Planning to pursue higher education in the US? This is what US Consulate wants you to do
According to US Embassy officials, most of the Indian students have misconceptions about studying in the USA and are unclear about the entire process--right from choosing a university to departure for the States
HYDERABAD: Are you planning to go to the United States of America (USA) to pursue higher education? According to US Embassy officials, most of the Indian students have misconceptions about studying in the USA and are unclear about the entire process--right from choosing a university to departure for the States..
To address these issues, the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) (formerly known as the United States Educational Foundation in India) was established. It is the only organisation which is funded by the United States and provides all its services free of cost.
USIEF's EducationUSA Advising Services (EAS) provide accurate, comprehensive and current information to students who are interested in pursuing higher education and scholarships in the U.S. Specialised seminars and workshops on admission application procedures and strategies, education fairs and pre-departure orientation programs are held all the year round. USIEF advising centers are located at New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai.
The USIEF has provided the following five-step guide on your journey to studying in the USA.
Step 1: Research Your Options
The first crucial step is to conduct thorough research. Start by exploring the diverse range of educational institutions available in the US. From universities to community colleges, there's something for everyone. Look into the programs they offer, their admission requirements, and campus facilities. This is your chance to identify the best fit for your academic aspirations and personal preferences.
Step 2: Finance Your Studies
Studying abroad involves costs, and it's essential to plan your finances. Calculate tuition fees, living expenses, and additional costs such as health insurance. Research scholarship opportunities, grants, and financial aid offered by both the institutions and external organisations. Don't forget to consider part-time work options while studying, but ensure you have the necessary work authorization.
Step 3: Complete Your Application
Once you've narrowed down your choices, it's time to submit your applications. Most universities have online application portals, so create an account and follow the instructions carefully. Prepare your academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a well-crafted statement of purpose. Pay attention to application deadlines – they vary between institutions and programs.
Step 4: Secure Your Student Visa
If you've received an acceptance letter, congratulations! Now you need to obtain a student visa to enter the US. The most common type of student visa is the F-1 visa. To secure it, you'll need to provide proof of your acceptance to an accredited institution, demonstrate your intent to return home after completing your studies, and show sufficient financial resources to cover your education and living expenses.
Step 5: Prepare for Departure
As you gear up for your journey, there are a few essential tasks to complete. Apply for housing if your chosen institution offers it. Pack your bags with essential documents, clothing, and personal items. Familiarise yourself with the campus and its surroundings. Additionally, research the cultural norms and practices in your future city to help with your integration.
According to Sujana Mayreddy, Regional Officer, USIEF, “A student should give around 12-18 months of time to complete the above five-step process. Most of the students come to us after their visa is rejected but we do virtual and in person meets throughout the year. If any student wants authentic information, we will guide them in their entire process. We are available on WhatsApp and all other social media platforms across 8 centres in India. In 2022, 14,000 students took assistance from USIEF in Hyderabad alone. This number is expected to increase this year.”
Meanwhile, speaking at the EducationUSA fair in Hyderabad on August 26, 2023, Acting U.S Consul-General and Consular Chief Rebakah Drame said that major changes have been made to renew visas post the Covid pandemic
“Indian applicants can now easily renew visas, no matter their previous category. Regardless of their previous visa type, applicants can now renew their visas hassle-free. Whether someone had a visitor's visa for a Disney World trip or plans to study at institutions like Washington University, in-person visits are no longer mandatory. Applicants can submit their application documents at designated drop-off points. These materials are then couriered to the processing centre, where the visa is evaluated and returned via courier, eliminating the need for in-person submission,” she said.
Drame added that Hyderabad's visa processing centre has undergone a transformation with the establishment of a new Consulate at Nanakramguda.
“The centre offers a modern and visually appealing environment. The adjudicating officers are more than what we had ever before and it is going to increase in the Telugu states. The expansion of staffing, especially for Consular officers, is a strategic move to address the growing demand for visa interviews. This step is aimed at not only benefiting students but also individuals intending to travel for leisure purposes” she said.