Piyush Garg is following Happy Schools Blog for several years now. That’s over 4 years. In this article, you can learn a lot from his journey to America. Get inspired and motivated.
Before starting, I want to thank Happy Schools Blog with all my heart and all the hearts related with me (family and friends).
I belong to Delhi and have just completed my B.Tech in CSE from a very nice institute in Kerala (only on paper ), got 71% and placed in the top MNC here in India.
At the same time, I got admission in one of the amazing Masters Degree program, I could find in Computer Science i.e. Information Quality in UALR with International Scholarship.
This is my story with some unexpected turn of events.
I came to know about possibility of studying Masters Degree in USA the same year I gave-up on the idea of getting admission into any of the premiere institute in India a.k.a. IIT’s ( no premiere institutes for students like me i.e. average/ Above average /General category ).
I would blame myself for not getting my priorities right about my education, career and future. I had wavering mind.
One day, I would have interest to study Mass Communication and the next day, it would be B. Sc in Physics.
Yes, two different ends of the education spectrum.
In the end, I lost one year due to this indecisiveness when decided to clear my thinking and finalize my education and career plans. I took a year off and found myself in abysmal pit of rejections.
During this phase of my life, I came to know about Masters Degree in USA and while surfing the internet came across Happy Schools Blog, which changed my life and gave me a single track direction.
Now, while entering the college in Kerala, India, I knew my next checkpoint and MS it was.
Then came the phase in my life during Bachelors degree in India, where you get such a freedom, most of us going away from home (my case whopping 3000 km).
I was typical college kid with all sorts of distractions in life, but one thing I never left was not following Happy Schools Blog.
I kept on reading all the HSB posts in and out and kept myself updated. This habit of mine finally paid off, when I came across a post related to IQ program of UALR. I did my research and found out that this is my dream program. I wanted to do my MS in IQ only.
Constraint 1: Finance
I was not financially sound and during my first year of my engineering, I shared this issue with Raghu sir.
He advised me to drop the idea of MS and try for PHD later. Raghu sir actually sorted the best option for me and was quite correct in his verdict. But, I was quite adamant to go for MS only. I took my chances.
Strategy : MS in USA
So, I knew I would do Master of Science degree from U.S.A
In my second year at college, I came to know about IQ program and I had set my mind to get into that program.
I took help from several HSB posts itself.
One of them was send emailing to the professor’s of the university.
The goal was to make the professor get acquainted with your name and I obviously asked genuine questions related to research work and all as I was literally interested in this program.
I kept in touch with the head of the IQ department for 2 years genuinely and it really paid off. I will come to that later.
When I started studying my Bachelor of Technology degree, my parents didn’t have enough money ( they were working ) but eventually in the span of 4 years, they saved a bit in the form of EPFs, PPFs etc ( enough to get me an I20 from university ).
But, I knew that I won’t take a single penny from them ( so that they can use that for my sister’s marriage which is quite an issue here in India ).
Phase : GRE and TOEFL
I took GRE in September 2013 and got a decent score.
I was sure that I will get admit in UALR so applied to only one university. This thing will lead to another constraint or issue. I didn’t take TOEFL until June 2014.
Constrain 2: One University
I have just applied to a single university and even after getting admission and financial aid, I was not sure that I will get visa since it’s a big issue. I took my chances. Again.
- Student F1 Visa Advice From a Visa Officer at US Embassy Delhi ( If applied to just one university )
Before That : Full-Time Job
Now, this MNC ( Multi-National Company) where I got Full-Time Job, was pushing me for joining in June of this year.
In fact, I booked my tickets to join this company, as MS was looking like a distant dream since I was short of money. Lot of Money.
Remember, I said, I was not going to take single penny from my parents to study in USA.
I pushed my professor for scholarship. Since, I got along so well with him ovr last 2 years of email exchanges.
I could speak with Professor with open mind and like a friend. He told me he has applied for international aid and results will come before July 1st.
Eventually, it came 3 weeks early and I was more than happy. I would have take-up the job a the MNC.
I took my chances and didn’t join this company. This is the risk I had to take as getting visa is not easy but still I took this decision and my family backed me.
Education Loan : Credila
CREDILA is really wonderful and they were more than helpful. I took the loan and after getting loan approved, I applied for F1 Student visa (more on my interview experience later).
They needed my TOEFL scorecard also, so I simply took TOEFL and scored 107 without preparation.
TOEFL was necessary for F1 Visa interview, and that’s what I had assumed. But, eventually I came to know, it wasn’t. But nonetheless, my TOEFL was waived initially and I had to submit it upon reaching the university, so I had to take it in the end.
F1 Visa Interview : Experience
I had so many constraints here. I didn’t have original mark sheets ( my university is a little slow in issuing this stuff).
I wasn’t sure of my financial security. I didn’t have original TOEFL scorecard.
I applied to just one university.
But, here’s the thing. I was confident about my chances, preparation and my interview went amazingly well.
VO did ask me about “one university thing” but as I genuinely wanted to go for this program only, she must have empathized that feeling.
The End : All is Well
I received my VISA next day and now going to USA within three weeks time.
Here’s why I wrote such a long article: There are thousands of students like me who don’t have any guidance at all, but who want to study but don’t have a proper planning.
But you have the power of internet and such helpful websites like Happy Schools Blog.
I didn’t need to go to some consultancy for it. It’s here on HSB. Whatever you need, whenever you need.
If you are determined enough, no one can stop you from realizing your dreams.
I am lucky to have HSB i.e. Raghu sir by my side. Thanks a lot sir. You have made it possible for me.
One day, as planned I will have a successful career and you will be there in all my prayers. Thanks a lot sir.
Sir, I have written this post with all my heart. But I feel it’s a little long, you can shorten it if you like. I wish to inspire many other HSB readers just like me, who are have determination and passion about higher education, but without proper guidance. This article can inspire many. Sir I owe you everything, thanks a lot for everything.
More from Piyush: