Steps to get into university in USA for Masters
Studying abroad has a lot of benefits for students completing their higher education. International students can access top quality education at highly ranked universities in the country of their choice. Furthermore, by living alone, away from their home, students learn to be independent and responsible and pick up life skills that would help them along in their careers.
One of the most popular destinations for Indian students to complete their higher education in, is the US. Apart from having some of the world’s best universities, America is also seen as the land of opportunity for those students who wish to study and settle abroad.
However, getting into a Master’s course in the US is a complex process and can confuse a lot of students.
Here is a breakdown of the steps that need to be undertaken to get into an American university for a Master’s programme.
The most important decision to take while studying abroad is which university you want to apply to. Before making this choice, it is important to carry out detailed research into which universities offer the courses you want to study, the degree you wish you complete, the extracurriculars you are interested in, etc.
Furthermore, the location of the university, its culture, and the kind of jobs ex-students get are also some important things to keep in mind. While researching, make sure you also keep an eye on deadlines for applications as well as their eligibility criteria and requirements of the particular course.
The financial burden of completing a master’s degree in the US is quite huge. Apart from tuition fees, there are also higher living costs and fees for all steps of the application you need to pay. Hence, it is important to assess your financial situation along with the estimated costs of the course.
This includes looking into scholarships that you might be able to apply for, part time jobs that you would be eligible for as well as affordable housing options. If needed, you might also have to apply for an education loan for the same.
Thus, in order to be prepared for the financial aspect of the degree, you must assess all factors closely in the beginning itself.
Once you have a clear list of universities that you like and are eligible to apply for, it is important not to procrastinate and start the process as early as possible.
From writing essays, getting documents and transcripts in order, completing applications and getting the visa, the entire process can take quite some time.
In order to ensure that you have plenty of time to work at your own pace and to prevent any deadline being missed, it is beneficial to start as soon as you have shortlisted your universities.
Take necessary exams
Most Master’s programmes in the US require either the GRE or GMAT test scores to be submitted along with the application. Furthermore, you might be required to submit scores for English language proficiency tests such as IELTS or TOEFL.
Thus, it is important to understand the requirements for each course carefully. Once you know which test scores will be needed for your programme, book the test for the earliest date and ensure you are well prepared for it.
It is important to give yourself enough time to prepare for the tests, since the scores can be the determining factor in whether or not you get a chance to attend the university of your choice.
Work on your essays
While you are preparing for your standardised tests, it is also important to start work on your personal essays simultaneously.
Most programmes in the US require you to write a brief statement of purpose, explaining why you want to study at that particular university and why you are an ideal candidate.
Apart from this, some universities might also ask you to write personal essays on a given topic to test your knowledge.
These essays are extremely crucial to your application and so you must take as much time as needed, going through various drafts before submitting the final one.
References can make a huge difference in your college applications. A few strong recommendations from professors or employers can prove to the university that you are a capable candidate who would be able to contribute to the university significantly.
Thus, it can be useful to contact old professors or any employers and ask them for recommendation letters that you could submit along with your application. While doing this, find out if there is any particular format that the university requires or prefers references to be in and follow that.
You would need to look at the university website and find out which documents you would require to submit for your application to be valid.
Most of the time, the major documents required, along with the essays and test scores are transcripts from your previous university as well as proof of identification, passport details, etc. It is important to carefully look through the list of required documents to ensure that you don’t miss anything important.
Once you have your standardised test scores, your personal essays, references as well as personal documents ready, you can go ahead and finish your application.
Most applications today are done completely online and you would generally have to scan and upload all the required papers directly to the university website.
You will also have to pay a certain amount of application fee during this time. Colleges might also ask for your financial plan, and you might need to disclose whether or not you have taken a student loan.
This is also the time you can apply for scholarships or any other financial aid programs, if necessary.
Apply for student visa
Once your application has been accepted and you get admitted into a university of your choice, the next step is to start your visa application.
Once again, it is recommended that you start as early as possible, book an appointment well in advance and have all the required paperwork ready before your interview.
This is the last step in getting into your dream university and so, ensure that you carefully research the procedure and follow instructions properly.
Completing your Master’s degree in the US can be hugely beneficial, especially given the number of highly ranked universities there. However, the process of getting admission into an American university is lengthy and complex.
This is why you must start well in advance, research the eligibility criteria properly and complete all the steps in your application process as instructed by the university.
While the amount of requirements might seem daunting at first, with proper planning, organisation and time management, the entire process of applying to a university in the US, can be made simple and streamlined.