Students from all over the world apply to
American universities for admissions. They belong to different
educational backgrounds and different grading systems. In order to
compare their aptitude on a common platform, the universities in the
United States require all the international students to take GRE
(Graduate Record Examination) for graduate studies. Also, in order
to ensure that the student wanting to study in USA is capable of
understanding English, all universities in the United States require
their applicants coming from non native English speaking countries
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign
Language).So, if you want to go for your masters after graduation,
you have to take GRE and TOEFL.The scores of TOEFL are valid for two
years and score of GRE are valid for 5 years.
The training part
consists of the students preparing for the Graduate Record
Examination (GRE) and TOEFL.
a. Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
The GRE® General Test measures
critical thinking, analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and
quantitative reasoning skills that have been acquired over a long
period of time and that are not related to any specific field of
study. Analytical Writing
— The skills measured include the test taker's ability to
complex ideas clearly and effectively
claims and accompanying evidence
with relevant reasons and examples
well-focused, coherent discussion
elements of standard written English.
— The skills measured include the test taker's ability to
evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained
relationships among component parts of sentences
relationships between words and concepts.
— The skills measured include the test taker's ability to
basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data
problems in a quantitative setting.
Who Takes It and
Prospective graduate applicants take the General Test. GRE test
scores are used by admissions or fellowship panels to supplement
undergraduate records and other qualifications for graduate study.
The scores provide common measures for comparing the qualifications
of applicants and aid in evaluating grades and recommendations.
When and Where is it conducted?
The GRE Test is offered year-round at computer-based test centers at
Mumbai, Ahmadabad, Allahabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Hyderabad, Delhi,
Chennai and Trivandrum. You can register for the test by logging on
Please note that there is a lot of rush to take these tests during
July to January period. It is always advantageous to register on
time. Pass port is necessary on the date of your test.
Here’s how, a typical GRE format might look like:
NUMBER OF QUESTIONS
Analytical Writing One "Analyze an Issue" task and one
"Analyze an Argument"
1 Hrs (each task 30 minutes)
Each section will have 20 questions
1 Hrs( each section 30 minutes)
Each section will have 20 questions
1 Hr and 10 min( each section 35 minutes)
This may be a Verbal or Math section.
Varies [30 mins if Verbal,
35 mins if Math ]
There will be 10 minutes optional break following
GRE is section level adaptive test. This is why there are two
sections of verbal reasoning and two sections of quantitative
GRE score will depend on your performance in two sections of verbal
and two sections of math out of total five sections of math and
verbal together. As you will get either three sections of math and
two sections of verbal or three sections of verbal and two sections
of math. In both cases one section is unscored.
GRE is section level adaptive. Your performance in first section
will decide level of difficulties in second section. So in first
section each student will have same level of difficulties but the
second section will vary. And it is not adaptive within the section.
On scale of 0 – 6 (each 0 – 3)
On scale of 130 – 170
On scale of 130 – 170
·For each correct answer
one marks will be awarded.
·For each wrong answer zero
marks will be awarded.
·There is penalty for not
answering the questions.
b. Test of English As Foreign Language
The Test of
English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) measures the ability of
nonnative speakers of English to use and understand English as it is
spoken, written, and heard in college and university settings. The
TOEFL tests all four language skills that are important for
effective communication: speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
The test helps students demonstrate that they have the English
skills needed for success. TOEFL also emphasizes integrated skills
and provides better information to institutions about students’
ability to communicate in an academic setting and their readiness
for academic coursework.
The TOEFL test is developed and administered by the US-based
“Educational Testing Service” (ETS). This implies that ETS sets the
questions, conducts the test, and sends each examinee the score
report. For the conduct of the test, ETS has appointed Testing
Agencies in various countries, which act as franchisee for ETS. In
India, this agency is the “Prometric Testing Services Pvt Ltd”
The TOEFL test is
offered in different formats depending on your location. Paper Based TOEFL: Bangalore, Hyderabad, Trivendrum Internet Based: Ahmedabad; Allahabad; Bangalore; Calcutta;
Chennai; Cochin; Coimbatore; Dehradun; Greater Noida; Gurgaon;
Hyderabad; Indore; Jaipur; Kurukeshetra; Mumbai; Nagpur; New Delhi;
Panji; Pune; Ranchi; Secunderabad; Surat; Trivandrum; Vadodara;
Computer based TOEFL test is held all-round-the-year. Unlike other
exams, you can choose your own date and time for taking the TOEFL
test! The test is administered in the above cities five-days-a-week
(Monday through Friday), twice-a-day. September to December is the
high season for TOEFL test, so in case you intend to take the test
during this period, you need to register very early (say 90 days in
advance) to get a date of your choice. Otherwise, registering at
least three days in advance is mandatory. The test lasts roughly
process to American Universities is a long and complicated affair.
It involves extensive research on the net, knowledge about the
working method of American universities, accurate documentation and
correct timing, to list just a few factors. The following steps are
involved in the applications process.
have been accepted
Counseling, what we offer at FACT
a. Selection of
universities is a very time consuming and important process not only
from the admission point of view but also because applying to
universities is expensive by Indian standards. The application
process itself costs about Rs. 25,000/- to Rs. 30,000/- towards
examination fees, postage, university application fees etc.
Therefore, be very careful while applying to the universities.
The best university for you may not be the famous ones, but those
that offer you your field of study as well as meet the other
criteria important to you. The range of academic options as well as
available universities are so wide that it is not possible to select
the best in one go and it may take some time.
The basic steps involved in the process of selecting universities
Decide on the
field of education in line with your likings and past academic
financial ability and budget
20 to 30 universities based on the following criterion:
Tuition, living expenses etc
Availability of Financial Assistance to International
(SAT,GRE,GMAT, TOEFL etc and minimum scores)
Accreditation status (Professional accreditation for some
Enrollment Total available seats and the size of the school
(climate, semi-rural, metropolitan city etc)
Facilities Library, housing, student associations etc.
Institution Public or Private
These are the
usual criteria. You could prioritize your criteria out of this list
and shortlist the number of universities on that basis to about 10.
You could further shortlist your choice on basis of specific issues
like tuition fees, availability of financial etc.
Your past academic record is one of the most important deciding
factors in getting admission to a college abroad. Most schools
require you to have a reasonably good academic record especially for
technology programs and courses. Each university has its own minimum
requirement for its programs, which are flexible depending on the
candidate profile. It is advisable not to convert your marks in the
Indian system of grading to the American Grade Point Average system
or any other system since the conversion may not be accurate. You
may attach an explanatory note from your college to indicate your
rank in your class and/or university. The letter may also indicate
your place as compared to the class and the university average and
the number of students in the class and the number of colleges and
students in the university. You may also provide any other
information or documents that you feel may help you in the admission
has its own minimum requirements and scores with respect to
standardized tests. Check out the requirements of the universities
and short-list the ones that will accept your scores.
Most Indians are
concerned about the high cost of education abroad and seek
information on opportunities for financial assistance. The expenses
for education abroad include tuition fees, living expenses, health
insurance, transportation etc. This is an important criterion for
selecting the courses as well as universities.
It is important
to understand that most universities offer financial assistance to
international students based primarily on merit and rarely on need.
The amount, and type of assistance offered varies based on the
university, department and level of study. Also funds are more
likely to be available in fields like Engineering, Physical Sciences
and Biological sciences.
Once you start receiving application forms and material, go through
in detail for the various requirements and deadlines like the
application deadline, minimum scores required in the standardized
tests, recommendation letters needed and other such information.
Tabulate all these requirements and compare them with your
objectives. FACT can help you select universities that are best
suited for your requirements.
b. Selection of
university and selection of program usually go hand in hand. But one
must remember that even the best-known universities are not the best
for every single program offered in that university. Similarly, a
particular university may not be very high ranked, but a particular
program in that university may be excellent for your requirements.
Therefore, it is necessary to study each program very carefully.
Transcripts, Recommendations and Statement of Purpose are the
academic documents required for application process.
who are applying to American Universities would be required to
submit a detailed report and transcripts (report cards) of all the
years of higher studies in India. The report form should be filled
out by a college official like the principal, counselor or
headmaster. This form should introduce you in the context of your
whole school experience in relation to the other students in your
class. Admission committees will be interested in learning how you
have performed in your own educational system. The transcript should
talk about your accomplishments and provide a prediction of your
chances for success in university-level studies.
