Tag Archives: MS in US

Are you an overseas-bound student applying for admission to foreign universities? Whatever maybe be the level and stream of the program you are applying for, studying abroad can be an expensive proposition. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you have the financial wherewithal to support and see you through your study abroad endeavor, as the cost of the program requires budgeting beyond tuition fees to include your lodging, travel and day-to-day living expenses. This is where grants and scholarships can help you secure your study abroad funding process.

Before you can avail of the financial aid, it is important to understand the process of scholarships and grants and evaluate them to determine your suitability for the same.

Here is a look at the various types of financial aids that you can benefit from to enliven your study abroad dream.
Scholarships – Most of the scholarships are merit-based financial aid given to students with proven academic credentials, notable extracurricular or sporting achievements, community achievements, leadership qualities, character, etc.
Grants – These are need-based financial aids given on the basis of your family background, financial status, etc.

So what’s the difference here?

Need-based scholarships are usually provided to local students, for example, universities in the US prefer to grant scholarships to American nationals on a priority basis. This is the case with most countries, with each country giving preference to its own student community.

Merit-based scholarships, on the other hand, adopt the following approach:

The judges of the universities you are applying for will evaluate your entire profile which includes your overall academic grades and test scores like GRE and IELTS/TOEFL, your internships and jobs, personal accomplishments, community service, etc. So, it is important to make a list of all your achievements – both academic and extra-curricular. Mention if you have received any scholarships during your college or any awards during your professional work or internship.
Point out the leadership experiences and involvements in social and cultural activities that can distinguish you from the thousands of equally merited applicants.

Further, the university may offer scholarships along the following lines :

1. First-In-First-Out: This process follows the ascending order of application and the profile suitability of students. For example, NY Tandon and RIT in USA
2. While applying: Some universities provide you with the option of applying for scholarships online, during the course of your admission process. For example, TU Delft in Netherlands
3. Along with Admit: Some universities grant scholarships at the time of admission. For example, UIC, CMU, Ny Tandon, etc in USA
4. Apply at Admit: Some universities offer you the option to apply for a scholarship after you are admitted. For example, UT Dallas (USA)
5. Upon Checking-In: You can also apply for a scholarship once you are at the university and have cleared the personal interview rounds. This applies to majority of the universities ranging from GaTech to ETH to Stonybrook to University of Melbourne, etc

Most of the universities offer scholarships after you have cleared interviews with the admission panel and professors. You have to prove your worth at a holistic level, your skills and abilities to keep up with the coursework at the University will be duly tested. Most importantly, you have to convince your suitability for the grant by convincing the panel of contributing to the applying university and the host country as an international ambassador.

Sometimes, during the first semester, the professors may ask you to work on a minor project relevant to the course you are applying for on the basis of which he/she would consider you for a scholarship in the form of RA / TA which would commence from your second semester onwards. This gives you ample time to converse with the professors, discuss your interest in the course, work on your project and prove that you are worthy of the intended Assistantship and convey your serious intent to contribute to the ongoing research.

Furthermore, if you are looking for financial help through private funding, associations in India provide loans and scholarships.

You can apply for an interest-free loan ranging from INR 20,000 to 20,00,000, which you will have to repay as soon as you start earning. You can also apply for a scholarship ranging from INR 20,000 to 10,00,000.

If you are looking for interest-free loans and scholarships in India, you will have to do the following:

Essay & Letter of Recommendation :

You will be required to write an essay stating your goals and talk about how you intend to acquire knowledge and obtain a degree from a foreign university, come back to India and make a difference to the society by putting your learning and knowledge to best use. Ensure that your career goals India-centric. Also, make sure to talk about the social benefits that would accrue out of your professional work. How you intend to contribute to the economic development of India through your work?

You can also stress on how obtaining the scholarship would ease the financial constraints your family is likely to be subjected to in the event of self-funding. You also need to convince the donor about how being self-sufficient would enable you to pursue the program with poise, security, and confidence and motivate you to excel academically.

Your letters of recommendation should highlight your zealousness to acquire quality education from a foreign country and demonstrate your capability to contribute to the progress of India. It is a good idea to include how your learning at the university can help you in contributing to the benefit of the Indian society at large.


Here, you will have to interact face-to-face interaction with the panel responsible for granting you the loan or scholarship, and explain your position of wanting to be self-sufficient. Most importantly, you have to convince the panel of your overall worthiness to avail of the financial aid, and your desire to make a difference to your country and society upon completing your education.

Here is the list of scholarships we have collated. We will keep on updating this excel sheet.

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!

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.

