Advantages of a US Education

The US educational experience is the best globally. Many US colleges and universities are known worldwide for the quality of their academic programs. Private institutions such as Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Cornell, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and public institutions such as University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of California at Berkeley, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, University of Wisconsin at Madison, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are familiar to students, educators, and business leaders everywhere. Additionally, to the more well-known institutions, the US has hundreds of other high quality public and private colleges and universities. The depth and breadth of options is amazing. You will find that a US higher education adds considerable value to your professional development. A US education can enhance your career and prepare you for leadership in your country. It widens your horizons and gives you a variety of perspectives, the latest technology, and state-of-the-art research and training. A degree from a US college or university is a stamp of excellence that marks you for life. If you are a graduate student, a US education can help you make contacts with colleagues in the US. This may lead to collaborations with leading international researchers after you return to your home country. Even undergraduate students will find a solid network of support because the US is a “melting pot” of diverse cultures and there are more international students in the US than anywhere else. So you will get help not just from the foreign student advisor, but also from people in the local community With the large number and variety of colleges and universities in the US, you are certain to find one that matches your specific needs. On the other hand, a US education is extremely expensive. Financial aid is very limited. You may be able to obtain similar training in your own country at a much lesser rate. You will have to balance the cost against the prestige and quality of a US education.

Calendar & Checklist

The following calendar and checklist will help you with your college admissions planning. It begins 24 months (2 years) before your planned enrollment date.
WhenWhat
September (24 months)Begin your search for colleges. Visit the nearest educational advising center and the library. Explore college sites on the web. Talk with family, friends, and acquaintances who have studied in the US. Write to 10-15 schools for information
October-November (22-23 months)Start preparing for the TOEFL exam and other admissions tests (e.g., GREGMAT, or SAT).
December – May (16-21 months)Register for the TOEFL exam and other admissions tests.
January (20 months)Choose the schools to which you will apply. Request application materials if you have not already.
March – June (15-18 months)Take the TOEFL and other admissions tests. You must take the tests before November, or you will miss the deadlines at most universities. Taking the tests now gives you a chance to improve your scores by taking them again in October.
May (16 months)Select the teachers you will ask for letters of recommendation.
July (14 months)Read the college applications and backtrack the deadlines to allow enough time to complete them. Remember to allow for delays in the mail. Narrow your list of schools to 10.
August (13 months)Write a draft of your application essays and statement of purpose. Get feedback on it from friends and an English teacher.
September (12 months)If you want to try improving your scores on the TOEFL and other exams, register for a second set of tests.
September (12 months)Ask your teachers to write letters of recommendation for you. Given them the necessary forms and a stamped, addressed envelope.
October (11 months)Complete your essays and application forms, including the financial aid application forms. Airmail them. Ask your schools to send certified copies of your academic transcripts.
October (11 months)Take the TOEFL and other exams again, if required.
November (10 months)Check with your teachers and the school to make sure your recommendations and transcripts have been posted.
December (9 months)Respond promptly to any requests for additional data.
April-May (4-5 months)You will start hearing from colleges. Contact the admissions office if you do not receive anything from them. Accept one school’s offer, and notify them and the others of your choice. Ask the school to send you the I-20 or IAP-64 form. Make permanent accommodation arrangements if you will be staying on-campus, temporary housing arrangements if you will be living off-campus. Apply for a passport if you do not already possess one.
June (3 months)Apply for a visa. Attend pre-departure orientation programs in your country. Make travel arrangements. Plan to arrive at least 15 days before orientation (2 months if you have to take an English course).
July-August(1-2 months)Have a nice trip!
 

 Academic Entrance Examination

All schools require the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). See the English as a Second Language section for more information about TOEFL. Schools may also require tests of general academic preparation, such as the SAT or ACT, and field-specific tests such as the Achievement Tests. All of these tests are standardized, multiple choice tests, written in English. If you do not have a high level of English proficiency, you will not do well on these tests, no matter how strong your academic background. About one month after the examination, your scores will be sent to the institutions you mentioned on the application form. It will take an additional 2 to 4 weeks for you to receive your copy of the score report, so it is best to not wait to see the scores before sending them to the schools to which you have applied. For more information about the SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, and other standardized exams, please see below.

 Admission Testing

Aar Overseas can assist you with this.

 ACT

ACT produces and administers the ACT Assessment test. For more information write to American College Test, 500 ACT Drive, P.O. Box 168, Iowa City, Iowa 52243-0168 USA.

 Educational Testing Services (ETS)

ETS produces and administers several standardized assessments of educational preparation, including the SAT, Achievement Tests, GMAT, GRE, and TOEFL exams. These sites include tutorials and practice questions. For more information about the TOEFL, visit http://www.toefl.org, call 1-609-771-7100, fax 1-609-771-7100, write to ETS – TOEFL iBT Registration Office, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, NJ 08541-6151, or send email to toefl@ets.org.
  •  Requesting Application Materials

    Schools usually have different application materials for international students, so it is important that you identify yourself as an international student when you contact the admissions office. So possible differences are:
    • The need to include certified translations of your education credentials
    • No eligibility for early action and early decision programs
    Application requirements and deadlines are usually the same. However, you should allow extra time for applications to arrive, because the international postal system introduces delays. Expect it to take 4 to 6 weeks for you to get a response to inquiries. So allow plenty of time. Get information from web sites and by email and facsimile. You should begin the process at least a year and a half in advance of the application deadline, and no later than August of the year prior to the academic year in which you plan to enroll. Send all inquiries by airmail and request an airmail reply. Even if you are able to correspond by facsimile and email, the actual application and accompanying documents will need to be sent by airmail. Your initial inquiry should be addressed to the Director of Undergraduate Admissions for undergraduate applications, to the Department Chair or Dean of the Graduate School or Director of Graduate Admissions for graduate applications. Your initial inquiry should either include a preliminary application form obtained from the nearest educational advising center, or at least the following information:
    • Your name, indicating which of your names is your personal or given name and which of your names is your family name. It is helpful if you underline the family name or write it in all capital letters. You should spell your name the way it appears on your passport. When corresponding with a school, it is important to always use the same spelling of your name. If you change the spelling of your name, some of your records might get lost. If some of your documents will contain a different spelling of your name, attach a note giving your name as it will be used on your application form
    • Your date of birth, written with the month first, followed by the day then the year, using the Gregorian calendar system. Spell out the name of the month instead of using numbers, because date conventions differ from country to country. For example, 4/3/67 is April 3, 1967 in the United States, not March 4
    • Your mailing Address
    • Your citizenship and the name of the country issuing your passport
    • Your marital status and the number of dependents
    • Your entire education, listed in chronological order, including all secondary schools, colleges, and universities you have attended. Include examination results, grades, and class rank if available
    • Your intended program of study and the month and year in which you hope to begin studying in the United States
    • A summary of the total funds you have available to meet your educational and living expenses during each year of study in the United States. Give as much detail as possible, such as the sources of these funds. Otherwise the admissions officers will refuse to issue the certificates you need to request a visa to study in the United States
    • A list of your TOEFL scores and other admission tests. If you have not yet taken the tests, list the dates on which you are registered to take the tests. Also mention where you studied English and the total number of years of English language study
    If you do not provide this information, the school will respond with a preliminary application that requests it. Otherwise, if you meet their preliminary criteria, they will send you a full formal application for admission with instructions.
In addition to completing the application and essays, you will have to provide certified copies of your original educational credentials (diplomas, grade reports, test scores, comprehensive exam scores), certified English translations of these documents, TOEFL exam scores, scores for any required academic entrance examinations, financial information, letters of recommendation from teachers, and the application fee. Put all the items requested, or your application will be considered incomplete. The admissions office will not review your application until it is complete, and the onus is on you to make sure they receive all of the required documents. If a requested document is not available, include a letter stating this and explaining why the document could not be provided. Following are some detail points which required to prepare the Application
  • The transcripts of your educational records should be sent directly from your former schools. This is to prevent forgeries and modifications to your transcripts. The admissions office will also want explanations of the grading and class ranking system and descriptions of the courses
  • Do not send your original documents, since they will not be returned. Copies should be certified with the school’s official seal or by a notary public. English translations, if necessary, should be done by a professional translator and also certified. The translator should not be your relative. Information about professional translators can be found in the credential evaluation section of this site. US embassies and consulates do not certify documents
  • The application will ask questions about your academic background, your hobbies and extracurricular activities, and your educational and career plans. It will also require your state of purpose essay. The purpose of the essays is partly to see an example of your English writing ability, and partly to provide an opportunity for you to express yourself in a more open format
  • One of the essays may be a statement of educational purpose. Use this essay to explain why you are pursuing an education in your field, describe your experience and strengths in that field, and outline your plans for the future. Weave the strands of your life together into a tapestry that shows where you have been, where you are now, and where you are heading. Your essay should be cohesive and well-organized. Give specific examples to support any general statements. Edit your essay for spelling and grammatical errors before writing it on the application form
  • Pay careful attention to the deadlines, and allow enough time for mailing. Submit your completed applications 2 or 3 months before the deadline. Send the applications as early as possible
  • Keep a copy of everything you send to the admissions office. If your application is lost in transit, this will help you resubmit it
  • Create a chart showing all the deadlines and important dates, and keep a record of the date you mailed each application. This will help you track your progress. When asking for letters of recommendation, choose teachers who know you well. If a teacher taught you for 2 years, that is better than a teacher who taught you for only 1 year. Ask teachers who will give you a good letter of recommendation
  • Provide your references with a copy of your completed application or a summary of your qualifications. This will remind them of your skills
  • The best letters will present a truthful appraisal of your abilities, highlighting both weaknesses and strengths. A letter from a teacher who taught you in a challenging course is more valuable than a letter from a teacher who taught you in an easy class. The purpose of the letter is to evaluate your background, motivation and promise, and not to offer useless praise. When admissions officers get letters from a teacher for several students, praising each of them as the best he has seen in his career as a teacher, they ignore them. The result is a negative mark against the students, not a positive one. It is better to be balanced in presentation, so that the admissions officer can learn to trust a teacher’s opinion over the years
  • Your teachers will want to mail their recommendations directly to the university. Provide them with a stamped airmail envelope with the correct address, and write your name in the lower left hand corner of the envelope
  • Applications from international students are increasingly being reviewed in a need-sensitive manner. Competition among international students is tough, most schools can get enough qualified students who do not have financial need. As a general rule, it is still worth applying for financial aid. If you need financial aid and do not apply for it, the school might admit you without offering any aid at all, giving the same result as an outright rejection. Many international students have sent email reporting that they have been offered admission to a US university but do not have enough financial resources to pay for the cost of education, even when the schools provide some financial aid
  • Once you have submitted your applications, you have to wait for several months before hearing anything. If you do hear anything in that time period, it will usually be a request for additional or missing items
  • If you are lucky, you will be accepted by multiple institutions. They will send you a letter of admission. Accept one (and only one) of the offers of admission, and confirm your acceptance according to their instructions. You will probably have to write a letter to the admissions office confirming that you will enroll and include a non-refundable deposit of several hundred dollars. They will then send you the form you need to apply for a student visa (Form I-20). If there are any additional forms, submit them in a timely fashion
  • Once you have accepted one of the offers, send a letter to the other schools declining their offers. Not only is it polite to do so, but it allows them to reallocate the funds they offered you to other applicants
