1-Testing | Admission

Received I-20 from Multiple Universities : How to Select One School?

Do you have I-20 visas from more than one U.S. university and are still confused on which university to attend? You are not alone, almost every student planning to attend the Fall 2008 semester is in the same situation.

University selection is a tough process. Most students spend considerable time selecting universities when they apply for graduate school admission.

And after receiving the admission notice from several graduate schools, students would need additional time again as it’s another tough and difficult process to select which university to study at.

If a student has done good homework while applying for graduate schools, then it wouldn’t be really tough to decide which university to attend after getting admission.

If you are confused about which university to apply for a student visa after getting admission from 2 ore more Universities, then here are some thoughts that will help you pinpoint that 1 university that you should attend.

I have made a list of questions that will help students in selecting universities, but it’s time consuming and it involves effort to find answers to the questions before you can actually decide which university to apply.

I will say it again, there is no magic button that will give you the perfect answer that will tell you which university to attend. It really involves finding the correct information, and devoting considerable work, time and effort.

I have known many students who are not happy about the university they selected to attend, the reason being not much of the time spent when deciding on which graduate school to attend.

I was talking to one of our frequent blog visitors who got admissions from graduate school in 5 different universities and he had short listed 2 universities from his list of 5 different graduate schools.

I asked how did he select those 2 schools. His response was not something that I expected.

“Randomly, I selected both the schools,” and I asked why did he ruled out the other 3 schools and his answer was, “I thought those schools were of no value and not worth spending for”.

Both the answers threw me off the couch. He had applied to 6 universities, got admission from 5 and randomly selected 2 to decide on which to attend and decided 3 schools were not worth considering to study at.

So my question was, “Why did you spend about $500 in application fees in applying to those 3 schools that are not worth studying at”?

Questions to help you decide on which university to apply for an F1 Visa:

  1. How much is the tuition fee per semester?
  2. Can you afford the tuition fees without any form of aid and part-time jobs?
  3. How many students get any form of aid (scholarship, research assistantship, teaching Assistantship, etc.)?
  4. How long does it take to get aid/scholarship (in the first semester or after more than one semester)?
  5. If no aid is available, how do students manage their everyday expenses?
  6. Do students get part time jobs?
  7. What is the cost of living per month?
  8. How much can you earn per month from part time jobs?
  9. Do students get jobs directly with companies or do they find job through consultants?
  10. Does the university allow students to apply for internship all year round or only during the summer semester?
  11. What are the degree requirements for completing a master’s degree?
  12. Are you interested in doing a thesis or course work-based master’s degree?
  13. If you are interested in doing PhD, does the university offer the major of your choice?
  14. How many current students did you talk to to find out information about a school?

If you were to decide on any specific university without even finding the answers to any of the above questions, then you are making a big mistake.

How big of a mistake is that? It’s a very big mistake.

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  1. Hey people,
    I just wanted to update you with a very important message. Having many I-20s is good but when you select one among them,just inform the other universities and get a letter from them. My friend’s sister was very very clever. She applied for three universities and she selected one among it and notified the other two colleges. The VO asked her how many I-20s she had applied for and when she told “3” the VO looked like he wouldn’t be willing to grant the VISA on the ground that “The intent of this particular student is not to study in the US” but she showed evidence that she had canceled the other 2 I20s… Very very lucky. An extra I-20 can cost you a VISA. Beware people…

  2. hello HSB,

    I'm a silent reader of your blogs. While going through this article, a question arose in my mind. When we get I-20's from say 5 universities and we decide on going to the one university we like, then what do we do with the I-20's of the other universities. Do the universities specify as to what is to be done, since we are rejecting their admission. Do we have to mail the admission committee about the rejection. What is right way to do it??

    And must say your doing a wonderfull job with these vast informative blogs in your website!!


  3. Hello,

    I have been accepted from five Universities. Among all, two are really cool and have pretty much same facilities in research in which I am interested. Still I am little bit confused with the tuition waiver and some sort of financial stuffs. Because of this reason I want to see their I-20s and want to compare the stipend I got and the total expenditure including some estimation for living and other mandatory fees. Could you, please, suggest me whether I can ask them for both I-20s so that I can decide for it.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.


  4. @Student:
    Well, when I started M.S. it not Non-SEVIS I-20 and when SEVIS was introduced, I got new SEVIS I-20. If you apply for say 5 Universities, and get admission from 5 Universities, you will get I-20 ‘s from all 5 schools. But some school like NC State will send I-20 only if you send Financial Documents after you get amission letter. But, majority of the school will send you I-20 along with admission letter. Just to add few more example, my brother is currently studying MS in Houston and had 4 SEVIS I-20’s from 4 different schools and I did check with 3 other students who got 2 or more I-20’s for Fall 2008 and they are in the process of get F1 Student Visa to one of school of their choice.

  5. @Student
    If you get admission for 3 schools, then all the 3 schools will send you I-20. You can decide to attend which school you want to.

  6. How do i know that which university gives more fundings in the form of assistantships in the field of electrical engineering with specialization in control systems?? as most schools have got control systems in their curriculum and most schools have good research going on in that field. so i am really confused as how to select schools giving adequete funds.

  7. You cannot have more than one I-20. Please change that. You can have more than one university that granted you enrollment, but since you choose only one of them, only one of them grants you an I-20.

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