The American Dream has captured the imagination of millions across the globe, and the long queues for green cards and American visas are evidence to this fact. While students are excited about admits that they have received to top universities, it is also important to make an informed choice considering aspects like safety, economic feasibility and internship/job prospects. With students staying off-campus and often commuting at night from the universities, safety becomes a primary concern. Staying in a safe and secure environment is increasingly gaining importance, especially for international students staying far away from home. Know more about the Top 10 Safe Cities in the USA for a student or professional.

While the pro-gun laws lobbied hard by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have no doubt, empowered citizens to protect themselves, these civil liberties have been misused by angry and conflicted individuals and groups. Among crimes like homicide, drug consumption, rape, human trafficking and property break-ins, random school shootings have risen drastically since the 18th century to present day, with as many as 36 shootouts from the year 2015 to present.

Given the rising influx of international students in the United States of America, here’s the Forbes list of the top 10 American cities that have high crime rates in comparison with other cities in America, which you should stay away from if possible:

  1. Detroit

Population – 713, 239

Violent crime rate – 2, 137 per 100,000 residents

The murder rate in Detroit is 8.7 times the national average while the aggravated assault rate is only 4.7 times the national average. The property crime rate is only 1.6 times the national average. Also, Detroit has a high ratio of violent crimes like arson, homicide, murder etc. and the chances of a person being a victim is 1 in every 49 persons, by far, the highest in the country.

  1. Louis

Population – 320, 454

Violent crime rate – 1, 857 per 100, 000

The city of St. Louis has been consistently ranked the highest in the crime rate count of cities in America. With the highest murder rate in America, two-thirds (67%) of all the murders and one-half of all the assaults are concentrated in a triangular area in the northern part of St. Louis.

  1. Oakland

Population – 395, 317

Violent crime rate – 1, 683 per 100, 000

Violent crimes including assault, rape and murder, occurred from two to five times the U.S. average, but the city is beginning to change as more people migrating into the city are cooperating with the local law enforcement officials.

  1. Memphis

Population – 652, 725

Violent crime rate – 1, 583 per 100, 000

Memphis has been the poorest large city in the US, which is a contributing factor to its very high crime rate. Memphis has a history of violent crime driven by gangs. If a break-in is something you are worried about, then be wary about becoming a victim of property crime here, there is a 1 in 16 chance of falling victim to property crimes for the average citizen.

  1. Birmingham, Alabama

Population – 213, 258

Violent crime rate – 1, 483 per 100, 000

Once ravaged by the Ku Klux Klan, the most common property crimes include burglary, arson and motor vehicle theft. Within the city limits of Birmingham, citizens have a 1 in 14 chance of being a victim of property theft.

  1. Atlanta

Population – 425, 433

Violent crime rate – 1, 433 per 100, 000

More than half of violent crime in Atlanta involves gang members. In addition to violent crimes, crimes related to drug dealing, carjacking, identity theft and credit card fraud abound. Atlanta is also a major transportation hub when it comes to trafficking young girls from Mexico and is one of the fourteen U.S. cities with the highest levels of sex trafficking of children.

  1. Baltimore

Population – 626, 848

Violent crime rate –   1, 417 per 100, 000

With a crime rate higher than the national average, Baltimore has kept its rankings steady on its list. Homicides in Baltimore are heavily concentrated within a small number of high-poverty neighbourhoods. Ghetto-culture, poverty and racial rioting are some of the problems that plague Baltimore.

  1. Stockton

Population – 295, 136

Violent crime rate – 1, 408 per 100, 000

According to a report by NeighbourhoodScout, violent offences tracked in Stockton included rape, murder and non-negligent manslaughter, armed robbery, and aggravated assault, including assault with a deadly weapon.

  1. Cleveland

Population – 397, 106

Violent crime rate –1, 363 per 100, 000

Cleveland has the fifth highest murder rate in the country per capita. Property crime ratings are higher than state and national average and can be due to acute poverty, poor education, drugs etc. coupled with racial discrimination makes Cleveland a poor choice of school for international students.

  1. Buffalo

Population – 262, 484

Violent crime rate – 1, 238 per 100, 000

Violent offences tracked included rape, murder and non-negligent manslaughter, armed robbery, and aggravated assault, including assault with a deadly weapon. Buffalo is also home to drug lords, mafia, prostitution, racial crime etc. which gives it a broad profile.

Although this list is not exhaustive, there are several factors, which cut down the choice of city and neighbourhoods when selecting your city of residence, be it for education or for work. Brockton, Bridgeport, Edison and other cities rank in the following order to the above cities in the crime rankings list.

When choosing a neighbourhood, please ensure to check the ratings for the same on https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/ and other community sites that reveal statistical data on the county and city’s hotspots for crime. Living in the United States is exciting and so it should be, while also being safe.

| 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.