Credential evaluation services provide objective evaluations of the US equivalents of foreign education and work credentials. For example, a credential evaluation service would indicate that the Spanish word bachiller is equal to a US high school diploma, even though the literal translation is bachelor. Fees for the evaluation of US education credentials mostly range from $50 to $250 per document, contingent on the amount of details required and the response time. Some companies will also translate the documents. Others will require that the documents be accompanied by English translations. There may be extra fees (typically $20 to $50 per page) for document translation services. The student is responsible for paying for the credential evaluation and translation fees. The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) is the national professional organization for admissions and credential evaluation. AACRAO also offers their own credential evaluation service. There is also the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services, Inc. (NACES), a small membership association of private credential evaluation services. The following table lists credential evaluation services, including all NACES members.
Credential Evaluation Services
NameDescriptionContact Information
AACRAO Foreign Credential Evaluation ServiceAACRAO’s own credential evaluation service provides evaluations of educational credentials worldwideAACRAO – Office of International Education Services Foreign Credential Evaluation Service One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 520 Washington, DC 20036, USA.
Tel: 1-202-296-3359
Email: ies@aacrao.org
for Applied Research Evaluation & Education, Inc.Member of NACES.Center for Applied Research Evaluation & Education, Inc.PO Box 20348Long Beach, CA 90801, USA.
Tel: 1-562-430-1105 Fax: 1-562-430-8215
Email: evalcaree@earthlink.net
E-ValuateE-Valuate provideeducation and work experience credential evaluation for US immigration purposes.E-Valuate13003 New Austin Court, Suite 101Herndon, VA 20171, USA.
Fax: 1-703-709-7783 Email: danand@e-valuate.com
Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (ECE)ECE gives a variety of credential evaluation services and publishes aEducational Credential Evaluators, Inc.
series of guides to the educational systems of other countries. Member of NACESPO Box 514070, Milwaukee,
WI 53202-0970, USA.
Tel: 1-414-289-3400
Fax: 1-414-289-3411
Email: eval@ece.org
Education Evaluators International, Inc.Member of NACES.Education Evaluators International, Inc.P.O. Box 5397, Los Alamitos, CA 90720-5397, USA.
Tel: 1-562-431-2187 Fax: 1-562-493-5021
Education International, Inc.Member of NACES.Education International, Inc. 29 Denton RoadWellesley, MA 02181, USA.
Tel: 1-781-235-7425 Fax: 1-781-235-6831 Email: edint@gis.net
Educational Records Evaluation Services (ERES)ERES provides credential evaluation and translation services. Member of NACES.Educational Records Evaluation Service 601 University Avenue Suite 127 Sacramento, CA 95825-6738, USA.
Tel: 1-916-921-0790 Fax: 1-916-921-0793
Email: edu@eres.com
Evaluation Service, Inc. (ESI)Member of NACES.Evaluation Service, Inc.PO Box 85 Hopewell Jct., NY 12533, USA.
Tel: 1-845-223-6455Fax: 1-845-223-6454 Email: esi@frontiernet.net
The Foreign Academic Credentials Service, Inc.Member of NACES.Foreign Academic Credentials Service, Inc., PO Box 400 Glen Carbon, IL 62034, USA.
Tel: 1-618-288-1661
Foreign Credentials Service of AmericaForeign Credentials Service of America 1910 Justin Lane Austin, TX 78757-2411, USA.
Email: FCSA@jump.net
The Foreign Educational Document ServiceMember of NACES.The Foreign Educational Document Service, PO Box 4091, Stockton, CA 95204, USA.
Tel: 1-209-948-6589
Foundation for International Services, Inc.Member of NACES.Foundation for International Services, Inc. 19015, North Creek Parkway, #103 Bothell, WA 98011, USA.
Tel: 1-425-487-2245Fax: 1-425-487-1989 Email: fis@mail.com
Global Credential Evaluators, Inc. (GCE)GCE Southwest Global Credential Evaluators, Inc.PO Box 9203, College Station, TX 77842-9203, USA.
Tel: 1-512-528-0908 Fax: 1-512-528-9293
GCE Mid-Atlantic Global Credential Evaluators, Inc.PO Box 36, 28 Westhampton Way Richmond, VA 23173-0036, USA.
Tel: 1-804-639-3660
Email: gce@gcevaluators.com
International Consultants of Delaware, Inc.Member of NACES.International Consultants of Delaware, Inc.109, Barksdale Professional Center Newark, Delaware 19711
Tel: 1-302-737-8715 Fax: 1-302-737-8756
Email: icd@icdel.com
International Education Research Foundation Inc., Credentials Evaluation Service (IERF-CES)Member of NACES.International Education Research Foundation, Inc.Credentials Evaluation Service, PO Box 66940, Los Angeles, CA 90066, USA.
Tel: 1-310-390-6276Fax: 1-310-397-7686 Email: info@ierf.org
Josef Silny & Associates, International Education ConsultantsMember of NACES.Josef Silny & Associates, Inc.
International Education Consultants, 7101 SW 102 Avenue
Miami, FL 33173 USA.
Phone: 305.273.1616
Fax: 305.273.1338/Translation Fax: 305.273.1984
Email: info@jsilny.com
www.jsilny.com
Knowledge CompanyThe Knowledge Company
10301 Democracy Lane, Suite 403 Fairfax, VA 22030-2521, USA.
Tel: 1-703-359-3520 Fax: 1-703-359-3523
Email: tkco@knowledgecompany.com
Spantran Educational Services, Inc.Spantran provides credential evaluation and translation services. Member of NACES.Spantran Educational Services, Inc.7211 Regency Square Blvd., Suite 205, Houston, TX 77036-3197, USA.
Tel: 1-713-266-8805
Word Communication InternationalWord Communication International, 4501 N. 12th St.Phoenix, AZ 85014, USA.
Tel: 1-602-265-0678 Fax: 1-602-265-2335
Email: evaluations@earthlink.com
World Education Services (WES)In addition to performing credential evaluation services, WES publishs a newsletter on international education topics, World Education News & Reviews. They also publish a booklet of suggested grade conversions for higher education in 120 countries. Member of NACES.World Education Services PO Box 745, Old Chelsea Station New York, NY 10113-0745, USA.
Tel: 1-212-966-6311 or 1-800-WES-3895
Fax: 1-212-966-6395 Email: info@wes.ors

 Financial Aid For International Student

US education is very expensive. Tuition, room and board at an undergraduate institution will cost from $15,000 to $40,000 a year, contingent on the school. A graduate education can be even more expensive. There is very little financial aid for foreign nationals to study in the US, with the possible exception of citizens of Canada and Mexico. Most grants, scholarships, and loans from public and private sources are restricted to US citizens. As a result, international students will find very little information about financial aid for international students. This site presents more information about financial aid for international students than any other publication. This information originally appeared as part of the FinAid site. Below you will find a description of how to access what aid is available, and a discussion of some of the problems you may face as you pay for a US education.
You will certainly encounter several scholarship matching services that, for a fee, will offer to search a database of scholarships for awards that match your profile. Unfortunately, the vast majority of awards in these databases are only for US citizens and permanent residents. Do not waste your money on such services. A word of caution: If a scholarship has an application fee, do not apply. If you have to pay money to get money, it is probably a scam. For more information about scholarship scams, the unclaimed aid myth, and related topics, see the Scholarship Scams section of the FinAid site.

 International Education Financial Aid

This site contains a free searchable database of 870 scholarships and awards for international students. Most are restricted to use at specific universities.
Bank Loans are easily available for higher studies anywhere in the world. Loans should be preferably taken from a Nationalised Bank. The term & condition for educational loans may vary from Bank to Bank.

 Eligibility

All Professional / Technical job oriented courses offered by reputed Universities.

 Loan Amount

Maximum Rs.20 Lakhs.

 Security

  1. For Loans up to Rs.4 Lakhs, no collateral security is required.
  2. For Loans above Rs.4 Lakhs & Upto Rs. 7.50 Lakhs Collateral Security in the form of satisfactory Third Party Guarantee.
  3. For Loans above Rs.7.50 Lakhs Collateral Security is required.

 Repayment

Course period + one year or 6 months after getting a job, whichever is earlier. The loan is to be repaid in 5-7 years after commencement of repayment.

 Rate of Interest

Upto Rs. 4 Lakhs-PLR
Above Rs. 4 Lakhs-PLR + 1%*

 Documents Required

  • Loan application
  • Admission Letter from College/University
  • Academic documents of the student
  • Photograph, Residence proof of borrower and guarantor
  • Covering letter stating sources of owned funds
  • Fee receipts or proof of payments made
  • Title Deeds of the ownership property to be mortgaged as security
  • Copy of passport & Visa, if student is going abroad for higher education and related documents
  • Income proof of the applicant in the form of last 3 months salary slip/Certificate or copy of the last 3 years IT returns filed with computation details of personal assets & liabilities
  • Two guarantors with their latest salary Slip / certificate in case guarantor belongs to service class or latest income tax returns filed with the computation of income in case the guarantor is a businessman, professional or self-employed
Simple interest will be calculated during Repayment Holiday / Moratorium period.