The concluding part of the Facebook chat between students and the U.S. Consulate officials. Read the first part here

Hundreds of students and their friends logged onto Facebook on May 15, 2013, to learn more about studying in the United States, how to fund their education, as well as clarifying their doubts on the U.S. Student visa process. Heera Kamboj (Information Officer and Press Attaché, U.S. Consulate General, Chennai), Dr. Srilakshmi Ramakrishnan (Senior Adviser, EducationUSA Advising Services), and Tom Montgomery (Vice Consul, U.S. Consulate General Chennai) answered questions from students all over India.

I've gotten an admit from a couple of universities in the U.S and I wish to show an educational loan for I20 purposes. However it says in the university's financial guarantee form it says that loans are not accepted and I need to show liquid cash. Kindly guide me. Also are there scholarships or other forms of financial aid available for Indian students going to the U.S? What would be the best way to fund my studies?

Educational loans are considered a valid form of funding for purposes of obtaining a student visa to travel to the U.S. We can’t provide personal financial advice since each situation is different, but clearly scholarships are a great way to fund your education. For information on scholarship opportunities and advice on funding your education, click this link

I am in my final year of B.Tech (EEE branch). After my B.Tech I want to go to the U.S. for higher studies. I am interested in M.S in Solar Engineering and also in Food processing. Which course is better for my career?

Many students ask questions about this field. Since each student is different with unique needs, EducationUSA offers a self-assessment tool to help you define your priorities. Check it out here. Deciding on the right school for you requires a lot of research. In order to pick the right school for you, you can check out our handy guide. For identifying the schools that offer a Master’s degree in your areas of interest, please also visit: www.petersons.com or www.gradschools.com.

My brother has been admitted to the MS program at TAMU for Fall 2013. We're planning to show our family funds to cover the fees for 2 years. Would that suffice to get F-1 visa or is it mandatory to get an education loan for F-1 Visa?

It is not mandatory to get a loan. Family funds are certainly acceptable, as are scholarships.

Is a educational loan from a bank in India a potential source of funding proof? Will the consulate accept it? Will the cash in the bank be cross checked at the time of visa interview?

Educational loans, in addition to scholarships, liquid assets, fixed deposits, and other cash are all valid forms of funding for visa purposes. Officers will sometimes verify bank statements with the actual banks to check if a student applicant can indeed fund the education. Sometimes applicants submit fake bank statements. Consular Officers are quite good at catching this type of fraud. You must bring legitimate documents to your interview because submitting fake bank documents could result in a permanent ban on entering the U.S. and arrest by local authorities. Honesty is always a requirement.

How do I apply for J1 visa for nonstandard training in U.S. (one-year courses in various sub-specialities like in musculoskeletal imaging after completion of medical post graduation MD/DNB radiology in India)? Also, do we have to take up the USMLE steps for these training programmes?

The J1 visa is an excellent opportunity for exchange visitors to enhance their skills in the United States. The steps for application are quite straightforward and can be found at www.ustraveldocs.com/in. Some programs require the USMLE, so you should check with the individual programs to inquire about this. If you are only going to the U.S. to take the USMLE exam, you can do so with a simple B2 tourist visa.

How can we do valid online courses from the U.S.?

Online courses are becoming more and more popular. Please check the following websites for some possible options:

www.geteducated.com

www.degree.net

www.detc.org

(Distance Education and Training Council – recognized accrediting body for distance education institutions) Some universities in the U.S. will even allow you to take classes for free online, but not for course credit.

For someone who has completed B.Sc Psychology here, what are the post-graduate courses available in the US? What about scholarships and loans?

To be eligible for a Masters program in the United States, students should have the equivalent of a U.S. Bachelors Degree, which is typically requires four years of study after high school. However, some universities will review an applicant's profile or candidacy and accept a three-year undergraduate degree on a case-by-case basis. U.S. institutions might accept a three-year degree from an NAAC accredited institution in India with a rating of “A”. Since this depends on the individual university, you will need to check with them directly.

Could you give me a list of the exams I shoud prepare for in order to be able to enter a university in the U.S. for doing MS C.Sc (which offers scholarships)?

It would be good to think about taking the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

I am a plus-two student and would like to pursue an undergraduate course in architecture in one of the Ivy League universities, after which I would like get a masters degree (M.Arch) and conclude with a Ph.D in architecture. My family income is less than 20,000 dollars and hence we cannot afford the exorbitant fees. Please suggest some financial aids.

