The USA is the educational hub for the International students all across the globe. There are over 8, 00, 000 international students who go to US for higher studies. The country is known for the best infrastructure and a place where research and practical knowledge learning go hand in hand. It offers the MS which helps in building strong learning foundation. Lakhs of Indian students apply for MS in US and the most common question they have in the beginning is How to Apply for MS in USA.
How to Apply for MS in USA:
In this article we are going to address the important questions about MS in USA Application Procedure like How to apply for MS Admission in US, Documents Required to Apply for MS in US, Deadlines, Which Exams to Take etc.
In the beginning it looks like a very daunting task but if you plan and then execute that planning with proper guidance it becomes very easy. So, to help you to make things easier for you we are going to explain the whole MS in USA Application Process.
The entire process of applying for Masters in USA can be classified in to following stages:
When To Start:
Ideally the candidates should start the whole process at least 15 months prior to the admissions. E.g. If you are targeting to take admission in fall 2018, you should start your preparation in the beginning of 2017.
The next step is to select the right university for the course you want pursue. For that firstly, list down the name of the universities with their ranks and GRE scores requirement which offer the program you want to go for. This should be your first step of the MS applications. You should be doing it at least 15 months before the admission as explained above. There are intakes for US universities i.e. Fall, Spring and Summer but very few universities take Spring or Summer Intakes. Fall is the most common term intake. It is preferable to go for fall intake if you need financial assistance.
It is imperative to follow the deadlines. Once you have choose the universities of your interest, check the deadlines for the course you want to go for. The deadline for all programs is usually not same and you have to check the deadlines from the individual department’s websites. E.g. application for fall generally start from the month of September and ends by December or January.
You have to check the eligibility requirements for the program you want to go for beforehand only. Different programs will have different requirements and you have to check from the official website about those requirements. We are listing here some of the general eligibility criteria which a candidate should fulfil before applying for the MS in USA.
- 16 years of education: It is mandatory in most of the US universities to have minimum of 16 years of education before you apply for the Masters in USA. So, you need to complete at least 4 years of education after class 12th. There are some universities which accept 3 year undergraduate degrees. Also, students can get their academic transcripts evaluated by University or some private organizations like WES which can term your degree equivalent to that of a US four year degree.
- Mandatory Tests: You will be required to appear for the certain standardized tests in order to apply for admission to MS in USA. So, you have to take GMAT/GRE/TOEFL/IELTS/MCAT/LSAT and others as per the program’s requirement you want to go for.
Appear for The Required Exams:
As mentioned above, you will be required to appear for some of the mandatory entry level tests as required by the program you want to appear for. You should be ideally appearing for these tests in the month of July and August because then you will have your test score at hand when you will be applying. This will also give you time to reappear for the test if you are not satisfied with your score. Most of the universities provide the average or the minimum score required to get admission. This will help you to decide whether you want to reappear for the particular test or not. Some of these tests are:
- GRE: GRE is compulsory for most of the MS level programs in USA. Most of the universities require GRE general test score but some may ask for GRE subject test score.
- TOEFL:TOEFL is another important exam for international students. All the students from non- native English speaking countries are required to appear for the English proficiency test.
- IELTS:Another English proficiency test required for the students from non- native English speaking countries.
- MCAT:Students who want to pursue medical studies in the US require to appear for MCAT
- LSAT:LSAT is an entry level exam for law aspirants.
Organize Application Package:
Universities in the USA put a lot of weightage on the application of a candidate. They not only want academic transcripts but also demand that the applicant should introduce herself/himself through an intent letter and references. So, to have an organized ideal application package, you should have the following:
- SOP: The Statement of Purpose is the most important component of your application and plays a major role in successful selection. In order to be competitive and eligible for application to MS courses in different US universities, it is of utmost importance that you write the Best SOP. While writing an SOP you need to remember that it should be brief and clearly state your expectations from the program and you should follow the ford limit as set by the university or the department you are applying for.
- LOR: Letter of Recommendation gives university an idea about the student’s personality from the perspective of a person who has observed the student’s accomplishments. An impressive LOR helps the students and his chances of getting selected become higher. So, LOR is important for your application profile to stand out as a balanced one. Most of the universities require 2-3 recommendations.
- Essays: Essays are another important evaluation component. The number of essays and the topic depends upon university to university. Some give the topics and some tell the students to write on relevant topic of student’s interest. Generally, students have to submit 2-3 essays.
- Academic transcripts: Academic transcripts will include all the qualifications that a student will be listing in the application form. One should start arranging transcripts from October itself.
- Scores: The test scores for the mandatory entry level tests are also required to be sent along with the application.
Checklist of Documents for MS in USA:
- Academic Transcripts for the qualifications listed in the application form.
- GRE/TOEFL/GMAT/IELTS score proofs besides reporting the test scores officially.
- Recommendation letters ( minimum 2-3 lectures)
- Photo Copies of your passport
- Work experience certificates, if applicable
- Certificates for extra-curricular activities mentioned in the application form.
- WES Evaluation documents, if required by the University
While applying one should make sure to follow the deadlines. Most of the applications have last dates in December-January. So, you should plan accordingly. It is always better to send your applications early in order to avoid last minute glitches. Some universities will allow you to apply online and send documents and application by post. Some universities provide application via email.
9. Offer letter:
Most of the universities respond to your application letter between February to April and will update you about your application acceptance or rejection.
Acquaint yourself with the application process and know in detail about How to Apply for MS in USA before you actually start anything so that you are well aware of what all you need to do.