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Pursuing MS/MBA in the U.S.A on F1 or H4 visa

Discussion in 'General Discussions - USA & Canada' started by neha1, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. neha1

    neha1 Silver IL'ite

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    Hi Friends,
    I am looking for info to start an M.S course. Most likely I am looking at 2011,may be fall semester.
    I am looking at M.S. and not MBA because first of all MBA is not my type of course ; MS costs lesser; time to complete MS is lesser. In my understanding I need to answer GRE for this and get my bachelor's degree(B.E.) evaluated from India.
    Now, I need help on how to search for a good college. I am not really looking at like the top 10 universities because neither am i so bright and nor do i have the finance to pay. I am predominantly looking at state colleges or state universities.
    Can anyone throw any light on what courses /colleges are good in the tri-state area(NY/NJ/CT)? when will i need to start the entire process so that i can start studies next year.?
    and lastly, are the course too hard to complete:hide:? Frankly, i am not a great student just above average and so i am a little worried on if i will be able to complete the courses:crazy....

    Thanks!!!
     
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  2. GiJoe

    GiJoe Silver IL'ite

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    First don’t ever underestimate your ability succuss and intelligence are not interrelated, there are so many people who are intelligent in this world and might not be successful in this world (again succuss is personal and you have to define what it means to you). Use this link College MatchMaker - College Location to find out what univirsities are available in your area, I assume you want to stay close to your place and commute everyday for college. Speak to a student counselor to get more details about formalities because every college follows a different set of rules for enrollment and they will give you the deadline for applying for your course. Once you pick the university post the name here will provide some reviews from the web. If you survived the Indian education system then you can easily survive the US system, to be successful in the US system you have to be creative in writing (original ideas for thesis), able to read and research topics.
     
  3. waitingForTej

    waitingForTej Senior IL'ite

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    If you are in the (NY/NJ/CT) area, you have a tons of options- NYU, SUNY Stonybrook, Rutgers, NJIT, Stevens, University of Connecticut in Bridgeport, etc. THere are options in the Boston area too. I would suggest you first study well for the GRE and try your best to get a decent score as soon as possible. After that it will be easier for you to gauge which schools you want to apply. Here's a break down if schools you could apply for

    1. In this list aim for 1 or 2 top schools like Columbia, NYU, Yale, etc
    2. 4 or 5 middle tier schools like Baruch, Rutgers, SUNY, etc
    3. 2-3 easiest to get in schools such as NJIT, Stevens, CUNY,etc as a back up plan.
     
  4. Rituja

    Rituja New IL'ite

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    Very good thread.
    I am currently preparing for GRE & Toefl, I too intend to take admission in fall semester.
    My questions are regarding education costs.

    1. Some ILites in previous threads said that MS is not at all expensive. But I will be taking admission in humanities subjects as I am from humanities background. I know Indian students doing MS in Engineering get their tuition waived off or get TA easily. Can someone tell me whether students in humanities too can do so?

    2. I want to know about the certificate courses to. In the UC system in California there are many courses offered at university extension, they are expensive, but if I do them on F-1 I can work. I want to know whether it is better to do MS or a certificate?

    3. How many hours can one work on F-1 and what kind of employment is available to students?

    Thanks
     
  5. Gauri03

    Gauri03 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi Neha,

    OK, this is going to be long and confusing, so I will try to break into multiple posts. In this post,

    Test Scores for MS

    * To get admitted into an MS program in a US university you need two sets of test scores Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). These are mandatory unless you have had a year of education in an American school or college in which case the TOEFL may not be required.
    * Depending on the school you select a great GRE score is somewhere between 1400-1600 and a decent score is between 1200-1400. The analytical writing score should be between 4-6. A good TOEFL score should be above 80.
    * GRE registration costs $160 and TOEFL registration costs $170. These rates are for the US. If you take the test in India, it will cost more.
    * Both tests are computer based tests and a lot of preparatory material is provided when you register.
    * TOEFL is fairly easy for anyone who is comfortable with spoken English and the American accent. Even then taking a lot of practice tests is always a very good idea.
    * The quant section of the GRE is at the level of 10th std math in India. It is simple but the questions require a bit of thinking. If you had hours to work on them you would find them quite trivial but to finish them within the time constraint is the real challenge.
    * The verbal section is the BOMB. This is only because very few of us have a vocabulary comparable to the GRE word list. But it is totally doable. Give yourself enough time and work on it everyday, that is the only advice I can give.
    * Preparation time is highly subjective. Depends on how much time you have and how motivated you are. It took me about 2 months to prepare for both the GRE and TOEFL while working full time. I used to put in about 3-4 hours of work everyday and more on the weekend. I did quite well if say so myself.:redface:
    * I think the key for me were the practice tests. I must have done at least 15-20 tests in all and all properly timed.
     
