5-Steps to Master’s Programmes (Wrap Up):
We have been discussing EducationUSA’s 5-Steps to Master’s Programmes in the United States during the last few weeks. So far we have covered:
Step 1. Research your options
Step 2. Finance your studies
Step 3. Complete your application
Step 4. Apply for your student visa
Step 5: Prepare for Your Departure
As we understood through the columns in the last few weeks, students should start the process of US university master’s applications by setting their own priorities and then identifying institutions and programmes of study that meet their criteria. Finding out if the programme of study and institution that students have shortlisted is accredited or not is an important key step of the shortlisting process in ‘Step 1. Research your options.’
The next important step -‘Step 2. Finance your studies’ – is for students to understand the cost of attending the master’s program at each shortlisted institution and accordingly prepare the budget, identify sources of funding, and prepare the financial documents. Students should read all financial-related materials carefully and provide relevant documents as proof of finances to the US college/university as requested. If applying for financial support from US institutions, students should remember to submit their application package by the priority deadline.
Master’s programme applicants should start working on their applications one to two years in advance of the programme start date considering that multiple application components have to be put together as we discussed under ‘Step 3. Complete your application’, the application process to master’s programmes in the United States involves an online application, application fee, standardized and English proficiency test scores, transcripts, statement of purpose, letters of recommendations, resume, and financial documents. Academic intakes and application timelines for master’s studies in the Unites States vary by university, so students should check the websites of the shortlisted institutions for application deadlines (both priority and regular deadlines), before starting the application.
Once the student has received admission to the master’s program, as an international student, they go to the United States on a student visa. The process of applying for the visa constitutes ‘Step 4. Apply for your student visa’. Upon admission, students will receive an I-20 from the university, following which students apply for the student visa. Another related aspect of this step is the SEVIS fee that students pay prior to their scheduled student visa interview.
Finally, after receiving their visa, applicants get prepared for their journey and education in the United States. In this step – ‘Step 5: Prepare for Your Departure’ – students work on various aspects of their travel preparation, arrangements for arrival/housing in the United States, and health-related aspects both pre-departure and post-arrival in the country. An important part of travel planning is being aware of the port-of-entry and transit procedures relevant upon arrival in the United States. Other aspects of this step include attending orientation programmes on campus and adjusting to social and academic life in the new country. US university campuses have many support services available for international students that they may avail themselves of while acclimating to the new environment.
This wraps up our discussion in the series on EducationUSA’s 5-Steps to master’s programmes in the United States. We look forward to connecting with our readers next week through this space!
– Monika Setia (Regional Officer and EducationUSA Adviser at the United States-India Educational Foundation based at the U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad. Please visit https://educationusa.state.gov/centers/educationusa-usief-hyderabad for more information)
EducationUSA US university virtual fairs
We would like to bring to the attention of our readers that they may participate in the upcoming EducationUSA US University Virtual Fair 2021! The virtual fair allows students to interact with more than 100 reputed US universities offering a wide array of undergraduate (Associate degrees, Bachelor’s programmes) and graduate programmes (Master’s, PhD programmes).
Graduate Fair: Friday, August 27 from 5:30 – 10:30 PM IST | Register at: https://bit.ly/EdUSAFair21WebGen
Undergraduate Fair: Friday, September 3 from 5:30 – 10:30 PM IST | Register at: https://bit.ly/UGEdUSAFair21GenWeb
Q. We plan to send our daughter to the United States for bachelor’s studies. She came across the term FAFSA. Can you please explain what this is?
— Anjaneya Sharma
A. Federal student aid is funding made available through the US Department of Education, a federal government body, to pay for college education (both undergraduate and graduate studies) of US citizens with a valid social security number. The funds are made available to students through grants, loans, and work-study. Indian citizens are not eligible to apply for FAFSA. The application for federal student aid is available online through Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
US higher education institutions use information entered in FAFSA to award non-federal aid too. For further information on types of aid, eligibility, and applications for federal student aid available to U.S. citizens, please check the website https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/.
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