are great sources of information. www.collegeboardcom and www.educationusa.info are great sites to get started.
HOW MUCH THE STUDY COSTS?
The cost of tuition can range from as little as $7,000 a year to $40,000 or more a year. Don’t let the cost prevent you from exploring you- options-where there is the will, there is often a way. State (public) universities are generally, but not always, less expensive than private institutions. ‘Community colleges are usually less expensive than four-year colleges and universities.
HOW DO FINANCIAL AID AND SCHOLARSHIPS FACTOR IN?
The terms ‘scholarships’ and ‘financial aid’ are sometimes used interchangeably, but actually they are different. A scholarship is a financial award based on merit, including outstanding academic performance. Financial aid can also be a ‘need-based’ grant based on the student’s financial need. There is financial aid available to international students at both the graduate and undergraduate level. Graduate students can also secure financial aid in the form of research and teaching assistantships. Fellowships are offered to students with proven academic records, regardless of their citizenship.
HOW TO REDUCE THE COST?
Look for colleges that offer the highest quality education at the lowest cost. Becoming a resident assistant in a dormitory means substantial savings in living costs. Living off campus with a relative or friend saves money if suitable accommodation is available and public transport is efficient. Students can save thousands of dollars in tuition by attending community colleges for the first two years and transferring to four-year institutions to complete their degrees. Based on the first-year grades, some colleges award partial tuition waivers.
WHICH STANDARDIZED TESTS ARE REQUIRED FOR ADMISSION?
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is required by most colleges and universities for admission of international students whose native language is not English. Many academic institutions have started accepting IELTS in lieu of TOEFL. The admissions offices of individual universities will know if they will accept IELTS. Good scores on standardized tests may help students get financial aid such as teaching or research assistantships. The SAT Reasoning Test (Scholastic Aptitude Test or Scholastic Assessment Test) and ACT are standardized tests for admission in the US at the undergraduate level.
The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is a standardized test which measures the thinking and reasoning skills of students in Math and English. Most of the universities in the United States require GRE scores for admission to Master’s or Doctoral study programs. Higher GRE scores also may give an edge to students seeking financial assistance. The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is for measuring aptitude to succeed academically in graduate business studies. In Pakistan, GRE/GMAT is administered as a CBT (Computer-based test), so basic computer skills are needed.
WHAT IS AN F-1 STUDENT VISA?
The F-1 student visa is for those who want to study or conduct research at an accredited American college or university. F-1 students are allowed to work on campus for as many as 20 hours a week during fall and spring semesters and as litany as 40 hours a week during summer semesters. F-1 visa students have to attend university full time during fall and spring semesters, but are not required to take any classes during summer.
With the new electronic visa application form, the process to obtain an F-1 student visa has been simplified. You will need a valid passport, proof of financial support, standardized test scores, mark-sheets and an I20 or DS-2019. An 1-20 or DS-2019 is a supporting document for the issuance of an F-1 visa. Once a student accepts an admission offer from an American university, he/she receives an 1-20 or DS-2019. The F-1 visa also permits students to transfer to different universities once they are in the United States.
THE VISA INTERVIEW
Students should bring all their application documents to the Embassy on the day of their interview including:
Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended, and scores from any standardized tests required by the educational institution.
Financial evidence that the student has funds immediately available to cover the first year of tuition and living expenses, and evidence of funds for all subsequent years
SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How many universities did you apply for?
2. Why did you choose a specific university?
3. What is your Undergraduate GPA/Percentage?
4. Can you tell me some details about your university?
5. How can you prove that you will come back after finishing your studies?
6. What are your plans after graduation?
7. What will you do if your visa is rejected?
8. Why do you think the university is giving a scholarship to you?
9. Why haven’t you received any scholarship?
10. Who is sponsoring you?
11. What is your father’s annual income? Does he pay income tax?
12. You have xx brothers and sisters so your father’s savings are for all, how will he finance you?
13. How will you finance your education funds for 2 years or 3 years?
14. How will your study in the U.S. be helpful to you in your home country after you come back?