Introduction to GRE sections

Patterns and Introduction to GRE sections

What is GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination is a standardized test that is a prerequisite for gaining admission at majority of graduate schools in the United States.  It is created as well as administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). GRE aims to assess verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills of students. Students who wish to pursue a master’s degree or want to study a specialized master’s course; MBA, MEM, MS or a doctoral degree can give the GRE Test.

Eligibility Criteria:

There is no specific eligibility criterion for taking the GRE Test. Students can apply for the test irrespective of age and qualification. However, the candidate has to fulfil the admission criteria for individual institutes where he/she is applying.

GRE Structure and Pattern:

The computer-based GRE revised General Test consists of five sections. The first section is the analytical writing section which consists of Issue and Argument tasks. The other five sections have two verbal reasoning sections, two quantitative reasoning sections, and either an experimental or research section.  However, these five sections can occur in any order.

The GRE revised General Test is a multistage test. This format allows the student to move back and forth between questions that are a part of the same section, and the testing software allows the student to “mark” questions within each section so that they can be reviewed later, if time permits. It takes 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete the test but one-minute breaks are offered after each section, and a 10-minute break is also given after the third section. The paper-based GRE General Test consists of six sections, but it is only available in areas where computer-based testing is unavailable.

Analytical writing section:

This section consists of two different essays- “Issue” and “Argument”. Grades are given on a scale of 0–6, in half-point increments. Students are required to write the essays on a computer using a word processing program which is specifically designed by ETS. Using this program, students can perform only certain basic computer functions. It does not contain a spell-checker or any other advanced features. Both the essays are graded by at least two readers on a six-point scale.

  • Issue Essay

The students are given 30 minutes to write an essay based on a debatable topic. In an issue essay, a student is required to pick a side and give their point of view. It tests the student’s ability of convincing the examiner to agree to his/her point of view.  Issue topics are usually selected from a pool of questions, which the GRE Program has published in its entirety.

  • Argument Essay

The students are given an argument (i.e. a series of facts and considerations leading to a conclusion), and they are asked to write an essay that criticizes the given argument. Students are required to carefully understand the argument’s logic and then make suggestions about how the logic of the argument can be improved.  Basically, students are required to focus on the logical flaws of the argument and not give any their viewpoints on the subject. The students must complete this essay in 30 minutes.

Quantitative section:

It assesses a student’s basic high school level mathematical knowledge and reasoning skills. It is scored on a scale of 130–170, in 1-point increments. Each section consists of 20 questions which need to be completed in 35 minutes. Every section has around nine problem-solving items, eight quantitative comparisons, and three data interpretation questions. It also includes numeric entry items which require the students to fill in the blanks and answer multiple-choice questions.

Verbal Section: 

The verbal sections assess a student’s reading comprehension, critical reasoning and vocabulary usage. The verbal test is scored on a scale of 130-170, in 1-point increments. Each section consists of 20 questions which need to be completed in 30 minutes. Every section consists of around six text completion, four sentence equivalence, and ten critical reading questions. However, text completion has replaced sentence completion and new reading question types with multiple answer choices have been added.

Experimental section:

The experimental section (verbal or quantitative), consists of new questions that ETS is considering for future use, however, the experimental section does not form a part of the main score. Since students have no definite way of knowing which section is experimental, it is advisable for students to give their best in every section. Sometimes an identified research section at the end of the test is also provided instead of the experimental section.

Test Dates:

The GRE Test (computer-based) is offered year-round at Prometric test centres. Students can take the GRE Test once every 21 days, up to five times within a 12-month period. This applies even if a student has cancelled his scores of a previously taken test. However, to register and take the test on a specific date, students are required to first create a ‘My GRE Account.’


To register for GRE, students have to create a ‘My GRE Account’. There are four ways to register for the GRE general test- Online, Phone, Mail and Fax registration.


In the GRE test, three scores are reported:

  1. Verbal Reasoning wherein the scores are given on a scale of 130–170, in 1-point increments
  2. Quantitative Reasoning also on a 130–170 score scale with 1-point increments and
  3. Analytical Writing which is given on a 0–6 score level, in half-point increments.

The official scores are mailed in 10–15 days after the student’s actual test date.

Validity of GRE scores:

The scores are valid for five years.  However, students can request for a re-score up to 3 months after the actual test date.

Introduction to GRE sections
culture shock

Culture Shock | How to adjust in a foreign country?

How to adjust in a foreign country? Culture Shock

With its gigantic size, geographical difference, varying climate and eclectic mix of  different ethnicities, USA like India is a  land of diverse cultures. Like any other country, USA too has its unique characteristics which make it exclusively “American”. When a starry-eyed student lands in the US with high hopes for future, the initial flurry of excitement   soon  gives way to the bewilderment of unanticipated cultural shock. Leaving the comfortable settings of the home country can be a stressful experience for many but if one is  forearmed with the wisdom to address cultural shock effectively, his/her  phase of transition can get less intimidating. Culture Shock

Why do international students undergo cultural shock?

