Tag Archives: MSinUS

Tips for a Successful Visa Interview

Tips for a Successful Visa Interview

If you wish to study abroad, you need to start preparing well in advance since the application process is time-consuming. However, one of the biggest challenges that students face during the application process is preparing for the visa interview. To ensure that your visa interview experience is a good one, here are some preparation tips that will help you to breeze through your interview: Read More

Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies

Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies

Preparing to study overseas is not only exciting but daunting as well. A lot of things need to be considered, and elaborate preparations needs to be done before you embark on your journey to study abroad. However, the following pre-departure tips will make your preparation organized and stress-free: Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies

Important documents: Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies

  • You must check the expiry date of your passport and renew it, if necessary. Also, it is advisable to carry a photocopy of the passport with you. Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies
  • Ensure that your visa is ready and maintain a photocopy of your visa as well.
  • You must carry with you the details of your travel insurance along with its photocopy.
  • You must carry your driver’s license or any other valid documents that will help to identify you since these documents may be required to prove your identity.

University-related documents: Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies

  • Certain universities provide ID cards before the date of joining. In such a case you must get hold of it as it is really as important. Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies
  • You must read the joining instructions of the university carefully as it may contain some important instructions and list of documents that need to be furnished.
  • Ensure that you have the university admit card which specifies the joining date, student roll number, and other such related information. Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies
  • It is advisable to maintain hard copies of fees receipt and other pay slips.
  • You must take photocopies of all your academic certificates along with you.

Health and safety: Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies

  • Ensure that you have taken all the necessary vaccinations. You must get a vaccination certificate and carry it with you, along with the photocopy of the same.
  • Remember to carry your medicines if you have been asked to do so by your doctor.
  • You must carry your medical history along with you as this will prove to be extremely beneficial in case you need to visit a doctor abroad. Carry the prescriptions and other medical test results if any. Also, it is advisable to carry your blood group id with you.
  • It is recommended to take health insurance policies, and if you have a policy then you must carry its details along with you. Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies

Finance: Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies

  • As soon as you are accepted into a study abroad program, you should monitor the exchange rate applicable to the currency of your host country since exchange rates fluctuate daily and this can greatly impact your budget. Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies
  • You must carry your credit card and an ATM card with you while you travel. A credit card can be used in case of emergencies when cash is not readily available. An ATM card is handy since it is one of the most convenient ways to access cash and most locations do have ATMs.
  • Avoid carrying large amount of cash with you. Another option for making payments is to use travellers’ cheques. Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies
  • You may want to keep some local currency with you prior to your arrival as it will allow you some flexibility. You will not need to find an ATM or bank immediately.

Other Documents: Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies

  • You must keep a copy of the rent agreement and other valid documents with you.
  • You must carry copies of passport size photographs as you may need the same for legal and admission procedures. Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies
  • Keep at hand your housing information such as the address, phone number, map etc.

Luggage: Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies

  • You must keep the details of personal and baggage insurance policies with you.
  • Weigh your bags to ensure that its weight is within the prescribed limit since you will not be allowed to carry luggage that weighs more than a specified weight.
  • You must remember to label your luggage with your contact details such as your name, address and phone number. Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies
  • Ensure that you have the right clothes which are suitable keeping in mind the various seasons in the foreign country.  Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies
  • Remember to pack all the essential items like- Basic toiletries, electronics such as laptops, mobile chargers, converters and adapters, comfortable shoes, reading materials and notebooks for class.

Communication: Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies

  • You must check with your cell phone provider if your cell phone can work overseas.
  • You can also buy a local pay-as-you-go cell phone upon arrival, or you can simply purchase a local SIM card. Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies
  • You can use Skype, Facebook, and Gmail for communication as they will enable you to have a video chat with your family and friends.Things to do before going to USA for Higher Studies

Packing list for travelling to USA

Packing list for travelling to USA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Early action vs. Early decision vs. Regular decision

Early action vs. Early decision vs. Regular decision

The decision to study abroad is  crucial and requires investment in terms of money, time and concentrated efforts. This decision should be promptly followed by outlining university preferences through detailed research and arriving at a list of prospective universities. The next logical step is to start applying to universities but before beginning the application process, one should be aware of the various options. There are three options- early action, early decision, and regular decision. Applying early requires a lot of preparation, so be sure that you are applying to an institution that you surely want to attend else you can always opt for regular decision. Early action vs. Early decision vs. Regular decision

To choose any option, you must be clear about what each option entails and then go ahead with applying to universities. Early action vs. Early decision vs. Regular decision

