Pursing an American degree

2014-04-05

Sangita Shrestha

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The trend of studying abroad has caught the Nepali students and the United States of America is for the majority the first choice. And if you are one of the students wanting to pursue an American degree, then here are some necessary things you might need to consider before going to the US.

In Nepal, the EducationUSA Advising Center, US Educational Foundation in Nepal (USEF) at Gyaneshwor being operated by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs provides general information about studying in the US. It also includes tips on selection of a college, admission in a college, admission policies, financial advice and more.

Moreover, USEF-Nepal also offers individual and group advising sessions, a large library of research materials, special presentations on scholarships and admission procedures, and test preparation assistance. Most of the services provided by USEF-Nepal are free.

Study programmes 

The US education system consists of High School Diploma equivalent to 10 +2, ‘A’ level. It also offers undergraduate programme categorised in two groups — Associate Degree (two-year Bachelors) and Bachelor’s Degree (four years). 

Community colleges provides Associate Degree, as per Sulav Bhatta, Information Officer/Student Adviser of EducationUSA Advising Center, where after completion of the degree, one is transferred to a university for completion of four-year Bachelor’s degree.

Associate degree is beneficial to the students as “the cost in community colleges is 50 per cent less than public universities”, mentions Bhatta adding, “The disadvantage is there are rarely any scholarship schemes available for those pursuing Associate Degree.”

And Graduate programme includes Master’s Degree and PhD, according to Bhatta.

And to pursue higher degrees in the US, Nepali students opt to study subjects like Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Business Studies. But students need not limit themselves to study one subject only as per Bhatta. “The education system of the US has flexibility where one can do double majors like those who are studying Engineering can opt for Business course simultaneously and more,” he informs.

Types of scholarship 

The students can also get scholarships while studying in the US. Bhatta shares, “The scholarship in undergraduate programme consists of grants where one can get up to 80 to 100 per cent discount on tuition fee, study loan of five per cent and work study permit which guarantees work 20 hours per week inside the campus.”

Meanwhile, in graduate programme, one can get fellowship where there is no work obligation and gets full or partial scholarship. Another is Assistantship where the graduate level students assist in teaching Bachelor’s level students or Research Assistantship where the graduate level students help the professor in research work, as per Bhatta.

He adds, “Assistantship and Research assistantship are mo-re in Science and Engineering course as compared to others.” 

Eligibility criteria 

While opting for the US as study destination, the students considering admission in undergraduate programmes must have completed 12 years of study. Meanwhile, one should have finished 16 years of study for getting admission in graduate programme (Master’s degree) according to Bhatta.

For those opting for graduate programme with three-years Bachelor’s degree, Bhatta suggests, “One can complete the Master’s Degree in Nepal and then apply to a graduate programme in the USA. Another is applying as a transfer student to an undergraduate programme in the USA where one will need to study for two to three years to obtain the American Bachelor’s degree. And if the student is seeking a degree in business, a limited number of colleges offer a one-year bridge programme followed by two year MBA programme however, such programmes are very rare.”

The students must take TOEFL to get admission in any programme where Bhatta also recommends SAT or ACT. “The scores in TOEFL and SAT or ACT also determine the level of scholarship one gets in the USA colleges or universities.”

Moreover, for graduate programmes, GRE or GMAT are also recommended in addition to the TOEFL by USEF. For scholarship one must have scored 100 out of 120 in TOEFL and a minimum of 1800 to 2000 out of 2400 in SAT or ACT.

The academic background, volunteering work, other work experience, extracurricular activities, articles published and more also are determining factors that help students get scholarships, as per Bhatta who reveals, “Those having first division and distinction in academics have high chances to get selected for scholarship.”

Some misconceptions

Students might have a misconception that they would be able to increase their scholarship amount after reaching the US. But Bhatta clarifies, “There is no such provision as increasing the scholarship after reaching there. Moreover, students who come through consultancies tend to transfer from colleges but such students are not entitled to scholarships after the transfer.” 

And studying without any scholarship in the US “is very costly”.

Admission requirements
It is recommended to apply in at least five to 10 colleges for acceptance.

  1. Application form
  2. Application Fee
  3. Transcripts
  4. Financial documents
  5. Standardised test scores
  6. Application essay
  7. Letters of recommendation
  8. Supporting materials

Visa requirements (As per the brochure compiled by Embassy of United States of America Kathmandu and USEF-Nepal)
I-20 from the college (Acceptance letter from the colleges from USA)

  1. Evidence of Clear intent to be a full time student
  2. Evidence of English proficiency and academic ability
  3. Evidence of sufficient funding sources to cover the cost of the entire education.

Cost for one year
Varies according to the University and area

  1. Tuition and fees: $3,000 to $45,000 or more (per year)
  2. Living Cost: $4,000 to $10,000
  3. Book and Supplies: $500 to $1,000
  4. Health Insurance: $500 tp $1,000
  5. Personal Expenses: $1,2000 to $3,000
  6. Travel Expenses: $1,000 to $1,200

Visa procedure cost

  1. SEVIS Fee: $200
  2. Visa Interview Fee: $160
  3. After getting Visa: $200

(All the cost for visa procedure is also provided through Opportunity Funding from EducationUSA to 15 to 20 talented students with strong academic background and from disadvantaged group per year)

Some useful websites about Study in USA

  1. http://www.petersons.com
  2. http://www.usnews.com
  3. http://www.collegeboard.org
  4. http://www.fundingusstudy.org
  5. http://www.chea.org
  6. http://www.facebook.com/usef.nepal

Source: The Himalayantimes, published in October 4.