Visa Interview: First Name Issues

“What is FNU?” Visa Interview: First Name Issues
A lot of students have been asking us if having ‘FNU’ on the visa will lead to difficulties in the US. Hence we decided to write a detailed article explaining the exact meaning of FNU.  
“If you have only one name or if your name appears in only one line in your passport, then on the visa your full name will only be printed in the surname field and “First Name Unknown”, or “FNU,” will be printed in the given name field.” — (Taken from Visa Interview: First Name Issues

To begin with, having FNU on your docs is not really a concern. The concern here is whether your passport and visa stamp matches your i-20 or not.  In the US, your I-20 is the most important document that shows your legal status as an f1 status and your passport is your ID.  While registering for important documents like SSN or driving licence, they will check these docs.

Now, due to various cultural norms, there are variations in the way names are written.  In many cultures, students do not have a last name, but use their father’s name as surname—
E.g.—Shriraj Sukumaran Visa Interview: First Name Issues

Usually, their names appear in one line on their passport and the surname field is blank, something like this—>
Given Name— Shriraj Sukumaran
Last name—

International Visa rules do not allow the surname field to be left blank, so the officers would put your entire name in the surname column and mention FNU (First Name Unknown) in the given name section.
When this happens, your visa will have your name like this.
First name/Given name–FNU
Last name—Shriraj Sukumaran

However, when you initially applied on the university website, you might have given your name in the First-Name –Last Name format.  Something like this—
First Name—Shriraj
Last Name- Sukumaran

Basically there will be a discrepancy between your visa stamp and passport as well as your i-20. Several students who have faced this issue, have done one of the following things:

1. Before filling the DS-160, they changed their passport name to “Name- Last name” format so that it matches with the I-20.
Given Name—Shriraj
Last Name- Sukumaran

They would avoid any future issues with documents in USA because i20 and passport name would be identical. (We would advise this only if you have enough time. If you need to book your visa dates immediately then you need your passport.)

2. Changed their I20 name –
Since last name is compulsory for visa, they asked the university to use ‘FNU’ everywhere in their First name on the i-20 and mention their full name in the surname column.  The I-20 name would then match their Visa and passport.
First Name—FNU
Last name – Shriraj Sukumaran

(again, changing the details on i-20 would need you to contact your DSO and depending on their efficiency, it could take anywhere between 1-4 weeks. You need your i-20 to go for the visa interview, so plan accordingly)

3. Did not make any changes in I-20 and passport name and decided to change the details later, after going to USA. You can change i-20 details at your college and passport details at the embassy in US.
If time permits, it is definitely advisable to work towards bringing about uniformity in the format of your name in these documents while you are in India. Your I-20 and passport are important documents and ensuring uniformity can save you a lot of hassles later on. Visa Interview: First Name Issues

Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai

You are working your fingers to the bone to get a perfect score and your mock test results are reflecting the dedicated efforts you are putting in. But this is not the only groundwork you need to do before taking standardized tests like GRE and TOEFL — it’s equally important to select the right test center. While the GRE and TOEFL test are administered all year-round at various test centers across the country, it is crucial that you select your test centres prudently. To save you from the pain of physically visiting the centres across Mumbai, Collegepond has put in extensive effort in researching GRE and TOEFL centers for you by conducting surveys based on several parameters for each test center- Goregaon, Andheri, Mulund, Nerul and Vile Parle. Staff cooperation, seating comfort, punctuality, ease of registration, absence of technical difficulties, proper stationery, quality of headphones and appropriate space with regards to seating arrangements are parameters we’ve measured for you. Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai

Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai 1

Got a sudden doubt regarding your test and don’t know what the solution is? A question seems a bit foggy? The graph above shows the attitude of the staff towards test-takers in each center. Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai
Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai 2

 Your mental faculties might be fully focused on your test but your physical comfort could affect your test taking abilities. The graph above tells you which of the five centers had comfortable seating while taking the test.

Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai 3

You are frantically racing against time and due to mismanagement of something logistical your nerves can’t cope. The graph above displays which centers take punctuality seriously.

Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai 4

Pre-test jitters are no joke. The ratings above show if there was any difficulty while providing your passport and other details during the registration process.

Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai 5

Silence is golden, especially so while taking an exam. We asked our test takers if they were able to complete the test without any interruptions or technical difficulties, and here’s what they said.

Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai 6

You don’t want something like a broken pencil to mess with you in the middle of an important question. Our test takers gave us reports on whether they got proper stationery, which we have displayed above.

Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai 7

Imagine going wrong because of faulty equipment. We asked our test takers if their headphones and other equipment were of usable quality, which the ratings above clearly indicate.

Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai 8

You’ve put in hours of sweat and blood into your test prep and you end up sitting in a space that makes you so claustrophobic you can’t focus. We evaluated parameters such as the test room being cramped with computers and students being too close to each other, results of which can be seen above.

Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai 9

Your test needs to go smoothly from start to finish. Our test takers gave us feedback on whether they were able to resume their test after the break without any issue, results of which are visible above.


| Sample SOP for Immunology- This a Statement of Purpose of a student who got admitted to Harvard for the Masters in Immunology program. |
Sample SOP for Immunology

FIRST DRAFT of the SOP given by the Student:Sample SOP for Immunology

I was just 5 years old when my school taught us about sharing and how it made everyone happy. I decided to put it to use immediately and went to my grandmother with a chocolate. I offered her half the chocolate but to my surprise she turned it down. As a child, the fact that someone could refuse chocolate was enough to drive me crazy. But then she explained to me that she had an illness called diabetes and because of this she could not eat any sweets. This is when I began to notice that she did some very strange things. While the very thought of needles and injections would fill me with dread, she would prick her finger on a “machine” and often go to the hospital to take injections of “medicine”. This made me feel very sorry for her and made me think that maybe such medications could be given in different ways without causing so much discomfort to the patients. Although I did not know it, this would be the main reason for me to enter into the field of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

…. Only Collegepond students have access to the complete SOP Sample SOP for Immunology

FINAL DRAFT of the SOP created by the Counsellor:Sample SOP for Immunology

As I listlessly laid down on the hospital bed after being diagnosed with dengue, my mind was plagued with defeating thoughts of no treatment for this illness. The death toll due to dengue in Mumbai was on the rise as this deadly disease was caused by not one but four individual viruses that made the development of vaccines and medicines a herculean task. As my platelet count dropped to life-threateningly low of 30 thousand, I resolved in my heart to fight back to life and find fundamental solutions for terminal diseases such as this. My career goal is to use my knowledge and expertise to improve treatment for epidemics like dengue, Ebola and diseases like AIDS that cause the entire world to panic. To this end, I wish to pursue Masters in Microbiology and Immunology from prestigious Johns Hopkins University. Sample SOP for Immunology

…. Only Collegepond students have access to the complete SOP

Want to create an exceptional SOP that gets you into your ambitious university? Meet our admission counsellors for guidance. Click here to book an appointment.


| Sample SOP for CS- This a Statement of Purpose of a student who got admitted to New York University Tandon School of Engineering for the Masters in CS program. |
Sample SOP for MS in CS

FIRST DRAFT of the SOP given by the Student:Sample SOP for MS in CS

The fruits of technological advances are conspicuously manifested into a cell phone in every pocket and a computer in every backpack but what’s less noticeable is the information that’s being generated along with these advances. With the huge amount of data being accumulated by the day, we can very well justify that we are living in a data-driven era and every day we face a data related problem. Just like every single thing in this universe has been bitten by the bug called evolution so has data, from being measured in bits and bytes the term of measurement has undergone a metamorphosis to an extent that we have units like petabytes and exabytes to measure the tidal wave of data being generated which can also be called as the Big data. I have been fascinated with the concept information and data ever since I played Scotlandyard. This game is all about finding the location of Mr. X, you need to work with all the pieces of information in your hand in such a way that when all the pieces come together they fit perfectly to solve the puzzle. This generated a sense of thrill in me with all the iterative trial and error methodologies, if I went wrong I would spend the entire day thinking about how I went wrong and how close I was to finding Mr. X. This made me realize that every data has the potential to reveal secrets if only we were willing to listen to it. Sample SOP for MS in CS

Today when I look back I realize that Scotlandyard is nothing but an analytical puzzle masquerading as a board game. Being curious and analytical by nature choosing Data Science as a major came naturally to me. As one chapter of my education ends and I open the door towards another I don’t see a destination as apt as your university to hone my analytical skills and broaden the horizons of my knowledge by giving me a more competitive and global platform (environment). I want to completely surrender myself to the field of Data science as data for me is a maze of information, and, I would like to apply my curious and perceptive acumen to scurry my way out from the redundant data towards the required information; Curiosity killed the cat! They say, but I think I’ll survive as my undergraduate education has laid a firm foundation to overcome the challenges I might face in my educational voyage. Sample SOP for MS in CS

As an undergraduate student I excelled in subjects like Data Structures and Algorithms, Data Mining and Business Intelligence, Database management, Advanced Database management and math scoring an average of 8/10 in all of these subjects. I have also obtained an award for scoring an absolute 10/10 in the subject of mathematics. These were the subjects that especially stimulated my interest in Data science as the practical sessions conducted for these courses awarded me the freedom to apply my logical skills and developed my aptitude towards analyzing a problem. These subjects also enhanced my programming skills in languages such as C, C++ and Java to an extent where I could create my own algorithms to find my way out of a problem definition, this is the part I enjoyed the most as I had to look into various facets and delve into various perceptions to come up with an optimal solution. Besides the practicals, the theoretical part initiated various concepts relating to storage and retrieval of huge amounts of data from a data warehouse as well as the operations that can be performed on them; these concepts intrigued me and acted as a strong driver for research on Data science as a subject. I deeply enjoyed the nature of these subjects as you just have to play around with a given set of information and that inculcated in me an enhanced reasoning expertise as well as a thorough understanding of how to work with data and garner knowledge from the vast spread of information. In addition to the skills conceived in me I developed a strong sense of appreciation towards the wide scope of Data Science as a subject stretching from business to healthcare and the infinite opportunities of further studies that it is going to provide me. Sample SOP for MS in CS

