The education in Russia has been focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), with its spectacular feats of sending the first man, first dog to the Moon. There cannot be better proof of the merits and efficacy of the education system in the country. The charm of Russia with its unique history and political narrative is one that has taken centre stage internationally. From the stark weather in Siberia to the warm hospitality of historic townships of Leningrad and Moscow, Russia has a wealth of experience as being a beacon of progress, leadership and innovation, since the period of the industrial revolution.

Having maintained their reputation for being technologically advanced, Russian universities offer preparatory programmes (training for enrolment on Bachelor’s, Master’s and Specialist Degree courses), short courses (summer university, a single term in Russia, summer schools), Russian as a foreign language courses, professional development and additional vocational training. There are 896 universities in the 85 regions of the country, from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok where 657 subjects in Bachelor’s, Master’s, Specialist and Postgraduate Programmes (medical traineeships, postgraduate military courses), and internships and assistantships are offered to national as well as international students.

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Saint Petersburg State University, Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Novosibirsk State University among others are a few which find place of pride among the QS, THE and ARWU rankings, which is a testament to their commitment to excellence. Also, the universities are renowned for being the most reasonable when it comes to tuition, medical expense, living expenses etc. when compared to education in Singapore or even, China. Not surprisingly, there are more than 210,000 international students from about 200 countries of the world, currently studying at the Russian State Universities, whose degrees are internationally recognised.

For admission to any of these universities, it is imperative that applicants send the documents certifying their previous education (a diploma or a certificate), a cover letter, and they confirm their level of English with either an IELTS or a TOEFL certificate. At some institutions you need to submit a CV, a portfolio, references from teachers, and complete an interview in English (by phone or Skype). For further details, please visit https://studyinrussia.ru/en/why-russia/world-university-rankings/.

While most of the courses are taught in Russian, there are certain courses like MBBS, MD, Masters in International Relations etc. that are taught in English in order to attract foreign students. For admission to the Bachelors of Medicine/Dentistry degree, the minimum eligibility is 50% aggregate in Physics, Chemistry, Biology at the Class 12 Higher Secondary Level plus the other requirements stated above. The university fees for the course per year ranges from 1.8 lakhs to 3 lakhs, depending on the university. Similarly, for Engineering, the fees range from 1.8 to 2.5 lakhs per annum.

The fees are subsidised by the Russian government by almost 80% and thus, these benefits also pass on to students from foreign countries through Russian government sponsored scholarships, in your home country. Allocation of quotas is carried out by Rossotrudnichestvo (The Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation) through its international network of offices, as well as through embassies of Russia abroad.  However, the government quota for admission is only applicable to Russian nationals and citizens of Russian declared fellow countries.

Once the university offer is received, the student must apply for a visa at the nearest Russian consulate. Initially, a student visa is issued for three months. After this period you should apply to the local division of the General Administration for Migration Issues of the Interior Ministry of Russia for a visa extension. For the required documents for the issue of a student visa, please visit https://studyinrussia.ru/en/life-in-russia/arriving-in-russia/visa/. Furthermore, there are mandated medical tests that must be completed for the visa process.

The economy in Russia has been slowly advancing and the current government welcomes foreign investment which has led to the privatisation of sectors, bringing an influx of expats and foreign companies. However, your stay in Russia is limited to your study period and if you wish to extend your stay and work, you would need to apply for a work visa permit. Read more about the particulars of the work visa requirements at https://studyinrussia.ru/en/actual/faq/get-job-after-completing-studies/. The greatest demand for workers is in the following: sales managers, sales executives, skilled employees and engineers.

The medical and pharmaceutical sector faces a deficit of skilled labour, while marketing specialists, lawyers, and advertising professionals are far too many. The most competitive jobs in Russia for English speakers are in governmental institutions, publishing and mass media. The average pay for a graduate would be roughly three times greater in Moscow than in Leningrad or St. Petersburg. Moscow also enjoys the lowest unemployment ratio in the country. For more information on the various placement agencies and websites to search for jobs, please visit https://www.expatica.com/ru/employment/Jobs-in-Russia_509599.html.

With the cosmopolitan environment and famed Russian hospitality, it is certain that students who choose to study in Russia enjoy their brush with history and the rich cultural heritage that Russia has come to exemplify. As a prospective student, you have the chance to see first-hand the seat of the former superpower, the U.S.S.R and to experience the wonderful education that has earned Russia a place of pride on the world map.

