I completed my B.Tech in Electronics & Instrumentation in 2008. I have four years of work experience in automation and am currently working in Yokogawa India Ltd as a service engineer. I would now like to shift from the field of automation to design and would like to pursue a Master's course in the U.S. Can you please provide me information on how to apply?

Suresh Yadavilli

With a degree in engineering and an interest in design, you should research your options at the Master's level in the United States. Petersons.com and GradSchools.com can help you find an accredited university based on a particular field of study, geographic location, and other parameters. For example, Peterson's lists over 100 programs available for instrumentation and 550 in engineering design. Think carefully about what you wish to accomplish and find out about the types of programs that meet your needs.

Can you please provide me information on a good book or magazine that can provide details of good colleges for a Master's program in the U.S.?

Nishant Jain

“Graduate and Professional Programs” is a comprehensive six-volume series describing virtually all graduate programs in the United States. EducationUSA Advising Centres and the UNITI Foundation in Hyderabad all make this resource available to students, in addition to many other sources of information to help you find your best fit.

I am in the second year of my bachelor's degree in electronics and communication engineering and wish to pursue a master's degree in the U.S. I plan to take the GRE and TOEFL next year. Should I take any other exams as I prepare to begin my studies in fall 2014? How else do I need to prepare to be able to pursue my dream? Who should write the letters of recommendation? Is it necessary to have work experience?

Gargi

Most graduate departments require scores on at least one academic admissions test such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), in addition to the TOEFL or IELTS. Check with the programs you are considering to find out if you need to take one or more of these tests. Allow 12 to 18 months to prepare for entrance exams, to write personal statements tailored to each university, and to brief your recommenders fully. Make sure you get recommendations from people who really know you and your work. In addition, graduate school applicants should have excellent grades, particularly in their chosen field of study. Your application package should highlight relevant past experiences and achievements, as well as any special qualities you feel you can bring to the program, such as your international perspective. Work experience is not required, per se, but it certainly can be valuable.

I am pursuing an M.Tech in Parallel and Distributed Systems. I am interested in a Ph.D. in computers and my subject area is distributed computing. Can you please give me details of universities that offer a Ph.D. in my area and the procedure for applying to a university? Are GRE and TOEFL necessary for admissions?

Thirupathi Reddy P

Petersons.com currently lists over 30 graduate programs in distributed computing. You can use Peterson's as a starting point to explore each university's website and find out which of those offer a Ph.D. Finding the right academic “match” between you, the department, and its faculty can be the key to a successful graduate experience in the United States. Be sure to look at the individual programs, not just institutions, since no one school can excel in all disciplines. For procedures and resources to build a strong application, visit http://bit.ly/USprocedure.

I am currently in the third year of my B.Tech, with an aggregate of 68% and no backlogs. I am taking the GRE in August. Can you please provide me information regarding the tuition fee structure and how to get financial aid or scholarships for an M.S. program in the U.S.?

Rudra Loki

Most U.S. higher education institutions have committed all their scholarship and loan funds long before the academic year begins, so it is important to start your search early. You can find tuition fees listed on the university's website; these vary widely, so if you explore several possibilities you can have some control over the cost of your education. For information on different types of financial resources, see this guide: http://bit.ly/Finance4USstudies. Good luck on your GRE! A high score will enhance your application and maximize your chance for admission with financial aid.

I wish to know about the undergraduate programs and the necessary application process. So, could you please tell me how to apply for an undergraduate program?

Akhil Bharadwaj Chintada

To be eligible for undergraduate admission to a U.S. university, you must meet certain minimum entry requirements. These include a secondary school diploma or examination results, a score from one of the U.S. university admissions tests (in most cases), and English language ability. Many, but not all, colleges require international applicants to take an admissions test, usually the SAT or the ACT. Some may also require SAT Subject Tests. Check ahead to determine specific test requirements. CollegeBoard.org has a comprehensive college search engine, which you may find useful.

This link provides an overview of how to choose a school and apply to study in the U.S.: http://bit.ly/UGinUS. You can also connect with EducationUSA on fb.com/EducationUSADelhi for regular updates, events, and resources on U.S. higher education.

I am a final year student of SSJ Engineering College, Hyderabad. My final semester ended last week and my results should be out by the first or second week of June at the latest. Can I book a visa date for my student visa on May 28 before my results are out? I was admitted to UConn and UTA.

Nitish Narain Mathur

You may apply at your convenience, although no more than 120 days before the program start date on your Form I-20 or DS-2019.

We do encourage students to apply as early as possible and we understand that you may not have the final mark sheet at the time of your interview. You are free to print an unofficial copy from the website, but do make sure to bring in the official mark sheets of all the semesters you have completed so far.

I am pursuing my third year of a B.Tech in Electronics from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Hyderabad and am currently in the second semester. I expect to have an aggregate of 72 per cent by the end of my course. I was planning to continue my higher education in U.S. Can you please suggest any websites which could help me? Also, what is the probability of getting a job in my core field?

EducationUSA.info and GradSchools.com give a broad sense of the different graduate programs available in the United States. Consult educators, government officials, and working professionals in India about the value of a U.S. degree for you at this stage in your career, including any increased earning potential. Take into account certification requirements for employment in your particular field when you return home.

I am aspiring to go to the U.S. to pursue my master's degree. I was admitted to a few universities.

I am about to book a slot for my visa interview. I have queries in this regard. I have done my undergraduate degree in Visakhapatnam, but my parents were staying in Mumbai for the past eight years. I am planning to book a visa slot in Mumbai. Is this ok, or do I need to schedule an interview in Hyderabad?

Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply within their consular district. Consular officers work in one region and are more familiar with the circumstances of applicants from that region.

Also, officers are trained in regional languages and can offer translation assistance that would be unavailable at other posts.

If you choose to apply somewhere other than where you live, please be prepared to explain your reasons during the interview.

In your case, it would be natural for you to apply for an interview in either Hyderabad or Mumbai. Know that visa officers across India use a consistent adjudication strategy.

(The next edition of Consul Counsels will be published on June 25 in these columns).