Monthly Archives: January 2010

Scholarships to Study in the US


International students often state boldly,"I want a "full scholarship" and "full financial aid" to study in the US. Often they will ask, "Can you guarantee that I will get a full scholarship?" There are a few simple truths about scholarships for international students in US universities:

1. There are very few scholarships for international students.

2. These are merit-based, not need-based. In other words, rarely will a student get a scholarship because they "need the money."  Scholarships are given out based on merit and accomplishments.

3. Most scholarships are awarded AFTER the student is admitted, not as part of the acceptance letter.

4. You must have good communication skills to get a scholarship. This means you must be able to speak English and write English well in order to qualify as a meritorious student.

If someone tells you that they can "get" you a scholarship because they have "connections" in US universities or know how the "system works" well heck, then I am the Queen of England writing this blog post.

Dr. Uma G. Gupta is the CEO of USAsiaEdu, a consulting company that recruits students for US universiteis. She can be reached at

International students – uncle is not always the best judge!


International students sometimes have a tendency to select their university based on where their uncle or some relative lives. This is particularly true for Asian students. We repeatedly get requests from students stating that they MUST find a university in the same street where their uncle, sister, friend, or someone close lives (Ok, street is an exaggeration!)

Ask yourself if you want to make the most important decision of your life that will have great consequences on your career and future income based on where your uncle lives. You want to study abroad so that you can learn to fly, adapt to new cultures, face new challenges, meet new people, and get out of your comfort zone. It won't happen if you decide to live only next to uncle and go to the university that is next to uncle's house. In general, this is a bad idea. Occassionally, a great university that has exactly the program you are looking for is right next to uncle's house, in which case it is a great, great idea!

Dr. Uma G. Gupta is the President of USAsiaEdu ( and recruits international students for US universities. She can be reached at

I haven’t taken the GRE yet – What do I do?


Many students are confused about whether they should wait for their GRE scores before starting their admissions process.
GRE scores form an important part of the application bundle, but it is not the only deciding factor for university admissions. Universities are interested in looking at the overall profile of the student and not just academic scores.
If you plan to take your GRE in later stages of the application time-line, say around February or March, you can make sure that all other documents are in place for the application to be complete. Following few steps would help you speed up the application process in paucity of time.

  1. If you haven’t already taken your TOEFL, start by doing that. TOEFL is an English exam that is required by most US universities. It is a test of your knowledge of the English language. For anyone whose medium of education has been English, this should be a fairly easy exam requiring minimal preparation.
  2. Prepare a shortlist on the basis of your academic and non academic profile and use mock test score as a proxy for your GRE scores. Be realistic about your expected scores. If you expect you can increase your score from 1000 in mock tests to 1300 in the final test – you are wrong.
  3. Identify and approach your referrers for recommendation letters. It is often the case that students are not in regular contact with their referrers. It is a good idea to start interacting with them, to remind them of your strengths and contributions.
  4. Look at university requirements and start drafting the required essays for completing the application form.
  5. Obtain college transcripts for previous educational qualifications and get them attested if required. USEFI is the best source for such attestation for US university applications.

There is a lot of work that goes into making a successful application and delaying the process only because of unavailability of GRE scores is novice.
Starting the process late does not mean that you will not get admission – only the top 25-30 universities have their deadlines in December or January. If you organize your thoughts and make an action plan for your application, the confidence will reflect in your application and help you secure admission in good universities.

Five steps to apply for an MBA


There are some important steps international students must follow in applyting to a business school in the United States: 

1. Selecting where to apply

2. The GMAT

3. Formatting your undergraduate transcripts (academic records) for US schools (this can

sometimes be done after you have been accepted).

4. Completing the applications

(a) Basic information

(b) Essays

(c) Letters of Recommendation (very important)

(d) Academic records

(e) Other Activities

5. Obtaining financial guarantees (and applying for financial aid)

6. Obtaining the necessary visa's and paperwork