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Basic Steps Towards MS/ PhD at US Universities

Author: yogidas, Posted on Monday, September 19 @ 17:19:29 IST by RxPG  

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GRE

Hi friends, My name is Yogeshwar D. Suryawanshi.( NIT(REC), Calicut). First of all I would like to thank Ullash , Raj , Amit ,Sunil .. few to mention here.. my class mates who initiated me to write this article. My special thanks to “ SUJAY RAJENDRA SANGHAVI ” from IIT Bombay who earlier made a similar effort by writing an article. The process for higher education in USA is supposed to be a long, meticulous and often painful process ( you can imagine from the size of this article), but is definitely worth it if you want a good graduate education in the engineering sciences. Some of you may know the process already; in that case please forward the article to your friends in need. This article is just a trial to make this process more easy and cool for all aspirants. I hope this article will help you at least to some extent. Please forward this article to all the aspirants. Here is the article …

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Note: This article is a big one and hence I have uploaded this article at us_fall2004@yahoogroups.com , greinfo@yahoogropus.com ,
fall2004-mumbai@yahoogroups.com. So please be a member of these group so that you can access many more files form there along with this article. The other files uploaded by different people include useful information about the Sample branch wise SOP’s , Bank Statements, GRE Wordlists , Preparation materials, University Rankings, Seniors at the Universities, VISA queries and many more things. That would be very nice and the sort of info you will get here will be very rare….so join this group and access the files now.
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GRE & TOEFL: The Standardized Tests

GRE : Graduate Record Examination
The official website for GRE is www.gre.org

TOEFL : Test of English as a Foreign Language
The official website for TOEFL is www.toefl.org


If you are an aspirant who want to pursue his higher education that is Post Graduation /Masters Degree program or PhD in USA or Canada you need to appear for GRE. Also if You are a person who’s native language is not English you need to appear for TOEFL irrespective of whether you had your undergraduate / post graduate study in English medium. Hence all Indians must have to appear these two examinations if they want to go for MS ( Master of Science ) / PhD program in any discipline. Hence here is a brief description of these two examinations and other useful information which you need to know before you opt for MS/ PhD. It is a long, meticulous and often painful process but is definitely worth it if you want a good graduate education in the engineering sciences. I will now detail the steps to be followed, in chronological order.


Graduate Record Examination: General Test
Description of the General Test
The General Test measures analytical writing, verbal, and quantitative skills that have been acquired over a long period of time and that are not related to any specific field of study.
The analytical writing section tests your critical thinking and analytical writing skills. It assesses your ability to articulate and support complex ideas, analyze an argument, and sustain a focused and coherent discussion. It does not assess specific content knowledge.
The verbal section measures your ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it, to analyze relationships among component parts of sentences, to recognize relationships between words and concepts, and to reason with words in solving problems. There is a balance of passages across different subject matter areas: humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.
The quantitative section measures your basic mathematical skills, your understanding of elementary mathematical concepts, and your ability to reason quantitatively and solve problems in a quantitative setting. There is a balance of questions requiring arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. These are content areas usually studied in high school.

Preparation Material for GRE: Generally widely used books for GRE are BARRON’s GRE , ARCO , Princeton Review ( Also the CD provided with this book is supposed to be very good) , KAPLAN etc. ETS also provides a Free Preparation CD after you register for GRE. You may try out a google search .
Yet there are many sites for its preparation. The stuff is available on its official website www.gre.org There is a separate question pool for the topics of Analytical Writing on this site. Also one site www.number2.com is a very good site for online preparation of GRE. It is beneficial for the students who get free internet facility from the institution.

TOEFL Testing Program
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) measures the ability of nonnative speakers of English to use and understand North American English as it is used in college and university settings. Scores on the test are required by more than 4,300 two- and four-year colleges and universities, professional schools, and sponsoring institutions.
The test is offered on computer throughout most regions of the world. In areas where access to computer-based testing is limited, a supplemental paper-and-pencil version of the test is administered
The other information regarding GRE ( CBT & PBT ) and other queries is given on the website www.gre.org So please visit the site if you have any queries.
Similarly the information regarding TOEFL ( CBT & PBT ) and the other queries is given on the website www.toefl.org so please visit the site if you have any queries.
Below I have discussed about the application procedures and not much about the examination pattern. These are basic steps in general to be followed by the aspirants.

Preparation Material for TOEFL: TOEFL is a very cool examination and needs no special preparation almost. But still to mention a few books BARRON’S TOEFL , CLIFFS etc. ETS also provides a Free Preparation CD after you register for TOEFL.
For additional stuff visit the official site www.toefl.org

Basic Steps Towards GRE

First of all decide whether to go for MS in USA , CANADA where GRE / TOEFL or both are required. Since there are steps to follow only if you are determinant. If yes then decide the field of interest. That is whether to opt MS in the same field of your graduation or any other field. Accordingly decide your projects in that particular field.

1. Get your passport since you have to give your Passport number as your identification number in the GRE application form.

2. That is get your Industrial Training done if necessary in that field.

3. Then do your mini project & Final year project in that field only.

4. Also try for the final seminar in that particular topic.

5. Get some research papers in this field published in international magazines or at least present it in inter college technical festivals. In this case the students should note one thing that the research work done should be an original piece of work . Then only it is of importance.

The first step is mandatory for all who want to apply for GRE and TOEFL.
It is not necessary for you to get an admission for MS to follow all the remaining fields but if you are planning for and AID this is must. Also for getting admission this plays crucial role in the process. Try to do as many as things possible of these.

Choosing Field of Interest:
Hopefully by the time the Prof Letting ( Discussed Later ) process starts you will have decided which sub-field of your department interests you enough for you to pursue your graduate education in it. It need not be too narrow, but there should be some choice made. Second fact of life - people working in some fields get scholarships easier than people in others. But it should not be the only factor in deciding which field you are going to work/apply in -otherwise you may end up doing an MS in something you do not like. Applying in the field in which you did your final-year project and the maximum things mentioned above will improve your chances, but that does not mean that your MS should be constrained by what you did in your Final year project.
If you are planning for MS/PhD in a different field than your graduation then it important that you get maximum of this stuff done in order to substantiate yourself in the Statement of Purpose and make your resume look more impressive.

These are initial basic things that one should know before deciding to go for MS.
Then comes the GRE and TOEFL in vision.

GRE Procedure: General Test

1. First of all request the Bulletin for GRE from the site www.gre.org This is the official site for GRE. Also you can request the bulletin from www.ipem.org

2. you have two options either you request the bulletin if you have time before you appear for GRE or get the form downloaded from this website.


3. Then fill up the form and make a draft of required Dollars in the name of
ETS-GRE . Presently the application fee is $140. Do not send the cash. It should be in Dollars only.

4. If you have credit card ; you can send the money directly through the card. The information for this procedure is given in GRE bulletin.

5. In the application form for GRE there are options for giving GRE test centre and Dates of test. You give it as per your convenience. The information for filling out this form is provided in the bulletin.


6. Send this form along with application fee to your country ETS centre. For India it is in Delhi. The address is given in the bulletin.

7. After this you will get the acknowledgement letter from the GRE. Also your date & time for test will be mentioned in that. That is supposed to be your hall ticket. So keep it safely for appearing the GRE exam. Also other instructions will be mentioned in that letter which are mandatory for all students to appear for GRE. You must do take your Passport , Hall Ticket and Secondary Identification with you for your test. You can not take other things with you. Follow the instructions in the hall ticket and bulletin.
8. After you finish the exam your official score is to be sent to the universities where you want to apply for MS. Since ETS send your official GRE score to four universities free of cost. Since that fee is included in your GRE application fee ( $ 140). So select the universities carefully. Since these are the places where you can save your money.

