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Why US Education ? Do you need Agents ? How About Visa?

If you have not read the previous article for this, please read Lost Hope ? Apply to US Schools

How to proceed with your higher education journey ?

You have completed Class 12th and you are quite sure that IIT is a dream, a bad one where you end up not getting admission and nearly 1 Million are ahead of you in the medical college admissions list. Ask yourself, what do I want to do next? Now don’t say ‘engineering or medicine’ because that is a line your parents, friends and teachers have fed you. Think again – is there a field or area you would like to work in? Could be humanities, accounting, fine arts, graphics, media, acting, healthcare, aviation, broadcasting or many other fields. Many students have told me they want to get into engineering and when I ask them which branch, the answer is – whichever I can get into. It is so sad that a beginner student is unable to distinguish between electronics engineering from civil engineering. First step – decide what you want to do. Better yet, what you feel like doing.

USA can help you

The United States has a highly evolved system of education, it is as detailed as it is in India but it is application oriented so you know why you are studying what you are studying, what its real life application is. Look up your subject area of interest and schools that offer those subjects. Examine their admission criteria, every Institution is different, every fee structure is different, every education sub-culture is different. Write to them, make your interests very clear, tell them a little about yourself, all admission counselors love to hear from students from India.

Using Agents for US Schools Admission

Can agents be of help? Absolutely, yes. There are some really great agents and consultants around the globe who are the only gateway for aspiring students. US government sponsored groups such as USEFI lack the resources or information detail these agents have access to at any given time. US Universities have increasingly realized that once students exit a school or college system, their next stop is an agent that can help them. Most universities however seek a deeper more intellectually driven relationship with agents. This allows an agent to speak with knowledge and capacity about a University that a student is showing interest in. If this attention to detail is missed, it will appear that the agent is merely trying to push a sale. An agent is a career maker, not a salesman and this distinction is everything for aspiring students and anxious parents.

TOEFL, IELTS and other Tests

It is assumed these tests are mandatory. Not so. Many Institutions in the United States waive TOEFL requirement if your education up until Class 12th and even beyond was in English medium. Again, the University admission counselor is your best source for this information.

Arguing for your I-20 and F-1 visa – the Meritorious Argument

Yes, you can expect an argument, a small one though. I-20 is easily issued when you are accepted to a school. Problem starts when the local embassy starts asking the purpose of your further studies. Be clear – you want to study business administration because you want to help your father with his business back in India. You want to study engineering so you can come back and work for Kirloskar and Mahindra. The key words are ‘coming back’. Ultimately remember this – the US Embassy is merely a gatekeeper and they cannot keep genuine candidates from travelling. A small University will fight for your rights to study further by arguing your case, a large university will not interfere with these things.

Financial Strength

You don’t have to be a Millionaire. BA degree costs per year at the University I am at is $5,700. MBA costs are similar. Of course you have to show cash availability in the bank for entire duration of program for visa purposes but you will start working part-time very  soon paying for your own education.

Life Ahead

A US degree is respected. You will make your own way in life and this education will go a long way in securing the journey. If you have just finished class 12th or graduation, consider studying further in the United States, it is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

Final word of advice

Numbers make Indians very anxious. We are used to crowds everywhere, in bus stops, at train stations, at airports, in restaurants. We feel what we are seeking will run out by the time we get to the front. This is not the case in the United States. There is plenty of space and opportunity for people who are focused and determined. I am an author known on this website thanks to Kumar and Saurabh. Who knows you will be my student soon or at least I can guide you on the best direction.

What are your thoughts ?


About the author

Dr. Sandeep Shankar has a Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D from University of Delhi, India. The advice he gives on this website is based on personal life experience and those he has helped in the past 10 years. Today, he teaches at Colorado Heights University in Denver, Colorado and also runs a non profit corporation (www.hopeforhumanityglobal.org) that helps unemployed individuals in Colorado find new skills and through that training, new hope for their families. If life after 12th or graduation is confusing you, write to him at hopehumanity@gmail.com . You don’t have to be alone on this journey.


Image Credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lumaxart/2137729748/


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  1. Sir, I was in the usa from 2007 to 2010, got my MS degree,worked for sometime on opt but had to return in 2011 due to personal reasons. I have been working in my hometown since then but I wish to go back for another degree and work there ofcourse.

    Does this hamper my chances of succeeding at the visa interview since I already have a degree from a US university?

    Will they be suspicious of my intentions?

    Going back for another MS will make it worse?

    I know I will not be eligible for opt again, but just to save myself from far more years of studies I wish to take the MS program instead of phd. If I apply in the similar or related discipline,is that a bad idea too?

    I had to be honest about my situation here so you can help me out better. Appreciate any advice.

  2. I guess as it is costing for students it might be the right reason to avoid agents…..but why should anyone worry abt universities….that is foreign money coming back to INDIA in the form of commission……it is spent in India and is good for India.
    My name is Anudeep Reddy i am a consultant and i worry about my services to students who are either busy or innocent and also study abroad aspirants who believe in perfection at work rather than just dig and see what they get.

    • My apologies. By no means did I mean to disparage agents. Unfortunately the present relationship between agents and US universities is that of numbers. I feel agents must become collaborators with Universities to serve student populations better. For example, admission to the University where I teach is by an entrance exam (writing challenge). Agents can support primary applicants with visa resources and everything else but you do not need to be spokespersons for the University. Allow the University to justify itself, your reputation should not be impacted.


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