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Securing an H-1B visa may be a lottery drawn process, but the prospect of winning the lottery looks more promising for applicants holding a master’s degree from US-based universities. In keeping with the current political regime’s diktat of ‘Buy American and Hire American’, the existing visa processing rules are likely to be tweaked, literally flipped, in the ensuing year (April 2019).

The H-1B visa, which acts as the calling card for Indian software engineers to pursue their American dream, with the Indian IT workforce comprising 60% of the overall allocation of 85,000 H-1B visas, is likely to undergo the following administrative and procedural changes.

  1. Mandatory electronic preregistration with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) –for all H-1B visa applicants
  2. Reversion of the visa selection process (general quota, additional quota)

Though the impending changes in the visa processing rules are aimed at promoting local employment, the proposed changes are likely to tilt the scale in favor of applicants holding graduate degrees from US universities. All online registrants will be eligible to be a part of the lottery based visa selection process. Bringing cheer to US qualified graduates, the major thrust of the change is the reversal of the visa selection process.

The current selection comprises processing through two lottery quotas: the additional quota (25,000 H1-B visas), where all graduates and other advanced degree holders are considered, followed by the general quota (65,000), where those graduates and advanced degree holders who failed to make the cut in the additional quota are reconsidered along with undergrads. This type of selection process meant that graduates had a small window to compete (25,000) in the first run, followed by competing with undergrads in the second run (65,000), tilting the odds in favor of the undergrad.

The proposed reversal of selection process is aimed at benefitting graduate students significantly, by increasing their probability of getting the much coveted H-1B visas. Under the revised selection process, all online registrants (undergrads, grads etc.) are scheduled to be a part of the general quota (65,000). Those graduates missing out on selection in the general quota will have the option of being considered for selection through the additional quota.

In spite of there not being any raise in the visa cap per se, the proposed new rule augurs well for graduates, by providing them with a golden opportunity to be significant beneficiaries of the change in processing rules of H-1B visas.

For those undergrads desirous of pursuing a career in the land of Silicon Valley, this is the most opportune time to pursue and complete their graduate studies from US-based universities. Collegepond, one of the leading study abroad consultants with a track record of 97% admit rates, including Ivy League schools, is a pioneer in counseling, grooming and preparing aspiring graduates to embark on the most decisive phase of their academic journeys.

Aiming for an H-1B may be a tall order for undergrads, but Collegepond with its counselling and mentoring abilities has always ensured that the prospect of acquiring the much-coveted visa is always -within striking distance!

The GRE Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section comprises two essay tasks: the Issue essay and the Argument essay. Test takers are allotted 30 minutes for each essay. The Issue essay asks you to respond to a statement or a claim that relates to politics, education, technology, or culture. Essentially, you have to take stance on the given claim and defend your stance. The Argument essay asks you to find the flaw in the logic behind an author’s position. The position is provided in a paragraph or “the argument” and thus requires a thorough reading of the given argument.

How are the essays scored?

Each essay receives a score by a human grader and an e-rater score on a scale of 0 to 6. If these scores differ by less than 0.5, the human score stands. If they differ by more than 0.5, a second human scores the essay, and the two human scores are averaged to get a final score. The e-rater score won’t supplant the human score(s).

What do the graders look for?

Your essay needs to be clear, coherent, and cogent.

You must express your stance and ideas in a clear manner. If you jumble your words or simply throw in unnecessary words or your ideas are ambiguous, you will get a low score. Your essay should have a set of ideas [ideally 3 arguments that will make up the 3 main body paragraphs] that logically connect to one another. That is when your essay is coherent.

Secondly, you should provide convincing evidence to back up your thesis/claim. You can throw in some vague, hypothetical example, but doing so won’t make your essay cogent. Give an example that is a verifiable fact or a relevant personal anecdote.

The other factors that the human grader assesses are:

Style – an essay, albeit with good arguments and examples, with broken or run-on sentences and unsophisticated vocabulary will be scored lower than an essay with proper syntax and GRE-level vocabulary. However, make sure you do not make ill-use of the diction. Use a word only if you are sure of its actual and/or contextual meaning.

Grammar & Spelling – Even though the graders won’t nit-pick at grammar, grave grammatical errors will cost you points. Incorrect subject-verb agreement, improper use of pronouns, and misspelled common words can negatively impact your score. However, one or two minor grammatical mistakes won’t stop an essay from getting a perfect score, as long as everything else about the essay is perfect.

Note that the graders take around 30 seconds to grade an essay. They scan to make sure that you have clearly organized your information and that your paragraphs begin with a topic sentence, explain your argument, and flow into examples that support your argument. The graders make sure you have written a conclusion that summarises and re-iterates what you’ve already stated.

