Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Undergrad studies in America

If you've completed class 12 in India and gone on to do your undergrad education in the US, read on. I'd like you to share advice/ experiences which might help prospective students. This is for a feature in JAM magazine's forthcoming issue.

Some of the Qs we're seeking to answer:

- Ivy League colleges have long offered need-blind admission. How hard is it, though, as a foreign student? And are some Ivy League colleges more receptive to foreign students than others?

- Are there colleges outside the Ivy League which offer need-blind admissions/ merit scholarships for undergrad studies to foreign students? Mount Holyoke used to be one such college. A couple of my friends studied there - but that was a while ago.

- Assume you take a loan for undergrad studies in the US. What's the likelihood of your getting a job there in order to recover your investment?

You could share any fundas you have in 200-300 words. More is always welcome, of course. Email rashmi_b@yahoo.com.


  1. Good initiative by JAM!!

    This will be really helpful for interested students.

    Blogs at - http://theignorant.blogspot.com/

  2. hi, i like your blog, i also have a youth magazine, for more than 3 years, but it used to be a school mag, you can see it here www.liberty.server.md

  3. Anonymous3:57 AM

    I can give some couple pointers since i finished 12th and finished my Undergrad at University of Massachusetts.

    Depending on what kind of studies you do and how hard you work at it , Scholarships are always handed out to outstanding students who demonstrates great acedemic performances. Student loans are also available to students at very minimal interest rates which are to be paid 6 months after you graduate. The rates are usually within 2%.

    Like I said depending on the studies you will get a good paying job. I mean if you studied to be a pharmacy or Nurse you get a good high paying job and chances are withing couple years you might payoff the loan from college.

    I never needed to take a loan since i came a resident alien or like in India they Green card holder so I got financial Aid which normally internation student with student visa do not get.

    But the most important part is how hard is student willing to dedicate himself in the college. He/she should be able to let go off many things that he/she would normally not while back home.

  4. As a undergrad student for 4 years and now graduate on his OPT. Undergrad is pretty easy to get into and quite easy to excel at as well, especially if you did well in high school in India.

    Although i gave the SAT 4 years ago, and its format has since changed a bit, it is still quite a straightforward exam,in which you can score really good if you practice, practice, practice...Your boards exam marks don't count for much and you'll be in the clear with anything above 75% or so (this also depends on the university). However, extra-curricular stuff, especially volunteering etc counts quite a bit, also recommendation letters and your essay.

    Above mentioned are the main factors, the SAT score is always the main focal point of your application, everyone aces TOEFL, all other factors differ in importance depending upon the university.

    Funding is quite easily available through student loans from India (ICICI, SBI etc) Undergrad scholarship availability again depends on the univ., you'll have to dig deep in public universities, the private ones like NYU, BU etc might have a bit more than public ones. But in my experience there weren't many scholarships for International undergrads, they are mostly kept for post-grads. Also, under your student visa you are not allowed to work study either. I would recommend getting a loan in india and then workin on campus for the extra pocket money.

    As far as living is concerned, i would recommend living on campus in a dorm the first year, it will really open you up especially if its your first time abroad or in US. Avoid always hangin out with other desis, because you could lose out on some really great experiences. And yea shouldn't worry about ragging etc, unless you plan to join a fraternity. Life will definately be different even if you've been to US before, but its not hard or tough, school and friends will keep you busy enough (the first year for sure), so homesickness hardly ever sets in. Also, calling or going home is becoming cheaper and cheaper each year with more and more direct flights and call cards!
    One last piece of advice, don't keep going to U.S or anywhere else for undergrad as a second option, decide on it as soon as possible, since you will need to really focus on preparing for the SAT, which will require you to lesser priority to school work etc for a while, the earlier you give it the better it is for you, so that you can focus back on the boards

  5. Let me point out to you that all the Ivy Leagues do not offer need-blind admission to international students. Only Harvard, Yale and Princeton do. The other ivy leagues DO NOT offer need-blind admission. This is mentioned quite categorically on their respective websites.