Close on the heels of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (UCIS) policy memorandum issued on February 22, 2018 that said its visa officers could seek detailed documentation and more evidence from firms to establish that they have specific assignments in a specialty field for the H-1B beneficiary, the Donald Trump Administration has made their second move towards protecting local jobs in the US and preventing them from moving off-shore. The Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT) will be levied on companies with gross revenue of $500 million that outsource their work offshore to captive units. Effective January 2018, the rate of tax will be 5%, which will double to 10% in 2019. In parallel, the US has also considerably reduced the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, thereby incentivising companies to hire more people in the US.

The impact of these issues is being felt by US firms and they are reviewing their plans to establish or expand their R&D centres and businesses in India and other countries. Similarly, Indian companies are finding it difficult to deploy skilled professionals through the H-1B route. While it is a known fact that there is a demand supply mismatch in the STEM fields, these policy reforms will result in a larger void that cannot be fulfilled by the local American work force. Hence, Trump’s three-pronged strategy to protect local jobs has come as a fresh wave of hope to thousands of Indian students, who are considering pursuing higher education in USA. With these developments, plum job opportunities have opened up for STEM OPT (Optional Practical Training) aspirants. Therefore, pursuing higher studies in US universities has once again become a prime proposition for aspiring Indian students and professionals.

Given President Trump’s H-1B and visa policies, universities have experienced a lower enrolment from non-funded international students as evidenced by the steady drop in the number of F1 student visas issued. In 2017, the United States has seen a massive decline of 28% in the number of F1 student visas from India, which has led university admission officials to take proactive measures, including visiting India and evaluating students on ground as well as providing spot admissions. With Trump’s policy reforms, this could be a be a win-win situation for students as the competition to highly selective universities has reduced to some extent, thereby providing a greater opportunity to get into a better university, offering more job opportunities.

Considering that the USA is home to leading companies and innovations in the STEM field, a vibrant start-up culture, and enormous research opportunities at universities, getting an American degree far outweighs the education and research opportunities offered by institutions in other countries. Choosing to secure an American university degree will naturally bring in the best job opportunities globally. The state-of-the-art research facilities along with distinguished faculty, flexible course structure and excellent work opportunities through the STEM OPT, all make for a great learning experience. This is why American universities continue to draw Indian students to apply in large numbers. So if you desire to pursue top quality education, and be hand-picked by the best global organisations, then the USA will provide you with the best of these opportunities.

Meet our counsellors today who will clarify any doubts about the new policy reforms and guide you on how you could come up a winner in every way with an American degree and work-experience.

How to Build your Profile for Summer Internships


As you gear up, for a very crucial phase in your life, I wanted to stress on one thing that lingers around the back of your minds, i.e. internships. I am aware this would not be your first priority right now, but this would most certainly exist in the back of your heads. So here are some of the things that can probably help you be up to speed when you land in the U.S.:  Build your profile for Summer Internships

One Page Resume:
When you applied for your respective master’s programs you had made a two page resume, which was comprehensive and probably covered your extra-curricular activities to the smallest projects that you might have done in your first year.  YOU WILL NOT NEED IT WHEN YOU APPLY for INTERNSHIPS. Without exception, every employer seeks a one page resume, weather you have worked for one year or seven. So start working towards a one page resume. I can tell you, your first draft will not be good enough. You will be very busy in settling down at your new location and with university, to work on a new resume. So start early!! Make the first draft, get an opinion and make n drafts till you hit the optimal draft. Build your profile for Summer Internships

Remember, your resume is dynamic and will change as you progress into your program. But as of now, companies will come to your campus, before you can even finish your first month, so better to be prepared.  
I went to a career fair on the second day of my Master’s program.

The career specific resume:
Remember, there is no generic resume for any role. Have specific resumes that can cater to each role. So for instance, if you want to pursue an internship as a data analyst, then have a resume that will cater to that. If you want to work in QA, make a QA specific resume and if you want to get into software development, make one for it. There are many roles this can apply to, but I mentioned the three examples above, to drive home a point. It would be a lot easier for you to modify, tailored resumes as opposed to a generic one page resume. Build your Profile for Summer Internships

Career Centers:
Now this, can vary from university to university, but remember, your career counsellors at the university may also be able to help you with your resumes if you have doubts. Be sure to interact with them, and respectfully ask them for assistance, and they will be more than willing to assist you. In many universities, they may even schedule a mock interview with you. Make full use of this and you may be more confident.