How long do my essays have to be?

Believe it or not, of two essays that are identical, except for the length, the longer one will receive the higher score. That doesn’t mean you should scribble away, giving unnecessary, irrelevant information, hoping that a 1000 word essay will automatically give you a 6. Substance matters. Ideally, you should write a five-paragraph essay with an introduction para, three main body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The ideal word limit for Issue essays in between 550 and 650 words and for Argument essays is between 500 and 600 words.

Note that six short paragraphs of 4 sentences each do not mean a long essay. The length of the paragraph matters. Each paragraph should be of approximately 100 words, and each of those paragraphs has to flow logically and defend your thesis.

The E-rater

The e-rater evaluates how you write, not what you think. It will, primarily, asses and score you on the following criteria:

  1. Grammar (subject–verb agreement, etc.)
  2. Usage (then vs. than, etc.)
  3. Mechanics (spelling and capitalization, etc.)
  4. Style (redundancy and passive voice)
  5. Organization (thesis statement, main points, supporting details, examples, conclusions)
  6. Development (main points precede details and examples)
  7. The use of vocabulary

However, the e-rater doesn’t understand the meaning of your essay nor does it make a reasonable judgment about the essay’s overall quality. Hence, to get a higher score from an e-rater, make sure your grammar and diction are proper. For instance, in the Argument essay, instead of writing “The manager says that…”, write “The author of the argument concludes that…”. Use words such as author, conclusion, premise, reasoning, justification, assumption, insufficient evidence, etc. to boost your scores.

No matter how your name is printed on your certificates or mark sheets, how your name appears in your passport matters the most when you want to register for the GRE.

Let’s consider the following:

Your name is Priti Maneklal Shah.

Your name is Priti.

Your father’s name is Maneklal.

Your last name or surname is Shah.

But, in many Indian passports, people have their father’s name in their first/given name.

So, if your passport says:

Surname: Shah.

Given Name: Priti Maneklal

then, in your GRE account, you will enter Priti Maneklal as the first/given name and NOT

First name – Priti

Middle name – M

Last name – Shah

To summarise:

  • The first/given and last name/surname you use when you register — and the spelling of that name — must EXACTLY match (excluding accents) the name printed on the identification (ID) documents [ONLY a valid passport to be carried in original for Indians] that you will present on the day of the test. If it does not, you may be prohibited from taking the test or your test scores may be cancelled after you take the test.
  • Do not register under a nickname and do not register with only an initial as your first name.
  • You have the option to include your middle initial, but it is not a requirement.

If you have already created an account and have made an error while entering your name, don’t fret. Just write an email to GRESupport4India@ets.org. Please have the following information available when sending the email:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Test date
  • Registration number

You can also call ETS on 91-1244517127 or 000-800-100-4072 between Monday and Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. IST (except for local holidays)

For detailed information on the same, refer to the following page:


Undergraduate Programs: Scholarships for International Students in Singapore

Just about a decade back, the US and the UK were the most sought after study abroad destinations for international students. But, given the visa policies in both these countries- some of the Asian countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia are fast emerging as desirable study abroad destinations for international students, especially Indians.

Fee Structure and Intakes for Undergraduates in Singapore

Studying in Singapore can be quite expensive. While the average tuition fees for an undergraduate program in Singapore works out to around 12-20 lakhs per year, it can considerably go down in case you opt for serving the Singapore government (service years may vary from three to six), post course completion. In this case, the fees can be revised up to 7 lakhs per year. Nevertheless, the cost of education is comparatively less, as compared to the US and the UK. Please note that the fees vary from program to program.

Students with a strong academic background, excellence in standardized tests and extra-curricular activities, are entitled to various scholarships, grants and financial aid-to support their study abroad education.

Undergraduate courses in Singapore take 3-4 years to complete, depending upon the university. Nanyang Technological University (NTYU), National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Singapore Management University (SMU) are some of the globally acclaimed universities of Singapore.

While government universities in Singapore have two intakes (August, February), private universities have multiple intakes (January, February, July, August, September, October).

With a globally recognized educational system, varied fee structure, merit and need-based fee waivers, and availability of a wide spectrum of scholarships and funding opportunities, Singapore ranks as a prominent study abroad destination today.

Cost of Living in Singapore

Singapore is moderately expensive as a study abroad destination. As a result, living expense including food, travel, and accommodation would work out to around 50,000 to 95,000 per month.

Singapore: Scholarships and Financial Aid for International Undergraduates

Funding and financing your study abroad program in Singapore is a lot easier as both the federal government and private institutions offer competitive and rewarding scholarships to international students.

Here is a list of university specific and global scholarships available to need-based and meritorious students.

Scholarships Available for International Students in Singapore at the Undergraduate Level

University Scholarship Scholarship Award Duration
National University of Singapore NUS Global Merit Scholarship


There is no bond involved

Full tuition fees

$6000 annual living allowance

$200 one time settling allowance

Annual accommodation allowance

(lowest double room)

To and fro  air ticket


Nanyang Technological University Nanyang Scholarship


Three year bond applicable

Full tuition fees

$6000 annual living allowance

$500 book allowance per year

$2000 accommodation per year

$1500 one-time computer allowance

$250 one-time settling allowance


  College Scholarship


Three year bond applicable

Full tuition fees

$3600 annual living allowance



  Humanities Arts and Social Science


Three year bond applicable

Full tuition fees

$3000 travel grant



  Renaissance Engineering Program


Three year bond applicable

Full coverage of subsidized tuition fees

$6000 living allowance per year-for three years

$500 book allowance per year

$2000 accommodation allowance per year

$1500 computer allowance – one off

$250 settling in allowance-one time


  NTU Science and Engineering Scholarship


Six year bond applicable

Full coverage of subsidized tuition fees

$6000 living allowance per year

Annual accommodation allowance (lowest)

$200 settling in allowance

To and for air fare

  NTU University Scholar’s Program


Three year bond applicable

Full coverage of subsidized tuition fees

$6000 living allowance per year

$500 book allowance per year

$2000 accommodation allowance per year

$1500 computer allowance one-time


ALL UNIVERSITIES ACROSS SINGAPORE Global Study Awards (GSA) Rs 8,98,400 one-time award

In all; two students are selected

ALL UNIVERSITIES ACROSS SINGAPORE Go Clean Scholarship Rs 2,39,925 one-time award

For 100 students

ALL UNIVERSITIES ACROSS SINGAPORE The Financial Sumo Educational Scholarship Rs 68,550 one-time award

For 1 student only

ALL UNIVERSITIES ACROSS SINGAPORE Brokerfish International Student Scholarship Rs 68,550
ALL UNIVERSITIES ACROSS SINGAPORE Richie Jennings Memorial Scholarship Rs 6,85,500

For 30 students

  Scholarships for Women 2018-2019 Free tuition and books
Management Development Institute Singapore MDIS Merit Scholarship $3200 one time
Singapore Institute of Management Sim Global Education Scholarships Covers tuition fees, examination fees, book allowance


Singapore University  of Technology Design SUTD Merit Based Scholarship Covers subsidized tuition fees
  SUTD Undergraduate Scholarship Covers subsidized tuition fees for the first year
  Far East Engineering Architecture Scholarship Covers subsidized tuition fees

Covers annual expenses for study related expenses

  AC Toh Scholarship Covers subsidized tuition fees
  Wilmar Scholarship Rs 12,28,198 per year
  Rock Scholarship Rs 7,67,624 per year

Please note that most of the scholarships listed are academic year based and have varying deadlines. You need to check for the availability of these scholarships at the time of application.

Being one of the fastest growing economies of Asia, Singapore has more than 7000 MNCs, providing exciting job prospects and growth opportunities to young and talented fresh graduates.

Are you planning for a bachelor’s in Singapore? If so, you can contact us, so that we can identify programs and courses better suited to your career goals. Additionally, we can provide you with valuable guidance for obtaining scholarships, grants and financial aid to fund your study abroad program. Meet us now to evaluate your eligibility for a scholarship and get started with pursuing your overseas education from the global centre of excellence-Singapore!

The US may be the most popular study abroad destination for international students, but it is also one of the most expensive places to study. Are you planning to pursue an undergraduate program in the US? Does the overall cost of education deter you from taking the next step considering the four-year duration of undergraduate programs? Well, this is a common dilemma faced by international students given the high cost of US education.

There is no need to get disheartened though. Universities across the US maybe charging international students three times the tuition cost of domestic students, but US universities prioritize internationalization. As a result, more than 600 American universities offer scholarships worth $20,000 or more per year to international students. The scholarship eligibility is determined on the basis of academic merit, financial need and extracurricular contribution of applicants.

US Scholarships can be broadly classified as follows:

  • University Scholarships: Most universities offer some kind of a scholarship to its international students
  • Financial Scholarships: Though this is reserved for US students, some institutions may give out need-based scholarships to international students
  • Merit Scholarships: This is for students with excellence in either of the following: academic, sports or community work
  • Country-based Scholarships: This is specifically awarded to students from developing countries
  • Private Scholarships: Some private businesses sponsor deserving students from the developing world.


Various UndergraduateScholarships Offered by Some of the US Universities

University/World Ranking Scholarship Annual Scholarship Validity
Agnes Scott College (61)* Marvin B. Perry Presidential Scholarships Full tuition, room and board
American University (351) Applicable for one international student only  -covers total cost of undergraduate program
American University (351) Merit Award (partial) Up to $25000 Renewable upto 4 years
Arcadia University* Merit Scholarship Full tuition Full course
Barry University* Stamps Scholars Program Full tuition, books, room, transportation, $6,000 study abroad.
Berea College * Cent percent funding for all students First year only Valid for 1 year only
Clark University (251) Presidential LEEP Scholarship Free tuition and board 4 years based on merit
Clark University (251) Global Scholar’s Program $5000 Renewable upto 4 years
Clark University (251) International Achievement Scholarship $15000 Renewable upto 4 years
Clark University (251) International Jonas Clark Scholarship $10000 Renewable upto 4 years
Darmouth College (89) Need based aid $46770 Full course
Davidson College* William Holt Terry Scholarship Full tuition Full course
Davidson College* John M. Belk Scholarship Full tuition, fees, room, board, and two $3,000 special study stipends
Denison University* Merit Scholarship Full tuition Full course
Drake University*     National Alumni Scholarship Full tuition fees, room, board
Duke University (17) Karsh International Scholarship Full tuition, room, board, $7,000-  research and service opportunities
Emory University (98) Need based aid * Select few students only
Fordham University* Presidential Scholarship Full tuition and room Full course
George Washington University (201) Presidential International Scholarship Full tuition fees Full course
Hendrix College* Full tuition, room, board for students with excellence in academics ,leadership skills
Illinois Wesleyan University * Merit based $10000-25000 (2 students only) Renewable upto 4 years
Iowa State University (350) Merit based $2000-10000 Renewable upto 4 years
Louisiana State University (401) Stamps Scholarship Full tuition, room, board, and $14,000 enrichment funds
Loyola Marymount University* Full tuition fees $12500 Full course
Miami University (601) Merit Scholarship Full tuition Full course
Michigan State University (83) Global Spartan Leadership Program $8000 On completion of program
New York University (27) Wagner Scholarship $25000-47000 (Limited students) Full course
Providence College* Merit Scholarship Full tuition Full course
Rollins College* Academic Scholarship $5000 Full course
Soka University of America (121) Global Merit Scholarship Full tuition fees, room, board, airfare, personal expenses, books
Southern Methodist University (351) Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt Leadership Scholars Program – Full tuition, fees, study abroad
Southwestern University* Brown Scholar Award Full tuition Full course
Syracuse University (251) The Full Tuition 1870 Scholarship Full tuition Full course
Texas Christian University* Scholarships-First Year Students Full tuition Full course
Tulane University(351) Global Scholarship Full tuition Full course
Tulane University(351) Stamps Leadership Award Full tuition, room, board, and enrichment funds
University of Alabama (351-400) Presidential Scholarship $25000 Full course
University of Arkansas (501) Chancellor’s Scholarship $8000 Renewable upto 4 years
University of Arkansas (501) Chancellor’s Community Scholarship $5000 Renewable upto 4 years
University of Arkansas (501) Silas Hunt Scholarship Up to $8000 Renewable upto 4 years
University of Arkansas (501) Leadership Scholarship $2000 Renewable upto 4 years
University at Buffalo (251-300) International Admissions Scholarship Full tuition Full course
University of Chicago (9) Stamps Scholarship Full tuition, fees, room, board, and $10,000 enrichment funds
University of Georgia (351-400) Foundation Fellowship Full tuition, three fully funded travel study program
University of Miami (186) IssacBashevis Singer Scholarship Full tuition fees Full course
University of Minnesota (56) Global Excellence Scholarships $5000-1000 Renewable upto 4 years
University of Nebraska (301) $2000-$14500 Per year Based on qualification
University of Richmond* Richmond Scholars Full tuition, room and board Full course
University of Winconsin (501) Non Resident Tuition Waver  Fee reduction upto $7000 Annual reduction
Vanderbilt University (105)                Ingram Scholars Full tuition + Stipends for study abroad, research or service projects
Vanderbilt University (105) Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholars Full tuition + Stipends for study abroad or research experience
Vanderbilt University (105) Chancellor’s Scholars Full tuition + Stipends
Washington and Lee University* Johnson Scholarship Full tuition, room, board, and $7,000 for summer experience
Wesleyan University * Freeman Asian Scholars Program Full tuition fees (11 Asian students) Full  course
·         * Information not available

   Please check universities’ websites for eligibility requirements


With a host of full and partial funding opportunities available, you can see that studying in the US has become a lot easier and affordable now. The destination for the brightest of students beckons you. So, choose the university best suiting your academic pursuits; and embark on your American dream!

We at Collegepond will be glad to assist you with any destination, university or program information that you may need.

Now that you have taken admission to your desired program in a top university, it is time to decide on your accommodation before you fly off to study abroad. Student halls, living out and staying at home options abound and each one of these has their pros and cons.

Living on your own

You could play music as loudly as you want, keep your own hours, for you’ve left the chaperones and curfews back home with your overly protective parents. You would be forgiven for living it up king size for the first time until the novelty wears off. The first sign of independence becoming a drag are the realisations that – the dustbins do not empty themselves, drainage plugs do not self-unclog, and the fridge does not self-replicate delicious take-out food, which becomes obvious within the first month itself.

The state of affairs, with the rent being foremost

It’s true that many houses are let to students because they have clear flaws that would be intolerable to older tenants with jobs. These include, but not exclusively, leaking ceilings, running water that fluctuates in temperature, exposed wiring, nightmare neighbours and the list goes on. However, these houses should also mean that you get a better deal on rent and you must negotiate.

Check what amenities are paid for and the extras you need to shell out for

For those leaving home for the first time, halls can be a pleasant halfway house between full independence and the strict rules imposed by parents. Advantages include reliable broadband and kitchens that must comply with basic health-and-safety standards. If the apartment has a heater system that’s included in the rent, then weigh the slightly higher rent with compensation for a warm cosy nest to return to on wintry days, without the penury inducing bills. But if you do end up living out, it is crucial to keep an inviolable emergency fund, of at least three hundred dollars. Furnished or unfurnished, the laundry does not do itself so ensure that the complex has a laundromat on site or you would have to lug it to the nearest one either by car or walk. Also, be certain that there is a food place in walking distance so you can either make your own coffee or get take out. You don’t want to be stuck at home with no grounds and the nearest bistro charges 3 dollars for delivery. The caffeine goes a long way when deadlines loom.

Pick your neighbours carefully

Chances are that this will be the first time you get to choose who you live with. There are various things to bear in mind when choosing your housemates. Also, under no circumstances should you agree to live with anyone until the second term, or better still the second year. Shared habits and preferences are great where you have equally good standards in hygiene, but if both are untidy and unhygienic, it would be an unhealthy environment to live in. In other words, pick someone who you would relate to without ‘twinning’ on all parameters. Also, rooming with the roommate from Hell means picking up after him/her, while also shelling out his rent so it would be nice to ascertain gently their source of income (legal) so you know the deal squarely.

The distance between university and your home, with the nearest transit stop being a mile away

Running late on a class is a no for sure, imagine sprinting a mile like an athlete and then making it to Science 101 with a sweaty shirt and grimy face. Be certain that your apartment has easy access to all the transit stops. Find out the bus route of your university’s transit system and see if you could get a deal on an apartment in the area. Shelling out a couple of extra dollars is way better than losing out on a perfect 4 pointer, just cause you came late for the last minute extra credit quiz.

Keeping it legal, always.

Lastly, be sure to ink all agreements in the name of all roommates for equal deposits and rent liabilities, let the apartment manager know that they need to include all the utilities/amenities in the main body and list them out, fine-print won’t cut it. Also, just to be certain, ensure you have your seniors in college or the University Housing section give the rental agreement a once over and enquire whether it needs to be stamped, notarised or registered with the county office. Also, make sure that you clearly mention the due date for the rent and the absolute last date for utilities to be paid up. Few realise that delayed or non-payment of the same has an impact on the credit score, which is also reported to the university.

With this comprehensive check list in hand, you are empowered to finally explore your independence as a young varsity student.

Applying to a university abroad, especially to the United States can be a daunting task. Every year, over 800, 000 graduate applications are received on an average for seats in the American universities, mostly covering STEM disciplines, pure sciences, and the humanities. Given that the United States is a global education destination for international graduates, globally; there is intense competition among the best of students as well as students with unique distinctions and contributions in their profile. Malala Yousafzai gained an admit to the prestigious Oxford university, as much for her excellence in her ‘O’ levels, as for being the ‘torchbearer of gender parity’ for Afghan women and other people, across the globe.

Academic profile

It is a well-known fact that students, who have consistently excelled in their academic curriculum also stand a better chance to gain admits to the choicest universities abroad and in the United States. However, it would be unfair to say that schools in the U.S only want great scholars as students. In fact, there is much emphasis on excellence as an all-rounder, be it sports, music, art,

An academic profile is not limited to only the grades and scholastic performance of a student. It also speaks of the integration of the student as a vibrant and active member of the student body as a member of the college as well as a member/citizen of the civic body, citizenry etc.