  6. mount holyoke certainly does offer tons of financial aid for internationals. many of my friends from abroad are on virtual full rides.

  7. I went to high school in India and then finished my undergrad from Haverford College in the US recently.

    Scholarships for international students, outside of the Ivy League schools, is available in many schools in the US. I would like to draw special attention to smaller, liberal arts colleges (like Mount Holyoke, Haverford, Swarthmore, Vassar, Bryn Mawr, Amherst, Carleton) that are excellent colleges, provide an education comparable to, if not better than, the ivy league and other big-name schools.

    These smaller, liberal arts schools offer degrees (BA, BS, etc.) in various subjects in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts, etc. and provide a great foundation for further graduate study in top ivy league schools as well. Much greater attention from professors, smaller classes, and great research experiences, among other things, make these liberal arts colleges very attractive.

    Moreover, most of these schools do offer scholarships (full and partial) to international students, though they usually have only a few. However, the important thing is they do offer scholarships. I got a scholarship as well that covered my entire undergrad education from haverford. You can find a complete list of top liberal arts colleges from US News rankings etc. Definitely a very good option to consider.

  8. Hi Rashmi,

    I am a regular reader of your blog. I am happy that Jam magazine will be writing about US college admissions for high school students in India. It is a common belief in India that there are no undergraduate scholarships available in the US, and that only the children of the very rich can make it to the US. For a lot of bright students from India who have both the potential for as well as interest in the fantastic US college education system, the $100,000+ price tag for a private college education is often a strong enough deterrent. I hope that Jam magazine can reach out to ambitious Indian high school students who have the drive but not the resources to pursue such an education, and educate them about how the abovementioned belief, while mostly true, is definitely not an absolute. There are some great colleges in the US that offer substantial undergraduate scholarships ranging from partial tuition upto the entire cost of education (tuition, room, board, books, medical insurance and travel). As a recipient of such a generous scholarship, I wish to disseminate information about the existence of such awards to other high school students like me whose families cannot afford even 10% of the cost of such an education, but who are still committed to getting a scholarship to make a US education a reality.

    While most of the Ivy League colleges offer substantial funding to a limited number of international students each year, there are a lot of great colleges in the US that also have very generous awards that Indian students can (and do) qualify for each year. Of course, while many of the top schools in the US are need-blind for US students, without very few exceptions, they are "need-conscious" for international students, which means that students who need aid usually find themselves in a pretty competitive pool. That being said, in as much as a college offers funding, somebody has to get them, and with a strong, focused effort (combined with the hedge of applying to as many aid-offering schools as possible), it is definitely possible to give yourself a pretty good chance at success.

    In addition to four years of high school records (9th-12th), colleges will require the results of the TOEFL, the SAT-1 Reasoning test (also the SAT-II subject tests for many competitive schools), 1-6 college essays, recommendation from 2-3 school teachers/counselors and for a few schools, and interview with a school alumni (interviews are usually available/recommended only if you live in Delhi/Bombay/Bangalore etc) in addition to a long, detailed application that requires description of school activities. Of the various parts to the application, the SAT is the one that is common to applicants from all over the world, and is often the most important determinant of success. A competitive SAT score combined with a solid high school record and strong, descriptive recommendations (not generic ones with flowery and vague positive prose) can give one a good chance at success.

