James Madison University – The Ultimate American Undergraduate Experience

 

The Quad - James Madison University in the USA

The Quad - James Madison University

When asked about how she chose James Madison University in America, international student Marina Mezzetti from Brazil said she saw the pictures of campus and the quad blanketed with students socializing and studying and she knew she wanted to come to JMU. “The academics here are awesome. The professors are always trying to help you be your best and do your best,” said Mezzetti. “The university has so many opportunities for you to get involved and meet new people. “ Mezzetti originally had plans to transfer to California, but once she stepped foot onto JMU’s campus in Harrisonburg, Virginia she knew she was a Duke for life.

At JMU everyone “bleeds purple” – a loyalty that is a testament to the campus spirit and welcoming environment. As a mid-sized university on 2.8km2 of land with approximately 19,700 students, JMU offers big-school opportunities with a small-school feel. Having one of the highest retention rates in its category at 91%, it is clear that students are extremely satisfied with their Madison experience.

This experience has been part of the JMU tradition for more than a century. Originally founded in 1908 as a State Normal and Industrial School for Women, JMU has grown to offer more than 100 degree programs to men and women on the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. With its primary focus on the undergraduate experience, JMU offers abundant hands-on and real world opportunities to complement classroom instruction across all disciplines.  As a Phi Beta Kappa Chapter member, an honor that only 10 percent of the country’s colleges and universities can claim, JMU is committed to the liberal arts and sciences and is consistently recognized for academic achievement. These recognitions have not gone unnoticed. More than 250 companies visit JMU each year to recruit students for jobs and internships.

Commons Market at James Madison University in the USAStudents find balance outside of their challenging coursework by choosing from more than 300 clubs and student organizations, Division I athletics and numerous community and cultural events year round.

More than 400 international students from 99 countries attend JMU and enjoy the services and hands on support provided for the international student community. Yana Tyan from Kazakhstan says, “I’m really happy at JMU. It is a wonderful environment with great people and academics. My favorite place is the quad – studying, walking, playing, reading, etc. I also love visiting Washington D.C.” In the coming weeks the international student community will participate in a true American tradition – attending a Washington Nationals baseball game.

Only 2 hours from Washington D.C., Harrisonburg, Virginia is nestled in the heart of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains and offers a variety of outdoor recreation and state of the art campus facilities for living and learning. Students are particularly impressed with off-campus accommodations that offer swimming pools, game rooms, fitness centers, clubhouses and free transportation to and from campus for all student complexes. Downtown Harrisonburg offers the quintessential college-town vibe with a variety of shops, restaurants and performance venues to choose from.

As an alumnus I can say with conviction that JMU is the ultimate university experience. Many schools may say it, but JMU owns it – there truly is something for everyone.

Learn more about James Madison University in the USA.

Tips for getting a student visa for USA and Canada

International students: North America wants you!

USA has always been an attractive destination and land of opportunities for young and ambitious individuals. According to the annual report Open Doors 2011, the number of foreign students in U.S. colleges and universities increased by 4.7% in the 2010-2011 academic year, exceeding 723,000 people. Based on the latest news US President Barack Obama plans to make a number of changes to open many opportunities for international students, even granting them citizenship. He proposed an immigration reform, creating favorable conditions for foreign graduates of American universities to obtain citizenship and  work experience in the country. So, there’s never been a better time to consider USA for long term higher education plans.

Visa – what to start with?

You can only apply for a visa once you have been accepted by a university that is SEVP (The Student and Exchange Visitor Program) certified. When you get this exciting news applying for a student visa will be one of the key steps in pathway to an overseas education. F-1 is the most common visa for academic students taking an education course.

What papers do you need to apply?

You should apply for your visa as soon as you’re prepared but very important and advisable to do it well in advance. F-1 applicants would need the following documents:

  • SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System document) – Form I-20;
  • Your printed barcode page from your online DS-160 application form;
  • A passport valid for travel to the USA and with a validity date of at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States;
  • One photograph;
  • Fee receipt to show payment of the visa application fee

Also you should be prepared to provide:

  • Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions;
  • Scores from tests required by your chosen institution such as the TOEFL;
  • Evidence of sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your studies;
  • You should demonstrate the consular your intention to leave the USA after you finish studying

Study to live in Canada

Each year more than 150,000 students from around the world come to study and live in Canada. Canada is a charming country with many picturesque places that provide affordable option to get a quality education and a fantastic quality of life. It is very flexible to foreign students who bring new skills and knowledge and enrich its culture.

How to apply?

If you want to study in Canada for more than 6 months you need to apply for a study permit (that is a student visa). As usual before applying you need to be accepted by a recognized university or college and have ‘Proof of Student Status’ letter. In addition to your acceptance letter you would need financial statements from the bank to cover tuition fees and living expenses and also a valid passport and 2 photos, application form with 2 appendixes and application fee.

What is also important to know is that each province and territory in Canada decides the age when a person is considered to be an adult. This is known as the age of majority and a “minor child” (a person under the age of majority) must be cared for by a custodian (who is a responsible adult in Canada).  Two notarized documents (one signed by the parents and the second one – in Canada) are needed to be prepared and required to give the custodian permission to act as a parent in Canada.

Pay attention that getting visa to Canada may take up to 3 months in high season so it is extremely important to gather the documents as soon as possible and well in advance. In some cases medical examination taken in the certified Medical Centres will be also required.

Usually Canadian embassy does not require original documents and interview.

Good luck and remember that nothing is impossible!

Subject/Career Guidance – Business and Finance

A desire to study business drives many students around the world and business remains the first choice of international students, in particular those who are seeking overseas qualifications. Behind this lies the wish to acquire appropriate skills and insights into the business world in countries, such as the USA, which have the reputation of leadership both in academic studies relating to business and in operating within the ‘real’ business world.

What are the factors that students should bear in mind when selecting a business degree? The ground rules are a little different from the selection of other degree programs. Normally you would advise a student to go the university with the strongest possible overall reputation but other factors can play more strongly when selecting a business program. Some very traditional universities have come late to the notion of offering undergraduate business degrees as they have been reluctant to accept ‘business’ as a truly academic subject area. It therefore makes sense to look to universities such, for example, as those that were originally termed ‘Polytechnics’ in the UK, and are now still sometimes called ‘new universities’, because of their much longer commitment to business education. With a more vocational, ‘jobs-oriented’ outlook, they also adopt a less theoretical and academic approach in their business curriculum and emphasize the need for a more practical and hands-on style of learning and teaching. Most students who study business have a related career path in mind and so it makes sense for them to choose a degree program which adopts this practical approach and encourages them to engage with ‘real life situations’.

This can be taken to a further level in those degree programs which offer students the opportunity to gain work experience for a year or half-year or which provide internships, The ‘sandwich’ course, as this is sometimes called, gives students the chance to put their knowledge of business into practice in a business setting as well as to learn directly from the mentoring they receive from the host business’ own employees. Many international students are initially put off by this approach. They are studying at great expense thousands of miles from home and there is often both financial and emotional pressure on them to complete their undergraduate degrees as soon as they can in order either to move quickly to undertake a higher degree or to go home and seek a job or, more than likely, join the family business and deploy the knowledge and skills they have learned.

This desire to avoid programs with work experience or to spurn the work experience option can be very short sighted. The work experience element is high, to my mind, in the realm of ‘value-added’ elements in any degree program. That type of experience can not only be valuable in itself but also enables students to share their experiences with one another and enrich their learning experience during the final year of their degree program when they have all returned to their lecture and seminar rooms. 

Another by-product of the work experience element can be the offer of a job with the company that the student has been allocated to. Most large companies and multi-nationals in particular have training programs which involve their taking on bright young business graduates. These places can be highly competitive and the student on work experience who has made an excellent impression on the senior staff in the company in which he or she has been placed could find him or herself in a strong position to gain one of these trainee positions or, indeed, the outright offer of a job on graduation. I have even known bright students be taken on immediately and then supported financially during their final year of study. Of course, this will be the exception rather than the norm but why rule oneself out of the running by not taking up the offer of work experience.

Another important question which arises in choosing a degree program in the business field, is whether or not to go for a more general or a more specialized degree. It may be, of course, that a student’s family or sponsors have already pre-selected a program so that the returning graduate will be able to fill a perceived gap in the skills of the family business. If this is not a factor, I would urge prospective business students to choose a more specialized program that will allow them to offer particular rather than general business knowledge and skills to a prospective employer. The ideal structure at university anywhere may be a first year which introduces the student to a broad overview of business and its various functions, before allowing students, with that experience to guide them, to choose a specialization for the remaining years of their degree program, for example, marketing, human resource management or finance.

Finally, consider the degree options which carry great weight in the business world because, rightly or wrongly, they are considered the options that attract the brightest students. Economics provides a good example of this type of program. Sometimes within a business program, Economics hides itself as ‘Business Environment’ and, in fact, the study of Economics does give the aspiring businessman an opportunity to learn about those factors which affect the environment within which individual businesses prosper or wither. Similarly, Accounting is a very strong option to choose. Accountants traditionally rise high in large business organizations because they bring with them a close working knowledge of the financial aspects vital to strategic decision making within businesses. Economists and Accountants become key advisers to business leaders and often end by taking those leadership positions themselves.

Some leaders of business may even have studied something quite different in their undergraduate years, such as Engineering, Psychology or another Science or a Social Science and then, having entered the business world with this different skills-set they gain experience at, say, a middle management level, and then enhance their business expertise by studying for an MBA.

As you can see there are many considerations to think about before you apply for that ‘Business Studies’ or ‘Business Administration’ degree. This may well still be the most suitable degree for you, but at least take these other factors mentioned above into account when you make that all-important choice.

Find business degrees in North America

Meet our experts in person!

Are you an international student already in the USA? Are you at a language school on the East Coast?

Take advantage of this exciting opportunity to meet one of our US university experts in person.

Later this month, Ian Wright, Director of International Admissions for Long Island University in New York, will be presenting to international students in New York and Boston.

The New York presentation details are:
Date: Wednesday March 14, 2012
Location: Embassy CES language school, 6th floor
Address: use entrance at 328 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001
Time: 12.30pm
Tel: 212 629 7300

The Boston presentation details are:
Date: Friday March 16, 2012
Location: Embassy CES language school
Address: 41 West Street, Boston, MA 02111
Time: 11.30am
Tel: 857-362-8970

Each presentation will take 30-45 minutes and there will be an opportunity for you to ask questions about applying to university in New York.

All international students are welcome.

If you would like to attend, email Tom Griffin at tgriffin@studygroup.com to add your name to the guest list. Bring photo ID on the day.

Visiting Campus from Abroad

Navigating the University Search Process

I can still remember the moment I stepped foot onto James Madison University’s campus – happy students socializing and studying in picturesque settings, the bluestone buildings along the quad, the sun shining against the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. I knew in that moment that James Madison University was where I wanted to spend the next four years. That was more than ten years ago, and I still can’t get enough of the Blue Ridge skyline.

While the campus visit is a vital part of the university search process, many students today, particularly international students, are not able to simply hop in the car for a weekend visit. With strong academic programs across the globe the campus visit has shifted from campus to our computer. Online search engines and guidebooks are bursting with information, but oftentimes these outlets can be overwhelming. University rankings are exciting, but do not always share the full story of everything a school has to offer. If you are suffering from cyberspace overload here are some tips to avoid crashing.

Beyond the Basics:

Kick off your search with standard sites like the university homepage that links to information for prospective students and admissions requirements. These are central starting points that often include quick facts, online tours and links to academic programs. But don’t stop there. Consider a few outlets beyond these basics to get an insider’s guide on what to expect on campus. Browsing the digital copy of a student newspaper, clicking through the calendar of events, and navigating to an area visitor’s guide website will paint a better picture of life on and off campus. Use the search box typically found at the top of each homepage as a helpful tool for finding specific information.

Save Your Search:

There is so much information available it is easy to get lost clicking away from one link to the next. You may find yourself questioning where you found a virtual tour, a layout of a residence hall, the university that had the exact academic program you had been seeking, etc. Keep these links as you find them in one easy to access document with a short description of each link and the name of the university so that you can refer to it later. Social bookmarking websites like www.diigo.com and www.delicious.com are helpful resources for saving your searches. You’ll save your time and your sanity from re-searching for this information.

Virtual Visuals:

Pictures, videos, and virtual tours are essential to helping you get a better feel for campus. In addition to popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, here are a few other websites to keep on your radar.

· www.flickr.com

· www.youtube.com or www.vimeo.com

· www.universitiesintheusa.com

· www.campustours.com

If access to these or similar sites is limited in your country use the information request form or e-mail address provided by the university to request printed materials. Some universities may be able to connect you with a student or professor in your academic area of interest to share their perspective.

Follow Up:

Universities abroad are eager and excited to recruit international students. They want to hear from you and share information about the university. As you find universities that interest you fill out their online information request form. Set up a separate e-mail account to use for university communication so that you know you will receive this information in one spot and will not be overloading your personal e-mail account. A separate account is a great way to share this information with your parents or guardians so that they can access important university updates sent via e-mail.

These are just a few things to keep in mind when starting your online search. Start early, take your time, and enjoy the process. The more effort you put into making an informed decision, the more likely you will be academically and personally successful in your new environment.

Organizing transcripts and evaluations/translations of transcripts

For many students new to university life and life in the United States, navigating the many regulations, timelines, rules, and guidelines can appear a bit daunting. Clear communication, defined goals, good organizational skills, previous research, and a professional support network of academic advisors, teachers and administrators can help students tremendously during this exciting transitional phase of life.

Effective January 1, 2012, James Madison University Undergraduate Admissions now requires all undergraduate students to provide a HARD COPY attested/certified high school transcripts with their complete application package. In addition, all transcripts, as well as a copy of the graduation diploma/certificate, need to be translated into English. The minimum GPA required for undergraduate admissions purposes to JMU-ISC is a 3.0 (U.S. equivalent).

Students also need to provide a copy of their passport, visa if applicable, student letter/letter of intent, a professional letter of recommendation, an official TOEFL/IELTS or Study Group English test score, and a bank statement or financial guarantee (if on scholarship) indicating minimum funds of US $34,000.

Accuracy and completion when filling out the application and required health forms are also very important. Not only does this improve the likelihood of acceptance to JMU, but there is also vital information which potentially impacts the student’s safety and well-being. Organizing immunizations records and other required documents while in one’s home country will not only save time and money, but will lessen the stress factor a student may feel upon arrival in the U.S.

The JMU Graduate Admissions Office has a different set of admissions requirements for graduate students. Different graduate programs have different admission deadlines and starting dates, so it is very important to educate oneself on the specific program requirements for the degree one is seeking.

The application process for international students, residing outside of the United States, typically takes between 6 months to one year. Students need to have a formal credential evaluation of undergraduate course work submitted directly to the JMU Graduate Admissions Office, as well as complete a financial declaration. This is in addition to all other required documents such as a student letter, letters of recommendation, passport, copy of undergraduate diploma, completed health form, and International Student Advisor’s Report (if applicable). One of the unique benefits of the James Madison University Pre-Master’s Program is that graduate students have until the end of their first semester in our program to complete the GRE or GMAT exam as required by the specific graduate program.

In conclusion, doing research ahead of time, and providing up to date, accurate, and complete documents in English will help facilitate a positive, timely and favorable admission process when applying to the James Madison University International Study Center.

Students can then focus on building positive new experiences and academic success. We look forward to continuing to welcome new international students to JMU-ISC, and helping them achieve their academic and future career goals.

US University Ranking System: Clear as Mud

If you think the US university ranking system is as difficult to understand as a foreign language, then you’re not alone. American and international students alike talk about great schools. Marketers use rank as a way to promote a school to prospective students. But what does this all mean?

The US News and World Report is by far the most established ranking system of American universities, with Princeton Review and Newsweek following as seconds, among others. These institutions examine and analyze every imaginable trait of the university—from the number of books in the library to the student satisfaction of the faculty.

Sometimes it feels like the myriad characteristics and qualifications of a school are put together like a magic potion and—“Poof!”—the rank comes out. Believe it or not, there is a method to all these numbers.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education divides colleges into a number of geographic categories that are determined using campus size, academic offerings, location, and student population dynamics. The Foundation breaks down the universities into the following four categories: national universities, national liberal arts colleges, regional universities, and regional colleges.

The US News and World Report then evaluates 16 “indicators of excellence”, which fall into the following categories:

  • Undergraduate academic reputation
  • Student selectivity for the last entering class
  • Faculty resources for the last academic year
  • Graduation and retention rates
  • Financial resources
  • Alumni giving
  • Graduation rate performance

This system has, since 1983, been the cornerstone of the Best Colleges sorting system in the United States.

Does rank really matter? As an Ivy League graduate, my answer to you: “It depends.” The reputation of a school, for example, plays a part in its rank, but doesn’t necessarily guarantee top faculty or resources. Often, schools that have a narrow focus (e.g. music, film and design schools) often get lost in the crowd. Furthermore, each student has different priorities, so rankings may or may not apply. The unique benefit of school ranking, however, is the third party nature of the evaluation.

Use college and university rank as a spring board for your search. Knowing the school’s rank is a great place to start. Consider what you’re looking for in your university experience and evaluate all of the components.

If you’d like to talk with a representative at Study Group about how our partner universities rank and what that means for you, please contact us.

Improve the processing time of your Royal Roads University application

It is very important for students to submit a complete application form including all of the required supporting documents.  Applications for undergraduate applicants to the International Study Centre (ISC) at Royal Roads University can be reviewed within 2 working days and Master’s applications can be replied to within 3 weeks of submission, provided the applications are complete.

At Royal Roads University, the Master of Global Management (MGM) degree program delivers a graduate level international business education that prepares students to develop strong managerial and entrepreneurial skills.  Successful completion of the Master of Global Management degree could potentially lead to career opportunities in transnational corporations, international marketing, social entrepreneurship, etc. 

For the MGM degree program, students must submit the following documents along with the standard application requirements:

Two Letters of Reference

One reference letter should be based on work/life experience and the other based on either academic performance or community service. However, two work-related references are acceptable in certain cases.

The reference letters should confirm that an applicant is a suitable candidate for the MGM program. The writer(s) should articulate why s/he feels the applicant will succeed in such a program, whether s/he feels it will benefit the applicant (and why), the applicant’s ability to work with others (in teams) and any other information about the applicant which could identify them as a good fit for the program. The context in which the referee has come to know the applicant should also be mentioned. Length and level of detail in the letters may vary; there is no set standard.

Statement of Intent

(500 words – Single spaced, double space between paragraphs and 12 font size)

Applicants are asked to provide an essay that responds to the following two questions:

  • At this point in your career describe what you perceive as your greatest strength and greatest weakness as an international business person?
  • What could the Master of Global Management degree program do to help you improve on your weakness?

Detailed Resume

The resume should provide a detailed professional profile of the applicant. RRU is interested in knowing where an applicant has worked, for how long, and what s/he was responsible for in the positions held. Provide as much information as possible. Your resume should include the following:

  • Education: List all post-secondary education, degrees, diplomas, and certificates you have achieved.
  • Work Experience: Please include name of organization, length of service and a brief description of duties.
  • Training and Professional Development: List career related training and professional development programs completed with the past five years. Include the source of training, and the duration and year completed. List other training and personal development programs not already identified.
  • Voluntary/Unpaid Work Experience: List and describe any voluntary/unpaid post-secondary employment and/or community service experience. Please include name of organization, length of service and a brief description of duties.
  • Information Technology Training and Experience: Briefly describe your level of training and experience in the use of information technology including computers, software and telecommunications networks as tools for business, education, teaching and personal use.
  • Professional Memberships/Affiliations: List memberships and positions you hold/have held in professional associations, service clubs, community/volunteer sector.
  • Other Relevant Information

Ensuring that your application for MGM includes the above listed documents will definitely help to speed up the process of reviewing your application.

Get information on how to apply for accelerated bachelor’s programs at Royal Roads University ISC.

Work programs for international students at University in Canada

One of the most attractive options for students who are considering studying overseas are the work opportunities for international students enrolled at universities in Canada.

Since 2005 the Government of Canada, in cooperation with Provincial governments across Canada, has been making work opportunities more accessible to international students.  It is important to note that while there are many opportunities for students to work both on and off university campuses across the country students cannot rely on possible future income as part of their admissions application.  You must still show that you and your family have the resources to support your study and living costs for the duration of your studies in Canada.

What are the programs that international students are eligible for in Canada?

1. On-campus work opportunities

If you are a registered full-time student in an academic program at a university in Canada you are eligible to work on-campus upon your arrival in Canada.  You do not need a work permit to engage in work while on campus.  The maximum number of hours you are allowed to work while enroled in full time study is 20 hours per week.

There are many kinds of on-campus work opportunities for students. Royal Roads University, for example, offers jobs in food and event catering, assisting groundskeepers and assisting administrative and academic officials in their work. 

2. Off-campus work opportunities

If you are a registered full-time student in an academic program at a university in Canada you are eligible to work off-campus six months after your arrival in Canada.  You do not need a work permit to work off-campus as long as you retain your full-time registration status.  The maximum number of hours you are allowed to work while enroled in full time study is 20 hours per week.

In Canada it is common for university students to take many different kinds of jobs while they study and it is considered important to build a personal job resume for future professional employment.  Jobs that are commonly done by students include waiting tables in a restaurant, tending bar, working in fast-food outlets and assisting in professional offices among many options.

Provincial governments set minimum wage standards so, for example, in the province of British Columbia students can expect to receive $10 minimum wage per hour for any job they are doing.

It’s important to remember that students are expected to keep up their grades while they work in part-time jobs and universities will not accept work related excuses for low marks.

On-line there are many sources of information on these programs but for the most accurate information and up to date information we recommend you go to Canada Immigrations sites below:

Working Off-Campus (including eligibility requirements)

Frequently Asked Questions

3. Post-graduation Work Permit Program

In addition to providing opportunities for international students to work during their studies the Government of Canada has also made it easier for students to remain in Canada after their studies are completed.  The Post-graduation Work Permit Program has been extended to graduating university students across the country and has become a very popular incentive for students to come to Canada.

While the program is not automatic and students must apply the chances of receiving a permit are quite good.  Graduated students are not required to have a job offer prior to applying and are not required to take a job in their specific field of study.  Students who have graduated with a 4-year bachelor degree completed in Canada may stay in Canada an additional 3 years and those who complete a master’s program that is at least 18 months in length may get a permit for 2 years. 

For those students who may be interested in receiving permanent residence in Canada it is possible for them to apply for the Permanent Residence (PR) visa during the work period.  PR may be granted 2-3 years after the application has been filed although there are no guarantees of success.

