Data released by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement indicates a recent surge in the number of Indian students seeking to study in American universities. According their report, there has been a “31.9% increase in the number of Indian students studying in American universities since 2014”. This bucks a trend that goes back almost a decade: from 2008-09 to 2013-14, the number of Indian students studying at American Universities was a fairly flat 1,00,000 annually. In 2014-15, this figure jumped by around 32% to 1,32,888.
Every year U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) accepts H1B petitions starting from 1st April. As such, petitions for the fiscal year 2017 will be accepted from 1st April 2016. The current quota for H1B VISA is 65,000 under the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption – also known as the Masters quota. Thus, the total quota stands at 85,000. In the previous year, USCIS received a total of nearly 233,000 H1B petitions under both the categories put together from 1st April to 7th April and then they stopped accepting new applications. For the first time, USCIS received more than the limit of 20,000 H1B petitions under the Masters quota (the exact number of applications is not declared by USCIS). Computer generated random selection process (lottery) is conducted for Masters quota petitions which selects 20,000 applicants for the Master’s degree cap completion. The H1B petitions filed under Masters quota cap, but not selected in the first round of lottery are then added to the general quota of petitions. The lottery is then conducted for this pool to select 65,000 petitions towards the general quota cap completion. USCIS rejects and returns the remaining H1B petitions.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending it F1 non immigrant visa regulations on Optional Practical Training (OPT) for certain students with degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) from US institutions of higher education.
OPT is a period during which undergraduates (BS/BA) and graduate students (MS/MBA) with F1 status who have completed or have been pursuing their degrees for more than 9 months are permitted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to work for 12 months on a student visa towards getting practical training to complement their education. On April 2nd 2008 DHS announced a 17-month extension to the OPT for students in qualifying STEM fields to be eligible for the 12-month permit. Any degree in any field of studies is valid. For the 17-month OPT extension a student must have received a STEM degree as listed on the USCIS website.
So, you’ve got the admission news you were waiting for: your coveted admission for an ‘MS in US’ is confirmed. You’re scheduled to join your American university in the fall 2016 semester – and now it’s time to book airline tickets and start thinking about travel plans and accommodation.
One problem, however, is contacting senior students who are already in your desired US university, so you can arrange for a pickup and drop from the airport and some temporary accommodation. Another is finding other students who are heading to your US university, so you can choose room-mates and make joint travel plans.
If you are applying for admission in fall 2016 the clock has begun to tick. So, don’t delay. Review this Application Timeline for Fall 2016 immediately and get to work.
Review your goals for your MS in US and choose some specific areas in which you would like to specialize.
- Begin preparation for the GRE/TOEFL tests
- Register for the GRE and TOEFL examinations – if you are targeting the top 10 or 15 universities, you should take these examinations preferably by September 2015. If you are targeting other universities, you may take these exams by 20 December 2015 so you can meet the deadlines of universities which are in December 2015.
- Register for the Subject GRE – important for doctoral programs in pure sciences and biological sciences in top schools.
Note: the exam is held once in a year in November, however, seats usually get filled up by August.
Make a preliminary list of about 30 universities which meet your requirements considering:
Facts about the Field
- Job Prospects – according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) 11,600 jobs will be generated for mechanical engineers in the United States by 2022 (the unemployment rate in the field is just 2.7%)
- Employment Growth Rate – the BLS also predicts that employment in the field is expected to grow by 4.5 percent between 2012 and 2022
- Salaries – the median salary is $80,500 with the worst-paid earning $52,580 and the best-paid earned $123,340.
- Job Satisfaction – upward mobility in mechanical engineering jobs in America is high, flexibility is above average and stress levels are about average
- What the Work is Like – many mechanical engineers work out of an office on a 9-5 schedule but if your job demands it you may visit sites like oil rigs or skyscrapers
- Top-paying metropolitan areas – these include Anchorage, Alaska; Taunton, Massachusetts; and San Jose, California.
The month of June is now approaching which means the spring 2016 application process should now begin. As per our standard practice we are publishing university deadlines for spring 2016 semester.
Keep in mind some universities update deadlines on their websites at different times during the academic year.
The deadlines mentioned below are for the graduate school only. The department deadlines may differ from the graduate school deadlines and hence you should cross check with your respective department for confirmation.
The first thing you should know: take your GRE about 1 ½ to 2 months before your earliest important deadline. It is going to take approximately that much time for your score reports to reach the universities you have chosen as score recipients (i.e. the universities you chose to send your score reports to). Here’s what the ETS says:
(The following passage on food photo sharing contains 38 GRE words. If you find it difficult to understand, read through the explanation of the meanings of the words (given with illustrative sentences) and then reread the passage.)
The food photo sharing phenomenon (or what you might call the visual department of gastronomy) is in full swing. New tools such as Foodspotting and Eat.ly are constantly proliferating. Add in the photo-handling capabilities of sites like Foursquare and it’s no surprise that the “eat and tweet” trend has inundated social media feeds. Interestingly enough, this flood of food images is being engendered not just by gourmands or even specialist food sites, but ordinary philistines like you and me who have no expertise in food beyond our own pedestrian predilections. Showing – not just telling – others what you’re eating is becoming mainstream. So is vicariously enjoying others’ food. Why is everyone suddenly so keen to snap their snacks (and gorge on images of the food that others eat)? Does this simply reflect a universal human desire to share things that gives us pleasure? Is it showing off or, is it a drive to gain status? What is the genesis of this new drive? And how is it changing our approach to food and eating?
Living in a foreign country can be both exhilarating and daunting. So can finding the ‘perfect’ roommate.
Anyone who plans to do an ‘MS in US’ has to stay away from family and venture out on their own; and most of you will have come a ton across of horror stories about staying with complete strangers. Differences over how to arrange the apartment, food preferences, keeping different hours or even a sharing a bathroom can turn your dream of studying in America pretty sour! What may not have been significant when you lived with your family may become huge issues when you start sharing living space with others. So, maybe this will sound like advice for someone who is looking for a life partner rather than just a room partner but remember you are going to be sharing cooking, washing up and even laundry duties with that person (or those people). You are going to have to make arrangements to pay the rent and other bills and to share the keys – if that’s not like being married then what is? So, you have to make up your mind about what you are looking for in someone you are probably going to see, be with and work with almost every single day of your stay in the United States.