A lot of students are not even aware of the wonderful undergraduate opportunities in the U.S., since most only think of graduate studies. To pursue your undergrad education at an Ivy League university, you will need to have a VERY strong academic profile. Please visit the individual university websites to understand whether their funding distribution is need-based or need-blind. If need-based, the student will have to demonstrate financial need in order to be awarded any funding; if need-blind, the university will award funding based on the student’s academic performance and overall review of candidacy, irrespective of whether the student demonstrates financial need or not. Do not restrict yourself only to considering Ivy League schools, since there are other schools that are equally good and might best suit your needs and field of studies. For more information about undergraduate education and the overall application process, please click this link. You can also visit us in person for one-on-one counseling at EducationUSA, located at the U.S.-India Educational Foundation at the U.S. Consulate General Chennai.

I have found need-based scholarships and merit scholarships in university websites. However, I am not aware of fellowships for law schools. I have read about fellowships in the USIEF website. None of them seems to cover a threeyear J.D. (law degree) in U.S.

International students wanting to pursue a Law degree in the United States are required to have the equivalent of a U.S. undergraduate degree. Therefore, those with 3-year undergraduate degrees will require one more year of study to become eligible for Law School. Students are required to complete the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) exam – details can be found here: www.lsac.org. Eligibility for most financial aid options requires U.S. citizenship or Legal Permanent Residency. International students might be eligible for any financial aid that is offered by their department or university if they meet the requisite criteria. Please check with the individual departments at your university of choice for available funding options.

Regarding fellowships on the USIEF website, please note that these are typically not available to students who wish to pursue full-time education at a U.S. university, except for the following fellowship – Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowship. This fellowship is offered to outstanding Indian nationals to pursue their higher education at a U.S. university in any of the listed fields of study. Please check the details here.

Could you please give me the details about which universities are offering funding for MS in mechanical engineering for spring 2014?

Although, some schools also allow students to start school in January, most schools start their academic year in either August or September. There are more options available for students who want to start in the Fall. Also, make sure you understand the U.S. admissions process and timeline. For example, if you want to attend school starting in September 2014, you should be researching schools right now, and should be taking the required exams and filling out the application starting in September 2013. For identifying the schools that offer a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, please visit: www.petersons.com or www.gradschools.com to do specific research relevant to your interests. Please also visit this page. for information about scholarship search engines that allow you to search for funding based on your discipline of study.

How about the security of students studying in the U.S.?

Most universities will have an internal security response system in place to warn their students, faculty, and staff about emergencies, such as SMS alerts, e-mail alerts, or even a campus television or radio station. Many universities also have local police that patrol their campuses. The international student's office, which most universities have, might be able to answer your question more specifically. Generally speaking, the U.S. is very safe and has some of the safest big cities in the world. High profile cases in the media do not always represent the true college experience that many students enjoy safely.

Additional Answers by EducationUSA

Is it possible for students to get into b-schools with zero work experience because the stats are quite daunting?

Thanks for your question but you haven’t really specified whether you want to pursue an M.S. degree or an MBA at a business school. For M.S. programs, the lack of work experience may not be such a huge factor in the admissions review. For an MBA program, on the other hand, it is imperative that a student gain at least 3 years of work experience before he/she can apply. Internships will not count towards work experience. The main reason for this is that an MBA curriculum is designed to provide students with experience in solving real-world problems. Therefore, having an understanding of the professional world outside of a classroom is absolutely necessary and relevant.

Could you give me a list of the universities that do not give much importance to your CGPA in order to pursue a course in MIS? Also what kind of job opportunities can I look forward to?

The U.S. university admission process is based on a holistic review of the applicant’s materials and is not limited only to the CGPA or standardized test scores. While scores form only one part of the application, the admissions committee will also review your candidacy on the strength of your Statement of Purpose and Letters of Recommendation. For more information on how to choose your universities and understand the overall application process, please click this link.

I want to do an Executive MBA in Operation & Marketting in US. I have an work ex of 4+ years in an Multinational company. Please tell me the good colleges and their fee and how to apply in that?

Yours is an interesting question and one that is not very common. Please note that executive MBA programs may not be a good option for international students primarily because the programs are designed for working professionals. Some of the classes might be scheduled on weekends or late evenings to allow for working professionals to attend those classes at their convenience. Also, executive MBA programs might require longer years of work experience but this might vary from university to university. With your work experience, you would be eligible to apply for the regular MBA programs. Please check gradschools.com or petersons.com to choose the right school for you. Also, visit this page for more information.

I am an intergrated BS-MS student of IISER, Pune. I want to know the best universities in US where I can pursue my PhD in Biology and also the requirement of different exams which I should write to join these universities. I also want to know about the scholarship that funds for my PhD.

We recommend that you follow the 5 Steps to US Study as explained in detail on the EducationUSA website: www.educationusa.info and in other answers in this thread. For specific programs and universities, you can take a look at www.petersons.com or www.gradschools.com where you can use the search box to pull up a list of universities offering degrees in your proposed field of study. Please note that financial aid is specific to each university and individual departments at those universities. Therefore, checking with the Financial Aid or Admissions Office at a given university is key. There are many types of funding that might be available to international students, such as scholarships, tuition waivers (partial or full), assistantships, or fellowships. To understand the differences between each of these types, please visit this page for more information. For doctoral programs of study, financial aid information is usually available on the specific department’s website as well. So, please be sure to look through the department’s website for this information.