The seesaw of my educational career has been perfectly balanced with the right amount of extra curricular activities and project works along with my academics. I have had the opportunity to broaden my ken of knowledge and expertise through various projects during my undergraduate course. These projects helped me achieve a practical view of the theoretical subjects. I have been fortunate to be a part of projects in subjects like; Database management system where me and my group developed a database of a Drugstore storing the names of various drugstores along with the names of all kinds of drugs and their prices using the MySql database and fired queries to obtain relevant information, the fired queries had to deal with various constraints and accordingly give a relevant output. We also had computer graphics as a subject where me and my group developed an animated cartoon character that sat on a bench eating a doughnut and sipping a soda, this project was developed using blender which was a new software to us altogether. I also had web programming as one of the subjects in my undergraduate course and here we had a project to build a website so my group decided to build a website emulating Indian Tourism, we used languages like HTML, Css, Javascript, Jquery, we also used databases to transform the project into a dynamic website. All the above projects were very well received by the respective teachers. Currently I am working on my final year project which is 3D geometry using augmented reality; here we wish to implement an android application for teaching students 3D geometry using software like Unity 3D and Vuforia. My projects show diversity in their domain but they are all connected to each other with the fine thread of thirst for knowledge. These projects have instilled in me a strong sense of team spirit and helped me balance my temperament while working with different kinds of people. Apart from the academic perspective the projects have developed my understanding of the industrial world and helped me rank myself based on my skills and recognize my weak links. Sample SOP for MS in CS

I have made a genuine effort to break through the walls of the classroom and experience the outside world by taking part in extra-curricular activities as well as social services. I took part in the inter department dance competition held by my college; it was a group event and my group stood 6th in the entire college. I have also been actively involved in my college fest TRINITY as a creatives team member and was selected as the creatives team head the following year because of my innovative ideas and diligence towards the fest. Being a part of the fest instilled in me a sense of responsibility, it pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me tackle complex situations. It also developed my leadership skills as being the head I had to lead the team, motivate them and nurture their minds into thinking creatively. I even volunteered to celebrate republic day at an orphanage as a part of a NSS task, here I interacted with many orphan kids; we spent an entire day with the kids and played a lot of games together. This volunteering work developed my communication skills as I had to deal with kids having different frequency and also enhanced my confidence among people. I also volunteered for the clean the beach drive which made me recognize my responsibility towards the community. All these new experiences have shaped me in some way or the other and have made me strong to live up to the challenges of the new environment that I am heading towards. Sample SOP for MS in CS

Just like Martin Luther, I have a dream, to work in companies like Google, Facebook , Paypal where I would get a chance to work with one of the best data scientists and hone my analytical skills. Then I plan to apply that knowledge to the data science industry in my native country, where tough the hype about the industry is prevalent but the actual implementation is still in its nurturing stage. The only thing that could bridge the gap between my skills and my dream is your university, because I believe your university could award me with the power to carry forward this data driven era and highlight my native country as one of the leading data science industries in the world. As the university adorns me with knowledge and shapes me into a fine structure I would definitely like to give back to the university by actively participating in research works that would bring credibility to the institution as well as adorn other students with the skill sets I have gained, keeping the pyre of education burning through eternity. Sample SOP for MS in CS

FINAL DRAFT of the SOP created by the Counsellor:Sample SOP for MS in CS

“My life is better…. I bought a cow and used the remaining money to pay bail for my brother-in-law”, said Maureen, a 19-year old mother of one, when the GiveDirectly team followed up with her. Maureen is just one of the several thousands of people whose life was touched by GiveDirectly, a non-profit organization that uses mobile devices to transfer cash to low-income families in certain parts of Africa. The data scientists working at GiveDirectly used a completely novel approach comprising of four steps- Target, Audit, Transfer, and Monitor to facilitate this gracious endeavour. The colour of the roof acted as a parameter as they had already concluded that people with metal roofs were well to do as compared to people with thatched roofs. Using Google Maps, they would identify the location of a thatched roofed house. Then, the located house goes through an algorithmic image verification process to determine the level of poverty. Once the house has been identified as a genuinely intended beneficiary, the recipients obtain an SMS alert, post which they collect their money from the nearest mobile money agent. Finally, the recipients are monitored for successful delivery. The ingenious approach helped GiveDirectly eliminate manual inspection costs and help more families in need. A family in financial crisis could easily get money in an average of 32 minutes. Sample SOP for MS in CS

Reading about such interesting applications was when my fascination with the concept of data burgeoned. ‘If you torture the data long enough, it will confess’- I realized how true this statement of Ronald Coase was. With respect to making a wholesome career in this field, I intend on enrolling for the Master’s program in Computer Science at Stony Brook University. Graduating with a strong technical background after my Masters, I wish to establish myself as a competent Data Scientist, working with companies like Paypal, Facebook and Alphabet. In the long run, I intend to leverage the expertise gained through such impactful professional experiences to provide consultancy services to altruistic ventures like GiveDirectly that are working to make a difference in the lives of people in developing countries. Sample SOP for MS in CS