This can well be demonstrated through volunteer work in NGO’s, student forums, citizen bodies etc. which amply demonstrates the independence and individual nature of the student, which is given equal weightage with the academic prowess of the student, while evaluating the application. One must ensure that when building their profile, students should pay due attention to these aspects of the application process in order to ensure a good admit. As a matter of fact, at Collegepond, we see many students with excellent overall profiles gaining acceptance to the crème de la crème universities like Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon, University of California, Berkeley, GeorgiaTech, Vanderbilt University, University of Notre Dame, Georgetown University, Virginia Tech etc. To know more on how to build your profile and gain admission to the best universities in the U.S, click here and fix a free counseling session at the nearest Collegepond office.


Another important aspect which plays a key role in evaluating a student application is the student’s self- affirmation of his eligibility for admittance to the program, which is called the Statement of Purpose (SOP). This is read in tandem with the Letters of Recommendation (LOR) by eminent persons like professors, eminent persons in the field of science, art, culture etc., which vouchsafe the student’s profile, contributions etc.  so that he can impress the committee about the suitability of the student for the proposed program. Failure to do so or dissonance between the student’s profile and the credentials offered could well result in a limited acceptance of the application or even, a unanimous rejection. These third-party credentials play a vital role in underlining the candidature of the student and attesting the veracity of the student’s own recommendation letter or SOP.

Cultural Diversity factor

Most US universities use the “holistic review” process while evaluating college applications. This means admissions officer’s place emphasis on the applicant as a whole person, not just his or her academic achievements, so soft factors may be given just as much consideration as the empirical data present in hard factors. As has already been mentioned, the university considers its campus to provide an overall interaction which has a multi-leveled impact in terms of enrichment through stellar cultural, social, scholastic interactions that serve to educate holistically, beyond the standard education paradigm in most countries. It is for this reason that the universities in the United States offer well over twice the number of programs, in myriad disciplines, as compared to any other single country, across the globe. In fact, the American education system is uniquely built to offer a concierge service in terms of education where students learn only what they would be interested in, thereby offering course flexibility as well as diversity in the curriculum.

Admissions officers want to get to know students and admit those applicants who they think will excel at the institution and make a positive impact on the campus community. The holistic review approach benefits applicants who may have not had the best academic marks, but can contribute to the college community in other ways.

For further information on how Collegepond can help you gain admission to the University of your dreams, visit any of our nearest offices across India, for a free counseling session.

The advent of the Information Age at the start of the millennium has seen the West become a hub for technology, with a focus on developing acute capabilities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). This jumpstart has given the West an edge that other countries are yet to catch up with, naturally leading to advanced education systems and pedagogy in various universities.

Another reason is the quality of research and peer review that lends credibility to the development work carried out in universities, through funding from strategic think-tanks as well as government. Also, a student with a degree from an accredited foreign university fares better, in terms of remuneration, corporate placement, work skills and has been historically known to have better employability values; as the university education in the West, focuses on the practical application of theories. At the end of the day, a degree must be monetised with excellent returns.

Every admission cycle, there’s an inevitable rush for students to gain admits to the university programs of their choice. The business of profile building resumes, Letters of Recommendation, Statement of Purpose, all carefully collated and sent with each application as per the university mandate. If the time for sowing is the application season, then quick on the heels, comes the harvest; a multiplicity of admits for the students who have diligently cast his/her net wide, to seek entry into the best programs in their chosen discipline. Jubilation aside, a student is faced with the most important choice of all – which admit will be his/her ticket to his or her dream job.

When deciding between multiple admits, one must keep the following in mind –

  • The type of program offered based on curriculum design – Whether research or class-based – does it lead to the development of an employable skill set, which will be covered by a potential employer.
  • The Brand name of the university – Checking the student reviews of the university, is a great way to gauge the ground reality, on-campus, be it professors, classes, facilities etc.
  • Recall value with the alumni network – to gain entry in distinguished companies, it always helps to build rapport with the top person, especially if he is an alumnus of the school you graduated from.
  • Internship and Full-time Job Opportunities: Every university website has this information put up and accessible by prospective students. One can avail a list of companies visiting the university’s career fairs and also a list of companies which have hired students from the concerned university.
  • The research projects and laboratory facilities: If there are good research projects on, it means the department has sufficient amount of funding. One will have the opportunity to get hands-on research experience, gauge and enhance one’s ability to apply your knowledge practically and also earn you a research assistantship.
  • Scholarships on offer – If the university has given a scholarship/tuition waiver with the promise of more to come, then that university must be on top of one’s pile. Remember, if they are hospitable and willing to work with you, you have it made.
  • Weather, amenities – Aside from weather that you can handle, a student ought to factor in their ability to find grocery, indigenous foods as per the home country, as per the comfort.
  • The living conditions of the city/township of the University – It is important to check the crime rate, hate crimes, immigrant shoot-outs etc., to ensure that you are going to a place which will support your safety.

