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Double check before joining US universities

Double check before joining US universities
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Very few reputed varsities at US education fair Representatives fail to clear doubts about four-year rule in US GRE/GMAT tests can ...

  • Very few reputed varsities at US education fair
  • Representatives fail to clear doubts about four-year rule in US
  • GRE/GMAT tests can be exempted, say representatives

The students of Andhra Pradesh planning to go to the United States are being taken for a ride as always, this was evident with very few reputed Universities showing up at the one-day workshop held on Saturday, at Taj Deccan, by United States India Educational Foundation (USIEF) in conjunction with the Consulate General of United States, Hyderabad. This is just one of the several programmes which USIEF conducts every year under the direction of the US Department of State, for assisting Indian student planning to go to US.

Hundreds of anxious students attended the event, which was held in a rather congested conference hall of the hotel. Representatives from 23 Universities, mostly holding positions in their schools' international student affairs departments took part in the programme. Currency exchange companies, loan offering companies and TOEFL/GRE/IELTS representatives were also present.

Apart from the University of Southern California and the Rochester Institute of Technology and a couple more, most of the Universities seemed desperate to attract as many uninformed students to apply for the programmes they offer. Some of the Universities were located in remote places like South Dakota, Omaha and even Oregon, which Indian students wouldn't usually prefer. Most of the Universities present there, though well-established, are not usually preferred by Indian students.

Though there were State Universities among those present, funding for in-state tuition for international students seemed meagerly existent. The Universities had fee structure ranging from $ 15,000 to $ 30,000 per year, depending on the programme and the school. The students looked completely uninformed about the schools, visa procedure, US student visa rules and about the country itself.

Kerry Sethi, a representative from Moravian College explained how the students with a three-year degree from India have to go through WES evaluation in US, before joining an MBA program, which may decide that they pursue certain number of credits in the bachelors level programmes before they join the masters program. However, many students have complained in the past that reputed American Universities have used WES evaluation as an excuse to burden students with 30-60 credits of unnecessary bachelors level education, which would mean they have to spend a year or two and many thousands of dollars before they actually join the masters programme, even though they have a certified three-year degree from India. Many students in the past, who had received acceptance letters for Masters programmess while in India, were given Admissions (I-20) for a Bachelors program after arriving in US.

The representatives present there failed to clear about the four year rule in US. According to them the four-year rule can be relaxed and even the GRE/GMAT tests can be exempted as well, which are actually mandatory for admissions into reputed schools. "Do not look for ranking of the schools. Look for which programme interests you the most," opined Matt Alex, a representative of Wiliamette University, Oregon.

Advising the students to communicate clearly in their visa interview, Ellen Driscoll, a representative of Suffolk University said that most of the students were not responding correctly to what she was asking them. She said that the students should only answer to what they were being asked by the visa officer.

Even parents didn't seem worried about the rupee fall, as they were more concerned about their daughter/son's career. Shankar Prasad, parent of Sai Vinay, was sending his son to pursue Masters in Civil Engineering. He said that his son wishes to come back after completion of his programme to work here in India.

Many students didn't seem to know the truth that the 29 months OPT was applicable to only the STEM fields and not for other programmes like MBA, which have only one year for OPT. The entire event looked like a marketing stunt which cared the least for the welfare of Indian students, trying to showcase the Universities which seem to be in a desperate need for international students to boost their revenue.

"The number of students getting visas has doubled since last year. Students still have the eternal desire to pursue the presently non-existent American dream," quipped a business Development Manager of an educational consultancy. It has to be remembered that ever year, Indian students spend $ 2 billion for studying abroad.

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