For all doctoral programs of study (except in the School of Business), students are required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and an English proficiency test – either TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System).

What are the main necessary qualifications for writing SAT

Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) exams are taken by students who want to pursue their first undergraduate degree at a college or university in the United States. In order to appear for the SAT, students should either be enrolled in or have completed high school.

For more details about the SAT exam, please check the College Board website Also check out videos about the SAT and ACT here

My son would like to do the American College Testing (ACT) test. However, I am unable to find a center in Chennai. Please help! Alos please advise me whether an ACT exam is preferred over an SAT if one would like to pursue engineering in the US.

Both the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and ACT are the accepted standardized tests for students wishing to pursue their first undergraduate degree in the United States. Both are equally competitive and ultimately, the choice of the test depends on the student’s comfort level with either test format. To learn more about either test, please check the EducationUSA website here

Please check the ACT website for more information about registering for the test and locations of available testing centers, here

I am ECFMG certified but not able to gain residency in US what other options for me?

Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certification does not guarantee placement in a residency program. You might want to check the National Residency Matching Program’s website: www.nrmp.org for residency matching. The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) is a private, not-for-profit corporation established in 1952 to provide a uniform date of appointment to positions in graduate medical education (GME) in the United States.

How much difference does it make at the workplace when one graduates in MBA from mid-tier university from US compared to the top tier ones provided all other conditions like profile,exp remains the same. Is there any US university which offers Master in Business and Technology?

A lot of students ask us about career counseling but we primarily counsel students only about education and choosing universities. There are a lot of contextual factors that will determine how successful you will be in the job market. It might be helpful for you to participate in any opportunities that might be offered at your respective university to engage in student clubs or leadership initiatives, search for internships, and attend conferences and present either individual papers/posters. Your faculty might be able to help you network with people in the industry or in academia (depending on where you want to pursue your career). Most universities will also have a dedicated career center that might be able to offer you advice regarding job searches and/or the résumé and application process.

For choosing the right school for your specific program, check out the following links: www.petersons.com or www.gradschools.com. Please note that the degree offered might be under a general discipline such as Masters in Management or Master’s in Technology Management.

Now promoted to the 11th grade,I'm planning to do my MBBS in India and do my post-grad in the US,along with securing a job there.Iwant to know whether I will lose any time in between in doing so. Please advice me the best options.

You have not mentioned your interested field of specialization after completing your Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Science (MBBS). Indian students also have to write the U.S. Medical Licensing Exams (USMLE) if they intend to practice medicine in the U.S. after completing their MBBS in India. The United States Medical Licensing Examination ® (USMLE®) is a three-step examination for medical licensure in the United States and is sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME®). Details about all the various steps of the USMLE are available here: www.usmle.org. Graduates of all foreign medical degree programs will have to go through a certification process by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) to obtain residencies or other training in the United States involving patient contact. To learn more about this certification, please check out: www.ecfmg.org.

To apply for a residency via the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), please visit www.nrmp.org Please also check the EducationUSA website for more information about medical education in the U.S.

I've heard of students being sponsored by the relatives who live in US?? Can you throw some light on that? How is it different from parents sponsoring from here.

Most students heading to the United States from India are usually sponsored by their parents for the duration of their study at a U.S. university. This is usually done through the parents’ own finances or by means of an educational loan, depending on individual circumstances. Sometimes, a student might have an immediate relative (e.g. sister/brother, aunt/uncle) who is willing to fully fund their education at a U.S. university. In a third scenario, a student might use partial funds from their parents and partial funds from their relatives to fully fund their education at a U.S. university. In all cases, the student is required to demonstrate to the university that he or she is able to pay for his or her education without expectation of financial assistance from the university. If the university or the department of study offers financial aid to international students, then the student is welcome to apply through the relevant procedures.

I'm doing my 2nd year ece.i've got admission in University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 2 yers back for u.g. but due to certain reasons i had to pursue my ug in India.i've got information that the admission is still in force and now i would like to know whether i could continue the course with any discipline over there in chapel hill.The current university in which i am said that it has no objection, if the other university accepts

Your question pertains to the transfer of credits from your current university to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNCC). You might be required to complete the application form as a Transfer student since your original application was as an incoming freshman. Please check with the Undergraduate Admissions office at UNCC and clarify whether you will meet their transfer requirements. You will also have to contact the relevant department in which you would like to pursue your degree. Once accepted into UNCC as a transfer student in the department of your choice, you can then begin the F1 student visa application process. For more information about the F1 student visa process, check out this link: www.ustraveldocs.com/in

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