A master’s in the US is worth a thousand jobs here!
When you have bagged a job immediately at the campus placement on a decent package, the dilemma about studying abroad or starting to work becomes bigger. You are dying to experience the corporate job at hand. At the same time, you are wondering if spending all that much money on foreign education is going to pay off or not. Believe us, most of it is more dramatic than real. And there are various reasons why you should opt for foreign education over a job.
A Master’s degree in the US not only opens doors of international career opportunities, but also positively changes your outlook towards jobs in general. A US degree will give you a highly-paid job with immense job satisfaction. Moreover, the programmes offered are highly flexible and offer various options to suit your area of interest. Most master's degrees are of two years. However, the duration of the course can be up to 12 months shorter depending on the number of credits that need to be completed.
Earn while learning, become cosmopolitan
Universities in the US are research-oriented, which are backed by various public, private and corporate grants. This provides a dual opportunity to not just learn but also earn. The earnings from a research assistantship can cover living expenditure while you get a waiver on tuition fees and get a stipend. There are other opportunities such as teaching assistantships and graduate assistantships on campus work program that can help you cover your expenses.
Moreover, after completing your program, you can legally work in the US for another 29 months in your related field. You can do this by applying for Optional Practical Training Employment Authorization (OPT). Most international students grab a position in the company that hires them during their OPT period. If the organization that hired you grants or sponsors your H1-B or work visa, you are allowed to work in the US without returning to your home country.
As an international student, you will get the privilege to interact with a lot of people from a lot of different nationalities. Most institutes have strong tie-ups with industry giants. This makes it easier for students to find a placement during their OPT.
How to apply for a Master’s in the US?
Admission to graduate school usually requires 16 years of formal education and a bachelor's degree. You may also need to take a specific admission test, such as the GRE or GMAT, to qualify and/or an English language proficiency test such as the TOEFL or the IELTS.
Most graduate programmes of business and non-business disciplines require you to take the Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) respectively. The exam measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills.
For non-business fields, you may even opt for subject-specific GRE tests in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, computer science, literature, math, physics and psychology.
How to apply to a university?
Course selection: This is obviously your first priority – selection of a programme. If you choose according to your aptitude and interest and after considering the right field, you can open up doors for yourself to a highly successful career. A US degree prepares highly skilled and influential professionals with ample industrial expertise.
Different options/ programs that you can to apply to:
There are more than a hundred majors that a student can select from in various fields.
Instances. The various options in the field of engineering are Aerospace Engineering, Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Fire Protection Engineering, Material Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering etc.
Other areas include Arts, Natural resources, Humanities, Literature, Accounting, Mathematics, Architecture, Behavioral sciences, Environmental studies, Geography, Languages, Films, Finance to name a few.
List of universities: There are various websites, magazines and other sources that provide different rankings of various universities. While choosing a university, you must not blindly follow these rankings. Instead, consider various factors such as location, placement, quality of course provided, research conducted at the university and the likes. This is where a counselor steps in. Don’t hesitate to take the guidance of an experienced counselor, as these are life-changing decisions.
Review the admission requirements for the course & universities of your choice.
Selection of the appropriate entrance exam: After having decided on a post-graduate/master’s programme in the US, one of the many choices that you will need to make is whether to take the GRE or GMAT. GMAT is specifically for management courses and a few MS courses while GRE is for all the other courses. You can also take subject-specific GRE.
You may also be required to take the TOEFL – Test of English as a foreign language. The TOEFL is an Internet- based test that measures your proficiency in English language. Students from regions where English is not the native language are required to take this test to prove their language proficiency, so as to study in an English-speaking country. Many US universities are now also accepting IELTS scores in lieu of TOEFL. So now it’s either TOEFL or IETLS.
Requirements for application approval –
A resume is one of the most important documents that have to be sent to the university as a representation of your qualifications, honors, education and interests. It acts as a supplement to your personal statement and letters of recommendation. The resume serves as an opportunity for you to highlight your skill sets.
What is Statement of Purpose or Goal statement? Why is it important?
It is a statement or essay about your purpose of applying to a particular graduate school. Students are required to write an essay explaining their main goal or purpose in life, which would support their decision of joining that college. Most universities give tips on what they would like to read in the SOP, and how long it should be.
An SOP must be written by keeping in mind various factors such as clarity of thought, proper line of reasoning for choices made, goals and your personal traits that will help you achieve them. It is important to be precise without being too flashy. It has to have content, your objectives and goals and should be relevant to the course you are applying for.
A graduate school needs to understand your purpose of studying there. They want to determine whether you will be a value addition to their school. Hence, an SOP is a very important document to determine to get an admission.
What is the letter of recommendation (LOR)?
Letters of reference or recommendation letters play a very important part in your admission especially in courses that earn you a master’s or doctoral degree. A recommendation letter is a signed statement from a person who knows you well or has taught you in a subject at school or college. It should list out your positive and negatives and give pointers about your academic or non-academic achievements.
The recommenders must indicate their position, how long they have known the applicant and in what capacity. He/she should briefly discuss the need, importance and usefulness of the study the applicant proposes to undertake. Recommenders are usually asked to rank applicants in their letters of recommendation, which helps admission officers to interpret the academic credentials of foreign students.
Students should obtain letters of recommendation (often on the prescribed forms sent by the institutions) from teachers who know them as a person as well as a student. Concrete examples can be given by the professor/teacher to demonstrate the skills of applicant, which will increase their chances of selection.
Many universities have their own format and questions that have to be answered by the person who is writing the letter of recommendation on your behalf. Letters have to be relevantly informative and should cover all the points required by the university to ensure the admission is done smoothly.
Submit your application:
You would need to create an online account on the university’s website. You will have to submit all the forms and documents. Nowadays most forms and documents can be uploaded online, some may ask for a physical package. The application fee can be paid online as well. You should keep an eye on the application deadline and prepare accordingly.
Selection process followed by colleges/universities:
The college admission committee is on the lookout of students who will enrich and benefit from the campus-learning environment, and thereby benefiting the entire student body. The college admission process is a tedious and a rigorous process.
The committee understands that there is more to the student than just the academic and GRE/GMAT scores. Hence other than the educational performance of a student, they also consider various other factors. A student’s potential to promote a better outcome of the course, contribute to the campus and the community life, his potential for success based on his past records; his persistence and commitment towards his projected goals are given a lot of consideration.
Waiting for an admit from a university and the I-20:
I-20 is a strictly confidential and crucial document that is issued to the students directly by the university upon granting an admission. A letter of admit along with the I-20 is sent to the student upon being accepted for a particular course. The I-20 is a crucial document that is required for the visa application.
Students who wish to study or conduct research at an accredited U.S. college or university have to apply for the F1 visa. You can only apply after you have been accepted by a recognized university for a full-time course and have the required financial support for your stay in the U.S. The F1 visa is given with a condition that the holder must not work in the country apart from any work as part of the course.
Before you go to the US:
You ought to read and understand about the destination/location where you are going to live in US. For this purpose you may utilize the online services provided by newspapers in that area. Read about and understand the American culture to avoid any cultural shocks. You may learn a few local slangs, idioms and abbreviations. These little things will come in pretty handy in the first few days.
Plan your travel:
Unless you want to land in US a day before your first lecture, do plan your travel on advance. You can do this online through travel sites to get competitive prices according to your budget.
The international services available to the US are:
American Airlines (AA) (www.aa.com),
Continental Airlines (www.continental.com),
Delta Air (www.delta.com),
United Airlines (www.united.com),
and US Airways (www.usairways.com).
However, you may choose for yourself which airlines/ travel agency serves you the best.