Hundreds of students and their friends logged onto Facebook on May 15 to learn about studying in the United States, on how to fund their education, and to clarify their doubts on the U.S. Student visa process. Read the concluding part here

Hundreds of students and their friends logged onto Facebook on May 15, 2013, to learn more about studying in the United States, on how to fund their education, as well as to clarify 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. Readers can find answers to additional questions at www.EducationUSA.info or seek one-on-one counseling directly from an EducationUSA Adviser. Here 's the first part of the chat transcript.

Can you please tell me how to continue education in dentistry in USA after BDS in India? Also about the details of scholarship, loans without a cosigner.

In order to pursue a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine), you will need to: 1) Complete Part I of the NBDE (National Board Dental Examination), 2) After completion, you will be eligible to apply for and enter a Dental school in Advanced Standing status for DDS, 3) For a list of dental schools offering Advanced Standing, please visit the American Dental Association’s website:www.ada.org, 4) For financial aid, preference is given to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, 5) Admission to a U.S. dental school is highly competitive. Although anyone is eligible to apply, international students rarely gain admission to a U.S. school of dentistry without having completed at least two years of college or university study at a U.S. institution.

I have got admission in some good universities without financial aid. Is it a wise decision to go ahead? What are the other sources of financial aid?

Your question is a popular one! You are ultimately the best judge of whether this would be good for you or not. Most students will not receive financial aid at the time of admission but they might become eligible after the first semester or the first year, depending on their academic performance. Scholarships and funding are very competitive and are dependent on the specific department and university that you apply to. Please visit this page for information about scholarship search engines that allow you to search for funding based on your discipline of study.

I am a software engineer working for one of the biggies. I wanted to pursue M.S. (In computer science) from USA. How safe is it to spend two years of my life and a big chunk of my savings on doing MS with a recession looming? Which is the best specialisation to pursue (There are already enough software engineers out there) and how do we get a good scholarship?

The choice of specialisation depends on your individual interests and passion in the field of Computer Science. Since everyone is different and has a unique situation, EducationUSA offers a self-assessment tool to help each student define his/her priorities. For additional information on picking the right school, visit this page. For identifying the schools that offer a Master’s degree specifically in Computer Science, check out: www.petersons.com

Please list out some good universities for an MIS programme in the U.S. which provide funding/scholarship for scores above 300-310 with two years of industrial experience and decent acadamics of 73 per cent.

We recommend that you follow the five Steps to US Study as explained in detail on the EducationUSA website: www.educationusa.info. For specific programmes 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.

International students are typically not eligible to apply for most U.S. graduate scholarships unless they are offered specifically for international students departments or universities in which they are enrolled. However, there are some other competitive scholarships that Indian students might be eligible for based on different criteria and for different purposes (example: travel grants for study abroad, funding for female international students). Here are a few options for you, although we do not endorse any of these specifically:

TOEFL Scholarship Program in India

AAUW Educational Funding and Awards

Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Allied Trusts

The Aga Khan Foundation

You can also check out a scholarship search engine to find one that might match your needs, here

What are the chances of getting F1 visa after six attempts (lack of guidance made me commit silly mistakes). Please let me know the changes that have to be made after an F1 visa rejection.

While we can’t give applicants advice about individual cases, we do appreciate the opportunity to explain the refusal process. Each interview is a new chance to get a visa, however, if you have been refused in the past the Consular Officer will likely want to see that you have made substantive changes in your individual circumstances to show progress. For example, if you didn’t have enough funds last time and that is why the Consular Officer refused you, then we encourage you to obtain a scholarship, a loan, or some other form of funding BEFORE coming for your next interview.

I have completed B.Tech in Chemical Engineering. I have an admit from University of Florida for M.S. in Chemical Engineering without any aid. My bank gives me a loan of only up to Rs. 20 lakh (beyond which it charges more interest), and my tuition fees plus expenses would turn up to 30 lakh. Will I be offered scholarship of some kind by the university or do I have any chance of getting government-funded grants?

First things first, get accepted into a school that you want to attend. You have already accomplished the first step. Congratulations! Scholarships at all universities are always very competitive, and may not always be available to foreign students at the time of admission. You might still be eligible to receive some funding from the department where you received admission possibly after the first semester or first year. You will not be eligible to apply for U.S. government-funded grants because those are for U.S. citizens or permanent residents. That being said, the financial aid office or the admissions office at each specific university would be best able to tell you what is available to you. For external funding opportunities, check out this page.

I am going for this FALL 2013 for M.S. in Computer Engineering in Syracuse University and before booking the VISA date, I’ve a few queries that i would like to get answered here. My I20 amount is 42k $ / year. So how much minimum amount should I be showing and what all are the documents that I can show during my visa interview. I have a loan amount of 20 lakh.

First of all, congratulations on your acceptance to a U.S. university! Student travellers are required to show proof of funds to cover the first year of studies. In your case, you must show that you have access to $42,000 to fund your first year, and your loan amount almost covers all of that. For your question about funding, check out some of our earlier responses on scholarships, and private funding.

I came to know that getting a visa to U.S. is not a simple task in these days? Is that right? What about for educational purposes?

We have some good news for you. The process is relatively straightforward and the majority of students are approved. First, get accepted at a U.S. university. Second, obtain Form I-20 from the university. Third, pay the SEVIS registration fee with the Department of Homeland Security. And fourth, schedule an interview at any of the U.S. consulates in India. There are 1 lakh Indian students in the United States studying right now!

Please provide resources for US Graduate Scholarships aimed primarily at Indian students.

International students are typically not eligible to apply for most U.S. Graduate scholarships unless offered specifically by the departments or universities in which they are enrolled. However, there are some other competitive scholarships that Indian students might be eligible for based on different criteria and for different purposes (e.g. travel grants for studies abroad, funding for women international students):

TOEFL Scholarship Program in India

AAUW Educational Funding and Awards

Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Allied Trusts

The Aga Khan Foundation

Please note that we do not endorse any of the above programmes.

For the complete chat on Facebook, visit Chennai Central @ The Hindu.

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