My undergraduate degree provided exposure to a multifaceted curriculum, thus laying a sound foundation for my plans for graduate studies. I gained in-depth awareness about concepts in calculus and statistical analysis through multiple courses in Applied Mathematics. Also, the courses in Data Structures and Algorithms, and Data Mining and Business Intelligence introduced me to different techniques for conducting searches, pre-processing data, as well as using clustering, classification and regression algorithms. In addition, the courses related to database management helped me gain knowledge about the nuances involved in storage and retrieval of copious amounts of data and normalizing it. Particularly significant was the course in Artificial Intelligence during which I learnt how to impart human-like thinking and decision-making capabilities to artificial agents through the use of techniques like partial order planning, forward and backward chaining, as well as search techniques like hill climbing, A* and simulated annealing. During the tenure of my undergraduate studies, I gained expertise in programming with C, C++, Java, and MATLAB and also actively participated in coding competitions on CodeChef and Hackerrank platforms. Having completed courses on Python and R programming at Coursera, I am currently pursuing an Oracle certification course on Advanced and Core Java to update my programming skills.

With my growing interest in the field of data science, I ventured into writing a Review paper on Security Intelligence with Big Data Analytics. The paper dealt with the working of Big Data Analytics and its usefulness in enterprise security by describing various intelligent software for security, and then preparing a comparative study on the two most widely used software developed by IBM called the IBM QRadar and RSA. The paper’s main aim was to describe how Big Data Analytics helps track the anomaly in operations performed on a company’s data to identify a potential intruder, even though the pattern of the anomaly might be alien in terms of previous records. The paper has been accepted for publication by the International Journal of Advanced Research in Computer and Communication Engineering. Sample SOP for MS in CS

Projects during the undergraduate program served to broaden my domain knowledge through application of classroom concepts. One of them involved developing an aggregator website for pharmacies which enabled a user to locate the nearest and cheapest drugstore, check the available medications and their prices, and place orders. The database for the project was developed in MySql, and the front-end was designed using HTML and CSS. This project gave me my first brush with database functionalities and enhanced my skills in operations relating to databases. Sample SOP for CS

Currently, I am working on my senior year project titled ‘3D Geometry using Augmented Reality’ which aims to develop an Android teaching-aid application using the Unity 3D and Vuforia software. The application will scan a drawing of a 3D figure that will act as a marker. This figure will get augmented on the screen and will provide the user with various functions to perform on the figure to develop a better understanding of the figure. The application also provides real-time videos and test series to evaluate an individual’s performance.

To develop a well-rounded personality, I actively engaged in various extra-curricular activities. I was a part of the inter-department dance competition held during my college festival ‘TRINITY’, a group event where we were awarded the 4th place in the entire college. Due to my innovative thought-process and technical skills, I managed to get selected as Head of the 50-member Creative Team for TRINITY where I was involved in developing the festival website. Through my creative inputs regarding website graphics, we were able to attract significant online traffic and registrations. As part of the National Service Scheme, I have organized several beach cleaning drives, blood donation campaigns, and campaigns to spread literacy among underprivileged children. Rewarding experiences such as these helped to develop my team and leadership skills, and the abilities to convincingly negotiate, resolve conflicts, and empathize with people. Sample SOP for MS in CS

At this stage, I believe pursuing a Master’s degree with focus on Data Science would catalyze my career progress, and the program offered at the Stony Brook University is perfectly tailored to my needs. I look forward to gaining a competitive edge through deepening my understanding of various statistical and analytical techniques and upgrading my technical skills through the well-structured curriculum. I am excited at the prospect of learning under erudite faculty like Professor Steven Skiena, whose numerous projects and research in the field of Sentiment, Text and Data Analysis has left me fascinated. Given a chance, I would hope to involve myself in his ongoing research endeavours. The excellent research facilities like the Data Science Lab would facilitate my research pursuits in my fields of interest like Data Mining, Data Analysis and Big Data. I look forward to mutually benefitting interactions with peers from culturally diverse backgrounds that would serve to broaden my perspective. Sample SOP for MS in CS

I hope the Admissions Committee recognizes my drive to excel in my academic and professional undertakings and issues an affirmative response. The honour of being associated with such an esteemed institution would be an additional motivation as I move towards realization of my ambitions. Sample SOP for MS in CS

Want to create an exceptional SOP that gets you into your ambitious university? Meet our admission counsellors for guidance. Click here to book an appointment.

Impact of Trump’s policies on Indians aspiring for higher education in the US – an expert opinion by Jimeet Sanghavi

Impact of Trump’s policies on Indians aspiring for higher education in the US

There is a mass hysteria prevailing in the international students’ community in view of the recent Executive Order on Temporary Immigration Ban on seven countries and proposed changes to the H-1B bill. Let’s understand how these developments can impact Indian students aspiring for higher education in the US.

Firstly, while the EO curtails immigration from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen, the courts have overruled this EO order recently. Similarly, the refugee clause will not apply to Indians as well. Indian students going on F1 Visas, therefore, need not worry.

Moving onto the topic that has everyone on the edge of their seats (moreso, than the NaMo demonetisation effect) – the legislation on H1B (employment) visas. Before we discuss the impact, let’s understand what the H1B visa does – it allows you to work “post” the OPT (Optional Practical Training) period. After the completion of the college program, a student is entitled to work on OPT for upto 12 months for non-STEM and upto 36 months for STEM courses. Thus, a STEM student can work upto THREE years (irrespective of H1B application), which usually is more than enough to not just recover the fees and the loan but also set-up a strong foundation to build upon later.

