In the previous post “Guide to Admission for a Master’s Degree in the USA – PART 1”, I had given detailed steps for the application process. In this post I will continue the steps and would also highlight some of the important points, which one needs to keep in mind.
1. WAITING FOR I20
For all of you who don’t know what an i20 is, it is a document which is sent by the university to the student by post confirming their seat in the college.
Once you have submitted the online application as well as the hard copies, its time for you to relax for a while and most importantly PRAY! You would receive the i20 only after an official email sent to you about the admit. The university would send you links to track your packet. Make sure some one is available at the address mentioned in the application!
2. The i20 !
I still remember how happy I was too see my first i20. The feeling is out of the world! Don’t be too happy though, there is something called VISA which can ruin your happiness, this being an understatement! After you have received info about Admit/Reject from all the universities, you have to analyze the pros and cons of each of them and then take a final decision. Its advisable to get in touch with the seniors of that particular university and get your doubts clarified. One should look into factors like Campus recruitments, On campus jobs, Coursework and reputation of the university in a global scale. Many of them look into factors like Indian population, Extra curricula’s etc, which are necessary but not of great significance. BE PATIENT, and then take a call.
3. AFTER i20
Once you have decided on the college, the next step is booking for the VISA. This is one of the most important step in the admission process. The Visa process is explained below.
It is highly important for you to sign the i20 and make five –six copies of it. The original should be kept very carefully.
There is a form named “DS-160” which has to be filled and submitted online. There are many questions asked, some of them can be really humorous ( Like Do you belong to any terrorist organization? ) Please be careful in answering aal the questions and check and re-check while applying. You may have to upload your photo and there are some requirements attached to it, so go through them and get the photo uploaded.
The next step is the SEVIS fees (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) which has to be paid online( www.fmjfee.com ). A number would be asked in the form which would be written on the top right corner of your i20 ( N00000xxxxxx ).Once you have finished the online transaction, take a print out of the same and keep it carefully.
Go to www.ustraveldocs.com and start with the visa application process and ensure that the details you enter match in the passport. You would be asked to pay about 160$ and this can be paid in any of the branches of AXIS BANK. Remember to collect the receipt of the same, which will have a reference number in it.
After about two days a code will be activated and you can book the visa date. It is better to book it in the morning slot say 7:30 –9:30. Make sure you are done with your visa interview before August!
5. VISA DOCUMENTS
- * Passport (Both old and new if applicable)
- * Your Interview Letter, I-20, DS-160 Receipt, SEVIS Receipt
- * ORIGINAL TRANSCRIPTS
- * Financial Support Documents (Bank Statement showing the amount + A letter from your sponsor even if it is your father or mother)
- * Your Sponsor’s bank statements for the last 6 months and tax papers for the previous year. (This is optional but it is recommended that you carry)
- * Original admission letter from the University.
6. VISA PREPARATION
All of you already have some information about the visa process. My personal advise, don’t believe what others say, you may have friends who say that the visa process is uncertain and it all depends on LUCK!
If you have the documents right and if you speak with confidence, there is no way one would get rejected!
There are numerous websites, which give you information on the basic questions asked and how to approach the same.
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW ABOUT EACH OF THE DOCUMENTS YOU WOULD BE CARRYING!
The students generally put all the documents in a harmonium folder so that it eases the process of identifying the documents when asked.
Make sure you know about your university, the plus, the minus, everything.
7. VISA PROCESS
Generally, the process is in two segments one is the OFC and the other is the Interview. At the OFC some of the documents will be verified and there will be a paper stuck to your passport. The next step is the final visa interview. Please do keep calm and don’t get tensed. Answer all the questions asked with full confidence and without stammering. As soon as you enter some of your documents will be checked and you would be given a token number. Keep looking at the screen above and wait for your token number to appear on the screen. Along with your token number the screen will also display the counter number where you would have your interview.
8. MY VISA INTERVIEW
Me: good morning sir.
me: how are you doing sir..?
vo:am doing fine what abt you?
me: m doing great sir..thank you!
Vo: wats ur ug %
me: 74 sir
VO: any backlogs ?
me : 2 sir
VO : ok ur visa is approved..:)
Many of them had similar experiences, but I now of people who are rejected too. Some of the reasons, which I noticed, were,
- Lack of confidence
- Weak profile
- Less knowledge about the documents
- Stammering a lot
Once your VISA is approved, sit down relax and spend time with your family!
This actually depends on the individual concerned. IF you are well aware of the online application forms and the documents to send then there is absolutely no need of taking help of any of these organizations. On the other hand if you are unaware of majority of the information or don’t have the time, it is better to avail the services of any consultant. All you have to do is to give them the necessary documents and some details pertaining to you. They make sure they fill the online application form and also send the packets to the colleges you wish to apply to. They also advise you on the colleges you should apply. SOP and Resume are also corrected by them.
There are various websites where you can get the information. Ironically, the biggest source for all the information is FACEBOOK. Every college has their own Facebook group and group for Indians studying in that particular college. This would help you to connect with the seniors and build a network before you arrive at the college. There are various doubts you will get after the Visa like the flight tickets, the apartments for rent, lease form, luggage restrictions etc. Once you have a group of people who are going to the same university, you can create a Whatsapp group, where you can discuss the important issues and also get your doubts rectified.
I hope this article proves to be useful to many. If at all you have any doubts, feel free to comment and I will try my best to make things clear to you!