What is early action? Early action vs. Early decision vs. Regular decision

Early action allows you to apply for early admission to universities. Early action (EA) requires students to submit their application much before the standard dates to apply and hence the decision of the university also comes earlier. For example- students must apply by November 1 instead of January 1 and will be informed of the decision by mid-December instead of April 1. (The dates vary from college to college.) There are two types of early action programs: restrictive early action and non-restrictive early action. Restrictive EA means candidates can apply to only one early action institution and no institutions for early decision, while there are no such restrictions on a non-restrictive early action. Regardless, the applicant is still permitted to reject any offer of admission in both types of early action

Advantages of Early action Early action vs. Early decision vs. Regular decision

  1. Non-binding and allows comparison for financial aid: The greatest advantage of early action is that it gives all the benefits of an early decision, and the non-binding nature ensures you can compare multiple financial aid offers and will not be stuck attending the institution.
  2.  Ensures peace of mind: If you are anxious on account of college admissions then applying early action is the best way to reduce stress. Under early action, universities declare results earlier than the standard result dates and one can be relieved after securing admission in a university of their choice
  3. If your academic profile is excellent: If you already have outstanding grades, interesting extracurricular activities and brilliant GRE scores, applying early action saves you from the competition of applying in regular applicant pool. Also, applying to a college’s early action program can help candidates with strong applications to stand out from the crowd.

Disadvantages of early action Early action vs. Early decision vs. Regular decision

1.If your grades and test scores are likely to improve: If you apply early but your junior year grades weren’t the best, you could be hurting yourself by not waiting to see if your fall semester grades show improvement. The same applies to standardized test scores. If everything is ready to go but you’re waiting for fall ACT or GRE scores, applying before they are available can diminish your chances of admission. If your grades are on the upswings, you will do better applying when you know your fall term, senior year grades

  1. Endure stiffer competition and higher expectations:Many colleges are swamped with impressive early admissions candidates and hence they may take a harder line on their admission which can lead to stiffer competition and raised expectations

What is an early decision? Early action vs. Early decision vs. Regular decision

Early decision is a choice made by the student to indicate to the university that the candidate considers that institution as his or her premiere  choice. Early decision is a binding promise to attend that particular university incase their admission is accepted. For example- under early decision students apply by November 1 or November 15, and will receive their admission result usually on December 15 (dates may vary from college to college). In lieu of receiving an early admit the student and parents must sign a pledge that, if accepted, they must attend that university. The student must also withdraw all other applications, and not accept any other offers of admission.

Advantages of early decision Early action vs. Early decision vs. Regular decision

  1. Increases chances of acceptance: Your chances of being accepted under early decision are higher as compared to a regular decision candidate. The most selective colleges admit 25% to 50% of their total students from the early admissions pool. In recent years, almost 40% of freshmen at Ivy League schools have been early admissions applicants. High admission rates for early applicants are attributed to two factors: Firstly, candidates who apply “early” are particularly strong applicants with very persuasive transcripts; secondly, students who apply early are dedicated to an institution and match the institution’s high admission standards.
  2.  Sufficient time to plan: The student and family have more time to plan about moving to college and arranging for financial aid and housing facilities.

Disadvantages of early decision 

  1. Early decision is restrictive: Critics of the program argue that binding an applicant who is just eighteen, to a single institution is unnecessarily restrictive. If accepted, they will have to withdraw applications from other schools, and cannot submit new applications.
  2. Losing out on favorable financial aid: Candidates who want  financial aid are unable to compare financial aid offers from different colleges due to the restrictive nature of the early decision. Do not feel pressurized into applying early decision if finances are a concern.
  3. The Early decision does not guarantee admission: Though it is perceived that it is easier to get in with an early decision, the answer is not always in the affirmative because the quantifiable criteria used to evaluate candidates like GPA, test scores, etc. are the same.

What is Regular decision? Early action vs. Early decision vs. Regular decision

Regular decision means the normal process by which students apply as per the published deadlines, with the promise of receiving an admission decision by April 1. Some colleges will give admission decisions well before April 1, but the student is under no obligation to make a decision about whether to attend until the standard response date of May 1.

Advantages of regular decision Early action vs. Early decision vs. Regular decision

  1. More time to work on your essays: Your essays will probably be better in December than in October. By waiting it out, you have more time to get experts and seniors proofread your essays, and make necessary changes to enhance the content.
  2.  More time to figure out where you want to apply: A mistake that students make is applying Early Decision to a university they have not sufficiently researched. You must consider academic programs, cost, and outside information before pouncing on an ED school. The last thing you want to do is end up regretting your “perfect” school, and by applying regular decision, you will have enough time to make up your mind.
  3. First-semester senior year grades are better: If your GPA is better by factoring in first semester grades, then it is better to apply later, and increase chances of getting into your dream school under regular decision.
  4. You need a better financial aid package: If you apply under ED, you have less flexibility of comparing financial aid packages from different schools. A lot of schools nowadays let you decline an ED offer if the financial aid isn’t good enough but make sure you check for this option on the school’s website before applying.
  5. You stand a better chance of getting admission: The strongest students in the applicant pool apply earlier in the cycle because they are more prepared for the process. If you are unsure of getting in, make sure to check the admit rates for the EA and RD cycles separately. Also, under RD, you can apply to as many colleges as you like and are not committed to attending the university from which you have received admission.

Disadvantages of regular decision 

  1. Less time to prepare: Since you receive  admission much later than an early decision, there is less time to prepare before the term starts in terms of accommodation and finance.
  2. Regular decision is not devoid of competition: It is a myth that regular decision is less competitive. The longer you delay your application, the harder it is to get into a school. Your application is pitted against significant competition.
  3.  Fewer seats are available: Every university has a fixed number of seats available for the course, and if the maximum has been allotted to early action and early decision applicants, it means fewer seats will be available for regular decision applicants making competition fiercer and chances of admission narrower.

Thus, early application options are great for students who know where they want to attend, have brilliant academic credentials and fulfill all application requirements ahead of deadlines. However, you should not feel pressurized to apply early if you are unprepared simply because of the perceived beliefs that early applications lead to positive results. You can always opt for regular decision and get admission. Every student application is unique so take the time to think over your application options, weigh the pros and cons and make sure you feel completely confident about your choice of application before you take your decision.

Things to do after reaching USA on F1 visa

Things to do after reaching USA on F1 visa

Things to Do after Reaching USA on F1 Visa

One of the defining moments in a student’s life is when he clicks on the mail from his dream university and finds the acceptance letter waiting to be clicked open. Unadulterated happiness and ecstasy are soon dwarfed by anxiety about the university. After all, it’s the place which you will call home, where you will be spending years studying, growing and establishing the foundations for a successful career in your chosen field. There’s a lot of advice that applies to Indian students. First is to try to prepare for the culture shock by learning about the customs of your new country and coming up with strategies to deal when you feel homesick or overwhelmed.Things to do after reaching USA on F1 visa Read More

about the toefl exam

About the TOEFL Exam

What is TOEFLAbout the TOEFL Exam

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 organisation. About the TOEFL Exam

TOEFL test format: About the TOEFL Exam

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:  About the TOEFL Exam
    • Credit/debit cards (American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard or Visa)
    • Electronic check (e-check)
    • PayPal About the TOEFL Exam
    • TOEFL voucher About the TOEFL Exam

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:  About the TOEFL Exam

 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.

How to create a good Resume

How to create a good Resume

A well-drafted and nicely structured resume speaks volumes about your personality. Although submitting a resume may not be a mandatory part of the application, it gives an opportunity to the student to highlight the past successes and accomplishments and effectively showcase his abilities. Resume gives a platform to an applicant to talk about his projects, courses, work experience, co-curricular and extracurricular activities. A Resume is much more than just a summary of what you have done so far; it is a meaningful representation of the knowledge, skills and experience that you bring to the university. How to create a good Resume

Important features of an Academic Resume:

  1. Length How to create a good Resume

The ideal length of a resume is one page and  should not exceed two pages. You must take care to put the important information first and then creatively put all facts in the least possible words. The challenge is to only put pertinent information and do away with irrelevant information.

  1. Fonts How to create a good Resume

Fonts should be readable but not very big. It is advisable to use the standard Times New Roman, or Arial and font size could vary from 11-12 points.

  1. Language How to create a good Resume

It is desirable that you write your resume in a formal tone using simple business English. Avoid using slangs and jargons and always write the full form, no abbreviations.

  1. Right text and space balancing 

Make sure your resume does not look verbose. In a bid to accommodate more text in fewer pages, you may try to decrease the font size to 10. Please remember a proper text and spacing balance is very important. This not only makes your resume look tidy but also increases the legibility and clarity of your resume, making it appealing and easy to read.

  1. Structure How to create a good Resume

Your resume must be structured meticulously and logically. Information should not be dispersed but should make sense and should be sequentially presented. One must be able form an overall impression by just having a fleeting look at your resume.

