Answered: Top 8 Questions About Studying in USA

Raghuram Sukumar Admission 16 Comments

Question from Vinnu about GRE, Admission Loan, Cost of Living etc.

Actually I’m studying 4th year & i’m having 62% now, and my passout year will be 2013.

I want to study MS in US in a normal university where the tuition fee will be less cause I’m from a poor background, i’l give my GRE exam ASAP and try to get a good score.

  1. About How much Bank balance is needed (plz tell me all the total money i need).
  2. Minimum gre score.
  3. Any other exams i need to give.
  4. How to know the list of universities compatible within my percentage.
  5. How to apply to those universities.
  6. What are the set of documents i need.
  7. Can i get a loan from any bank with my academic year percentage.
  8. Give me all the details about money needed to…(important).

Answers were provided by Manish via comments.

Thanks for the appreciation! It’s certainly my pleasure to answer your queries.

Firstly, let me tell you one thing, the costs encountered when studying in US are pretty much higher. So, if you are from “poor” background, it will be tough for you to arrange for the money every year. But yes, it is not impossible!

About How much Bank balance is needed (plz tell me all the total money i need).

I do not exactly know the exact amount because my case was different (as I was getting enough scholarship to support myself). However, I can give you an approximate (minimum) expenditures:

  • Annual Tuition Fees: $17400
  • Living + Food: $300X12= $3600
  • Visa Fees + First Time Ticket Expenses: $400+$900=$1300

These are the minimum expenses. Your expenditures will be along these figures depending upon the cost of living in your city. (The one given above are the costs in my university/city)

Except these, there will be some expenditures in application submission, TOEFL and GRE.

Minimum gre score.

Frankly speaking, there aren’t any minimum score criterion.

However, some good universities like Purdue University or MIT demands for good scores. The exact figure can be obtained from their website. Generally a score above 1200 is fine. But if you score much above it, you will be appreciated, of-course!

One more thing, low score doesn’t mean that your application will be rejected. If you have a lower score, just apply in the universities that doesn’t impose any “minimum score” criterion.

In my case, I had a low score, but my GPA and the recommendation was very good. My friends however had scores even in 1400, but I got the scholarship and they didn’t.
So, the officials actually see your overall performance. And, scoring high will always be helpful to you.

Any other exams i need to give.

For US universities, GRE and TOEFL (or IELTS) scores are necessary. However, please do confirm this thing on university’s website. As far as my knowledge is concerned, GRE and TOEFL are essential for considering your application.

How to know the list of universities compatible within my percentage.

The best way is to know the universities through your seniors and faculty members.

Also, you can go to the departmental website of the medium ranked universities and drop a mail to the graduate students studying there (especially if you think they belong to your country).

Google, seniors and faculties are the best sources!

What are the set of documents i need

After giving your GRE and TOEFL, just make a list of universities of your interest. The application and some of your document are submitted online (offline through posts/couriers in some cases). The application fee can range from $50-$100 for each university. Every university provide the exact details on their website.

They generally consider applications after October (for next Fall semester).

Meaning, if you want to take admission in August 2013 (called Fall-2013), you will have to apply somewhere in between Oct 2012-March 2013. The exact deadlines are provided on their online portal.

How to apply to those universities.

They generally ask for three recommendation letters, GRE-TOEFL scores, your transcripts, resume, statement of purpose and in some cases, a cover letter.

Again, these things are exactly known from their website.

Can i get a loan from any bank with my academic year percentage.

Like I told you, I do not have any idea in this “loan” aspect. Because I was already funded by the department.

Give me all the details about money needed to…(important).

Money needed to… what? I am sorry, I did not understand the question.

But yes, the money will be definitely much above the figures that I listed above. And ofcourse, if you get any scholarship, the money required will become lesser (depending on the scholarship).

I hope I have answered your queries. I have a suggestion, please put your best in everything you do.

Whatever you do today will decide your tomorrow.

If you think your family is poor and cannot support you, and neither you can make it through loans etc. etc., there are still a lot of exams and institutes in India that are very well known around the world.

I hope you get it!



  1. Hello Sir ,

    I am electrical engg my academic background is too poor , i got 6.75 % CGPA with 20 + backlogs and i took 2 year gap in degree , i had 4 year field experience in Maintenance (PLC troubleshooting of CNC (Computer Numeric Control)machine , Drive control and maintenance of others Automatic machines) , Sir i feels like very bad about my education i am does wastage of money of my parents and their efforts towards my life . I am decide to study MS in US on self basic but i have doubt about i am dull and my education background is poor so that sir please suggest me i am capable or not to do study in US ? Is their any chance for me ?

  2. hi… m a final year btech student nw..and i hve 13backlogs and 59 percentage upto my 3-2 semister..nw i cleared all my backlogs… bt with these many backlogs did i get visa…..there any chances??? and if visa officer ask me about backlogs what is the perfect reason should i tell…… can any one pls give me sugesions plssss m taking gre on oct18

  3. I am an undergraduate student in second year from a deemed university.I have my GPA above 8 and I have my research experience in field of Nanotechnology and High Frequency simulation .I have three research publications (one national and two International) and have participated in over 20 National level conferences/workshop.I have been preparing for GRE from my 2nd year of Bachelor degree.Please tell me how much will these research experiences be helpful to me in deciding my fortune in getting admission in USA’s top university (keeping in mind GRE,TOEFL marks and Recommendation letter).

    1. Dear Gaurav,

      Your research experiences are really good (considering your undergraduate level). And, your GPA is good too 🙂

      Certainly, research publications play an important role in your selection. By these publications, I am very sure that you will be getting a good recommendation from your professor(s).