Career Fairs:
Now, you may hear many mixed reviews about these, but I can tell you, this is one area where you can interact with prospective employers and gain some insight into a company. Speak to people here, carry the one page resumes that you made here and remember, to take the visiting card of whoever you meet. Many will not carry them and will simply ask you to note down an email id. Make note of it and at the end of the day, send a small thank you message to them, stating it was a very valuable conversation and how much you look forward to be a part of that company et al. If they give you a visiting card, DO NOT CALL THEM. Many have made this mistake and it will almost always didn’t end well. Build your profile for Summer Internships

I tried this at one career fair, where I made my visiting card. One benefit of this is that even if the person has a visiting card and he/she may not want to give you one and you give them your visiting card, as professional courtesy, they will be forced to give you their visiting card in return. If they don’t have one, then they will tell you, and you can be assured that they genuinely may not have one.

Information Sessions:
An information session is where a company will come to the college and tell you about themselves and what they are looking for in students. Unlike a career fair, this usually involves staff from entry level associates right up to Vice Presidents and Partners. And you will have people who RSVP for this. So you stand to have a guaranteed interaction with senior staff members.
This is particularly important. In a career fair, there will be people from all the programs at your university. You may not be able to interact with all of the company representatives and discuss your prospects at their company. You may at the most meet a recruiter or some current associates. You want to make an impact, head down to an information session and interact with the managers. I was able to interact with a senior manager and I got his visiting card, when others simply kept their email IDs on a badge. Take a guess how I did that. I did not get an internship at that company, but I took one step towards expanding my network. Build your Profile for Summer Internships  

The time of an internship:
Now this is something that was never mentioned when I arrived in the states. When do people get an internship? I am sure this question may have not come on your mind, since you may have only thought of how do I get one and not when will I get one. Let me tell you something, some people may get an internship in the first semester itself. You didn’t get one in the first semester? Do not worry. There were many who bagged one in the start of the second semester. Didn’t get one then? I can tell of some who got it when they were giving their midterm exams. Still worried? I can tell you about some people who got it towards the end of the second semester. Still worried? I got my internship a week AFTER I finished my second semester. Still not convinced? I have two friends who got an internship last week, and we are in mid-June. So if anybody tells you that you can only get an internship in the first semester, think otherwise.

 Build your Profile for Summer Internships

Remember, it is not when you bag an internship. You achieve nothing by being the first to get an internship or you lose nothing by being the last. You have to get to the finish line. That is it.

With this, I wish you the very best for your upcoming phase in life. I hope you have a great trip to the states.

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 centre. While the GRE and TOEFL test are administered all year-round at various test centres 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 centres for you by conducting surveys based on several parameters for each test centre- 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 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 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, the 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 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. |

FIRST DRAFT of the SOP given by the Student:

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.

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.

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.

The seesaw of my educational career has been perfectly balanced with the right amount of extracurricular 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.

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.

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.

FINAL DRAFT of the SOP created by the Counsellor:

“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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


h-1b process change trump h-1b process change trump h-1b process change trump

President Donald Trump, the 45th POTUS, took charge on January 20th with multiple clouds of apprehension about the policies that he had promised to implement. With the Executive Order (EO) on January 27th restricting immigration from 7 countries, these apprehensions looked to be materializing sooner than expected. With the number of students applying for higher education in the US at an all-time high, and increasing at a rapid pace, the EO on immigration and President Trump’s comments on visa misuse and outsourcing of American jobs have led to several furrowed brows. Since January 2017, three separate bills were proposed to amend the current H-1B system by Senators Chuck Grassley and Dick Durban, Representative Darrell Issa and Representative Zoe Lofgren. These proposals vary in approach with respect to the priority, degree requirements and minimum salary requirements. For example, Senators Chuck Grassley and Dick Durban have recommended elimination of the lottery system and priority given to foreign students educated in the US. Representative Zoe Lofgren has proposed a market based allocation system wherein individuals who are offered the highest salaries will be awarded the H1B visa first. The intent is to prioritize issuance of employment visas for individuals with specialized skills.

