How to get funding and scholarships from US universities

How to get funding & scholarships from US universities

Every year, thousands of international students apply for a master’s degree in the US. This is mainly because the US education system offers well-structured programs, research opportunities, exposure, and most importantly, funding opportunities. US universities are very generous and provide a lot of financial assistance in the form of full funding, scholarships, or RA/TA/GA.

However, in order to avail of these funding opportunities, students must keep in mind the following 7 criteria:

  • A high GPA: To avail of scholarships, a student should have a consistently high academic record throughout the bachelor’s program (75% and above/GPA of 9.0 and above).
  • Paper presentations: Students who have a strong research aptitude and have published papers in nationally and internationally recognized journals and conferences, have high chances of securing full-funding. Looking at their potential, universities do not hesitate to invest in such candidates. At Dilip Oak’s Academy, one of our students, who presented three papers in international forums including Italy and the USA, received full funding for PhD in Computer Architecture from Georgia Tech, Ohio State, and Yale University.
  • Location: This is a very important factor that students often miss out on, while applying to universities. The majority of students apply to universities in the states of California, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, Texas, Illinois, etc. Due to a very large application pool, getting financial aid from universities in these states is difficult. But if they were to apply to universities in the states of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Idaho etc. their chances of getting aid would be higher because the number of applicants is relatively low. The quality of education in these universities equally good.
  • Professors: Students need to thoroughly research all the professors of the universities they plan to apply to. One can directly find them on university websites or (add name) study their work, their experience and interest, get in touch with them, and see if they are ready to offer any assistantship. Of course, applicants need to have a very strong academic background to receive a positive response from the professors.
  • GRE score: Along with other factors, the GRE score is also important. A GRE score above 320 (preferably above 330) maximizes your chances of securing funding.
  • SOPs and LORs: The Statement of Purpose plays a crucial role in securing financial assistance. Students need to ensure that their SOP brings out their intent, their story, their passion and why they deserve to receive funding. Similarly, strong recommendations from professors, project guide, or team lead (for working professionals) makes a strong impact on the application.
  • Relevant work experience: A relevant work experience of at least two years acts as a testament to one’s skills and commitment to the field and convinces the admissions committee that the applicant is a deserving candidate for a scholarship/funding.

Hence, if you are planning to apply for financial assistance, keep the above points in mind and plan it accordingly.

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How to apply for PhD in top American universities?

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Along with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, a lot of international students are now keen on pursuing PhD at American universities because the programs are comprehensive and structured, and encourage a lot of independent research.  Apart from world class facilities, well- equipped research labs and qualified professors, American universities also offer funding opportunities to deserving candidates which makes it easier for international students to pursue PhD in America. American universities have a global standing and they lead in innovation. This provides numerous job opportunities to PhD degree holders in academia, research institutes, government, and private research agencies all across the world.

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15 cheapest and 15 most expensive American universities for international students

cheapest & costliest American universities

Pursuing M.S. in the USA is often expensive, especially for international students because unlike American citizens who pay in-state tuition fees, international students have to pay full tuition fees. For example, if an annual in-state tuition fee is $8000, an out-of-state tuition fee can be as high as $20,000. These tuition fees are also dependent on the ranking of the university. US universities are given rankings by certain private agencies like the US News, Princeton Review, etc. and as a thumb rule, the higher the ranking, the costlier is the university. Generally, state-funded universities are cheaper than private universities. Of course, there are certain exceptions to this.  However, just because the universities are cheaper, it does not mean they do not offer quality education.

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Student visa application for Spring 2021

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most US universities could not offer in-person classes for fall 2020 semester and almost all of them offered online classes instead. However, a majority of students did not opt for online classes due to the following reasons:

  • Even for the online medium, students will have to pay full tuition fees for the entire semester. (Some universities have reduced fees by 20 to 25 per cent)
  • The online semester will mean no financial assistance, no campus jobs/RA/TA which then makes the course unnecessarily expensive to bear.
  • The online semester does not offer the exposure and opportunities that a student otherwise gets while on campus.

Considering this, most of the students have deferred their admissions and are now gearing up to join the spring 2021 semester. However, looking at the rising numbers of coronavirus patients in the US, there is confusion about whether universities will take in-person classes for spring and whether it will be feasible for international students to join the semester.

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Application timeline for Fall 2021

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If you are applying for fall 2021 the clock has begun to tick. So, don’t delay. Here is a detailed Timeline to help you start and streamline your application process:

October-December 2020 

Register for the GRE and TOEFL examinations – these examinations should preferably be taken by 15th December 2020.