      As a general suggestion, please do apply in medium universities as well (because to get a scholarship in master’s program is relatively tougher than in a PhD program). That will be a safe side for you.

      For now, just focus on your GRE, TOEFL and maintain healthy relations with your professors. I say it again: “Your publications will certainly be very helpful, because they make your application unique”

      And, get back here when you are done with all of your tests.

      All the best!

  4. I am not here to discourage you but i looked at your living and food expenses total of $300, but i dont think its workable.
    consider my expense in a shared room, the least expensive i could find at Buffalo, rent is $250,electric $30, gas $30, internet $45 total $355. plus, this is minus groceries and phone.
    anyway goodluck.

  5. Dear HSB,

    I tried answering this question by Ask Question. It showed me error message. Hence please see my message below. Thank you in advance

    I started Fall 2011 and will be completing my Masters Mechanical Engineering in Fall 2012. Will be done with 36 credits by Dec 2012.

    My F1 visa is valid until June 2013 and I would like to take 2 elective Mechanical courses in spring 2013 as it will help me on the core technical side.

    My question is – will the school allow me to take 2 more courses in Spring 2013 (as I’ve completed all required core and electives by Dec 2012) and then graduate. Anyways my F1 is here till June 2013 and I just worked hard to complete ahead but realize I need this 2 extra tech courses to supplement my tech skills . I will apply for OPT in July 2013.

    Kindly reply about Spring 2013 – situation as I can plan accordingly. I guess I simply have to register for Spring 2013 courses by Nov 2012 if okay



  6. Hello sir,

    I would like to ask one questions as well.

    I want to do MS in Software Engineering in US. And but the main problem with me is that I don’t have good academic qualification. I have 55% with 18 backlogs in B.Tech. But I have very good experience of Software Engineering. All backlogs which I have got, are of different subjects like Mechanical, Electrical, Chemistry, Physics etc. I don’t have backlogs in any of the core subject of computer engineering.

    So do I have chances for getting admission as well as VISA approval?

    Please suggest me so that I can make my future plan. I can try for scoring good in GRE.


    1. Though ur profile doesnt look wel on paper but if u r able to convince the visa officer abt ur backlogs then u might stand a chance.. if u gt gud gre score then u vil surely gt admission in one colg or another so dnt worry abt admission..

      1. Thanks for this precious advice. But according to my research, I don’t have much chances for VISA approval. But still I am thinking to give it a try.

        1. Hi Manu,

          Yes, that’s true, to get an admission is not so tough (although it’s a bit difficult to get scholarship).

          Don’t have negatives in your mind (otherwise they may fall in front of VISA officer).

          Try your best, that’s it! 🙂


  7. if you are penniless and still wants to pursue your dream to study in US you should not accept defeat so fast!

    If you are strongly ambitious, exceptionally smart, ready to fight, proactive, and your values support american lifestyle you should not give damn to your financial status.

    You have hundreds of options in india to collect money. You can borrow money from charitable institutions, trusts, big businessmen, famous ppl, your professors. Create your portfolio, make presentations in front of these ppl, out of 10 rich ppl you contact at least 7 will consider your case, 5 will promise to help and 4ppl will surely give money. Dont be ashamed or shy about your financial condition in front of them. We indians are very much sensitive and ashamed about our financial status. We sacrifice our ambitions but never give importance to our dreams, aspirations.
    America’s legendary immigrants who “made” america the most successful country, knocked america’s shores with a penny in their pockets, suffered hunger, poverty, pain, misery but only one thing they never compromised=their dream! Dreaming BIG, striving to achieve it till end, ready to suffer any type of adversities that come in the way, mesmerizing world with achievements is all that defines Americanism! Playing safe is not their cup of tea!
    If you compromise right now and settle for less, chances are you “might” regret later! Open your eyes and take decision!

  8. I wouldn’t study in the US mainly for financial reasons. If you’re going to a fairly good college, we are already talking 30,000 $ tuition. There are dozens of European institutions offering better quality for half the prize, like Liberal Arts and Sciences colleges in the Netherlands or British universities. Education in the US is ridicoulously expensive.

    1. Certainly, that’s true Fred. US is much expensive in higher studies.

      Even German universities are too good for research (and less expensive than US).

  9. Hey,

    Thanks again for all the effort you have been putting.

    Regarding the scholarship, how did you go about it? Are these scholarship Indian organization based or the US university itself helped you? In case of latter, how should I go about applying for scholarships? As far as I know only US students are eligible for scholarships?

    Kindly guide. TIA!

    1. The first contact person in International Student Office thru e-mail . Some universities give scholarship like 1000 dollars which makes a student eligible for in-state tuition. in-state tuition is like half of normal tuition fees which student pays. so start from there. after getting it, ask professors of your department whether they have research project where you can work for your thesis and then you will get assistantship.

    2. Hi Ankit,

      For scholarships you need to be in touch with the professor who is interested in working with you. Also, you can contact the graduate studies department and international affairs for scholarship.

      “As far as I know only US students are eligible for scholarships? “—>This is TOTALLY wrong. I have many “international” friends (including myself) who are getting scholarship enough to live their life comfortably.

      Indian government do offers some scholarships, but that’s out of my knowledge. In my case (and many of my INTERNATIONAL friends here), the university (and professor) arranged the scholarship.

      Many times, the professor actually pays you money from his project funds. And, just in case, if the money is not sufficient, you may do a part-time job here (in library etc.).

      I hope I have fully answered your query!

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