Much is written in the press with respect to Representative Zoe Lofgren’s proposals is her Highly Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017. This Act suggests market based priority allocation to those companies willing to pay a minimum of 200 percent of the wage calculated by a survey (amounting to approximately US$130,000) and raises the minimum salary level for H-1B dependant employers that are exempt from non-displacement and recruitment attestation services to a wage level that is 35 percentile points higher than the median national annual wage or approximately USD$132,000 for Computer and Mathematical Occupations published by the Department of Labour Occupational Employment Statistics.   She has further recommended withdrawal of the Master’s degree exemption for H-1B dependent companies.

For any of these proposals to be enacted into law, these bills have to be passed through the House of Representatives and Senate and signed by President Trump. Though it is quite clear that there will be changes to the existing H1B regulations, it is unclear which of the proposal(s) will be documented in the final bill. Rest assured that the bill will be thoroughly discussed with significant lobbying happening on the side lines. Already, Mr. Vikas Swaroop, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, has raised his concerns about H1B and L1 proposed changes, which have been conveyed to the US at the highest levels.

In addition to the above, another pressing concern that students expressed was regarding the OPT policy that the new administration is likely to adopt. A series of unauthenticated tweets by a PhD student sparked rumours about Trump government’s intention to cancel the OPT provision, or roll-back the extensions made under President Obama’s government. However, upon careful study of the proposed Executive Order — https://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/7872567/Protecting_American_Jobs_and_Workers_by_Strengthening_the_Integrity_of_Foreign_Worker_Visa_Programs.0.pdf, one notices that the EO nowhere mentions OPT (which is covered under the F1 visa). Neither does the document contain any statement calling for a roll-back of the OPT extension.

We must at this point adopt a wait and watch approach with respect to the contours of the final bill. In the meantime, we recommend every student to continue with his/her plans and make a final decision at the appropriate time. It is expected that the final bill will be legislated before the next H-1B season, which is in April. Till then, let’s hold our horses and not jump to any hasty conclusion.


Columbia University

Columbia University | Student Feedback

Hi Neha and Jimeet Sir, Columbia University

Hope you are doing great! I would love to help out students applying for MS in CS at Columbia. Sorry I couldn’t reply sooner, I was busy with college work. It’s terribly hectic out here.

So let’s see.. Columbia University

  1. About the course – Think twice before applying to Columbia for MS in CS. If you are not passionate about CS or just applying because it’s an Ivy League school or because it’s New York or whatever, YOU WILL SUFFER. I have seen people crying (literally) here. Columbia University

I have never worked so hard in my life ever before, but the end result is just fabulous. I have learned more in the past 6 months here, than in my entire 4 years in under-grad. 4 courses in one semester takes a big toll on you.

Teachers are GOD-level. I feel so blessed to be a student of such amazing professors. They are very warm, they LOVE their students and help them out in every way.

Courses are again fabulous, because professors are soo great. Believe me, if you hated algorithms or programming languages and translators back in undergrad, you will end up loving it here. There are some light courses, some heavy ones. It’s quite essential to balance things out here.

I am currently enrolled in the Machine Learning track here. You will find some of the best professors and courses if you are interested in machine learning. But let me warn you, most people apply for ML just because it’s a buzz word and everyone talks of it nowadays. It’s not easy!! It is a lot of math and stats. If you are even remotely disinterested in it, consider other options. I know a lot of people who have switched tracks after coming here, because ML was just not their game. There are some really amazing courses for NLP, Networks and Security, Distributed Systems and Vision as well.

  1. Desi-folks are plenty in number. Roughly 100 Indians in CS department only. That’s because we rock! 🙂
  1. I would say ~35% Chinese, ~35% Indians, rest from Japan, Chile, France, Spain, Korean, Taiwan and more..almost none from US. I know only a couple of folks from US.
  1. University follows a semester system.  Columbia University
  1. If you are a fresher (like I am), be prepared to be mentally and physically stressed out, because getting internship is not easy. You will see tons of companies coming every week and that is quite reassuring, but you will almost always be ignored when compared to kids with work-ex. And by work-ex I mean Flipkart, Samsung, Google, Cisco etc. So it is not a piece of cake unlike those Infosys/TCS interviews back in India.

On a positive note, I have seen a lot of my friends get in Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Factual, Zynga, Amazon etc. and being in Columbia means these companies will come to you first before they go to other colleges. The career fair Columbia had last year saw more than a 100 hundred companies. Students from Brown, Yale and NYU came to Columbia to visit our career fair, so you will have a lot of company names flying around daily.