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  6. Gauri03

    Gauri03 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    The F-1 Visa


    • The F-1 Visa is an entry visa only. This means that to be in status your visa does not have to be current. As long as you have a valid I-20 (issued by the school) and are enrolled full time , you will be considered in status.
    • Being enrolled full time is very very important. US schools define full time as 9 credit hours. Usually one course in an MS program is for 3 credit hours a week. Very simply this means that you will have a total of 3 hours of classes in that subject every week. So this means that you will have to register for a minimum of 3 courses to be enrolled full time. During your graduating semester you are allowed to enroll for only 3 credit hours after filing for the proper waiver.
    • The F-1 visa allows you to work for 20 hours a week ON CAMPUS. You cannot work off campus unless you have authorization from the school. To get such an authorization you will need to show extreme financial distress. I don't know a lot about that but I know that in very rare cases people do get permission to work.
    • One of the best things about the F-1 visa is that after graduation you get between 12 to 29 months of optional practical training status. Normal duration is 12 months but if the company you work for is enrolled in the federal E-verify program you can get 29 months of OPT. This is a great advantage since you are considered a student while on OPT and don't have to pay the high taxes that you have to while on H1B.
    • A catch to the OPT period is that even though earlier you could hang around on OPT and look for a job for a year, you cannot do that anymore. You have 120 days to find a job from the day your OPT starts. If you can't during that period then you have to leave the country.
    • Also summer semester is exempt from the 9 hour enrollment requirement. An international student is free to not enroll for the summer and still stay in the country.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2010
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  7. Gauri03

    Gauri03 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    On Campus Jobs

    Jobs on a university campus are of two main types,

    The minimum wage jobs and the highly sought after student assistantships.

    The minimum wage jobs can be,
    Cafeteria jobs (Cashiers, Servers, Dish washers)
    Library jobs (Book stackers, Front desk, Reference desk etc.)
    Day care jobs (If the school has a day care you can work as baby sitters)
    Clerical jobs (Usually receptionist type work in various admin offices)
    Hourly research jobs (Some professors might offer hourly wages for a short term project)

    The assistantships are the most desirable kind of employment on a campus. You can either be a teaching assistant (TA) or a research assistant (RA). TAs take labs, grade HWs, sometimes they even take classes.
    RAs do research work for their advisors and get paid a monthly stipend. This is usually the case when you work towards a MS with thesis. These position come with some amount of fee waiver. So depending on the school you can get a full fee waiver or a partial waiver. The stipend is usually sufficient to cover tuition (after waiver) and living expenses.

    More on how to pick a school and find support later :coffee
     
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  8. Rituja

    Rituja New IL'ite

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    Gauri thanks for the wonderful information. It is very helpful.

    Sorry to obstruct in the flow of info that you are posting but I have this question. Do you think it is better to study on H4(assuming that GC process would reach EAD by the end of MS) as a resident if the possibility of getting TA/RA is low? Would it cost less on H4?

    Thanks
     
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  9. ganges

    ganges Gold IL'ite

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    dear Neha,

    If you wish to study MS then go ahead. I dont know any details about that what you want. But I would say, first have faith in you. If there is a will there is a way.


    ganges
     
  10. neha1

    neha1 Silver IL'ite

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    :hiya
    Hi GiJoe,WaitingforTej,Rituja,Gauri03,ganges ..thank you for your replies

    A special thanks to you,gauri...It was so informative... I am sure many would benefit....


    I have some more doubts....let me gather this information into my brain first:bonk and then as some questions come up is hall post it here....hope you guys (and others) can help with answers.
    Thanks again
     
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