If you are keen on pursuing a foreign
degree after Class XII, here is a walk-through of some
important education destinations
A land of opportunities
More than 3,500 US Institutions offer aspirants an
amazing range of options
The country’s USP
The United States of Americas is a land of
opportunities. One of the advantages of the US higher
educational systems is the amazing range of options offered
by over 3,500 colleges and universities. These vary with
programmes that differ in various ways, the choices of
academic and research programmes, types of institutions,
size, cost, diversity in student bodies, selectivity, campus
ambience to location. US universities boast world-class
faculty, quality programmes, latest technology, equipment
and cutting-edge research. Moreover, the choice of courses
in flexible. According to the US Educational Foundation in
India (USEFI), “US institutions are known for their generous
award of financial assistance to international students.”
Also, institutions provide support systems to these
youngsters as each campus hosts an International Students’
Office and a Foreign Student Advisor. Indians are the
biggest contingent of foreign students in the US. But
lately, due to different causes, there has been a 4.9 per
cent slump in 2005-06.
Hot for what?
Engineering, MBA and Computer Science are still the host
favorites among Indian students. There is, however,
considerable growing interest in Biological Science, Health,
Art, Economics, Media and Entertainment studies, Law and
1. University of Southern California
2. Purdue University
3. SUNY Buffalo
4. Illinois Institute of Technology
5. University of Texas at Arlington
These lead the list of institutions with about 900 to
1500 Indian students.
The average tuition fee is US$12,000 (Rs 4,91,341) a
Entry dates vary from one institution to another and
from one department to another. Standard admission is made
for the fall session. Which usually starts in
August/September. Optional entry can be in January/February
(Spring). Occasionally, you may find programmes for which
candidates are admitted in the winter quarter
(November/December) and in summer (May/June).
Cost of living
The estimated average cost of living is US$8,000 (Rs.
3,27,592). The cost (tuition charges plus living expenses)
varies from US$20,000 (Rs 8,18,980) to US$50,000 (Rs
20,47,490) and depends on the type and the location of a
Colleges and universities offer fellowships
scholarship and tuition fee waivers. USEFI too, grants
fellowship. Besides, assistantships and internships are
Some colleges are residential especially for the freshman
class. IN general, all US institutions offer on-campus as
well as off-campus housing.
International students, with F1 visas, are allowed
to work for up to 20 hours a week on campus, for the first
nine months. After this period, they may do off campus jobs.
During the vacations, they can work as long as 40 hours a
An F1 student visa is valid till one retains
full-time students status. For the fall August the same
The Optional Practical Training enables foreign
graduated, on completing their programmer, to work up to a
year on an F1 student visa in the US. Institutions generally
offer career placement services that include advising,
counseling, job fairs, training for interviews and resume
How to apply
Send your application along with required additional
documents such as academic credentials, writing samples,
recommendation letters, professional resume and interest
essay to the selected institutions.
Prospective undergraduate (UG) students should apply to
10-15 institutions and Masters aspirants from eight to 10
and doctoral candidates from six to eight.
When to apply
For the Fall 2008 session, apply anytime from
November to March 2008.
For the Fall semester, application deadline are
usually from November of the preceding year to February 1 of
the year admission is sought. For spring admission,
application deadline range from July to October of the
previous calendar year.
Application processing time
Institutions send admission decision from April 1 to
US universities usually provide a checklist of all the
documents hat are required with applications. Include a
cover nothing detailing what all is enclosed and in what
order. IF a specific, necessary document is not attached,
explain in the nothing why it is not there and by what date
it will be dispatched. Overall, the Statement of Purpose
(SOP) or the college essay should tell the admission
committee about yourself and hat sets you apart from the
rest. Spell out your academic or career goals clearly. Give
an objective assessment of your expectations and the
institute’s strengths, and say if two complement each other
and so on.
Standardised test scores
There are no qualifying tests in the strict sense
but general requirements include a Test of English as a
Foreign Language (www.toefl.org)
score to demonstrate adequate proficiency in English. For UG
aspirants, SAT I (Scholastic Aptitude Test:
www.sat.org) is more or
less mandatory whereas SAT II (subject tests) are required
by selective schools and programmes and are also useful
while applying for financial aid.
For graduate aspirants in non-professional field, Graduate
Record Examinations and A-GRE (subject Tests:
www.gre.org), and Graduate
Management Admission Test (www.gmat.org)
for admission to business schools.