9. If you want to apply for other universities than those four then you must fill out extra score report form. You will get the extra score report form along with your original score report from ETS.( This score report for you will be given within 3-4 weeks after you appear for GRE.) Also the extra score report form is provided in GRE bulletin. You may also download the Extra score report form from the website www.gre.org


10. Fill this form with the institution codes where you want to apply along with the department code to which you would like to apply. Both the ‘Institution codes and Department codes’ are given in the GRE bulletin and are also available on the site www.gre.org which is the official website.

11. Along with this make a bank draft in the name of ETS-GRE of the equivalent amount required for reporting scores to the extra universities in US dollars. Presently for reporting score to one university application fee is $ 15.


12. Send this extra score repost form along with the application fee ( Draft) to ETS/GRE on its address at Princeton. This address is also mentioned on the extra score report from and also in the GRE bulletin.

13. Then your work for ETS – GRE is over.

TOEFL Procedure:

1.First of all request the Bulletin for TOEFL from the site www.toefl.org This is the official site for TOEFL. Also you can request the bulletin from www.ipem.org

2.you have two options either you request the bulletin if you have time before you appear for TOEFL or get the form downloaded from this website.

3.Then fill up the form and make a draft of required Dollars in the name of
ETS-TOEFL. Presently the application fee is $130. Do not send the cash. It should be in Dollars only.

4.If you have credit card ; you can send the money directly through the card. The information for this procedure is given in TOEFL bulletin.
5.In the application form for TOEFL there are options for giving TOEFL test centre and Dates of test. You give it as per your convenience. The information for filling out this form is provided in the bulletin.

6.Send this form along with application fee to your country ETS centre. For India it is in Delhi. The address of ETS at Delhi is given in the bulletin.

7.After this you will get the acknowledgement letter from the TOEFL. Also your date & time for test will be mentioned in that. That is supposed to be your hall ticket. So keep it safely for appearing the TOEFL exam. Also other instructions will be mentioned in that letter which are mandatory for all students to appear for TOEFL. You must do take your Passport , Hall Ticket and Secondary Identification with you for your test. You can not take other things with you. Follow the instructions in the hall ticket and bulletin.

8.After you finish the exam your official score is to be sent to the universities where you want to apply for MS. Since ETS send your official TOEFL score to four universities free of cost. Since that fee is included in your TOEFL application fee ( $ 140). So select the universities carefully. Since these are the places where you can save your money.

9.If you want to apply for other universities than those four then you must fill out extra score report form. You will get the extra score report form along with your original score report from ETS.( This score report for you will be given within 3-4 weeks after you appear for TOEFL.) Also the extra score report form is provided in TOEFL bulletin. You may also download the Extra score report form from the website www.gre.org

10.Fill this form with the institution codes where you want to apply along with the department code to which you would like to apply. Both the ‘Institution codes and Department codes’ are given in the TOEFL bulletin and are also available on the site www.toefl.org which is the official website.

11.Along with this make a bank draft in the name of ETS-TOEFL of the equivalent amount required for reporting scores to the extra universities in US dollars. Presently for reporting score to one university application fee is $ 15.

12.Send this extra score repost form along with the application fee ( Draft) to ETS/TOEFL on its address at Princeton. This address is also mentioned on the extra score report from and also in the TOEFL bulletin.

13.Then your work for ETS – TOEFL is over.


NOTE: For the a particular Department ‘the department codes’ to be mentioned in the score report form are different for GRE and TOEFL score report forms for the same particular University ( university / institution code for a particular university to be mentioned in both the forms is generally same.). Hence please refer both the bulletins or the websites for these codes.

University Applications

1. You request the graduate applications from the universities where you would like to apply. You can request the applications by visiting their university website and filling out the application request forms.. Some times you have to mail directly to the graduate coordinator requesting the application on your address. Make sure that you cross the minimum eligibility criteria of that university where you would like to apply. Also have a look at the message board of www.edulix.com so that you can imagine whether that university is a right choice for you or not.

