The fall semester is fast approaching, and the thought of crossing the country’s borders and moving abroad for higher studies at one of the prestigious US universities might leave you with a mix of emotions, ranging from excitement to uncertainty. This is quite understandable for students just starting their first college semester and that too in a foreign land. But worry not! While you get ready to embark on this much-anticipated journey to the US, we are here with some tips for you.
Check US Student Visa Updates
For students seeking academic opportunities at any US university, the country makes F1 visas mandatory. Visa processing can take an unusually long amount of time, so it is advisable to apply for a student visa some months ahead. The general process is that you fill out an online nonimmigrant visa application, book an appointment for a visa interview in the U.S. Embassy or Consulate at your place, and attend the interview with all the required documents; post which your visa will be approved upon review. Although you may receive your visa 120 days before the start date of your course, you will be allowed entry into the USA only 30 days prior to the start of the fall semester.
According to the recent US student visa update, students whose visa application for the summer-spring season was rejected will not be able to book a slot for a visa interview again this year.
Keep in Touch with International Student Office
Most US universities have an international student services office that keeps the foreign students joining their university informed of the important information related to visas, vaccination and admission requirements, as well as the latest guidelines from the designated school officials. So, visit the international services office page of your university’s official site to track the updates. Anytime during the period of your course at the university, you can seek this office for academic and language support, financial assistance, residence and housing support, and take part in their orientation and immigration programs.
Attend a Pre-Departure Orientation
You can also attend a pre-departure orientation that helps you in preparing for new experiences and challenges that may lie ahead. You can easily locate advising centers like EducationUSA that are known to offer these orientation programs. The advisers brief you on the academic systems and expectations and provide you tips on how to adjust to the new environment and cultural setting, which is a world apart from home.
Seek External Sources for Financing Your Studies Abroad
Most US universities offer scholarships, in-state tuition benefits and other provisions for international students. But technically, not more than 10% of foreign students get scholarships in the United States. However, a variety of government and private funding programs and international scholarships/loans (both in your home country and in the US) can come to your rescue, provided you seek them early as there is cut-throat competition for these scholarships.
Lastly, Make Your Travel Arrangements & Get All Documents Ready
When your application, visa and other requirements are cleared, don’t wait to book your flights to the USA! Get an international debit/credit card, assemble all the travel documents and make their photocopies too. Prepare a pre-departure checklist to ensure that you are not missing out on anything.