Following the US presidential elections, a major turnaround of events has taken place in favor of Indian students and immigrants with the new bill passed by the US Senate last Wednesday, December 2, 2020. The bill eliminates the 7% per country cap on the employment-based immigrant visa (EB-2 and EB -3 categories) green cards. The bill has proved to be a huge relief for Indian immigrants stuck in the green card backlog for years.
Every year, the US grants more than a million green cards for the following types:
Dilip Oak’s Academy recently conducted a webinar on how to select the right subjects (minor and major) for bachelors in the USA. The webinar was presided over by Maithili Khandekar, BS from the University of Arizona, now studying in Medical School. Here is an overview of the few key points she spoke on about the overall subject selection system in the US and its advantages:
Decided/Undecided major: Unlike India, there is no hard and fast rule in the USA to select subjects before joining the university. Students can either decide before joining the university or join undecided and explore their options upon starting the course. Usually, every university offers general courses in the first year for streams like Math, Science, English and Humanities. Math stream usually includes subjects like Calculus 1, and Calculus 2, Science stream includes Biology, Physics, and Chemistry, while Humanities includes contemporary architecture, literature, art etc. Students can decide the subjects they want to pursue depending upon what they have studied in the 11th and 12th grades, their goal, and the credits they have earned.
Last week, Dilip Oak’s Academy conducted a webinar on the current scenario in American universities, the impact of COVID-19 on admissions for Master’s degree, and funding opportunities in the USA. The webinar was presided over by Maggie Wolford, director of graduate admissions and recruitment, SUNY Binghamton. Here is an overview of her valuable insights into the scenario in America concerning several important pointers viz.:
Location: Universities in the major cities like San Francisco, Chicago and New York have been more affected by the pandemic as compared to those in remote areas, like SUNY Binghamton, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, University of Oklahoma, Norman, etc.
Financial impact: High class, Tier 1 research universities (those offering STEM courses) can sustain the effects of the pandemic, but liberal arts and other smaller universities have incurred significant losses.
Factors for resuming in-person instruction: Universities will decide whether to start the in-person instruction soon or wait, depending upon the number of COVID cases in the area, cost of testing, and testing policies. (whether they have compulsory testing, voluntary testing, or symptomatic testing, and the budget for each)
Spring semester schedule: The majority of the universities are quite likely to push their spring semester start dates. Usually, the spring semester commences in January, but universities might extend it to February. In that case, students will have extra time for project completion, but their holidays will be reduced.
Impact on funding: Due to online instruction, positions for Teaching Assistantships are likely to reduce. Research Assistantships will also depend upon whether the university is funded by the government or by private agencies. Government funding has been reduced significantly for other fields, but a few like Supply Chain Management and Healthcare Management will still receive enough funding. Graduate Assistantships won’t be affected since university jobs like web page development, networking, etc. will continue.
Impact on CPT and internships: CPT is activated only after completing two on-campus semesters. If you join in the spring semester, you cannot work on the CPT in summer. In that case, you can utilize the time for summer courses and graduate early, or take campus paid internships which don’t require CPT. For example, lab assistant jobs, office jobs, admin jobs, etc. You can also take up certification courses free of cost, which will add to your résumé.
Impact on admissions: Presently, the examination system all over the world has been disturbed due to the pandemic. Many universities have waived the GRE requirement, and they are accepting unofficial transcripts as well. But the situation will remain uncertain for a few more months.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
In the last blog dated 10/08/2020, we discussed thebenefits 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.
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)
With its international student population touching 6.4 lakhs this year, Canada has become the 3rd leading destination of foreign students, especially Indians, who constitute 34% of this number. Since 2014, the Indian student population in Canada has grown by a whopping 350%. Premier affordable education, internationally recognized degrees, and opportunities for Permanent Residency have led to a large number of students to apply for Masters in Canada. Additionally, a small population of 37 million, and steady growth of the economy have opened multiple job avenues over the last decade, especially in the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec, and have made them the most sought after areas for settlement.