2. Generally you should do this when you apply for GRE test. Since it takes 3-4 weeks to reach the applications on your address.


3. If you have not asked for the Graduate application for a particular university and you want to apply that university then you may download the application forms from their website. Then you can take the print outs of that and send the applications.

4. Then follow the procedures/ steps for applications given in the bulletin from the universities which you have selected.


5. Make the application fee draft in US Dollars on the correct address mentioned in the university bulletin. Do not send cash. Make sure that the address is correct.

6. If you have credit card then you may send your fee directly. Also you may fill out the electronic – application for the MS/PhD program. The electronic application is generally there for all universities. It is more safe and fast than the mailing procedure.

It is better to select the universities looking at your credentials , the minimum requirement of scores by the university and the application deadlines. So that you can raise the chances of getting an admission with AID. Also have a look at the minimum annual expenses at the university selected. For this visit the sites www.review.com www.universities.com www.usnews.com www.phds.org also go for NRC rankings on yahoo website. There are many more to mention. Visit the USEFI website to get more information on study in USA.
There are many things to be sent to the universities along with application other than Application forms.

Generally the extra material is as follows.

1. Application fee in dollars

You can pay it directly by credit card or can make the draft on the address mentioned by the university. It should be only in US Dollars. Make sure that the name of the university is correct.

2. Transcripts

The transcript is nothing but the consolidated mark list given by your undergraduate college or institution. Request your undergraduate institution to give you the required number of transcripts.

3. Statement of Purpose ( SOP)

In this letter you have to write your particulars goals after MS, why the MS in a particular field , your achievements in that field. For some strange reason universities want you to tell them why you are interested in pursuing a graduate education, what you
hope to achieve from the same, your career plans and your qualifications In short you have to sell yourself best in front of the faculty. You should always send your SOP to the university whether they ask for it or not along with the application material. Since it is the only chance where you can present yourself in front of faculty and get distinguished from others. Ask seniors for their SOPs. And again get SOPs reviewed by seniors. Aping legend has it that a bad SOP is a BAD idea and a good SOP is often the deciding criterion between otherwise similar candidates. Again make it point wise as far as possible, and avoid writing vague generalities and unsubstantiated statements

I have uploaded the sample SOP’s for all streams at us_fall2004@yahoogroups.com , greinfo@yahoogroups.com
fall2004-mumbai@yahoogroups.com So please join these groups and access them. Also there are many sites who guide regarding SOP and provide sample SOPs a few to mention here. www.infozee.com ,www.evidyarthi.com, www.admissionguru.com www.statementofpurpose.com , www.greguide.com , www.msdreamz.com .Also try to search information in general from www.google.com

4.Curriculum Vitae / Resume

In your resume you may list your academics and academic achievements. Also your honors and extracurricular activities , your papers published if any. You may visit the above sites for the standard format of resume.
You should send always your resume to the university along with the application whether they ask for it or not.
After you have decided on a tentative list of universities and Profs in those univs you have to make your resume. Make sure you include all the studgiri you have done/think you are going to do. Generally people include their seminars, Final Year Projects, any course/lab projects worth mentioning, their summer training projects, their GRE and TOEFL scores, their department rank ... Ask some suitable senior to give you his resume for guidance and after you have made a draft show it to seniors for pointers and stuff. Make sure your resume does not sound bombastic - do not claim to have done more than you actually have. Also, limit it to at max 3-4 pages - no one wants to go through an encyclopedia detailing your greatness. Also, it may be possible that you are aping in slightly differing fields in different universities - in this case reorder your resume and emphasise-deemphasise appropriately. But it is always good to have a standard resume .If you have a good department rank flash it prominently. And DO NOT make your resume in MS Word or other such editors - plain text is the way. It may restrict its looks, but the professors there may not even bother to open an MS word document. Avoid long paragraphs - use points. I could go on and on, so I won't - just keep your mind open when writing your resume and make sure you get it properly reviewed by kindly souls willing to undergo the torture.