Thinking from a recruiter’s point of view, if there is uncertainty in the regulations, then the company would be more keen on recruiting interns and people on OPT than on H1B. The OPT does not have a minimum salary requirement as compared to H-1Bs under the proposed regulations. This in turn will increase the opportunities for fresh graduates.

Lets try to decipher a few hidden clauses of the new legislation. Now, the proposed legislation on the floor in the Congress for H1B eligibility prioritizes market-based allocation of H-1B visas for institutions willing to pay 2x of the wage calculated by a survey. Estimates are that the annual salary will amount to a minimum of approximately US$130,000 per year. While the legislation is yet to be finalized, here is why even these rules should not be a cause of grave concern for Indian students:

a) Various such proposals have been floated previously unsuccessfully.

b) The current visa requirements mandate Indian students to prove their indisposition towards migrating to the US permanently. However, the new H1B leaves scope for a “dual intent” which means F1 visas may not be denied on the basis of the student’s intention to migrate. The transition from F1 to H1B in that sense should be lot smoother now.

c) The new H1B rules shall eliminate the ‘country based’ allocation earlier available to ‘Chile’ and ‘Singapore’ thereby creating more opportunity for Indian students.

d) The salary cap of $130,000 on H1B will be applicable to only those companies who have more than 15% employees on H1B visa – this will refrain a few particular companies (read – the beneficiaries of outsourcing policies) to exhaust the quota via the H1B lottery system and open up more opportunities for other companies and startups.

e) The following tweet by Trump talks of his intention to create more new businesses, which translates to more jobs. The new H1B will cut down ‘hoarding’ of talent by a few companies and help small businesses in hiring talented individuals.

Impact of Trump’s policies on Indians aspiring for higher education in the US

Impact of Trump’s policies on Indians aspiring for higher education in the US

f) The effect of the proposal will predominantly be felt by those companies who hire Indians on H1B and L1 visas for US-based projects without paying them the salaries that an American University-trained graduate (India-based or otherwise) is in a position to command. The effect thus, will be felt more on a corporate level and not at an employee level, and the Indian students aspiring for American education should not be too concerned with this move by President Trump.

g) The OPT enables the student to work for a total of three years in the US after completion of their Masters. Many of the students who complete their Masters get a starting salary in the range of US$85,000 to US$95,000. Having gained three years of work experience, it is natural for these students to expect the salary in range of eligibility criteria decided for obtaining H1B visa. If the student has successfully proven his mettle to his employer, the employer will not hesitate in rewarding the employee with compensation that is above the minimum amount required to obtain the visa.

g) Since the proposed H1B bill aims at leveling the playing field and curbing companies to outsource jobs, it is unlikely that these vacant positions will be filled by the existing workforce. This will create more opportunities for Indian students available under OPT option.

i) If the reports are to be believed, U.S. colleges will end up losing close $700 million of their annual revenue if Indians decide to explore other avenues. This move can significantly impact US’s undisputed standing as the top study destination. University Presidents are aware of these dire implications and are trying their best to chalk out ways to attract students to the US shores, and in a bid to do so they are likely to ease out the fiercely competitive admission process. The US is known for its inclusive education system and their commitment to diversity. With the ban on seven Muslim countries, chances of Indian applicants being accepted is likely to move up a notch. In fact, we have seen better results so far this year than the previous year in terms of the admits the students have got at Collegepond.

Many brilliant innovations in the US are driven by immigrants. It is a startling fact that all the six American who bagged the Nobel prize in 2016 were immigrants! A large number of international students study STEM courses and contribute significantly to research and economic growth of the nation. Statistics indicate that there is a scarcity of U.S born graduates prepared to work in STEM fields. The universities would try their best to give out admits to deserving international students to ensure their higher-education system attracts the best and brightest from across the globe.

j) For the convocation ceremony at the time of graduation, more often than not, the parents end up visiting United States. The cascading impact of Indians not going to US Universities will affect the tourism industry in excess of US$ 1.0 billion as Indians are amongst the highest spenders as tourists in USA.

From losing revenues in the form of visa fees, University tuition, tourism, etc – the amount will be drastic for the country to suddenly sustain. Several multinational companies have already begun lobbying against the 2x eligibility criteria of $130K, and as per Mr. Vikas Swaroop, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, the concerns about H1B and L1 visas have been conveyed to the US at the highest levels. With President Trump and PM Modi expected to chalk out a long-term strategy of incremental Indo-US collaboration on multiple fronts, expect the deal only to get increasingly favorable for Indians going forward. Politically and diplomatically, it makes a lot of sense for President Trump to work towards creating a foreign policy with India which is mutually beneficial for the two countries.

Thus, it is important to scavenge at the opportunities during uncertain times rather than dwell too much on the negativities that have been propogated by media without even the laws and proposals being legislated.