Once you have factored in the above, in the order stated, you would be in a better position to pick the admit of your choice. The fact is your educational experience will be with you for life, not only as a life experience but also, it makes you a part of a larger group of people who will share your allegiance to your alma mater. These people would be authorities in their own right, in verticals ranging from business to politics and the fact that you would share a single trait/commonality with them, depending on your choice of university, is enough to give a student pause for consideration in making the right selection.

Having said so, a happy freshman year to you!

The UK is a hub for pursuing higher education and is renowned for its high standards of academic excellence. Students in the United Kingdom are encouraged to develop themselves to the best of their potential as well as enjoy a social life.   The UK is known all over the world for its history of warmth and welcomes to international students. Last year alone, Britain had over 1.5 million full-time undergraduate students in higher education, which also included over 104,000 international students.

For student visa in the UK, the visa requirements and general immigration criteria are handled by UK Visas and Immigration.  If you are over 18 years of age and are planning on studying a short course in the UK, you may be eligible for the short-term study visa. The short-term study visa is valid for up to six months for most of the short courses, which can be extended for a stay of up to 11 months for a course that is in the English language. If you are planning on studying a longer course, you will have to make sure that the institution that you have chosen comes under the Tier 4 Student Visa category.

Visa can be applied three months before the course begins. The average visa processing time should be checked for your country so that you have plenty of time.

Student visas for the UK are awarded on a points-based system. To meet all the UK student visa requirements, you will need to provide:

  • Passport details
  • A recent photograph
  • Provide proof of an unconditional offer to you on a course that is offered by a licensed Tier 4 Sponsor and evidenced by a ‘Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies’ (CAS) form from the institution providing your course (worth 30 points)
  • Provide proof of adequate English language skills that can be demonstrated by passing one of the secure English language tests (SELT). If you belong to an English-speaking country such as the United States or if you have completed a qualification that is equivalent to a UK degree in an English-speaking country, you will not need to provide any SELT results.
  • Proof of your financial support throughout your stay in the UK (worth 10 points)

Bank statements or a letter from your financial sponsor can be presented as financial proof, which proves that you can cover your tuition fees, your accommodation and living costs. You have to prove that you have £1,015 (~US$1,230) per month for living costs if you are studying in the UK, outside of London and if you are studying in London then your living costs £1,265 (~US$1,540) a month.

You need to present documents that show your academic qualifications. You might also need to attend an interview or a biometric test, which typically includes a digital scan of your fingerprints. Besides this, you may have to take certain vaccinations or undertake a tuberculosis test, depending on which country you belong to or you are currently living in.

If you are 16 or 17 years of age and are applying for the Tier 4 (General) student visa, it is necessary for you to have a written consent from your parents/guardians stating that you can live and travel independently.

You can apply online for the Tier 4 (General) Student visa. You also have the option to apply up to three months before your course commences.

As of now, the fee for the Tier 4 (General) student visa is said to be £328 (~US$400), with an additional fee of £328 per person if there are any dependents. You will also be needed to pay a healthcare surcharge of £150 per year (~US$180) in order to access the National Health Service (NHS) for the duration of your stay.

The Short Term Study Visa costs £89 (~US$110) for the six-month option and £170 (~US$210) for the 11-month visa.

On entering the UK, a UK Border Agency officer will be putting a stamp on your passport that states the period of your stay in the UK. For example, if the duration of your course is 12 months or more, you will be permitted to stay for the entire duration of your course along with an additional four months, but you will not be allowed to extend your stay beyond this period.

Moreover, before your arrival in the UK, you have to make sure that you are fully immunized, remembering to pack your immunization record in your hand luggage in case you are asked to show it to the Border Agency officer at your UK port of entry. You must also make sure that you are carrying the documents that are related to your studies (including your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies or CAS number), a proof of your finances and a proof of your accommodation.

Furthermore, you may also be required to register with the police within the first seven days of your arrival in the country depending on where you come from.

All students coming from EU, EEA and Swiss are allowed to work while studying in the UK, although students coming from Croatia might need to gain authorization. Students that belong to publically funded higher education institutions on Tier 4 student visas are permitted to work for up to 20 hours per week during the time their term is going on and can work full-time during Christmas and Easter breaks (unless you are 16 or 17 years of age, in which case the maximum is 10 hours per week during your term time).