5.Bank Statement

Generally if you are planning to have bank loan for your financial support then you must submit the bank statement from which you have property worth enough of affording the MS/PhD program if you don’t get AID. The format of this bank statement can be obtained from the websites mentioned above. But generally people submit it only after getting an admission into the university and submit to that particular university.

6.Financial support certificate

If you are planning to go for MS on you self support or if somebody is financing you then you must present the financial certificate. The format of this can be obtained from the above websites. But generally people submit it only after getting an admission into the university and submit to that particular university.

7.Recommendations

The recommendations are necessary for any universities. These are given by your teachers in undergraduate studies. Generally minimum 2-3 recommendations are required depending upon the university. But you can submit few more if they are really good . Try to show the variety of recommendations.
Steps to follow for getting recommendations.

1. Approach your project guide and ask him for a good recommendation.

2. Approach other professors/ lecturers who have taught you at least one course and ask them if they can provide you a good recommendation since the recommendation letters are confidential. Then only ask them to write recommendation for you.


3. Generally try to get at least one recommendation for your math teacher.

4. Try to get recommendations from professors at other institutions under whom you had published a paper or have done a project. If this is not possible then try to get the recommendations from professors of other department at your institutions. This helps to show the variety of your recommendation. This really helps in the admission procedure if you have a low undergraduate percentage.


5. But still for safety give recommendation form an extra university where you are not applying. So that you can tear that recommendation and see whether the teacher has written good for you or not. If it is not good then do not send that recommendation. The recommendations once teared out can not be send to the university. Send only those which are good. So approach more teachers than the number of recommendations needed.

6. Sometimes some teachers don’t know how to write the recommendation . In that case give some sample recommendation from the sites mentioned above.


7. The part for recommendation is over.

8.Official score reports of GRE & TOEFL

You have to request ETS to send the official score to the universities which you have selected. Some universities ask both the photocopies of your score reports and the official score report by ETS. Please check with your university.

9. Include any certificates, reprints of publications or any other such studgiri you have referred to in your resume.


GRE Score reporting :

After you finish the exam your official score is to be sent to the universities where you want to apply for MS. Since ETS send your official GRE score to four universities free of cost. Since that fee is included in your GRE application fee ( $ 140). So select the universities carefully. Since these are the places where you can save your money.
If you want to apply for universities other than those four then you must fill out extra score report form. You will get the extra score report form along with your original score report from ETS.( This score report for you will be given within 3-4 weeks after you appear for GRE.) Also the extra score report form is provided in GRE bulletin. You may also download the Extra score report form from the website www.gre.org
Fill this form with the institution codes where you want to apply along with the department code to which you would like to apply. Both the ‘Institution codes and Department codes’ are given in the GRE bulletin and are also available on the site www.gre.org which is the official website.
Along with this make a bank draft in the name of ETS-GRE of the equivalent amount required for reporting scores to the extra universities in US dollars. Presently for reporting score to one university application fee is $ 15. ( Still for verification of this information please visit the official GRE website or refer the GRE bulletin.)
Send this extra score repost form along with the application fee ( Draft) to ETS/GRE on its address at Princeton. This address is also mentioned on the extra score report from and also in the GRE bulletin.

TOEFL Score reporting:

After you finish the TOEFL exam your official score is to be sent to the universities where you want to apply for MS. Since ETS send your official TOEFL score to four universities free of cost. Since that fee is included in your TOEFL application fee ( $ 130). So select the universities carefully. Since these are the places where you can save your money.
If you want to apply for universities other than those four then you must fill out extra score report form. You will get the extra score report form along with your original score report from ETS.( This score report for you will be given within 3-4 weeks after you appear for TOEFL.) Also the extra score report form is provided in TOEFL bulletin. You may also download the Extra score report form from the website www.gre.org
Fill this form with the institution codes where you want to apply along with the department code to which you would like to apply. Both the ‘Institution codes and Department codes’ are given in the TOEFL bulletin and are also available on the site www.toefl.org which is the official website.
Along with this make a bank draft in the name of ETS-TOEFL of the equivalent amount required for reporting scores to the extra universities in US dollars. Presently for reporting score to one university application fee is $ 15. ( Still for verification of this information please visit the official TOEFL website or refer the TOEFL bulletin.)
Send this extra score report form along with the application fee ( Draft) to ETS/TOEFL on its address at Princeton. This address is also mentioned on the extra score report from and also in the TOEFL bulletin.

NOTE: For the a particular Department ‘the department codes’ to be mentioned in the score report form are different for GRE and TOEFL score report forms for the same particular University ( university / institution code for a particular university to be mentioned in both the forms is generally same.). Hence please refer both the bulletins or the websites for these codes.

Now from here I have discussed the matters which were discussed in abstract above. That is the Academics, Standard Test Scores, Posting the applications ,Prof- Letting,

SENDING THE FORMS/ APPLICATION PACKETS –
Courier them – don’t be penny wise and pound foolish and send them by post or something. Put your email ID on the cover. Two/three people sending to the same university often send their packets together - do this if you want, no harm. Also, universities ask for things to be sent separately to the Graduate Office and the Department. Send them both in separate envelopes in the same packet if required, with a covering letter stating clearly what is what and whose. One more thing, Blue Dart provides 50% rebate scheme for University application couriers. The scheme is on generally for 4 months and generally starts from December onwards. But there are other courier services also which provide the discounts. Enquire about them at your place. Even our Indian Post is good enough. There are many other good courier services. You can go for any one as per your convenience.

Relax…!!! Relax…..!!! Relax……!!!
Have a Break have a Kit Kat…. Just Relax now … its too much yaar! Relax…..

Now everything regarding the Application is over. But now last impacts are important to get a good finish. Here comes the tool Prof- Letting.
This is what we affectionately call contacting faculty in the US universities for admission and financial aid. It is a long and painful process and will eat up your time and concentration, but it is known to yield often spectacular results. So here is a step-by-step guide

Pre-Application Prof Letting:
So time has come to start prof-letting - what do you do? Make a "Prof- Letter" - a covering letter of sorts that briefly details the field you are interested in, and why you would like to work with the particular Prof you are sending the mail to. Include things like your rank (if good) and GRE and TOEFL scores, but don’t make it a second resume. Limit it to one page AT MAX – Prof ‘s there get pained by thousand mails from all over the world and do not REALLY care about you. Send to one Prof from each university and wait for a few days - say 4-5. Avoid sending around weekends - they pile up in the Prof's inbox and chances are he will just delete it in the rush to clear his inbox. Profs who do reply usually do so in 2-3 days max. In the event of no reply or unfavorable reply, suck someone else. Sending 20 mails a week and not even getting one reply is often the case - keep at it.
Generally people do it before choosing the universities for applying. If they get a good response from the Prof at that university they select the university. If the reply is not positive just do not apply there.

Post-Application Prof Letting

After you have sent your applications packets, send emails to Profs who replied positively to you before applying informing them that you have sent your application packet and that they should see it. Also send mails to Profs who have NOT replied to you earlier, telling them that you have applied and that could they please look at your application? Make sure to include your resume in such new contacts, and mention important things like department rank and stuff in the main mail itself. Don’t send more than one Prof at a time in the same university - wait for 4-5 days for each fellow to reply. This process can start in say late Jan. It can be pretty painful - just go about it bravely.

Some Things Really Matter…and make you different from others…!

