Preparing to pursue higher education in the USA or anywhere else might be challenging because one is still determining the criteria to use while choosing a university. Here is a guide on narrowing down your list of MS universities.
Main Factors to decide while selecting the right University in the USA
The following elements determine whether a foreign university will be shortlisted:
- Choosing a course or stream that interests you
- Opportunities for employment and on-campus placements
- Living expenses and tuition fees
- Financial aid for students from other countries
- Location (benefit in acquiring Off-Campus Job) (an advantage in getting Off-Campus Job)
- Ranking of the International Student Acceptance Rate at Universities
- Course Length
- The courses' level of difficulty
- Friends or fellow students; relatives
The most crucial of these is taking courses in the US. The path you choose will most likely determine your future.
To receive some input, speak with your seniors who attended in the Fall before and inform them about the course you are interested in. Search for the best institutions once you have completed one or no more than two courses.
Best Time to apply for MS in the USA
This is undoubtedly the question you will hear most from a student applying for an MS. For students preparing for the Fall intake, the application process should start by the first week of November; however, for students preparing for the Spring intake, it should start around September.
Engineers typically apply during this time since they have severe academic tests to take after a month. Therefore, the application's essential documentation should be ready by the beginning of November (Fall) or September (Spring).
Start completing the online application forms once you've narrowed down your list of universities.
Most universities' deadlines for Fall entry are in the middle of December. It is advisable to confirm with the university, as some might have deadlines in January or March, while others might have a fluid admissions procedure.
Deadlines for spring vary from September through November. In other words, if you want to apply for Fall 2023, you must start applying as soon as possible after October 2022. Similarly, you should begin applying after August 2022 if you're using it for Spring 2023.
Is it advantageous to apply to a university early?
Not always. After the deadline, several reputable universities analyze the applications. But that doesn't imply that you should put off applying.
Only some respected universities begin reviewing applications as soon as they are submitted. This practice is called "Rolling Admission."
The University of Pennsylvania, for example. The benefit of applying early is that, regardless of other applicants, you will be admitted as soon as possible if you meet the university's requirements.
Application procedure for MS in the USA
The application procedure begins when you have finished shortlisting universities for your MS in the USA. Here are a few advice items that will be helpful.
- Get a Forex Card first and foremost. For foreign currency transactions, credit cards are pricey. You will need to pay a significant sum (about USD 1,000) to apply to eight to ten universities. Using a Forex card instead of a credit card can save up to 5% on each transaction.
- Visit the website of the specific university and look for the tab that says "Apply Now" or "Prospective Students." Make sure to click on the "Graduate Programs" section because there will be a lot of information that applies to both graduate and undergraduate students.
- The forms are typically rather lengthy, up to 7-8 pages, so you'll inevitably grow impatient and bored. However, be cautious when filling out the form and use the autosave feature included in all application forms.
Preparation for MS in the USA
A packet is a collection of documents to be physically mailed to a university and is referred to in application terms as an envelope. Typically, a university application packet includes the following:
- Cover letter: This letter lists the materials you are sending to the university inside the packet. It contains the college's address and your application ID number. The letter is addressed to the graduate admissions office or the admissions committee.
- Original transcript: This is the packet's most important document. It is a certified copy of your grades from your junior college and undergraduate institution (if required).
- Resume: Normally, you upload your resume when filling out an application, but if there isn't a place, print off your resume and mail it in.
- You must obtain attested photocopies of your mark sheets from the semesters you attended. The Principal or the College Registrar attesting the universities prefer it.
- passport photocopy that has been attested
- GRE and TOEFL scores with certification
- Affidavit of support
- bank statement
How to Shortlist Universities by a Student's Profile in the US?
A student's profile may impact a US university's shortlisting and application procedures. Several of the variables would be significant.
Scores on standardized tests
This is the main element influencing a student's choice of university. You can seek better universities if you have higher test scores. The ACT/SAT and TOEFL would be considered for undergraduate courses. However, TOEFL/IELTS and GRE scores will also be considered for graduate programs. Students can narrow down their preferred institutions based on their scores because almost all major universities disclose their selection criteria and needed scores on their websites.
Many US institutions give candidates' academic records, GPAs, and percentage marks a lot of consideration. A student with a solid academic record overall will have an advantage when choosing a university.
Work experience, internships, projects, and research papers
The choice of colleges and universities may also be influenced by relevant professional experience. For instance, a student seeking a master's degree in computer science who has worked or completed an internship in artificial intelligence will have a high likelihood of admission (provided the minimum admission criteria are met). Similarly, excellent research articles and projects can help students apply to prestigious institutions for research courses.
Strong LOR and SOP
Your application and university choice may be influenced by powerful letters of recommendation and statements of intent. You can pursue top-ranked US colleges if your test results are robust and supported by solid LORs and SOPs.
Additional Intellectual Activities
Some of the top institutions in the US are seeking students who succeed in various sectors, not just academics. Therefore, being able to provide evidence of your involvement in extracurricular activities will aid you in getting into reputable universities.
How Many Colleges Should Be Selected for a Shortlist?
After discussing how to narrow down universities for an MS in the US, let's discuss another important query: how many universities should I apply to? You may submit applications to as many universities as you like.
The only thing limiting you is Money! Yes, the cost of an application might be pretty high. You pay about USD 100 on average for each application.
The application fee for a foreign university is divided as follows:
- Online application: around $60. (varies from 50 USD to 100 USD depending upon the university)
- ETS will charge you $23 to report your GRE results
- ETS will charge you $17 to report your TOEFL results
Here's how to mitigate the risk when applying to universities overseas:
There is no set formula for how many universities a candidate should look at or if admission is straightforward or challenging. But typically, students submit 8–10 applications, 4 of which are aggressive, 3 moderate, and 2 safe.
- Ambitious: A university's admission rate is minimal, and only applicants with the highest profiles get admitted if they are ambitious.
- Moderate: A moderate university has a medium acceptance rate and above-average or somewhat reasonable admission prospects, given your profile.
- Safe: The acceptance rate and possibilities of admission are pretty good (though there is never a 100% guarantee) for a safe university.
It can seem tiresome to select a few MS programs at US colleges and then apply to them. But how you respond will impact the caliber of your education and future. Even though much depends on your performance and preferences, be sure you fully comprehend every component.