American Dream – Bringing it to Reality (Part III)

An overwhelming majority of Indian students who travel to the US for higher education belong to the Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) category. For the annual H1B quota of 20,000 visas reserved for this category, about 30,000 applications are usually received. On the other hand, against 65,000 H1B visas allocated for non-STEM applicants, three to four times that number apply.

Therefore, an applicant for an H1B visa from the STEM category invariably stands a much better chance. That is why several students from the non-STEM category, even if they find a job in the US after graduating, have to leave for their country of origin as they fail to acquire an H1B visa. Another factor that works in favour of STEM students is that their OPT (Optional Practical Training) is valid for 36 months, which entitles them to three attempts at seeking the coveted H1B visa.

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American Dream – Bringing it to Reality (Part II)

In the US education is closely associated with philanthropy.  Individuals do not own universities.  The famous Carnegie-Mellon University is a case in point. Its governing council may have a couple of members who belong to founders’ families but the university is essentially managed by a Trust. Grateful alumni donate generously to their alma maters.

The US Government offers generous grants to universities. Deserving students get attractive scholarships from universities. Students are provided every possible opportunity to work as teaching and research assistants and take up campus jobs to earn so they can lighten their financial burden. American culture respects the dignity of labour. Working part time at a McDonald’s outlet is not looked down upon or considered below one’s dignity.

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American Dream – Bringing it to Reality (Part I)

The United States of America presents a wide range of exciting opportunities for higher education and employment to ambitious young Indians.  However, this indisputable fact was not widely accepted in Pune, when I first pointed it out, way back in 1996.  Punekars were mostly skeptical of it..  Actually, this was not entirely surprising. In those days, someone travelling to the USA was such a rare occurrence that it made news.  However, now things have changed quite dramatically.

When I founded Dilip Oak’s Academy in 1996, only 24 students had enrolled.  Eight of them went to the USA eventually. Gradually,  the number grew over the years and, in 2016 alone, we sent as many as 1,500 students to a wide variety of the universities in the US.  These students were not from Pune alone. Many of them hailed , but even from small cities and towns in the hinterland of Maharashtra, such as Sangli, Vita, Satara, Belgavi, Kolhapur, Amaravati and Aurangabad. Some belonged to  and other states like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat as well.   Now, in 2017, we expect the number to climb to an unprecedented 1,800 at least. We have come a long way, indeed.

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