Since there is a variation between the styles of scoring used abroad
and the ones used in India, ask your college to include a guide to
the grading standards used in your educational system and your
school. If your college ranks students by their level of academic
achievement, make certain that the ranking is included with the
other details. Also send the school / junior college leaving
certificate as and when it is available. The transcripts must be in
Letters of reference or recommendation letters play a very important
part in your admission. A recommendation letter is a signed
statement from a person who has taught you in a subject that is
related to the course you are applying to. It should list your
positive and negative qualities, strengths and other such
information. The teacher must indicate his position, how long he/she
has 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. Authors 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 from teachers who
know them as a person as well as a student. You may like to request
your author to give concrete examples that may show your qualities. Statement of Purpose:
The personal essays, and/or statement of purpose, play a very
important role in the process of evaluating your application for
both admission as well as financial aid because it gives the faculty
assessing your application their most significant impression of you
as an individual. This section is the key to distinguish your
application from other suitable candidates and a chance to market
yourself. A personal statement should include your reasons for
choosing a particular course, the suitability of your education and
experience for the chosen course, your personal interests and career
goals. Some courses like Business school courses will have their own
essay questions and format. Others may ask for a resume or reasons
for applying to that particular course.
You must submit a
financial aid application if you desire financial help for your
studies in a US university. Financial assistance for non-US citizens
is very limited. The evidence of financial support is required by
universities to issue the documents needed for visa application.
Although it is a requirement for application, it is usually not
taken into consideration into factors that determine admission. Most
universities make their admission decisions without regard for the
source and amount of financial support.You would be required to
submit documentation of your family's financial resources to help
schools assess your need. Most of the universities have their own
financial aid form, which you would have to complete. You would also
be required to submit a bank statement demonstrating your financial
capacity to support your education in US. Some US state institutions
offer tuition waivers to international students in return for some
type of educational contribution.
usually inform students of their admission decisions well in advance
of the beginning term. If you have received admission in more than
one university, you will have to decide which one you want to
attend. At this stage, you should compare a few objective and mostly
more subjective criteria. The points you should focus on are program
curriculum, length of program, choice of courses, funding offer or
best program with respect to costs, Cost of living, Strength of
related departments/program etc.
f. Once you have
Each college will
tell you exactly what steps to follow to confirm your acceptance of
their offer of admission and how to prepare for your first term.
This information will be included with the letter of admission or in
materials that will be sent to you shortly thereafter. You must
respond with a "Yes" or "No" for each offer of admission. You may
also be required to submit a financial deposit to the institution
that you plan to attend. This is to guarantee your place in the
class. Make sure you do not miss any deadlines.
of students visa
This is the last
and the most delicate of the steps while planning to study in the
United States. Most students are scared and tensed by the time they
reach this stage. But they need to understand that by being tense,
they are increasing the chances of failure rather than reducing it.
Instead, if they collect all the relevant information, make thorough
preparation, and feel confident, there is nothing that can stop them
from achieving their objective.
b. What Visa
Officers look for while issuing visa
officer may not issue a student visa unless satisfied that the
(1) has a residence abroad (India),
(2) has no intention of abandoning that residence, and
(3) intends to depart from the United States upon completion of the
course of study.
Applicants generally establish their ties abroad by presenting
evidence of economic, social, and/or family ties in their homeland
sufficient to induce them to leave the United States upon the
completion of studies.
c. How to Apply
All first time applicants of F-1 visa would
need to make an appointment on the website
www.vfs-usa.co.in. Refer the site for more
d. VISA Interview
Try and gather
information on the current trend, what the visa officer is
expecting, why visa is being rejected, etc. Look for decisions and
experiences particularly in the consulate where you will be
appearing for the interview. Knowing what to expect helps!
When you go for
the visa dress well. Speak slowly and clearly. Don't appear tense
and don't look desperate. Showing self-confidence helps. They should
never feel that you will have any sort of difficulty language,
finance, racial, religious, etc.
e. Risk of VISA
Yes. It is true
that if your visa is rejected, all your efforts and money put into
the process of studying in the United States go waste. But you can
always apply for a second time and get your visa approved. As per
the new rule, you can apply as many numbers of times as you want.
(the application fee is to be paid every time). But the best way is
to go well prepared right in the first time.