October 2020

  • Make a preliminary list of universities which meet your requirements considering:
  1. Broad specializations you are interested in
  2. Expected GRE score
  3. Academic record
  4. Budget
  5. Recommendations by seniors studying in American universities

November 2020

  • Documentation
    1. Start working on your Statement of Purpose (SOP). SOP is a crucial document that provides insights into your purpose of joining the course and university, your personality, experience in the field and long-term goals. It should be around 500 to 800 words long, precise, interesting, grammatically and technically sound.
    2. Arrange for 4 sets of college and university transcripts.
    3. Choose your recommenders (preferably college professors/project guides/employers) and keep recommendation letters ready.

      November-December 2020

    • Test and application process
    1. Take the GRE and TOEFL exams latest by 20th December 2020
    2. Shortlist your final 8 to 10 universities.
    3. Complete online application process latest by 30th of December and send the required documents by courier. Of course, universities accept applications even till 31st March, so you can send them by January too in case of any delay.
    4. Request the ETS to forward your GRE and TOEFL scores to the universities you are applying to. (scores take minimum 2 weeks to come)

     After sending the applications

    You will most likely receive admission decisions from Feb/March. Once you receive the decisions, email your acceptance. This is very important especially when you are offered funding.

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Why Indian students planning for bachelors in the USA should take AP exams

Why take AP exams_

While the standardized tests like SAT and ACT are very popular among Indian students aspiring to pursue bachelors in America, the Advanced Placement (AP) Test is often disregarded by most due to complexity of its courses. A lot of students consider them challenging and shy away from taking this exam. In today’s blog, we aim to address these misconceptions about the AP and throw light on how Indian students can actually benefit from this exam.

What is AP? (Advanced Placement) 

AP Exams are standardized college-level exams designed to measure your mastery over a specific subject and help you earn credits.  Under this, there are 38 courses from various disciplines to choose from like AP Calculus AB, AP Computer Science, AP Chemistry, AP Physics etc. You can choose the course for subjects related to your career of choice and your expertise. AP exams are scored on the scale of 1 to 5, where each score corresponds to a college course grade equivalent.

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Jumpstart your GRE Prep with Oak’s exclusive Study Plans

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One of the most important steps in preparing for the GRE is planning your study schedule.  Many a time, despite being fast learners, students fail to score high in the GRE only because of haphazard study methods. A structured prep plan helps you to systematically cover all the topics, manage time, and stay focused and motivated until your test day. At Dilip Oak’s Academy, along with GRE Coaching, we guide our enrolled students to study in a methodical manner through our exclusive GRE Study Plans.

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Step-by-step guide to obtain a Canadian Study Permit (Student visa)

QUICK GUIDE ON GETTING YOUR CANADIAN STUDY PERMIT (1)

In continuation with our blog published on 17/07/2020 where we briefly discussed the admission and visa requirements for Canada, we will now take you through the step-by-step process for obtaining the Canadian study permit for MS, the application timeline, and the required documents.

Before we proceed, let us first understand the difference between permit and visa. Often, students get confused between the two.

Study Permit Vs Visa

A Study Permit allows you to stay in the country until completion of your course at any of the Designated Learning Institutions (DLI) in Canada.

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MS in Canada: Work Permit process and PR opportunities (Part 3)

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In the last blog dated 17/08/2020, we learnt about the admission requirements and visa process for masters in Canada. In this final part, we will cover vital information on how to obtain a work permit and apply for a Permanent Residency in Canada.

Work Permit

A Work Permit, or a Work Visa, is issued to eligible international individuals to work in that country for a specific time period (3 years). Unlike the US, you don’t need a job offer in order to apply for a work permit. You can apply for it within 180 days of receiving the post graduate degree. In order to be eligible for a work permit, you need to meet the following criteria:

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MS in Canada: Admission and student visa requirements (part 2)

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In the last blog dated 10/08/2020, we discussed the benefits of pursuing masters in Canada and saw how fast the country is becoming one of the most sought after destinations for higher education. In this blog, we will focus on the admission and visa requirements for MS in Canada and breeze through the top Ten Canadian Universities for STEM courses.

Admission requirements 

Academic credentials

Majority Canadian universities require you to have completed 16 years of education (12+4), i.e. – a four- year Bachelor’s degree before going for MS. This is applicable to all the technical background students like Engineering, Pharmacy, and Architecture etc. For non-technical fields like Arts and Management, a student is required to complete 17 years of education. (12+3+2)

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