Tips and stages for people who move to the USA for graduate school– relevant for international students

Tips and stages for people who move to the USA for graduate school– relevant for international students
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PhD:

  1. Exams needed: Toefl and GRE – best taken by the summer before starting to write the applications.
  2. Application deadlines: usually before December, so if for example you want to start on September 2012, you need to submit all applications by December 2011 (for concrete deadlines, see each University website).
  3. Contact PIs (Principal Investigator): Send emails to PIs you are interested in working with - you should demonstrate your interest in working with that PI and why - take a look at their website/papers, etc. This should be done before you start writing your applications, as you can use this correspondence within your applications.
  4. Writing applications: can take up to 3 or 4 months. If all submissions are to a PhD in the same field, there will not be a big variation between applications to different universities, but you would have to modify your application according to the requirements.
  5. Assistance in writing the applications: is individual, some students hire the assistance of native English speaking professional.
  6. Important tips: publishing a paper before applying will enhance your application greatly.
  7. Scholarships: depend on the field, but more common for PhD than for MBA or Master’s degree.
  8. Visa: If you are accepted to a program the default visa is F-1 for you and F-2 for your partner (important: F-2 visa holders can’t get a working permit). Only if you are funded you can ask for J-1 visa for you and J-2 visa for your partner (important: J-2 visa holders can get a working permit). It takes up to 3 months after entering the US to get the permit. You need to issue the visa at the embassy at your home country; this process may take some time so the sooner – the better.
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MBA:

  1. Exams needed: Toefl and GMAT – best taken by the summer before starting to write the applications.
  2. Application deadlines: there are usually 2-3 rounds at each university. The first round deadline is around October, the second round deadline around December and the third round around March (for concrete deadlines, see each University website). It is better to submit at the first round.
  3. Arrange a visit to the school: if you can arrange an accompanied visit to the school by a student or faculty - that can be written in your application and upgrade it.
  4. Writing applications: can take up to 3 or 4 months, also depends on the number of schools you are applying to. Requirements can vary extensively between different Universities.
  5. Assistance in writing the applications: is individual, some students hire the assistance of a company that specializes in the application process.
  6. Important tips: working experience is essential.
  7. Scholarships: very rare to get.