One of the distinguishong features of the American education system is the autonomous status of its institutions. The post secondary institutions are called as colleges and Universities. These are independently functional institutions and under no ministry of education. As such every institutions runs it own programs and curriculam, sets its own admission criteria and fee structure (s). While some of the institutions have set very high and exacting entry requirement and standards, there are other Institutions which are both flexible and less demanding.
The commonly confronted difficulties that Indian Students face is: choosing the right institution. The most reliable and commonly used solution lies in the accreditation of the Institutions. The most trusted and reliable accreditating agencies are the non-governmentatl agencies who base their ratings on parameters such as standard of instruction, teaching faculty qualification, facilities like Laboratory, library and teacher-student ratio per class. Accreditation also allows/facilitates the transfer of a student from one accredited institution into another.
The various types of educational institutions in the US are :
Schools: Education upto twelve years.
Post-secondary community colleges: these institutes offer the initial 2 years study of an associated degree (for example- one can study the initial 2 years of a degree program and then later transfer into college or university as per choice). These institutions are comparitively cheaper. They also offer certificate programs.
Community colleges: these institutions offer courses such as technical, job training or specific interest programs. They also provde for University transfers.
University: They offer degrees for both undergraduate and post graduate levels. These are more expensive comparitively.
Time and Money are most important factors that one must keep in mind before applying to any institution in the US. If you fail to adhere to the admission deadlines, which vary from University to University, you are likely to miss the bus. Similarly, falling short of money to meet your expenses to study abroad may nullify your efforts.
Its is strongly recommended that you start the search for the right Institution and course a year in advance. Since the admission process is more of a selection process, the competitive levels are most high. With all things taken care off and formalities done, Sooner you apply, the better it is. The indicative deadlines are stated below:
|University Grade||Deadline Fall Semester|
|TOP 20 Universities||12 months prior to the start of the session|
|Average Universities||Around 8-10 months prior to the start of the session|
|Below Average Universities||6 months prior to the start of the intake|
|Others||3-4 months prior to the start of the intake|
The Following are the documents required for admissions into the US Universities:
|1.||Convocation/Provisional Degree Certificate||Final Degree certificate is a mandatory document. If the certificate hasn’t been issued as yet, then any one of the following should work: course completion certificate/provisional degree certificate along with the final marksheet.|
|2.||Marksheets||All semester/yearly marksheets|
|3.||Transcripts||In a sealed envelope attested and issued by the University.|
|4.||Higher Secondary & Secondary Certificate||——–|
|5.||Language Test Score Card||IELTS or a TOEFL score sheet.|
|6.||Academic Test Score Card||GRE for Science and Engineering Courses GMAT for management related courses.|
|7.||Recommendation Letter||Atleast 3 in no. issued by your faculty members from your last attended institute. A recco from your work place would also help.|
|8.||Statement of purpose (SOP)||The most important and one of the deciding factors of your application. Please refer to our sample sop’s under the tools sction.|
|9.||Financial Summary||Ask the office for a template|
|10.||Sponsorer Declaration/affidavit||On a Rs. 20 stamp paper, your sponsorer would declare his sponsorship towards your study in the USA|
|11.||Bank Statement||Original Updated bank statement with the balance covering the entire tuition fee and cost of living. Additional 25% funds for visa would make the visa application stronger.|
|12.||Photograph||50×50 white background|
|13.||Passport||Photocopy of the front and last pages.|
|14.||Additional Certificate||Extra curricular certificates|
|15.||Resume||A basic resume|
|16.||Professional Documents||Appointment letter,Relieving letter, Recommendation Letter.|
Most institutions offer scholarships and grants to international students, although these are highly competitive. These are usually need-based or are awarded for outstanding performance in a field of study, sport, performing art or other category. Check with your institution regarding the funding they have available for international students.
Research other funding opportunities with the Indian Government, private corporations or other institutions.
The table below is an indicative financial summary of the expenses per year.
|University Type||Avg. Tuition Fee (per Year in USD)|
|Private Institutions (High Cost)||$ 35,000+|
|Private Institutions (Low Cost)||$ 18,000+|
|State Institutions (High Cost)||$ 25,000+|
|State Institutions (Low Cost)||$ 12,000+|
|Rent||$ 400 per month (you can live alone with that amount in a place like Auburn or share an apartment with 6 people in NY)|
|Groceries||$ 100 per month|
|Utilities||$ 100 per month|
|Phone||$ 100 per month|
|Sunday||$ 200 per month|
So, about $1000-1200 per month is a good estimation. Most people can survive with $700-$1000 a month. The key here is to share apartments/houses so that you save on the utilities, fixed charge portion of phone and to some extent on groceries.
F-1 students may not work off-campus during the first academic year, but may accept on-campus employment subject to certain conditions and restrictions. There are various programs available for F-1 students to seek off-campus employment, after the first academic year. F-1 students may engage in three types of off-campus employment, after they have been studying for one academic year. These three types of employment are: