Tuesday, May 13, 2014

5 Things Indian Students Should Know Before Applying to U.S. Universities

By Lilian Hallstrom, 
Regional Director of Europe and India, Southern New Hampshire University

WES Advisor:
Lilian, as a Regional Director for India, can you please explain how U.S. universities evaluate 3-year Indian bachelor's degrees?

The bad news is that most US universities are still quite conservative and will not accept any Indian 3-year degrees. The good news is that more and more graduate schools are moving towards accepting some of the degrees, and they are becoming more generous with their assessment.

WES recommendations are a guideline for what is becoming more acceptable, and they suggest that an Indian 3-year degree that is ranked “A“ by NAAC should be classified as being equivalent to an American 4-year degree if the student has received a first or second division pass. However, remember that each school, and even each individual program, can have very different requirements, so make sure to do your research and don’t be afraid to contact the admissions office with your questions.

WES Advisor: Do you recommend that students apply to U.S. universities earlier than the deadline? Why?
In general, it's good practice to always complete assignments early as it makes it easier to plan and have enough time to handle unexpected events. With almost 4,000 higher education institutions in the US, there is a very wide range of deadlines and admission requirements. You need to plan ahead and start early to make sure you're submitting a top quality application that meets the exact requirements and profile of the school and program you are applying to. 

Also, many tests are not offered frequently, and you may want to improve your chances of admission or scholarships by re-taking tests and improve your results. If you start early, you will have time to get the best references, polish your essay/personal statement, and get useful feedback from peers, employers, or teachers.

WES Advisor: Should students still try to apply to U.S. universities if their GPA or standardized test score is below the suggested minimum?

There are many different pathways to success and even someone with a low GPA or test score can realize their dream of an American education. Some universities will not place as much attention to a poor test score if your GPA is strong, and vice versa. Make sure to highlight your strengths and provide explanations (if applicable).

You can also consider starting at a 2-year college, which would also offer the additional benefit of (often) being more affordable. However, the best way to give you the best chance to secure a place at a university and program that is the best fit for you, is achieved by being a good and hard-working student and making sure you get a good GPA and good test scores!

WES Advisor: What should students do if they are accepted to a U.S. university, but do not have the sufficient funds to support their entire study abroad education before the visa process?
Normally you only have to provide proof of funding for the first year, but you should make sure that you have a plan and a budget for your whole degree. You also need to remember that when you
apply for a visa, it's the visa officer’s job to verify that you are serious about studying in the US and that you are academically and financially prepared to make that kind of a big commitment. So you cannot leave funding as the last part of your preparation.

Part of starting the university selection and application process early is to make sure you have plenty of time to also explore various funding opportunities. Many schools offer merit-based scholarships or need-based or specialized scholarships. You can also investigate how likely it is to gain a student worker position, but be aware that there are many strict policies on where and how much you can work. If you are talented in sports, music, dance, etc., then you can try to apply for talent and athletic scholarships. There are also some loan programs available for international students, but there could be requirements such as having a co-signer who is a US citizen or permanent resident.

Other ways to minimize the cost is to look for programs that will accept transfer credits, consider starting at a community college, or find programs that are accelerated and will get you out working and earning money sooner. Most importantly – make a realistic budget!

WES  Advisor:
Thank you so much for your advice. Do you have any last words of advice for our students?

Start early! – Preparation, research and enough time helps you prepare a competitive application!

Learn more about Southern New Hampshire University here.

Lilian Hallstrom is the Regional Director of Europe and India for Southern New Hampshire University. She has traveled to 42 countries, many of them through her work in international admission, and considers Goa, India, her second home. Lilian loves hanging out with her husband and 5-year-old daughter. She holds a BA in Communication (PR and journalism) from Hawaii Pacific University, and a Postgraduate Diploma in IT (Multimedia) from Bond University, Australia.


  1. can u plz tell me what is the procedure for admission in usa for bachelors course in engineering

    my current status is i am doing diploma in civil engineering
    i have done my 10+2 and its my last year in diploma

    and my grades are not so good in 10+2
    in 10th i got 63%
    in 12th 53%
    and in diploma i flunked in 2nd year

    so is there any chance that i can get admission in usa and if yes plz tell me procedure

  2. You can go to a community college for 2 years and transfer out :3

  3. Hi
    I want to study distant master English in any us universities from India.
    Can you please help me to get through this.


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