Contact our expert counsellors at Collegepond Counsellors Pvt. Ltd. for a more comprehensive information on applying for a UK student visa.

International students flock to the United States to study at the universities for their high standards in education and for their sheer brand value in the job market. Their course structure, course flexibility, credible research opportunities, high quality of life and a favourable exchange rate has made the United States the number one education destination for students across the globe. However, the fact remains that the cost of education in the US has escalated steadily over the past ten years, while the dollar has fared steadily in the world market. This means that while the U.S economy booms, the international students must have deep pockets to consider the U.S as a destination for higher education. However, this doesn’t have to be the case always. There are a number of institutions that provide a good education with reasonably low tuition cost. We have done a comparative study of universities based on parameters like tuition, cost of living, grants/financial assistance etc., which gives international students the upper hand in selecting the best fit for their financial situation.

Based on low tuition cost per annum

Brigham Young University (BYU), Provo, Utah as well as Rexburg, Idaho tops the list. BYU is a large private university, it offers students a very affordable tuition of just over $5,000 per year making this one of the most affordable high-quality colleges on our list whereas BYU-Idaho offers students a number of educational programs; the top majors for international students include business administration, accounting, and biology. Yearly tuition for BYU-Idaho is the lowest on this list coming in at $3,830.

If you are looking for great diversity in a mid-western setting, Minnesota can’t be beaten. The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (UMN-TC) is situated between the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. It ranks 20th in international student size of all research institutions and offers affordable tuition coming in at just over $22,000 per year. Iowa State University located in rural Ames, Iowa with top picks being electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and civil engineering, has a yearly tuition at just over $20,000. In short order, the University of Wyoming (UW), with an average annual tuition of $12,770, University of Minnesota, Morris offers tuition at $13,000 per year, same goes for colleges like Martin Luther College, University of South Florida, Tampa Bay (Tuition being $17, 324), Illinois State University (Tuition over $16,000) as well as UMN  Duluth (tuition over $17,000) are the recognised universities as per American Association of Universities (AAU), which offer international students the lowest tuition versus their private and larger public counterparts like Harvard, Purdue University, State of New York University, whose tuition costs seem a kingly ransom, but rate well on other factors.

Based on high-value jobs/ROI

Many international students hope to stay back in the United States after they finish their degree, more so when they have exorbitant loan liabilities to pay off. Therefore, here’s a list of universities that give you a good chance of finding employment afterwards. Among the top colleges in this list are Amherst College, City University of New York-Queens College, City University of New York-Bernard M. Baruch College and California State University-Fullerton, followed by San Jose State University, University of California, San Diego for the engineering specialisations, particularly.

Based on university assistance vide grants/waivers etc.

International students do not qualify for many types of financial aid available to American citizens, but some universities do offer significant amounts of financial aid to international students in the form of tuition waivers, teaching and research positions with good pay, which significantly reduce the financial liability. According to “U.S. News and World Report,” the most generous institutions, offering average financial assistance of at least $50,000 per student, include the University of Chicago, Williams College, Yale University and Skidmore College. Unsurprisingly, these universities also see enormous waves of international student applications, which justify them being earmarked accordingly.

Tuition waivers give scholars the chance to exchange work, often called “service hours,” for tuition, lowering costs considerably. Not all colleges offer tuition waivers, but many do, like the University of Washington, University of North Dakota, Pennsylvania State University and a few others.

Based on low city costs, overall

Cities in the following states have a low cost of living:

  1. Mississipi
  2. Arkansas
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Michigan
  5. Tennessee
  6. Missouri
  7. Kansas
  8. Alabama
  9. Georgia
  10. Indiana

The universities in these states would likely have competitive tuition rates when averaged out with the average living cost for an international student. Cost of living recurs every month and when taken into consideration annually could well rival the tuition fee at any mid-size university in the U.S. Read the full report at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/28/americas-cheapest-states-to-live-in-2018.html.

As has been discussed above at length, there must be a balance between the tuition and living costs versus the actual value of the specific program that the student intends to study. This would account for the money being spent to be viable and convert into a job opportunity. That being said, the community colleges in the United States offer preparation options for students, who would like to save on large tuition fees and complete their requisite preparations. A student who studies at a community college in the U.S pays half the per credit fee, that would be applicable to a four-year varsity. Having said so, a community college may hold significant value for an undergraduate student, with no bearing on a graduate student at all.

Consult our experts at your nearest Collegepond Counsellors Pvt. Ltd. office and allow us to draw up your university selection list that is tailor-made to your requirements.