How to begin the application process for US graduate Schools?

1. First things first. Write your GRE !! It’s important that you have this one out of the way.The score is valid for 5 years.So get it done as soon as possible and use it whenever you are ready.Just use the prep books I used ( mentioned in previous blog already ) and you should do well.Take my word for it, it’s easier than preparing for GATE and MBA.If you can score above 700 in quant and 500 in verbal you have done well enough.However I have seen people scoring 1400 ( quant + verbal + analytical ) and yet getting admits.So keep things in perspective while judging your performance.

Note:Read posts under GRE to register, prepare for GRE.

2. Secondly write your TOEFL. Use the Princeton prep book for Toefl.It took me a week to prepare for toefl.It couldn’t take you any longer.213 is the minimum and you will beat that by a healthy margin.Again take my word for it.You won’t realize how easy it is until you have finished writing the test.

3. So now that you have your GRE & TOEFL score, it’s time to get your reco letter and SOP (statement of purpose)ready. Use any of the samples posted in this blog and play around with it to come up with your own.Once your reco letter & SOP template is ready, keep them handy until you finalize your school.Once the school is finalized you can modify those templates just a little bit and send them to respective schools.

4. Select a school from the US news engineering directory. The following are the top 50 engineering schools as per us news rankings for 2008. However I caution you not to get too caught up in rankings as eventually there is very little qualitative difference between US grad schools unless it’s in top 10.The mistake most people make is they get too preoccupied with the rankings of school, whereas the wisest thing to do is to look for schools where funding can be obtained.Eventually when it comes to looking for a job after graduation it doesn’t matter if you are from a ranked 13 school or from ranked 83.So my advice is to go through the engineering school directory, pick a school, browse to the grad school website, contact the department professors with admissions and funding possibilities based upon your undergrad score and GRE scores.Also it helps a lot to visit the ISA sites of those schools ( Indian Students Association sites ) and contact present students and ask them any questions you might have regarding admissions, visa related questions etc.They are the most helpful blokes for the future desi grad students.

5. So you did as I mentioned in step 4 and selected the school.Now it’s time to go to the admissions checklist for that school and follow them completely.I have mentioned all the docs that is required for grad school admissions in previous blog post.However make sure that you provide all the docs as asked by the grad school, that might not be covered in this blog.But in general admission check list is as blow:

i.Grad school application must be filled.
ii.Pay the application fee, online or in shape of bank draft mailed to the grad school.
iii.Send a copy of undergrad transcript.Sealed and signed.
iv.GRE scores & TOEFL scores, sent directly by ETS.
v.Send recco letters, sealed and signed.
vi.Send SOP.Signed and dated.

By the way note that some schools have spring admissions where as all schools have Fall admissions.Make sure that your application is complete that is all your application materials have reached the Graduate school admissions committee before the slated deadlines.

6. Now keep your finger crossed and wait for a decision.If admitted respective school will contact you to send them the affidavit of financial support and supporting financial documents.

7. Once the school receives the financial docs, they will send you an I-20 form that you will use to apply for a student visa ( F1 ).

8. Now that you have your I-20 get ready for applying for F1.That means keeping your financial documents among others ready and take an appointment with US consulate in India.You can take your appointment online ( I went to kolkatta consulate as it was nearer to Bhubaneswar, Odisha ) and get the date for an Visa interview.Once you have visa then it’s time to cheer up and make plans to fly to US of A.

(NOTE: I will cover the visa process in detail in another post. Also I will cover how to schedule for your GRE and TOEFL test in another blog.)

Top 50 engineering school ranking is as below:

1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2 Stanford University (CA)
3 University of California–Berkeley
4 Georgia Institute of Technology
5 University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign
6 Carnegie Mellon University (PA)

7 California Institute of Technology

7 University of Southern California (Viterbi)

9 University of Michigan–Ann Arbor

10 Cornell University (NY)

11 University of Texas–Austin

12 Purdue University–West Lafayette (IN)

13 University of California–San Diego (Jacobs)

14 Texas A&M University–College Station (Look)

14 University of Wisconsin–Madison

16 University of California–Los Angeles (Samueli)

16 University of Maryland–College Park (Clark)

18 Princeton University (NJ)

19 Columbia University (Fu Foundation) (NY)

19 University of California–Santa Barbara

21Northwestern University (McCormick) (IL)

21Pennsylvania State University–University Park

23 Harvard University (MA)

23 University of Minnesota–Twin Cities

23 University of Washington

26 Johns Hopkins University (Whiting) (MD)

26 Ohio State University

26 University of Florida

29 University of Pennsylvania

30 Duke University (NC)

30 Rice University (Brown) (TX)

30 University of Rochester (NY)

33 Virginia Tech

34 North Carolina State University

34 University of California–Davis

36 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NY)

37 University of California–Irvine (Samueli)

37 University of Virginia

37 Yale University (CT)

40 University of Colorado–Boulder

41Boston University

42 Lehigh University (Rossin) (PA)

42 Vanderbilt University (TN)

42 Washington University in St. Louis (Sever)

45 Case Western Reserve University (OH)

45 Iowa State University

47 Dartmouth College (Thayer) (NH)

47 Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey–New Brunswick

47 University of Delaware

50 Arizona State University (Fulton)

50 University of Pittsburgh

Electrical Engineering Rankings
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2. Stanford University (CA)
3. University of California–Berkeley
4. University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign
5. California Institute of Technology
6. University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
7. Georgia Institute of Technology
8. Cornell University (NY)
9. Carnegie Mellon University (PA)
10. Princeton University (NJ)
Purdue University–West Lafayette (IN)
University of Texas–Austin
13. University of California–Los Angeles (Samueli)
University of Southern California (Viterbi)
15. University of Wisconsin–Madison
16. University of Maryland–College Park (Clark)
17. University of California–San Diego (Jacobs)
18. Rice University (Brown) (TX)
University of California–Santa Barbara
University of Washington
21. Pennsylvania State University–University Park
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NY)
Texas A&M University–College Station (Look)
University of Minnesota–Twin Cities
Virginia Tech
26. Arizona State University (Fulton)
Columbia University (Fu Foundation) (NY)
Johns Hopkins University (Whiting) (MD)
North Carolina State University
Ohio State University
31. Harvard University (MA)
Northwestern University (McCormick) (IL)
University of Florida
University of Pennsylvania
35. Brown University (RI)
Duke University (NC)
University of Arizona
University of Virginia
Yale University (CT)
40. University of California–Davis
University of Colorado–Boulder
Washington University in St. Louis (Sever)

The entire engineering school directory is here.

Providing links for some Indian Students Association Sites here:

ISA site for University of Cincinnati

GISO site for University of Houston

ISA site for University of Arkansas

ISA site for University of Dayton

This entry was posted in Application Process & Docs and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to How to begin the application process for US graduate Schools?

  1. Krishna sagar says:

    thanq for providing this information……

  2. jagmohan says:

    Krishna you are welcome.The reason for the blog was to help at least one person.I am sure that objective has been accomplished.Do spread the word out, so that more people can be benefited.

  3. Ripon says:

    Thanks for this info. The GRE score is now updated. So, if you can update this content that will be helpful.

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