For the most accurate information on the program please refer to Canadian Immigrations website.

Finally, remember that while work and study at the same time can be rewarding it is important to balance the two.  Many university programs are extremely demanding on a student’s time and adding work to the mix can be overwhelming.  Make sure you speak to your student advisor to get the advice you need to make good academic and work mix decisions.

Contact a student enrolment advisor for more information on studying at university in Canada.

Getting a student visa for the US

Destination USA – welcomes even more students

The United States, with its high concentration of some of the world’s best universities has been a prime study destination for international students. Gaining acceptance to an American university is a challenge in and of itself, but many international students don’t fear acceptance as much as the visa process. 

International students have historically had the perception that the United States has the tightest visa restrictions of all the major study abroad destinations (USA, UK, Australia, etc.). While this may have been true in the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, much has changed in recent years. In fact, the number of United States visas issued to international students has increased steadily since 2005, according to statistics reported by the Institute of International Education. What’s more, growing visa restrictions in the United Kingdom and Australia – two of the top study abroad destinations for international students – have moved the USA into a more favorable position with regard to visa processing.  This coupled with the general trend amongst eager colleges and universities in the USA to grow their international student populations puts the US in a great position to continue to welcome even more students to come and study in America.

Getting a student visa – how tough is it?

Over the course of my career in the international education industry I have seen the visa success rate improve dramatically. This is consistent with the general trend of more visas being issued. However, I would also argue that much of this is the result of the increasing professionalism of the educational agencies that prepare our students for their visa process.  Proper preparation is of the utmost importance as consular officers must quickly evaluate your financial and educational background, as well as your study intentions in the USA. Poor preparation can result in an immediate rejection and this can often discourage students from pursuing their goals of study in the USA. To my amazement, each year I have seen students reschedule an interview, better prepare for the questions and receive a visa – even after the third try!

The purpose of visa interviews:

The questions you will be asked in your interview will be used to determine the following:

  • Whether the only reson for your travel is to pursue higher education in the USA
  • Whether you have the ability and intention to be a full-time student at university in the USA
  • Whether you possess adequate funds to cover all tuition, living and incidental expenses
  • Whether you have sufficiently strong social and economic attachment to your home country to compel your departure from the US upon receiving your US degree.
  • Whether you are telling the truth

Sample interview questions:

  1. Tell me why you want to go to America?
  2. Why did you choose this University? How many other universities did you apply to?
  3. What is your academic background and why do your want to pursue this degree?
  4. What does the program you have applied to offer?
  5. Can you tell me some details about your university?
  6. Can you name some professors that will teach your courses?
  7. What is meant by “Internship” on the I-20?
  8. Do you want to work in the US?
  9. How do you plan on paying the university fees?
  10. Why don’t you study for this degree in your home country?
  11. What are your plans after graduation?
  12. How will a US degree help you in your career, or benefit you upon return to your country?
  13. Have you taken GRE, GMAT or TOEFL? If not, why not?
  14. Have you received any scholarships? Why?
  15. Have you taken any student loans? Who is sponsoring your education?

How to prepare for a US visa interview

Students and their parents must follow the guidelines listed on the US government website: travel.state.gov to make sure that all of their documents are in order. Students must know what purpose the documents they submit serve, how to answer questions related to these documents and most importantly how to present their study plan to the consular officer. Students with lower English language ability may tend to memorize responses to questions they think they will be asked. This is not necessarily a bad strategy, but often students get nervous and don’t listen to the question. Don’t be afraid to ask that the interviewer repeat the question id you do not understand it at first. The best advice on how to prepare is to:

  • make sure all your supporting documents are in order
  • understand the decision you are making to study in the USA
  • know how to logically explain your study plan to the consular officer
  • most importantly, stay calm, listen to the questions
  • be honest in your answers

Have confidence in yourself and you’ll do just fine!

Some important links:

Frequently asked questions about getting a student visa for the USA

US Department of State website