How to prepare admissions application
First step is to prepare and give the test (GRE/GMAT/SAT, TOEFL). Do it as early as possible!
Remember in some countries it's difficult to get dates (especially for TOEFL.)
You probably know that you can send your GRE and TOEFL scores (completely free) to 4 universities. Before appearing in the test select 4 Universities (based on your expected score/academics).
It's good idea to select University in each top/second/third and fourth quarter. After giving your exam be cool and apply to Universities at your center online. In case if you forget applying online don't panic and talk to a representative at your center and they will provide free score report form to be filled.
Select Universities as follows-
- First of all see your budget. In case your score is low (<305
in V+Q) it is advised not to apply to (top 25, getting admissions might be tough, unless you have done something special/research etc) costly universities because getting scholarship might be difficult and therefore even if you get admission it may not be possible to pay tuition fees (unless you can manage tuition fees).
- Check if your field of specialization is available. Even if you have high GRE with good
GPA and your are of specialization is not available then you might get be rejected.
- Get information on availability of P/T jobs, financial aid scene, placements/internships, location, your country's student association (if any, not too important) etc.
- There are some Universities which mainly see your undergraduate academics(GPA)/Top 5%(Like University
of Arizona). If you have poor academics avoid these Universities.
After Selection of Universities get their forms (Available on University's website)
printed. There are some universities where paper application is not available on
internet. You may email grad school for the problem. But it is advised to Apply
Online. Some Universities accept Online Applications Only. Sometime Application packet are lost or reach the destination in months! Get checklist of Each
University. Don't miss any required Documents. It is possible if you miss any document your application may not be forwarded to the Department you are
applying. Get Recommendations from teachers (Prof.) of your department. The recommendation letters must have counter signature of
Teacher. Most (Almost all) university require 3 recommendation letters. Some University require 2 copies of each recommendation
letter (Check it!). Never forget to tell your professor to write your class
rank (of course if it's good).
There has been lot of problem (if I am not wrong with Indian/Chinese Students) for
transcripts. Get your transcripts sealed with University Officials (Some University require 2 sets of
Mark sheet/Transcripts). It is advised that your transcripts are directly sent from your college (some universities accept letters and many universities are accepting online recommendation letters. Some Universities don't accept Mark sheet/Transcripts sent by you.
(Some agree but wait for Transcripts and forward your application to department on or after deadline which may result in
rejection). If you are going for Ph.D. send transcripts from all your previous Colleges.
More on GPA
In each of your Application Packet there must be Statement of Purpose (Your SOP must clearly indicate your Major for MS ,check major is available in
University! Recommendations, Transcripts (if you are sending with packet),
Financial Statement (Again some university say they require after Admission but it is advised to send with
packet). Don't forget to send Resume, Details of your Project/Experience,
Courses you have learned, Papers you have published...etc. Try to make a file of 10-15
pages! Finally send your packet.
What after sending packet?
After sending your packet don't be
idle. Start mailing to the graduate advisor of corresponding Universality if he or she has received all documents. Many Universities have online system to track your application.
~Some Universities send their Selection/Rejection letter via post only.
~Some University do not respond via email even after admission.
~If You are getting late for I-20 (Sevis) You may request University to send Sevis I-20 via Courier
Service (You may be charged around 50$).
Some common questions
I have given my GRE and TOEFL exam.. Which Universities should I apply?
We understand applying to college costs money .. around ~$150 (Application Fees + GRE/TOEFL score fees + shipping (especially for international Students).. well use Engineering College Finder
I am International student. How should I get started?
- If you are looking for grad school make sure you have a 4 yr. BS degree or equivalent (3 yr degree from certain countries is not eligible for graduate studies (Master's degree))
- Choose Destinations (like USA, Canada, UK etc)
- Appear for Tests like TOEFL (or IELTS) + GRE (or GMAT)
- Start applying to Universities (please note: Most of the major intake in American Universities happens in fall (Aug-Sep) so for international students your application (including scores) must reach Universities by Nov(prior year) - March (same yr) depending deadlines.. (Each University/Department has it's own deadline)
- Once you get admission you will receive documents regarding visa (those documents can be taken to embassy for a student visa)
- Note: Health Insurance is mandatory for international students.
How to get admission to a top school?
As you know it's not easy.. several things mentioned below affects your chances...
- Your GRE (or GMAT) score + TOEFL (for international students)
- Your Undergrad School's reputation/ranking
- Your Recommendations (from professors of your undergrad school)
- Your Research Experience (papers published)
- Your work experience
- Your admission essay
We believe GPA + GRE is a major contributor (for international students) unless you are a student from a well known University (Please note: Your school may be in top 20 in your country but professors in USA are not aware of all possible 1000 universities worldwide. They might know few well known Universities through their current students or if it's well known.
Will I get financial aid?
Again depends.. generally PhD students receive tuition waiver + monthly stipend which will cover all your expenses. MS (graduate) students may receive financial assistance (depending on Major, University, academic record etc.). Generally in good universities (top 50) most PhD students (90%) get financial assistance and ~50% in MS get some funding (it really depends.. some students get waiver after first semester..some don't get anything :( ) see financial assistance
There are some courses/degrees (offered by reputed Universities/Colleges) which do not require GRE for admission to Graduate program. Some of them are listed here :
Universities not requiring the GRE test (for Engineering)
. Since most of you will be applying to multiple universities so GRE score is highly recommended (but in some cases we have seen students are not able to appear for GRE due to date issues/deadlines).