Saturday, November 19, 2011

Link to Drafts of Recommendation letter for graduate students

Many applicants have difficulty in finding recommendation letter drafts. So here is the link where an applicant may download drafts of the recommendation letters. Of course, these aren't the best drafts, some modifications may be required.

Recommendation letter drafts for PhD applicants

These drafts are best suited to economics PhD applicants. However, this can be used as the reference for other disciplines as well.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Latex: A very useful tool for graduate students

Today I am going to discuss about Latex. This is a surprisingly strong tool for graduate students. A graduate student needs a better editor than Microsoft word to write papers, third year paper and the dissertation. It's very difficult to write cumbersome equations in word which is sometime impossible or at least very painful to write in word. The formatting is also a painful in word. Latex is a very good document writing tool which produces high quality document in PDF format. It can write nice looking equations for you, automatically put equation numbers and so much more!
All you need is to install some latex writing package such as MIKTEX and a text editor such as TEXNIC center. And then you can find some free e-books about latex and learn yourself. It's very easy and doesn't take more than a few hours in order to gain dexterity in writing the codes which will finally produce the nice looking document.
And not only that- you can also produce slides, the power point presentations for paper and seminar presentations. More information about it can be found out wikipedia at this link. Questions are welcome!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

An useful article for PhD aspirants

Hi Guys,

It has been a while since I have been away however I made every attempt to answer any questions and queries that have been posted on the blog.
Recently I came across a very useful article which answers some very important and frequently asked questions. It also mentions the useful resources and blogs that gives you information regarding admission and scholarships. The article's title is

'25 Q&A Sites for PhD Program Information and Requirements'

Check it out

Most of the students have already joined their programs this year. They can share your experience which may help other students. They would also have some questions related to their stay, or courses or grades... don't hesitate to post your question.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Books to Read 4- Fundamental Methods of Mathematical Economics

The forth book which a prospective graduate student in economics is expected to have read is

Fundamental Methods of Mathematical Economics by A C Chiang
As mathematics is being increasingly used in economics it’s quite necessary for the students to be familiar with basic and advanced mathematical techniques in Linear Algebra, Calculus, Probability and other important mathematical areas.
This book serves the purpose very well. It’s better to be able to solve the problems at the end of the each chapter such that you know that you understand the concept. The books may take quite some time to finish but it’s worth spending time to understand the book completely.
With this book, readers can use another book
Schaum’s series of mathematical Economics
The beauty of Schaum series book is that it’s written very lucidly with several examples from economics which makes you understand the application of mathematical techniques in economics. In fact… if you don’t have enough time and you want to understand the necessary basic mathematical techniques for economics, probably this is the book.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Admission Results Out

Hi All,

Most of you have been waiting for admission results for last couple of days now. The admission results of universities are being declared so watch your mails and check your admission status online. A few universities which have declared admission results are

SUNY Buffalo
Kansas State University
Georgetown University
Emory University
Northwestern University
University of Michigan Ann Arbor
University of Maryland
Washington University
Boston College
New York University

Though best of my knowledge these universities have declared admission decisions, applicants must verify them. This post is simply to inform that results are being declared. Some of you might have accepted, some rejected and some may be on wait-list. If you are on wait-list, don't hesitate to write email to graduate director of your program about your status and if you are really interested in the program let them know. You can try to increase your chances of admission and assistantship by contacting them now.

All the best!!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

BTR 3 - Basic Econometrics by D. N. Gujarati

The third book in the series is
Basic Econometrics by D. N. Gujarati
This book is also very easy to understand book. Before reading this book all you need to know is simple statistics. Any basic level of statistics would be good in order to comprehend this book. Some advanced statistical techniques that a reader may not have had in his basic course on statistics but are needed to comprehend the book thoroughly; has been provided in the Appendix of the book.
The book contains all the basic necessary econometrics concepts in order to prepare its readers for graduate level econometrics courses. As the name suggests it’s a basic econometrics book but it certainly does not leave out any important concepts. However more rigorous proofs may have been omitted sometimes.
The book begins with the introduction to econometrics and linear regression and proceeds to non-linear regression, time-series and econometric models. The book has several examples related to theories of economics. It also has a number of problems at the end of each chapter.
In all this is a nicely written book on basic econometrics and recommended for beginners.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Decision of saying “I love you”: An economic interpretation

