International students: Get to know Google!

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Image via CrunchBase

On many international student blogs or forums, I see the same questions over and over again. How should I register for the GRE? What are the test dates for TOEFL? How many questions are there on the GMAT? What is the cost? These are what I call, “Google me” questions! If you key in the word “TOEFL,” (as an example) the official website for TOEFL has all the information you need! Everything and more than what you need or more than what anyone can answer! More important, by accessing the original site or the official site, you will get accurate information. There is another reason why it is important for you to do your own research. U.S faculty expect you to have good research skills. If you ask questions to which answers are readily available, you will not impress your faculty or your fellow students!

Dr.Gupta is the CEO of PlanetGPA, an international student counseling and recruitment firm.

Why study abroad?

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Studying abroad is not for everyone. It is for those who are adventurous, who have an open-mind and who are willing to try new things. You may not like everything you try, but you must explore. You must leave your assumptions and biases behind. You must be curious. You must be willing to observe and learn. And you must know that many faculty, staff, and students in the U.S genuinely want you to succeed!

Many international students miss out on the benefits of studying in the U.S because they are eager to stay “close to their own.” In other words, they will hang out only with students from their own country, speak in their home language, if possible, eat at local restaurants that serve their food, and watch movies in their language, to name a few. I highly encourage you not to build a “mini” version of your home country on a U.S. campus. Instead, teach others about your culture and be willing to learn from others.

The purpose of study abroad is to expand one’s mind!

Dr. Uma G. Gupta is the CEO of PlanetGPA, an international student recruitment company.

International Students: Five things to do before you apply for an internship in the U.S

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more of our table at the NYSAIS Job Fair to Pr...

more of our table at the NYSAIS Job Fair to Promote Diversity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As an international student, you are probably eager to get an internship at a U.S. company.  Internships are highly competitive.  You have to work hard to get an internship.  No one at any university will do all the work for you while you wait for an acceptance letter for an internship. Instead, from Day one, on a university campus, you have to get to know the staff at the Career and Placement Office. Even if they are not very encouraging or enthusiastic about your prospect of finding an internship, you must not give up. You must continue to make regular visits to the Placement Office to let them know that you are serious and dedicated. More important, do your home work. Don’t walk in and say, “Hmmm.. do you have any internships?”

Instead, have answers to the following five questions:

1. What industry do I want to work in?

2. What are my skills?

3.  How will the company benefit from my skill set?

4. What can I offer that  perhaps a U.S student cannot?

5. Am I doing this to earn a pay check or to gain experience? Both is a good answer, but “for experience,” is a better answer!

PlanetGPA helps international students achieve success at U.S. universities. Visit our Facebook for more info.

International students: Five reasons why a U.S Degree will get you a job!

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International students ask this question all the time! Will I get a job if I earn a U.S degree? Well, the real answer is – it depends. Here are five reasons why a U.S degree can/will get you a job:

  1. Your major is useful to an employer.
  2. You have good communication skills.
  3. Your faculty speaks highly of you.
  4. You are ethical and a team player.
  5. You can apply what you learnt in the classroom to a real-world problem.

Bottom line: it depends on the university, but a whole lot depends on you as well!

 

Smart Ways to Save Money on a U.S. Bachelors Degree

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The cost of a U.S. Bachelors ranges from $10k a year at community colleges to $55k a year at expensive institutions. As the cost of college sky rockets, students and parents are looking more closely at value versus investment. Here are three ideas that both domestic and international students can do to reduce the cost of earning a U.S Bachelor’s degree:

1. Many U.S. colleges and universities offer online courses that you can take from home in your first or second semester. If you can take a few courses without being on campus in your first year, go for it. For international students, this means staying at home with your parents while taking U.S classes. It is a great idea and can save you significant dollars. You save on boarding and lodging while earning a U.S degree. Can’t beat that!

2. Many international students don’t know about community colleges or they have a bad impression about community colleges.  Even after you enroll in a 4-year university, you can still take some courses at a community college and have them transferred. This will also save you some money.

3.  Some universities have campuses around the world that offer the same degree as they do in the U.S. See if a campus is less expensive and take a few courses at that campus. This has multiple benefits. In your resume you can say that you have lived and experienced different cultures and countries. This is invaluable. Also, you earn the same degree for a lower cost. And you may be able to select a country that is closer to your home country, making travel back and forth less expensive.

 

Is a PhD worth it?

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Is a PhD worth it? Well, simple answers are no longer popular and therefore a more detailed response is due. The detailed answer is: It depends! It depends on your attitude and aptitude to long hours of hard work, curiosity, frustration, and love for one’s discipline. A PhD in the US is definitely worth it is what most people who have earned a PhD in the US will tell you. Faculty (most) are passionate about their discipline and are great mentors. Lab facilities in the U.S. are usually top notch and research is often cutting-edge. US faculty are active in their disciplines and their reputation depends on the careers their PhD students pursue. So, all in all it is a great investment. But if you want to earn a PhD just to earn “more money” it may not be a good idea. The number one question to ask is: Do I love my major or discipline enough to dedicate my lifetime to it? If your answer is yes, you have crossed the first barrier. Here is a great website from Purdue (www.purdue.edu) that answers most questions students considering a PhD have:  http://www.cs.purdue.edu/homes/dec/essay.phd.html

Study in the US! Tell us what help you need!

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