“ If you have great zeal to do the extra things other than I have elaborated above and you never get tired of Acads.. then read this Also to be frank very few are able to do the following things except IITans and few from other Brand Institutes… but it is very helpful if you want to make your Application different from others and to secure Admissions in the best GRAD schools with possible types of AID/ Schols .”
Now there are few more important points for the undergraduate students who are not yet in Final year or have not yet decided the Final year project since they can change few more things to increase their chances of getting ADMISSION with AID in a good university. These are all about Academics which supposed to be mirror of your abilities. So be very sincere about this.

Academics:

Fact of life - universities award scholarships based on academic performance as measured by the GRADES obtained in your undergraduate education (so if you think you are one of those people who have low grades but high fundaes wake up). So for few Institutions it is your CPI, and for other universities it is your aggregate percentage or whatever. People with lower grades getting scholarships in better universities are the exception, not the norm. Note that it is only the CPI of the first 3 years that is usually taken into account, since the application forms for the univs have to be sent by the second/third week of December, by which time the results of the fourth year/seventh semester will not have come out (or can be conveniently neglected). Universities know this and do not expect you to let them know your final year performance - they base their decisions on the first 3 years. So basically if you want a good graduate education at a well-known university, start mugging.

This said, universities do see other things besides grades while awarding scholarships - it is just that they do not give them as much importance. Notable among these "other things" are:

1. Participation and/or winning of science/math competitions like the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), Indian National Mathematics Olympiad (INMO), Regional Mathematics Olympiad (RMO), Indian Physics Teachers Olympiad etc. If you have participated/won prizes in any of the above-mentioned or similar competitions, make sure you let the universities know when the time comes. It would even help if you mentioned your IIT-JEE rank if it is relatively good (ie say you are in the top 6-7 in your department in terms of JEE rank or if you are in the top 100 overall).

2. Projects you have done - this includes your main final-year project, your seminar as well as any vacation project or summer internship you may have done. In fact, it is a good idea to have a few good projects under your belt anyway - they serve the dual purpose of giving you some fundaes in the field you are doing the project in and giving you something that will look good on your resume. Be careful in choosing the kind of project you are doing and where you are doing it - it should be an enjoyable experience and not just something you are doing for resume or recommendation. Places I now that give interesting research-based projects are:
a. IIT , IISc - the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
b. CAIR - Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Bangalore
c. TIFR - Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore
d. BARC - Bhabha Atomic Research Center, Mumbai
e. JNCASR - Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore
f. ISI - Indian Statistical Institute, Bangalore
g. Many of the MNC tech companies - e.g. (in the field of CS and EE) Texas Instruments, Sun Microsystems, IBM.

I recommend doing projects outside your present institution (especially if you plan to do so in the summer after your first or second years) as it will give you a different perspective on research from what your institution manages to give you. Many of the above-mentioned places have summer student scholarships, which will defer any expenses you may have while doing your projects. These projects are also usually sources for recommendation letters ("Recos") on which I have elaborated earlier.

3. In the course of your projects/Final Year you may be doing something that you think is novel and not looked into before. In this case you may want to consider publishing a technical paper on your work. There are many places where your paper can be published, and not all of them are worthy of mention - there are many shady publications in the scientific arena as well. A publication in reputed international journals (eg the IEEE for electrical engineering or ASME for mechanical) is the best you can get, and if you do make sure you let the universities you are applying to now of it - send official reprints if necessary. Usually you will have to make do with publishing in a conference - it is easier, and some of the conferences are pretty good too. This is a topic you will have to discuss with your guide/advisor.

WORK EXPERIENCE:
Work experience helps a lot , especially when your GRE / TOEFL scores are low. If the work experience is in the related area in which you are going for MS / PhD then it not only helps to get admission but also the AID/Schol. So Having the work experience is always a plus point. It helps to get through when the competition is very tough.


VISA APPLICATION PROCEDURE

After Admission Procedure:

You have to apply for the VISA when you get the I-20 from the university. You have to book a date / appointment on www.ttsvisas.com The website addresses for other consulates are mentioned on this website On this website all the information needed is given. So you must visit this site. Also please visit the official site of United State Education Foundation in India ( USEFI). Generally people prefer to get a consultant for VISA which is needless. Still to mention here are some important steps to be followed.
The following must be presented to the Consulate at the time you apply for a student visa:
1. Form I-20 or IAP - 66 (obtained directly from the university you intend to attend)
2. Visa application form and USEFI survey form (available at the Mount Road gate of the American Consulate General, Chennai: Monday through Friday, between 3.00 p.m. and 4.00 p.m.) You can download the forms and can fill up them.
3. One passport size photograph and a valid passport
4. Visa fee, demand drafts , (the amount is specified on the consulate’s website- so check with your consulate’s website) drawn in favor of American Consulate General , ( for your region)
5. Test score reports (original) – TOEFL / GRE / GMAT / whichever is applicable
7. Latest degree /mark sheets
8. Evidence of financial support as described below:
A) If the university has awarded financial assistance, please enclose the relevant letter.
B) If your sponsor is in India, you will need the following documents:
(a) Affidavit of support on stamped paper (Rs. 10, 15 or 25) from your sponsor promising to bear the cost of your program for the entire duration of your stay in the United States. This document has to be notarized as well.
(b) Verification of your sponsor's financial resources by a certified Chartered Accountant. This statement should indicate that your sponsor has the means to support you during the entire duration of your study and stay in the United States. All original documents for the sources mentioned in the Chartered statement, including bank passbooks should be brought along, to be produced before the Consular Officer, if necessary.
C) If your sponsor is in the United States, the following documents must be provided:
(a) I-134 (available at Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) offices in the United States) promising to bear the cost of your program for the entire duration of your study and stay in the United States.
(b) Bank account statement of your sponsor
(c) Salary statement of your sponsor

D) If your sponsor is from a country other than India or the United States, the documents to be provided are:
(a) A notarized letter or statement from your sponsor promising to bear the costs of your program for the entire duration of your study and stay in the United States. The affidavit of support from your sponsor can also be submitted by form I-134 available at the American Consulate or Embassy in the country where your sponsor is a resident.
(b) Bank account statement of your sponsor
(c) Salary statement of your sponsor.

You may apply for a student visa no earlier than 90 days prior to the reporting date mentioned on the I-20. For example, if the reporting date shown on the I-20 is September 05, you may apply for a student visa between June 5 and September 5.

You can listen to audio recordings of discussions by consular officers on student visas, at the USEFI reference library. You may visit their office between 1.00 p.m. and 4.30 p.m., Monday through Friday, (except holidays) and schedule an appointment to listen to a tape on student visas.

The best thing you can do is-------

The best thing to know about VISA procedure is to visit the website www.msdreamz.com There is a separate VISA section on this website where all the information regarding VISA application is given. The rules for different consulates are different…like for Bombay consulate and for Chennai consulate the rules are different. All documents and procedures are mentioned in VISA BIBLE on this website. Also the standard samples of all documents are given here with the help of which you can make documents yourself. In case of Bombay Consulate there is no need of CA to certify the financial statement. You can make it yourself and can take it to consulate. I did the same. For other consulates you can get it certified from CA if needed. Take all the documents mentioned with you to the consulate.

I suggest you all to join the groups visa_interview@yahoogroups.com ,
us_visa@yahoogroups.com . These groups are really the best. On these groups students have posted their visa experiences. Please go through all the visa experiences posted here and get the keys to get your VISA. You don’t need a consultant to get your visa if you join this group and also if you do the things properly which I have mentioned here.


The information above is likely to change with time. So please refer the official websites of GRE , TOEFL and the United State Education Foundation in India( USEFI). If any queries please feel free to mail yogidas21@hotmail.com yogidas21@yahoo.co.in
ullash7@yahoo.co.uk rajtilok@yahoo.co.in

ALL THE BEST Friends…….!!!

Regards,
Yogeshwar D. Suryawanshi


Note: Source: http://www.rxpgonline.com/postt2435.html



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