    The best source of information about admissions as well as the availability of scholarships is the internet. A disturbingly low number of students do their own research, and many rely on their relatives in the US or unreliable, vague sources such as Orkut pals to obtain information, which is unfortunate given that US colleges will provide so much information on their websites. You mentioned Mount Holyoke as one such school. Mount Holyoke's peers are all listed in the US News & World Report magazine's Top 50 Liberal arts schools, an annual compendium of rankings and college information. About half of the top 50 colleges in the list offer limited but very generous scholarships covering from 25% to 100% of the full cost of education (cost of education = tuition, living expenses and travel). Bates College, Middlebury College, Williams College, Amherst College, Colgate University, Davidson College, Colby College, Trinity College, Bryn Mawr College, Smith College, University of the South, Connecticut College, Wellesley College, Vassar Collefe, Wesleyan University etc are some of the schools that offer several full funding offers to international students each year, and there are a good 20+ more such great schools where both the quality of education and generosity of funding is fantastic. Those interested can refer to http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/college/rankings/brief/t1libartco_brief.php for the rankings and links to the websites of these universities. Of course, larger research oriented universities which have strong undergraduate programs include the Ivy League (Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Brown, Penn, Cornell, Dartmouth and Columbia) as well as some other renowned universities such as Stanford,MIT, Duke, Notre Dame, UChicago, WashU, USC, Carnegie Mellon etc also offer many financial aid (both need based and purely merit based) each year. In general though, if a scholarship is absolutely needed by a student to be able to attend, state universities (think UCLA, Berkeley, Michigan, UNC, Virginia) would be useless as they restrict all their money only for US citizens and permanent residents, but several of the abovementioned private universities do offer international undegrad funding. Private universities will offer generate financial aid packages to the top international applicants (which include a lion's share as a grant and a smaller portion as self-help, i.e., a small loan and on-campus employment), which will cover upto 100% of the part of the student's education that his/her family cannot pay for.

    The only way to get one of these awards is to get information on your side, and the way to get information on your side is to do something which so many people (either due to laziness or ignorance) simply don't do or do enough: Research. Go to each and every website, take notes of what you find, prune your list, find schools that are a good match for you and then clinically and purposefully prepare both applications as well as for the SATs. Do it as early as possible, preferably in eleventh grade when there are lesser academic distractions. All these can help one achieve success in this process. FYI, I applied to a lot of schools (around 25) because I absolutely needed 100% funding as I am from a modest background of Kashmiri migrants, but became quite familiar with the process as well as the institutions involved. If there are specific questions relating to someone's background or about particular schools, I will be happy to answer those questions.

    I hope this information helps. I can provide more information if you need. Please feel free to write to me if you have questions.


  9. Hi,
    Do you have any information on getting into med school after going to a liberal arts college like amherst or williams?I am an international student and everyone says its next to impossible.Do u know of any international kid who has got in the last couple of years?
    Appreciate any info on this.

  10. Hi,

    I am here in the US and enrolled in a University. Really found the information out here. The present university I am in offers a little scholarship but does not have many Indians as undergrads. Can you suggest universities that do have considerable Indians and good scholarships as well. And does it matter whether there are Indian undergrads or not? And is it worth it to transfer?

    Thank you

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  14. 可抗力深圳翻译公司件”深圳俄语翻译深圳韩语翻译是指不能预见、放大上海翻译公司这将导致惠州翻译公司不能避免并不能克服表决器出租,表决器销售 租赁表决器各种货币 德语翻译风险偏好。商务口译的任何客观事件。绪同声传译设备租赁,是会议设备租赁深圳手机号码,深圳手机靓号,有的用户同传设备出租会议同传系统租赁选择在线翻译会议设备租赁如发生不可抗力致使一方无法会议设备租赁履行全部或部分其在本协议项下的义务,该方可被免除不可抗力范围内的义务,但法律另有规定的除外。翻译公司,升温东莞翻译公司受不可抗广州翻译公司力影响的同声传译一方可暂停履行其在本协议下的义务,但暂停的范围及时间期限应以不可抗力的影响为限,不影响对方解除协议的权力,广州同声传译,料就在昨日下午稍晚法语翻译时间,同传设备已经说明一切。是。同声传译,凡购深圳同声传译翻译部汕头翻译公司署促进房地产市场珠海翻译公司健康发展措施出台,深圳翻译.深圳英语翻译 ,无需中山翻译公司界面和复杂的操作功能深圳日语翻译,中国移动后台词库广州翻译公司地产的阴霾情中美利差的,。同声传译设备租赁存在,。新疆租车, ,代理人广州翻译公司介绍说,北京翻译公司也目前上海多条航线,,“上海飞北京广州翻译公司,,并不好同声传译设备租赁,但通过法语翻译价格联盟,每条航线上同声传译有一家航空公司挑头同声传译后,其他航空公司也只能提供同等价格的较高折扣。


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