  1. Formatting
  • Your text should always be equidistant from left and right margins.
  • Always use wide margins and a consistent format
  • Neat typing and clear heading are indispensable in making a resume readable and appealing
  • In order to highlight important information and swiftly guide the reader’s eye to important text, apply bold and italic typeface to that particular text.
  • Always use sub-headings and bullets to bring out important information such as accomplishments.
  • Avoid using flashy background, images on your resume, gaudy text with colored pages or decorative fonts
  • Make sure to keep some white space between paragraphs and ensure that the margins are not very thin.
  1. Purpose of your resume 

The purpose of your resume is to form an initial good impression that it would leave a lasting impact on the minds of the admission committee. Your resume must have an eye appeal and must kindle interest in the admission committee to know more about you. It must construct a positive image for you and make you come across as a person with a well-organized personality, having high integrity and high standards.

  1. Content 

The content of your resume must always be customized according to the university and the course applied for. Just blindly sending a standard format with all your applications may look like an easy way out but may weaken the possibilities of your resume being noticed. Create a model resume and tailor it according to universities applied to. Always keep updating your resume as and when you acquire any new skillset or gain fresh experience.

  1. List your achievements 

The resume serves as a form of a marketing package which is designed to convince the admission committee that you have the skills, knowledge and experience to excel in the course you are applying for. While talking about your achievements do not go over the top using technical jargons. Rather than using words such as meticulous, imaginative and hardworking try and quantify these qualities with examples of your work by including accomplishments which highlight your abilities.

  1. Proof Reading How to create a good Resume

The admission committee is going to glance at your resume and take less than ten seconds to size you up. Since first impressions are often the last impression, be on guard not to commit any grammatical errors. Proofreading your resume is as important as drafting it. Watch out for consistency, grammar and spellings before you send it out.

  1. No false information 

Lying and putting in misleading information about your credentials and achievements should be strictly avoided at all costs. It is not only unethical but is also unlawful to furnish wrong information and facts.

  1. No unnecessary Personal information 

There is no need to mention your personal information in your resume like your weight, height, marital status and date of birth or a picture of yourself. They have got nothing to do with the admission committee’s decision of offering you admission.

Keeping the above pointers in mind while writing your resume will certainly help you to draft a succinct and impressive resume and create a good first impression before the admissioncommittee.


Guidelines for writing a Letter of Recommendation

Guidelines for writing a Letter of Recommendation

Admission committees get an exhaustive pool of applications, and hence letter of recommendation carries considerable weightage. While a well written Statement of Purpose gives an opportunity to the student to showcase himself/herself to the admission committee, a well-drafted letter of recommendation is a chance for professors or bosses to help the applicant put his or her best foot forward. There are two types of recommendations – Academic and Professional, and a University generally requires two to four recommendation letters. Guidelines for writing a Letter of Recommendation

 An LOR is an “expert testimony” that projects a student’s overall personality by talking about his skills, achievements, knowledge, and personality. A recommendation letter is not restricted to the applicant’s scores and grades and is targeted towards endorsing his/her capability and character to succeed in a particular program. A gleaming LOR goes a long way in establishing one’s candidacy for a particular program. Recommendations not only validate a student’s technical and academic competence, but can also convince the committee of his/her overall preparedness for the program in terms of aptitude, attitude, adaptability, flexibility, open-mindedness and interpersonal skills. A letter of recommendation provides insights into the student’s overall personality, which cannot be ascertained by only reviewing a student’s mark sheets or standardized test scores. Moreover, a recommendation can validate a candidate’s admissions essay and serve as an authentic validation of all the facts that the student mentions in the profile.

Much thought must be given while selecting your recommender. Firstly, they must be qualified to write a recommendation and should know you well enough to attest to your credibility for the intended program. Also, make sure that they are open to discussions with respect to any thing you want to explicitly mention in the LOR based on the University requirements. You also need to make sure that the person has enough time to submit LORs to multiple Universities and will do so before the deadlines. The following factors must be kept in mind while deciding your recommenders-

Your interaction with the professor: Guidelines for writing a Letter of Recommendation

You must preferably get your recommendation from a professor who has spent sufficient amount of time with you to be able to appraise you thoroughly for the program that you are applying for. Someone who has taught you subjects that are in alignment with your future course will be an ideal referee to evaluate your potential. When it comes to professional recommendation, you can obtain it from your immediate supervisor who can provide an inclusive picture of your skills and capabilities.

