My Journey to USA Started on June 2010

Raghuram Sukumar Study in USA 18 Comments

I thank HSB and its members for immense support they have provided. By Pankaj.

Pankaj talks about his experience – GRE Prep, GRE Exam, Application Prep, SOP, LOR, Letter to professors, F1 Visa interview and travel to USA.

(Picture - Wild West Arizona)

After completing BE in Computer Engineering from University Of Mumbai in June 2010, I started preparing for GRE from August.

GRE Prep

I studied around 4-5 hrs. per day for next 4 months. Started with Quant section as it was easy and gave me some satisfaction that atleast I have studied some part of GRE. Took five days with quants section, then started with verbal.

At the beginning, verbal doesn’t seemed much tough but after a week as I started revising I found I’m losing on many word meanings. I was stressed a lot as it was just beginning of the verbal section.

Flickr Credit – wolfgangstaudt

At this point of time I even thought I will never make it to completion of Barrons wordlist. I pushed myself hard.

  • Top Revised GRE Books

The key to remembering wordlist is revising and lots of revising. It makes you feel confident.

Start reading newspapers specially the editorial section. In the mean time make a list of important quant tactics and formulas and revise those few times a month. Towards the end of this 4 month GRE prep period, I gave mock tests using Barrons CD and other websites I’ve mentioned earlier in this post.

Gave my GRE on 6th of December score being Q780 V580 A4.0 total 1360.


After GRE took rest of 2 days and then started with TOEFL. This was an easy exam only tough part being the speaking section. Start practicing speaking as if you ‘re giving a presentation before public. Stress on pronunciation and pitch variations.

Gave TOEFL on 8 January with score of 104.

Graduate School Application

Now started preparing SOP and do some research on colleges. Check the department websites of colleges thoroughly. It provides you with very useful information. Also go through profiles of the faculty members you are interested in studying under.

Mention these faculty names in your SOP and research areas they have/are working on. Try to relate these research work with your field of interest.

When sending application docs to colleges, make sure you read instructions carefully for every univ you are applying.

Some people say it is good to send transcripts and financial status docs within the application packet itself but beware.

Some univ like univ of Minnesota(and many more) don’t like to receive hard copy of transcripts and financial docs. So be careful, sending those docs which college is not asking for makes a very bad impression of you. So please send only what the admissions dept is asking for.

F1 Visa – 221(g)

After all this, I got admit from 6 out of 8 universities. I gave VI on 20 June Mumbai but got 221(g) which delayed my visa only to be issued on 15July.

In the mean time I told other univ. which I’ll not be attending. I used this format:

I am writing in response to your offer of admission to ____program. I appreciate (college name) interest in me, but after carefully considering offers that I had I regret to inform you that I will not be accepting this offer of admission. Thank you for your time and consideration.
(your name)

Don’t forget to mention SINCERELY.

Getting a 221(g) means you WILL get visa but only after 20-30 days. I haven’t heard of someone getting rejection under 221(g) so chill out.

Time with 221(g) varies from avg. of 20-30 days, in some rare cases even upto 50 days.

Two weeks is the min. time you have to wait for your visa if you are under 221(g).

Finally I’m going to USA fall 2011. Thanks HSB & members for their constant support.


  1. hi HSB..!
    I am new to this site but really i found it very useful for aspirants who want to go abroad.
    I have applied in McGill university in canada for M.Sc.(non-thesis) food science and agricultural chemistry and M.Sc(thesis) bioresource engineering. I got refusal from bioresource engineering deptt but recevied yes from food science and agricultural chemistry. I have also applied in Alberta university for M.Engineering civil and environmental engineering course and received yes from there as well. Now I am concerned that which university should i join means which will provide me a prosperous career ahead.
    my previous academics are B.Tech-M.Tech integrated 5 yr (Biotechnology) with aggregate 66.6%.
    kindly guide me..

  2. i badly need help,plz reply, i took my gre on sept 22nd and awaitng the scores,whn shud i strt my admission process for the fall 2012 plz let me knw,i am sooooo confused ,therz no 1 2 share my queries

    1. Hey Megha!
      Select university of your choice and start applying. admission in USA is on rolling basis. So it is clear that as early as u apply,probability of getting admission as well as schol is more.. What is ur GRE score RANGE.

      ALL THE BEST!!!!!!!

    2. For GRE you would have received the Q and V scores instantly. To receive the AWA score it takes a week or two. Have you given TOEFL. If so, you will receive the score within 7 or 8 working days. You must have both the scores for applying.. If you got them, start immediately if not already done.

  3. Congratulations Pankaj. It would be great if you also share information regarding the colleges & programs in which you had applied. It will help all of us in making our own assessment.
    Thanks & Wishes you good luck for you studies in U.S

    I have a suggestion regarding posting an experience i.e. formalizing it. IMHO anyone who share his experience at least make sure that She/He mention the following information;


    Degree % age
    B.E (Computer Engineering) 75%

    1360 [QUAT – 780, VERB – 580, AWA – 4.0]

    104[Speak – X, Read – X, Writing – X, Listening – X]

    University Name Program Result Financial Assistance (Type)
    XYZ CS Accepted Yes (R.A)

  4. Pankaj I wish u Good Luck 4 your Studies in USA. Pankaj do keep us all updated about your first few months experience in USA . Take Care & Have a Safe Trip 2 USA:):):)

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