Moving to a dissimilar cultural setting can be exhilarating as well as  disconcerting. Everyone reacts differently to the challenging process of cultural adjustment. Whether one’s transition is a smooth sail or a rocky ride will depend on his/her level of preparedness. Social customs, value systems, traditions and prevailing beliefs in the US may be quite different from the ones in India. Depending on their individual background and upbringing, different students will experience singularly unique adjustment curves. While some may find the process unendurably daunting, others may be able to adjust with relative ease.

Different symptoms of culture shock include: Culture Shock

  • Severe homesickness Culture Shock
  • A sense of gloom and melancholy Culture Shock
  • Sleep disorders and physical discomforts Culture Shock
  • Nagging fear and insecurity
  • Fatigue and anxiety
  • Bouts of anger and irritability
  • Strange headaches, allergies, and pain
  • Lack of confidence Culture Shock
  • Regret over your decision to study abroad Culture Shock

Tips to facilitate adjustment process:

1.Respect the other culture:

Try to acclimate to the new customs, beliefs and culture with an unbiased mindset. Rather than being an unyielding conformist, try and enrich your personality by accepting good things about the new country. One of the most significant aspects of cultural adjustment is identifying and shedding your cultural prejudices, and adapting to the new culture.

2. Be flexible and broad-minded

Please understand there is nothing right or wrong, it is only the perception that varies in different countries. Try to be broad-minded, tolerant, and neutral by embracing the new culture, customs and ideologies without prejudices. Adapting to a new culture does not infer that you shift your value system; it only implies that you are prepared to accept and respect the new culture with an open mind.

3. When in Rome do as Romans do

Try and observe others by paying close attention to their body language and communication approaches. This will not only help you in getting acquainted with people but will also help in easing and simplifying your phase of transition.

4. Do your homework well

It is imperative that you gather relevant information on local culture and custom before arriving in the host country. Visit Web sites and read books about the history, geography and customs of the US; study maps; read newspapers with good international news coverage.

5. Understand and accept new Social behaviors and customs

You may not find people in the US to be as warm and friendly as your home country. They may appear to keep a deliberate distance or act formal. Rather than feeling left out, drop your judgments and strive to find common ground.

6. Take care of your physical wellbeing:

Exposure to new environment and unfamiliar weather conditions can have an adverse effect on your health. While maintaining healthy eating habits, make sure you get enough rest.  Relaxation and balanced lifestyle will help you in acclimating faster to the new place.

7. Share your concerns with fellow international students:

Discussing common concerns with fellow students undergoing a similar transition and undergoing a culture shock will provide you with fresh perspectives and different viewpoints to deal with unique issues related to new cultural adjustment.

8. Beat the homesickness:

Keep in touch with your family members through WhatsApp, Skype and Facetime. Dine in an Indian restaurant and make a random visit to your neighborhood grocery store to get a feel of being at home. Remind yourself that homesickness is a “transient emotion” and you are mentally equipped to overcome it.

Adjusting to a new culture may look like a daunting task to begin with, but with perseverance you will become more confident and better equipped to navigate through unfamiliar situations. By observing, understanding and accepting the new surrounding you will gradually develop a sense of belonging and slowly and steadily meld with the new setting.


New York University

New York University

New York University (NYU) is a private, non-sectarian American research university based in New York City. Founded in 1831, NYU is one of the largest private non-profit institutions of American higher education. NYU is organized into more than twenty schools, colleges, and institutes, located in six centres throughout Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn. NYU’s main campus is located at Greenwich Village in Lower Manhattan with institutes and centres on the Upper East Side, academic buildings and dorms down on Wall Street, and the Brooklyn campus located at MetroTech Centre in Downtown Brooklyn. The University also established NYU Abu Dhabi, NYU Shanghai and maintains 11 other Global Academic Centres in Accra, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Florence, London, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Sydney, Tel Aviv and Washington, D.C.  Read More

Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University

The Pennsylvania State University (commonly referred to as Penn State or PSU) is a public, state-related research-intensive university with campuses and facilities throughout Pennsylvania. Founded in 1855, the university has a stated threefold mission of teaching, research, and public service. Its instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education offered through resident instruction and online delivery. Its University Park campus, the flagship campus, lies within the Borough of State College and College Township. It has two law schools, Penn State Law, on the school’s University Park campus, and Dickinson Law, located in Carlisle, 90 miles South of State College. The College of Medicine is located in Hershey. Penn State has another 19 commonwealth campuses and 5 special-mission campuses located across the state. Penn State has been labelled a candidate for being one of the “Public Ivies,” a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.  Read More