  1. I have not seen anyone do anything off-campus ever. Campus is the best place to be and you will not get more opportunities off-campus than you will on-campus.
  1. Columbia career fairs are a bit late. In fall its around October and in Feb during spring. Another lovely thing about Columbia is that there is a separate career fair that brings only start ups. New York city has the highest number of start ups after SF obviously. So you will have that advantage as well.
  1. 195 Claremont Av, Carleton Arms Riverside Drive, 156 Claremont Av. These are locations of University apartments where some of my MS friends stay. Obviously there are soo many more.
  1. $700 – $1200.  Columbia University
  1. Be ready to get ripped-off in every possible way. Roughly, monthly expenses come to $1000+ even when you have tried to live like a beggar. It can go much more depending on where you eat, where you stay, how much alcohol you have and whether you like to randomly book limousines just because.. 😛
  1. C-Town Supermarket: SASTA AUR ACCHA ( Big Bazar 😀 ), MET/METs: student discount (not on milk apparently, which is the only thing I end up buying from there usually 😛 ) and Fairway (you will find everything here and its best quality but a slight bit expensive). Other honorable mentions: Morton Williams, Rite Aid, Duane Reade, Thrifty supermarket, Patel Brothers (New Jersey and Queens) and Fresco (Online store for desi food items (it’s a life saver)).

Tip: dhaniya is called cilantro here. Took me a while to figure that out.

  1. As I said, be ready to get ripped off while you are in New York City. There are no student discounts on any public transport. Buses and Metros are awesome and all you could probably need for transportation. Columbia students have one benefit though, a shuttle runs in the entire campus periodically and usually comes handy if you have to leave for home late in the night.

Oh, if it’s too late in the night, Columbia patrol cars/Public Safety (ASTON MARTINS :O ) will also drop you home if you show your ID and act like a helpless and lost soul. 😛

  1. None near the campus. Patel Brother’s is a 45 min train ride to Queens. Another one in New Jersey, where I haven’t been to ever. I would recommend ordering online from Fresco (Awesome desi-food at your doorsteps) !!
  1. It’s MANHATTAN..Food everywhere!!…Halal Food Trucks, Roti Roll, Chapati House, Tom’s Pizza, Masala Club, Doaba Deli, M2M, Uris Deli (In-campus canteen (awesome food btw)), Koronets (HUGE PIZZAS), Absolute Bagels, lots of other food trucks etc..

Oh there is a food truck that gives south-indian as well 🙂 Columbia University

  1. Riverside Park, Central Park, Morningside Park, Lovely pier on the Hudson river. Riverside Park is my favorite. It has multiple football courts, basketball courts, beach volleyball area, ping pong tables, skateboarding and bmx rinks if you are into that, tennis courts, street gyms, and a lovely view of the hudson river.

Then there are places downtown like Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State, One Word Trade Center, Rockafeller Center, etc..the usuals…

By the way you won’t get to hangout on weekends with friends if you are doing CS.

  1. Min: -15 degree Celsius, Max: 30+ degree Celsius Columbia University
  1. Everything. Actually sunny, winter, rainy and windy are not enough to describe the climate here. Add snow, hail, blizzards, humid, hot and pleasant to it as well.

It is in fact one of the best experiences of my life. I don’t think you will face any problems if you are coming here to learn and grow. I have met some really incredible people here and I cannot emphasize on that enough. Undergrads here are way more smarter than MS students and you will have them and other PhD students in your class. There is knowledge and opportunity everywhere here, you should just have your priorities straight and have correct attitude.

If you want to party in US, do not apply for CS here.

I know the tuition and rent and everything is quite exorbitant here, but trust me you will recover it very soon. Every penny is worth it here and you could not ask for more from a MS program. And lastly, feel free to drop me a mail any time if any one has any doubts regarding Columbia/NYC in general or the CS/DS program here.

I will write another mail later regarding what all you should prepare/study before coming here soon.

Until then, good luck everyone. Columbia University

Stream Change After Graduation

Stream Change After Graduation | MS in US

Overtime, of your graduate studies, you may find that your interest in your chosen field of study is waning and that your real passion lies in a different field in which you don’t have any professional experience. What do you do then? Continue studying in the field that you know you don’t wish to pursue? Or make a change and switch to a field that is aligned with your interests? Is it possible to transition from one field to the other? The answer is yes. Getting a master’s degree in a field that is different from your undergraduate degree is challenging, but not impossible. Changing streams after graduation can be tricky, but is certainly possible and in no way hinders your chances of a successful career.  The switch should be made only after doing a detailed research and careful analysis. Here are a few pointers that will help you to make a smooth transition from one stream to the other. Stream Change After Graduation

  1. Take advise from current professors Stream Change After Graduation

Professors are available to facilitate your success and wish for your well-being, and it is always a good idea to talk to them regarding their opinions about changing fields. However, you need to convince them that switching fields is in your best interest. They may either advise changing fields or enlighten you to new avenues of exploration in your current field. Their valuable advice is sure to help you accomplish your goals.

  1. Take up related courses Stream Change After Graduation

Let’s assume that you have a bachelor’s degree in accountancy, and you wish to pursue a master’s degree in healthcare management. To ensure that you can easily transition to a new course, take up courses in healthcare and science before joining the new course. Doing so will give you firsthand experience and will enable you to gain practical insight into the field. Mentioning this on your transcripts will prove that you have some knowledge about the new field, and will also reflect well on your profile.

  1. Take up an internship related to your new field to gain experience

An internship experience which is closely related to your new field is advantageous as it will make the transition smoother. Also, the first-hand experience gained in the field will have a positive impact on your profile. A recommendation letter from a professional in the field you wish to switch to will be a positive point for your application. Stream Change After Graduation

  1. Become familiar with the language of the field Stream Change After Graduation

Learning to speak the language of your new field is time-consuming, but will indubitably create a positive impression for you. Being able to converse eloquently and confidently about the various concepts in your field will help you to come across as knowledgeable and credible. Students must aim to become familiar with the professional jargon used in their prospective career by indulging in extensive reading. If you demonstrate that you have the ability to converse well on the subject despite no prior background in that field, then the admission committee will review your application in a positive light. The most effective way to bring this to the notice of the admission committee is to mention this is in your statement of intent, or your admissions essay.

  1. Use your admission essay to convince the admission committee

The committee is interested to know that you are a good fit for the program. Therefore, the main focus while preparing your application should be on demonstrating how your educational background and experiences specifically match the needs of the new program. Through the admission essay, you must convince the admission committee about your genuine interest in the field. Write about the courses you have taken or experiences that illustrate your interest or competence in the intended field of study. Explain the reason for making this transition and how despite being new to the field, your past experiences and background will help you to meet the university expectations and career goals. Stream Change After Graduation

The above pointers will definitely help you to have a stress-free and smooth start in your new field.  Stream Change After Graduation



Following is the complete step-by-step visa application procedure:

The Visa process in India takes an average of 3 weeks. As per the Visa Office instructions, it is advantageous to initiate the process 3 months prior to the proposed date of traveling. The following link provides information about the documents that are needed to be kept handy before you begin the application process: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/study-how-documents.asp

  1. Medical Check-Up
  2. Police Clearance Certificate
  3. Application Package
  4. Application Fee
  5. Submit the application

After the application process is completed, if your application is approved:

  • A letter of introduction will be sent to you confirming the approval. This letter is not your study permit. Bring the letter of introduction with you to show to immigration officials at the point of entry when you arrive in Canada.
  • A visitor visa (temporary resident visa) will be issued in your passport. The expiry date on this visa indicates the date by which you must enter Canada. You must enter Canada before your visa expires. The visa will also indicate if you can enter Canada only once (a single-entry visa) or if you can enter Canada multiple times (a multiple-entry visa)

Upon getting your Visa, the following link will explain the various aspects that you need to be vigilant about as you prepare to travel to Canada: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/study-arriving.asp

about the toefl exam

What is TOEFL?

Students who wish to study abroad in an English-speaking country are required to take a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). This test assesses one’s ability to speak and understand English by analyzing his/her English language skills in terms of reading, speaking, listening and writing. It evaluates how well one can combine these skills to perform well in academic tasks. TOEFL is accepted as proof of English proficiency across 9,000 colleges and it is conducted more than 50 times in a year by Educational Testing Service (ETS) – a US-based non-profit organization.

TOEFL test format:

TOEFL has two versions: TOEFL IBT (Internet-based Test) and TOEFL PBT (paper-based test). Both the versions of TOEFL test has four sections- Reading, Speaking, Listening and Writing and takes about 4-hours to complete. Students can retake the TOEFL test as many times as they wish. It uses both human raters and automated scoring methods for evaluating a student’s performance.