Rapport: Guidelines for writing a Letter of Recommendation

A spineless recommendation can do more harm than good to a student’s future. Your recommendation must be able to project you in the best light, and hence, you must not settle for anything less than an outstanding recommendation, which you can only get from Professor / Supervisor you share a great rapport with.

Availability and commitments: Guidelines for writing a Letter of Recommendation

While the recommender may have the best intention to help you, you can still land up in a tight spot if his commitments are not allowing him to devote the required time for writing or submitting the recommendation. Please check his engagements and obligations before you finalize your recommender.

Ace subject professor: Guidelines for writing a Letter of Recommendation

The prospect of getting the best evaluation is something you must not miss out on. It is a good idea to get your recommendation from a professor who has taught you subjects you were best at and can substantiate his positive opinion about you with concrete examples or grades. If he considers you as the cream of the crop in your class, he will end up giving you genuinely appreciable comments.

Paint a holistic picture: Guidelines for writing a Letter of Recommendation

Try getting, at least, one recommendation from someone who has known you outside the classroom setting and can speak convincingly about your strengths and involvement in extracurricular activities, thus making you sound like a cut above the rest. Admission committees are not just interested in your academic achievements but are also looking for well-rounded individuals who can add value to the university through their versatility.

Professional recommenders: 

Sometimes, people are in a dilemma whether or not to inform their managers about their application. In that case, you can still take LORs from the team leaders, project leaders, project managers or program/module managers. You also need to make sure that the recommenders are articulate, can write well and put you in the good light through examples. It is necessary that they should be available to submit the LOR before the relevant deadline.

A crucial point to keep in mind is that getting a glowing recommendation from the Assistant Professor of your ace-subject  is any day better than getting a lack-luster one from a Fulbright professor. Don’t get stuck with titles and qualification of the recommender. It is important that the person has a long meaningful association with you and can convincingly endorse your preparedness for the program.

A good LOR should talk about the flowing aspects of the student:

  • Academic/Professional skills
  • Personal character and attributes
  • Intellectual abilities for writing a Letter of Recommendation
  • Aptitudes and fortes
  • Interpersonal Skills Guidelines for writing a Letter of Recommendation
  • Validates credibility of the candidate and endorse his/her competence
  • Talks about the aspirant’s accomplishments
  • In some cases, talking about weaknesses to provide an objective analysis of an applicant could be advantageous

To conclude, recommendation letters are a crucial part of your application and are highly valued by the admission committee. By adhering to the above suggestions, you will be successful in getting good letters of recommendation that will help you in securing admission in the university of your choice.

Dos and Donts of Student Loans in India

Dos and Donts of Student Loans in India

Increasing career benefits of a foreign education coupled with an enriching global exposure has increased the number of students who aspire to pursue their higher education abroad. In spite of a plethora of advantages of studying abroad, the exorbitant expenses involved discourage students from following their dreams. Although many scholarships and financial aid options are available, all students do not become eligible for them. As a result, educational loans become significant to the study abroad plan for the student. Education loans for studying abroad are provided by almost all the major banks in India, but parents and students are apprehensive about the complicated and cumbersome loan application procedure. With easy repayment options and reasonable interest rates, securing funding for study abroad plans has become much simpler than what is perceived. Below are a few tips to obtain student loans. Dos and Donts of Student Loans in India

  1. Be proactive

While you are anxiously awaiting the offer letter from your dream University, start applying for an educational loan. For this, you must research the available loan options thoroughly. Make use of this period effectively to study the various loan options. Being proactive will give you sufficient time to properly weigh all your option before you choose the most suitable loan scheme.

  1. Compare Interest Rates

As you research on loans from leading banks, you will find that they offer loans with varying rates of interest. Compare the student loans that are on offer and make a thorough comparison. State-run banks normally have lower interest rates as compared to private ones. The current interest rates usually fall between 11% to 14%; however most of these are offered on a floating rate basis. This means you should be prepared to face an increase or decrease in interest rates later depending on market conditions. With respect to security requirements for the loan-

(a) Loan up to Rs. 4 lakh- No collateral security is needed, parents are the joint borrower. Dos and Donts of Student Loans in India

(b) Loan amount between Rs.4 to 7.5 lakhs- along with parents as joint borrowers, collateral security in the form of a third party guarantee must be given.

(C) Loan amount above Rs.7.5 lakhs- Parents must be joint borrowers plus tangible collateral security of suitable value is required.

  1. Apply to more than one bank Dos and Donts of Student Loans in India

Do not depend on just one bank for your loan. It is advisable to apply to multiple banks, in case your loan application gets rejected by one.

