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5. Admission Process

What happens after you have applied to a university? After you have submitted your application, sit back and relax. If your application is successful, you will receive a formal university acceptance letter within approximately a month. Interviewing prospective candidates is a common feature in the US admission process. A few universities may take your interview to know you better. The interview could be with a college representative or faculty member via skype or a telephone call, especially for international students. These interviews provide the university with an opportunity to judge your abilities and interests in person. You can also use this opportunity to find out more details about the university and its faculty.


Once accepted, the next step in the process of going to your dream school in US is acquiring a visa. Apply for student visa in time. Keep in mind the time taken for visa processing International students coming into the US to pursue postgraduate studies are eligible for F-1 and J-1 visa only.


F-1 visa is for academic studies, and is the most common form of visa offered to the international students in the US. Applicants for F-1 visa must enroll in full time course of study. F-1 visa also allows international students to work part-time on campus in different capacities, but the total number of work hours per week should not exceed 20. In addition, students can also work on Optional Practical Training (OPT) for up to a year after completing their graduate program.


J-1 visa is issued to students who come to acquire practical training to complete their academic degree, which they are otherwise unable to do in their home country. J-1 visa has the same requirements and restrictions as the F-1 visa.


As per the US law, applicants to the F-1 or J-1 student visas are viewed as potential immigrants, who want to live permanently in the US. This assumption can disqualify you from visa issuance. Therefore, you need to convince the visa officer that you have substantial reasons for returning to your home country, and that those reasons are stronger than reasons for staying back in the US. You must convince the visa officer that you intend to depart from the US immediately after completing your studies. You must also be able to coherently articulate specific plans you intend to pursue after your degree, or discuss whether you have been promised a job in your home country upon your return. Elaborate that your future employment, family or other relationships, educational objectives, long-term plans and career prospects are all dependent upon your return to your home country. If you are interested in research, be prepared to talk about your research plans.  Note that each person’s situation is different, of course, and there is no pre-determined strategy which can guarantee visa.


You will also need supporting documents to process your visa application, such as your admission letter. You should also be prepared to take along all mandatory documents which will help you prove that you are financially capable to reside in US. These documents include all scholarships, financial aid or sponsorship. The financial information indicated on your I-20 form must match the evidence provided to the visa officer.


Supporting documents are not the only factor a visa officer will consider in your interview. Each application is reviewed individually and all academic, professional as well as personal factors are considered during processing.


Right after acquiring your visa, be ready to book your airline ticket and prepare for your departure!