  1. Reading Section– It consists of questions based on 4-6 passages, each approximately 700 words in length. The passages are based on academic topics, and it tests the student’s understanding of concepts such as cause-effect, compare-contrast and argumentation. 36 to 56 questions are asked in this section which must be answered within 60-80 minutes.
  2. Listening section– It consists of questions on six passages which are 3–5 minutes in length. It includes two student conversations and four academic lectures or discussions. Each conversation and lecture passage can be heard only once. Students are allowed to take notes while they listen, and they may refer to their notes when they answer these questions. The questions measure the ability of the student to understand ideas, important details, implications, organization of information, the speaker’s purpose as well as attitude. 34-51 questions are asked in this section which must be answered within 60-90 minutes.
  3.  Speaking section– It consists of six tasks: two independent and four integrated, which must be completed within 20 minutes. In the two independent tasks, students answer opinion questions on familiar topics. They are evaluated on their ability to speak spontaneously and convey their ideas clearly and coherently. In the four integrated tasks, students are required to read a short passage and listen to an academic course discussion or a conversation about campus life and answer the questions based on what they read and heard. In the integrated tasks, students are evaluated on their ability to effectively convey information from the reading and listening material. Students can take notes as they read and listen and can also refer to them while preparing their responses. The responses are then digitally recorded, sent to ETS’s Online Scoring Network and evaluated by three to six raters.
  4. Writing section– It measures a student’s ability to write in an academic setting and consists of two tasks: one integrated and one independent which must be completed within 60 minutes. For the integrated task, students are required to read a passage on an academic topic and then listen to a speaker. The student has to write a summary of the important points and explain how they relate to the key points of the passage. For the independent task, the student has to write an essay that states his opinion or choice and then explain it. The students’ answers are sent to the ETS OSN and evaluated by at least three different raters.

Registration and fees: TOEFL Registration can be Online, by mail, by phone and in person; however, a majority of candidates apply for TOEFL online.

  • Registration is available three to four months before the test date. It is advisable to register early to reserve a seat and prevent last minute rush.
  • The test fee depends on the location where the student will be taking the test.
  •  Generally, the registration deadline is seven days prior to the test date (not including the day of the test).
  • The last date for registration is three full days before the test date (not including the day of the test or the day of the request).
  • Registration payment methods:
    • Credit/debit cards (American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard or Visa)
    • Electronic check (e-check)
    • PayPal About the TOEFL Exam
    • TOEFL voucher

What to bring on the test day? 

Students must bring two things to the test centre:

  1. Registration Number: The registration number is given on the Registration Confirmation in the online account the day before the test.
  2. Valid, acceptable identification (ID) document(s): It is advisable to bring at least two forms of acceptable ID each time students report to a test centre.

The ID document must include:

  • Original document; photocopies are not acceptable
  •  Student’s full name that matches the name they have used while registering
  •  A recent photograph of the student
  • Student’s signature

If a student does not bring a valid and acceptable ID, or if the name on the ID does not match the name given during the registration, then the student will not be permitted to take the test, and the test fee will not be refunded.

TOEFL Scores:

 Scores are based on the students’ performance in the test. They must answer at least one question each in the Reading and Listening sections, write at least one essay, and complete at least one Speaking task to receive an official score. The scores will be posted online approximately ten days after the test date.

  • Students will receive a score ranging between 0 to 30 for all the four sections and a total score ranging between 0 to 120 for the entire test. These scores will be valid for two years after the test date.  The scores will be available in 10 days, and students can view them online easily.
  • A paper score report is also mailed if a student selects that option when he registers.
  • Scores can be sent for free to maximum four institutions which students select prior to their test day.
  • Students can take the test again to improve their scores. There is no limit to the number of times they can take the test, but they cannot take it more than once within a 12-day period.

Cancellation of Scores: 

  • If a student cancels his scores, the scores will not be reported to him or any of the institutions and his test fee will not be refunded. Cancelled scores are not added to the student’s permanent record. A student cannot cancel his scores for one section and have scores for other sections reported. However, there is no fee for cancelling the scores.
  • Cancelled scores can be reinstated for a fee, if a student’s request is received at ETS within 60 days after his test date. Reinstated scores are reported online about three weeks after receipt of his request and payment. His scores will then be provided to him and the designated institutions.

TOEFL scholarships are also awarded to students from Mainland China, India, Japan, Korea or Taiwan for achieving academic excellence and demonstrating English-communication proficiency.

Subscribe Now
Join our newsletter and get 30% off your next purchase
Get 30% OFF