  1. Eligibility criteria
  • The applicant should be an India citizen Dos and Donts of Student Loans in India
  • The applicant has secured admission to a professional or technical course through an Entrance Test or Selection process
  • Secured admission to foreign university/ Institution Dos and Donts of Student Loans in India
  • Banks generally offer educational loans for long-term programs by prestigious institutions. Short-term ones (such as English language programs) are usually not covered. For those planning to study vocational courses, educational loans do not cover these either. MBA, engineering graduate and medical students are among the top choices for banks. Banks usually do not provide loans to students with a bachelor’s or masters in Arts. Also, for courses where employment prospects are less (as per Bank’s evaluation), loans are sanctioned by considering the parents’ income.
  1. Cosigner

When a loan amount exceeds Rs 5 lakhs, you must indicate who your cosigner is. A cosigner (usually parent) is a person who must sign the loan agreement with you, will be responsible for your debt and agrees to pay your debt, in case you fail to repay the loan. Dos and Donts of Student Loans in India

  1. Prepare Application Checklist

Contact the bank and obtain a checklist from them in advance to have all documents and papers ready for the loan application. You must find out if the University has any tie-ups with banks for educational loans as it could expedite the loan process. Dos and Donts of Student Loans in India

The Application Check List should comprise of-

  • Identity Proof- driving license, passport, pan card, voter identity card, and Aadhar Card.
  • Address Proof- Passport, Bank account statement, Ration card, Aadhar card, Voter’s ID Card and Telephone bill/ water bill/ electricity bill
  • Signature Proof- The banker’s signature verification, Driving license, PAN card, and Passport copy.
  1. Loan Amount

For an overseas study, loan worth Rs 7 lakhs and above are approved against fixed deposits or property worth the loan amount, NSC certificates and a margin of 15 percent (means you get 15 percent less than the amount sanctioned as a loan). Also, if a loan below Rs 4 lakhs comes at a particular interest rate, the loan over Rs 4 lakhs is usually charged at one percent higher. This is a general overview but for more specifics and schemes on the amount, the rate of interest and repayment options, you must check the individual bank websites.

  1. Documents required for applying for a Student Loan

1) Mark sheet of the last examination for school and graduate studies in India

2) Proof of admission to the course

3) Schedule of expenses for the course

4) Copies of the letter confirming scholarship, etc.

5) Copies of foreign exchange permit, if applicable

6) 2 passport size photographs

7) Bank account statement of the borrower for the last six months

8) Income tax assessment orders not more than two years old

9) A brief statement of the assets and liabilities of the borrower (usually the parent or guardian) and proof of income.

10) In case you are not an existing client of the bank from which you wish to avail the loan, you will also need to establish your identity and give proof of residence.

  1. What the education loan usually covers

Education loans usually cover tuition fees, books and any other supplies, room and board fees, transportation costs, health insurance, as well as other living and education related expenses. The bank usually does not hand over the money to you, but will credit it to the University’s account at the start of each year or semester as required.

  1. Read the Fine Print

Take time to go through the loan agreement’s fine print before you sign it. You should check for the interest rate structure, the pre-payment details, and any options to extend loan repayment in case of unemployment after graduation. Understand the entire loan disbursement process, its various clauses and clear any questions that you have with the bank officials.

A list of banks that provide education loans for study abroad in India

  • State Bank of India
  • Allahabad Bank
  • Axis Bank
  • HDFC Bank
  • Credila (a non-banking finance company, subsidiary of HDFC Ltd. exclusively focused on education loans.)
  • Punjab National Bank (PNB)
  • IDBI Bank
  • HSBC India
  • Indian Overseas Bank (IOB)
  • Avanse Financial Services
  • Syndicate Bank
  • Canara Bank

Thus, by preparing for an education loan application well in advance, gaining a clear understanding of the moratorium period and repayment options and conducting an extensive research about the various loan schemes available, you will ensure that the loan application process is smooth and you will be that much closer to fulfill your dream of studying at a prestigious university abroad.

In order to improve and expand the training opportunities, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is all set to issue a new rule regarding the student visa regulations on optional practical training (OPT) for students who are earning degree in the fields of science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) from the US universities. As per this new rule, international students who are pursuing 12 months of OPT in the United States can now enjoy an extension period of 24 months, i.e 36 months of OPT in the U.S. This 24 month extension effectively replaces the 17 month STEM OPT extension that was previously available for the STEM students. Read More

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