Please note that this is an interpretation of the current proposals and may require modification with the future developments. Impact of Trump’s policies on Indians aspiring for higher education in the US

Impact of Trump’s policies on Indians aspiring for higher education in the US  
Impact of Trump’s policies on Indians aspiring for higher education in the US


In today’s competitive world, it has become imperative to go abroad for masters in order to fortify one’s knowledgebase, gain a global exposure and ensure a rewarding career. Going abroad for further studies requires a host of meticulous preparations and one of the most significant parts is the application process. Students must keep in mind that the application process is multidimensional and has several aspects that must be considered for smooth and hassle-free admission aspects of application process. Different aspects of application process

Preparation in advance different aspects of application process

International students often underestimate the amount of time required to apply for admission to a university abroad. Beginning the application process at the earliest is the best strategy. You need sufficient time to conduct a thorough and detailed research about the institution and the course that you wish to study. Starting well in advance ensures you meet the application deadlines of the chosen universities.

Admission requirements include personal statements and letters of recommendation from teachers or supervisors who know you well. University website and other academic sites provide access to the application forms; it takes time to research different options. You also need to set aside time to contact your professors for recommendations, arrange for transcripts, and sign up for the required entrance exams in order to meet application deadlines. Different aspects of application process

Setting an Application Timeline different aspects of application process

Setting an application timeline and strictly adhering to it will help you to meet application deadlines with ease. The plan should start 18 months before your application deadline.

18 Months before application deadline different aspects of application process

  • Research various colleges and universities programs
  • Register and prepare for required entrance exams.

12-14 Months before application deadline

  • Choose the universities you wish to apply to
  • Obtain all necessary information and forms for each school
  • Take required entrance exams

10-12 Months before application deadline different aspects of application process

  • Identify your recommenders and communicate your requirements to them
  • Request transcripts from your college
  • Write your personal statement Different aspects of application process

10 Months before application deadline different aspects of application process

  • Retake entrance exams if scores were unsatisfactory Different aspects of application process
  • Streamline financial documents Different aspects of application process
  • Complete and mail applications Different aspects of application process

3 Months before application deadline

  • Research about the health insurance options Different aspects of application process
  • Make travel arrangements for when you arrive. Different aspects of application process

Take Standardized Tests

Universities require students to take standardized admissions tests to demonstrate their knowledge and English language proficiency such as GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS. These tests are a barometer to measure the skills and aptitude of students from varied educational backgrounds. Your performance in these tests will determine whether or not you get admission into your school of choice. To get a good score, you need to plan in advance when to take the test, prepare thoroughly and study well to do your best.

Credential Evaluators

University curriculum varies from country to country. Many universities who accept students from other countries need to verify the authenticity of the documents submitted. Universities may require you to submit your transcripts to a third party credential evaluator like WES (World Education Services). A credential evaluator like WES examines your credentials, evaluates as well as advocates the recognition of international educational qualifications and then translates the documents into your host country curriculum for review. The reason being that due to the diversity of applicants and their respective education systems, there is a need for a common ground for evaluating educational credentials.

Credential Evaluators offer three types of evaluations: Different aspects of application process

  1. Course by Course Credential Evaluation

Documents required, in this case, include originals or certified copies of mark sheets.

  1. Educational Credential Evaluation

The documents required in this case include originals or certified copies of original academic documents – diplomas, certificates and transcripts (indicating graduation date and major).

  1. Professional Work Experience Evaluation

Students must submit certified copies of original academic documentation- diplomas, degree, certificates and transcript (indicating graduation date and major). A resume containing a description of job duties and responsibilities, start and end date of the projects, including tools and skills used and employer’s name and geographical location. Also, reference letters of employment from each employer, indicating job title, start date, end date, and job descriptions. Different aspects of application process

Student Visa diff

An F1 visa is issued to those students who wish to pursue an academic program at a US university. The F-1 visa allows for the possibility of employment in the US during your stay. Students having F-1 visa can remain in the US up to 60 days even after their course is completed, unless they have applied to get permission to stay and work for a period of time under the OPT Program. After you get favourable decision from universities you have applied to, take a final call on which college you want to attend. Once you receive your I-20, an official endorsement of your academic acceptance by the chosen university, you can apply for F-1 Visa. However, as per the US visa guidelines, visas cannot be issued more than 120 days before the programme start date indicated on your form I-20 received from the college you plan to attend.

Thus, if a student considers all the above aspects of the application process and is prepared well in advance, the entire process is bound to be smooth and lead to a timely admit to the student’s dream university. Being systematic and having a careful approach towards all the above-mentioned aspects will go a long way in reducing anxiety while applying to several universities and will make the admission process plain sailing. Different aspects of application process

Packing list for travelling to USA

Packing list for travelling to USA

1.T-shirts (round neck) – 8
2. T-shirts (with collar) – 3-4
3. Jeans (stick to blue/black) – 6-7
4. Formal shirts – 3
5. Formal trousers – 2
6. Undergarments – at least 15 pairs (very important)
7. Formal suit – 1 complete set
8. Ties – 2-3
9. Shorts/three-fourths – 5-6
10. Track pants – 2-3
11. Swimming trunks – 1 (if you plan to swim after coming here)
12. One traditional dress for festivals

