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Made to order in the USA

Yet, for the fourth consecutive year, Indians comprise the biggest segment of overseas students in the US, beating China.

india Updated: Nov 13, 2006 17:04 IST

According to Open Doors 2005, a report released by the Institute of International Education, 80,466 Indians studying in the US in 2004-05. Of these, 16,443 were undergraduate students and 57,976 postgraduate pupils.

Their strength increased, though slightly, by 0.9. per cent from the previous years whereas at American colleges, the overall international student enrolment dropped by 1.3 per cent.

Yet, for the fourth consecutive year, Indians comprise the biggest segment of overseas students in the US, beating China by about 18,000.

David C. Mulford, US Ambassador

"Over 80,000 Indian students are enrolled on US campuses. How does the US draw students in such large numbers, year after year? 

With more than 3,600 accredited institutions, the US presents enormous choices. US consular sections in India issued 18,655 visas for Indian students to attend more than 900 different US schools.

Every student visa applicant receives an interview call well before the start of their classes.   

The education system’s flexibility fosters interdisciplinary study, the prospect of switching areas of specialisation and year round applications. 

US education is learner-centric, accommodating individual needs.

Liberal Arts education, cutting edge technology, outstanding faculties, high quality research infrastructure, career preparation, and cross-cultural skill development add to the uniqueness of our higher education system.

The truly international classrooms and campuses throughout the US present the "world in a crucible," for students to explore, innovate, and develop skills applicable around the world.

Talented, motivated students can seize the chance to transform themselves into world leaders of tomorrow through a US education!"

Hot for what?

The MBA programme is hot, and so are Engineering and Computer Science. According to Dr. Vijaya Khandavilli, Country Coordinator for Educational Advising Services, United States Educational Foundation in India, “There is a great variety in the US not only in terms of programme design, but also in terms of focus, duration, credit requirements etc. Variety and flexibility form the bedrock of US education.”

According to 2006 US News and World Report, the best Business, Engineering and Computer Science institutes are…

Harvard University (Business):
Stanford University (Business):
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Engineering):
Stanford University (Engineering):
Carnegie Mellon University (Computer Science):
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Computer Science):

For those wishing to take up higher education in the US, here’s some information on how to get the ball rolling

Commencement of session: Entry dates vary from one institution to another and from one department to another. Standard admission is made for the Fall session which usually starts in August / September. Optional entry can be in January / February (Spring). Occasionally, you can find programmes that will take in students in the Winter quarter (November/ December) and in Summer (May/June).

When to apply: For the Fall 2007 session, apply anytime from November to March, 2007.

How to apply: Send your application to your selected institutions.
Prospective UG students should apply to 10 to 15 institutions and Masters’ pupils from eight to 10 and doctoral candidates from six to eight.

Deadline: For the Fall semester, application deadlines are usually from November of the preceding year to February 1 of the year admission is sought. For Spring admissions, application deadlines range from July to October of the previous calendar year.

Application processing time: Institutions will send admission decisions in April or June.

Application docket: US universities usually provide a checklist of all the documents that are required along with applications. Include a cover note detailing what all is enclosed and in what order. If a specific, necessary document is not attached, explain in the note why it is not there and by what date it will be dispatched.

Statement of Purpose (SOP)/ College essay: Overall the SOP or the essay should tell the admission committee about yourself, what sets you apart from the rest. Clearly spell out your academic or career goals. Give an objective assessment of your expectations and the institute’s strengths, and say if the two complement each other and so on.

Standardised test scores: There are no qualifying tests in the strict sense but general requirements include a TOEFL ( score to demonstrate adequate proficiency in English.

For UG aspirants, SAT I ( is more or less mandatory whereas SAT II (subject tests) are required by selective schools and programmes and are also useful while applying for financial aid. For graduate students in non-professional fields, GRE and A-GRE (Subject Tests;, and GMAT for admission to Business Schools, (

For the Fall entry, take the tests anytime from May to October a year before.
Tuition fee: The average tuition fee is US$12,000 a year.

Accommodation: Some colleges are residential especially for the freshman class. In general, all US institutions offer on-campus as well as off-campus housing.

The cost factor: The estimated, average cost of living is US$8,000. The cost (tuition charges plus living expenses) varies from US$20,000 to US$50,000 and depends on the type and the location of a college.

Part-time jobs: International students, with F1 visas, are allowed to work for up to 20 hours a week on campus, for the first nine months. After this period, they may do off campus jobs. During vacations, they can work as long as 40 hours a week.

Student visa: An F1 student visa is valid as long as you are a full-time student. For the Fall 2007 admission, apply for the visa in May or August the same year.

Job opportunities: All foreign students including Indians are allowed to work for up to a year on an F1 student visa after completing their academic programmes in the US. This is called the post-completion “Optional Practical Training (OPT)” programme.

The career and placement offices at the universities help by offering support services such as assistance in resume preparation, and counselling on career choices.

First Published: Nov 06, 2006 17:06 IST