EXTRA APPARELS:- Packing list for travelling to USA
1. Towels (any kind, but I would prefer Turkish(Or Tunisian) – 1 turkish,3 Simple
2. Hand towels – 3-4
3. Leather belts – 1-2
4. Belt for jeans – 1
5. Formal leather shoes – 1 pair
6. Woodland all-weather shoes – 1 pair (very important)
7. Sneakers (optional) – 1 pair
8. Sports shoes (optional) – They are very cheap in the US. You will most probably have a pair already. Wear it and come. Wait till the black friday sales where you will get awesome pairs of shoes for cheap.
9. Sunglasses – 1 pair (any good brand is okay)
10. Socks – 6-7 pairs
11. Sweater – 1-2 good warm ones
12. A light jacket (you can get a thicker one once you land in the US)
13. A good umbrella (don’t get the cheap ones, they can’t stand the wind)
14. Handkerchiefs – 12 nos.
15. Hawaii slippers – 1 pair (for wearing inside the apartment)
16. Flip-flops – 1 pair (for summer and spring)
17. Bedsheets – 2
18. Blanket – 1 (optional)
19. Pillow covers – 3
20. A good wallet (leather) – 1
21. A wallet for passport
22. Shoe polish – 1 (don’t get liquid, might spill during travel)
23. Shoe polishing brush – 1
24. Monkey cap – 1

ELECTRONICS:- Packing list for travelling to USA
1. External HDD (get the portable one) – You might need this for bringing all those movies, music and files from back home. Minimum of 1 TB. Any brand is fine. Flipkart has a sale on Transcend and WD till 26th May.
2. USB keyboard and mouse (optional) – gamers might need this. Even otherwise, it is a good thing to have. Get Logitech.
4. If you already have a laptop, you may bring that. Even if it is quite old, preserve it till black friday. You will get super deals, both online and in-store.
5. IPod/mp3 player (optional) – You might need this if you have to wait for long times at airports. Else, get it in the US.
6. Digital Camera- Get it from India. It might be a little more expensive, but you will need it to record all those initial snaps in the US. Preferred brands are Canon, Sony and Nikon. Don’t buy cameras that require AA batteries. Buy models with Li-ion batteries.
7. A good pair of headphones with mic.
8. A branded spike-buster.
9. Indian pin to US pin converters – 2-3. (very important)
10. A small table clock with alarm functionality
11. A scientific calculator (very important) Casio fx991MS or fx991ES – This is damn expensive in the US.
12. A good branded, decent wrist watch.
13. An extra battery for your wrist watch.
14. Blank DVDs – 4-5.

PERSONAL HYGIENE PRODUCTS:- Packing list for travelling to USA
1. Tooth paste – one large tube. Brands also available in the US – Colgate, Close-Up, Pepsodent, Aquafresh (Note: The Pepsodent here is not the same as the Pepsodent in India, it is owned by a different company, not by Unilever. (This is a very important fact))
2. Tooth brushes – 3-4
3. Soap – 1-2 bars. Brands also available in the US – Dove, Palmolive and Pears. If you don’t use any of these brands, then better get used to them. No use bringing lots of soap bars from India.
4. Shampoo – 1 bottle. Brands also available in the US – Head and Shoulders, Sunsilk, Dove, Pantene, Nizoral. Again, get used to any one of these brands.
5. Shaving razor(for guys) – A couple of disposable ones.
6. Shaving foam (don’t buy cream) – 1 small can
7. Cold cream – 1 bottle
8. Vaseline – 1 bottle
9. Good clean combs – 2-3
10. Comb cleaner/old toothbrush for cleaning the combs.
11. Soap cases – 2
12. Hair oil – 2 bottles
13. Deodorant – 1 can
14. Nail cutter – 2
15. Earbuds – 1 small pack
16. Sunscreen – 1 bottle
17. Lip balm – 2 tubes

UTENSILS:- Packing list for travelling to USA
1.Pressure cooker
2. Pressure pan – 1. As far as possible, get both the cooker and the pan from the same brand so that you can interchange the gaskets and the weights.
3. Medium size kadai for cooking vegetables – 1
4. Serving spoons (of various sizes) – 3-4
5. SS Plate – 1
6. Kadai for boiling milk/water – 1
7. Knives – 3-4
8. Vegetable chopping board – 1
9. SS glasses/tumblers – 3
10. SS spoons – 3-4
11. Extra weights and gaskets for the cookers – 3
12. Chapati roller – 1
13. Butter knives – 2
14. SS forks – 2
15. Kadai for making sambar/dal – 1
16. Tea strainer – 1
17. Water bottle (preferably Tupperware) – 1

FOOD ITEMS:- Packing list for travelling to USA
1. Ready-to-eat paste – 5-6 bottles minimum.
2. Rice – 3-4 kg for initial use
3. Maggi – 10-12 (minimum). You won’t get Maggi in the US except in Indian stores. So carry as much as you can.
4. Some home-made sweets for yourself as well as for seniors you need favors from.
5. Pickles – 3-4 bottles
6. Some snacks – how much ever you want, for the initial days
7. All powders – chilli, garam masala, rasam, sambar, asafetida, other powders you use – 0.5 to 1 kg each
8. All dals that you use in cooking – 2 kg each
9. Salt and sugar – 0.5 kg each
10. Papads – 2-3 packs
11. Tamarind – 1 kg
12. Ginger-garlic paste – 2 bottles

STATIONERY ITEMS:- Packing list for travelling to USA
1. Pens – 3-4
2. Notebooks – 2-3
3. Pencils – 3-4
4. Erasers – 3
5. Sharpeners – 3
6. Key chains – 2
7. Staple machine – 1
8. Pins – 2 boxes
9. Glue sticks – 2
10. Markers – 2
11. Highlighters – 1
12. A4 sheets – 1 quire
13. Small ruler – 1
14. Phone book – 1. Keep all your friends’ and relatives’ phone numbers written inside before you leave ( or use Google sync like a normal person)
15. Cellophane tape – 1 roll

MEDICINES:- Packing list for travelling to USA
These are very important since for getting any specialized medicine in the US, you need a prescription.
1. Cold, Fever – Crocin
2. Body Pain – Crocin, Combiflam
3. Indigestion, Gastric Problems – Gelucil, Zinetac
4. Throat Infection – Erythromycin
5. Allergies – Avil .25
6. Vomiting – Avomine
7. Tooth Ache – Combiflam
8. Cold, Head Ache – Amurtanjan
9. Stomach Pain – Cyclopam
10. Diarrhea – Lopomide
11. Dizziness – Diziron
12. Sprain – Esgypyrin
13. Common Cold – Coldact, Vicks Vaporub

DOCUMENT LIST:- Packing list for travelling to USA
(1) Passport Xerox(5 copies)
(2) VISA Xerox (5 copies)
(4) I-20(5 copies)
(5) Air Ticket(2 copies)
(6) Original marksheets + Degree Certificate
(7) Attested marksheets + Degree Certificate (3 copies)
(8 Original transcripts + Degree Certificate (3 copies)
(9) Immunization form(specific to university)
(10) University specific letters like admit, aid, forms.
(11) SEVIS fee reciept(3 copies)
(12) GRE Original + Xerox copies(5 copies)
(13) TOEFL Original + Xerox copies(5 copies)
(14) Final Year Project Report
(15) Syllabus Copies
(16) Reco Letters.

PACKING Packing list for travelling to USA
Don’t procrastinate packing till the last moment as you won’t find time later, and in the tension you may miss out on some important things. Start packing early. Make sure you make a list of all stuff you are carrying. Label all the suitcases both inside and outside with both your home address in India and your university address. Include the phone numbers also. Make sure you are within the luggage allowance (you can do this by carrying the suitcase to the nearest scrap metal shop/rice mundi), though it can exceed upto 1-2 kgs. Packing list for travelling to USA

The University of Rochester (commonly referred to as U of R or UR) is a private, non-sectarian, Research University in Rochester, New York. The university grants undergraduate and graduate degrees, including doctoral and professional degrees. The university has six schools and various interdisciplinary programs.

The University of Rochester is particularly noted for its Eastman School of Music. The university is also home to the Institute of Optics, founded in 1929, the first educational program in the US devoted exclusively to optics. Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics is home to the second most energetic fusion laser in the world.

In its history, five university alumni, two faculty, and one senior research associate at Strong Memorial Hospital have been awarded a Nobel Prize; eight alumni and four faculty members have won a Pulitzer Prize, and 19 faculty members have been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Faculty and alumni of Rochester make up nearly one-quarter of the scientists on the board advising NASA in the development of the James Webb Space Telescope, which is scheduled to replace the Hubble Space Telescope in 2018. The departments of political science and economics have made a significant and consistent impact on positivist social science since the 1960s; the distinctive, mathematical approach pioneered at Rochester and closely affiliated departments is known as the Rochester school, and Rochester graduates and former affiliates are highly represented at faculties across top economics and political science departments.

The University of Rochester, across all of its schools and campuses, enrolls approximately 5,600 undergraduates and 4,600 graduate students. Its 158 buildings house over 200 academic majors. Additionally, Rochester (along with its affiliated Strong Health System) is the largest employer in the Greater Rochester area and the sixth largest employer in New York.

The University of Rochester’s undergraduate enrolment consists of about 5,800 full-time and about 200 part-time students from across the U.S. and over 115 countries. Graduate enrolment comprises about 3,900 full-time and about 1,100 part-time graduate students. The university has more than 103,000 living alumni and employs nearly 2,300 tenure-track faculty, with more than 20,000 faculty and staff across the university and the Strong Health System. UR’s faculty include fellows of all four National Academies of the U.S., Guggenheim Fellows, and recipients of many other awards and recognitions.

UR was one of the 25 New Ivies in the 2007 Kaplan/Newsweek “How to Get into College Guide.” The list names institutions whose calibre of students is considered to rival traditional Ivy League schools. The rankings are based on admissions statistics as well as interviews with administrators, students, faculty, and alumni. UR is ranked 33rd among national universities by U.S. News & World Report and 144th by Washington Monthly. The school places within the top 10 for the staff-to-student ratio.

A great number of notable people have been and are associated with the university. Fields of study particularly well represented are economics, political science, physics, biology, chemistry, and music.