Valentine day special
Did you ever think that there can be an economic analysis of saying ‘I love you’ to a girl/guy? Well… here I’m trying to build up a model which determines the cases under which a girl/guy will say these magic words to a guy/girl.
Suppose that person ‘A' is going to say these magic words to person ‘B’ then ‘A’ can expect one of the two replies; either a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’.  Essentially the probabilities of any of these replies lie in the range of 0 to 1. The probability of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ depend upon the specific circumstances and are endogenous to the model following the fact that A can perform certain acts and put efforts in order to increase the probability of ‘yes’ and reduce the probability of ‘no’. Putting any effort on the part of ‘A’ is a cost to ‘A’. To simplify the calculation assume this cost to be zero. The probabilities of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are known to ‘A’ and are ‘p’ and ‘1-p’ respectively.
Now assume that the payoff that A receives from a ‘yes’ is ‘H’ and the payoff from a ‘no’ is ‘-T-N’. The negative payoff from a ‘no’ can be separated into two different components. The payoff from not having B as his/her partner is (-T) and (-N) is negative payoff from a ‘no’ because, say his ego gets hurt.
Indeed we can expect H to be non-negative and T and N to be non-positive. A non-negative H implies that A is happy and gets some positive utility if he gets a ‘yes’ and certainly doesn’t get negative utility. Similarly, a non-positive T and N imply that ‘A’ gets negative utility if ‘no’ and in certain cases where ‘A’ is not at all affected by a ‘no’; T and N both are equal to zero.
‘A’ will then decide to say these magic words to ‘B’ if and only the expected payoff from saying these magic words is greater than or equal to from that of not saying these words. So we compute the expected payoff from saying these magic words
E (say) = pH + (1-p) (-T-N)
On the other hand, the expected payoff from not telling these words to B will be
E (don’t say) = (-T)
The right hand side of the above expression is simple to derive. If ‘A’ is not going to say these words to B; with probability 1 he gets no response and receives a payoff of (-T). Therefore, A will say these magic words to B if and only if
pH + (1-p) (-T-N) ≥ (-T)
or,                          pH –T –N + pT + pN ≥ (-T)
or,                          p (H+T+N) ≥ N
or,                          P ≥ {(N)}/(H+T+N)
Thus A will decide to say these magic words to B if the probability of a ‘yes’ is greater than or equal to the expression in the right hand side above. The equation suggests that value of ‘N’ is crucial.
Some interesting cases:
Case 1. When (-N) = 0;
Did you ever wonder there are guys who will say these words to each and every girl just at every possible opportunity? These are the guys who don’t worry at all about the negative response from the girl. In other words, for them (-N) as well as (-T) both are zero but since H is still positive, for them expected payoff from saying these words is always more than the expected payoff from otherwise.
Notice that even those who get negative payoff from not having the person as partner will say these words to their desired ones as long as a ‘no’ does not add to their negative payoff from not having the person as their partner, in equation form it’s just because the numerator (-N) is zero. So even if probability of a ‘yes’ is slightly positive or even zero that is, p=0; they will take the chance.
Case 2. There are people who can’t digest a ‘no’. For them to say these magic words, ‘p’ has to be very close to 1. In equation terms
                                N = H+T+N
Equivalently H is equal to (-T). Recall T has a negative sign.
Important points
Here we allow ‘p’ to be negative as well which is practically not possible however a negative ‘p’ should imply that A is going to say these magic words to B with certainty.
A.      The ‘p’ can only be negative when H is greater than the sum of T and N. Since the numerator is always negative. This implies that positive payoff from a ‘yes’ is very large and hence A must convey these words to B. This is a result which one would arrive at intuitively.
B.      The second case pertains to the situation when absolute value of T is very large. What does intuition say in this particular case? Of course A should go ahead and tell this to B since the negative payoff from a ‘no’ is very large. The equation tells the same thing, if T is large enough compared to H in absolute sense, a smaller ‘p’ is needed to say these magic words.
In fact the difficulty in saying these magic words arises only when absolute value of N is very large compared to absolute values of H and T. This is also intuitive since those who are too egoistic or give much more value to social sanctions will go ahead only when they are almost sure about a ‘yes’. In this case ‘p’ will be near equal to 1 since we also expect H and T to be correlated. The more pleasure you get from getting the company of person, you also miss him/her badly.
So if you are mulling over whether or not you should tell these magic words to the person you love, calculate the probability with which you should tell her and compare it with the probability that you think he/she is going to give a positive response.
I would like to have your comments on this post.If you find some computational error please let me know. Thanks.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

BTR 2 - Macroeconomics by Dornbusch, Fischer and Startz

The second book in the series is, 

Macroeconomics by Rudiger Dornbusch, Stanley Fischer and Richard Startz

This is a very well written and nice book on introductory microeconomics. There are though some books which are easier to read compared to this one, most famous among them are probably
Principles of Macroeconomics by N. Gregory Mankiw; and
Macroeconomic Analysis by Edward Shapiro

However, I found Macroeconomics by Dornbusch, Fischer and Startz the best introductory book which is easy to read as well as covers almost all the materials required for undergraduates and provides good foundation for graduate courses.

The book contains national income accounting, introduction to growth, aggregate demand and supply models and IS-LM models, introduction to business cycles and much more. The problems at the end of the chapter should be attempted and solved in order to have good understanding. Again the diagrams play very important role in understanding the topics presented in the topic. The knowledge of algebraic illustrations would be very helpful to solving the problems. Mathematics required to read the book is very elementary.

This book can be accompanied with 

Schaum’s Outlines of Macroeconomics; which has lots of solved and unsolved problems. This outline contains a brief and very lucid introduction about each topic and then proceeds with solved problems. The problems are solved using both diagrammatic and mathematical techniques. 

Those who didn’t have economics at undergraduate level should read both of them together. This will enable them comprehend the topics presented in the book themselves with little help required from outside.
Once you have read these two books completely and you are able to solve the problems at the end of the chapter; you are ready for graduate level courses in Macroeconomics.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

BTR 1 - Intermediate Microeconomics by Hal R. Varian

This is the time when everyone has already submitted the application or is almost done. Some of the applicants are waiting for the results from now only but since universities gets hundreds of applications every year, applicants would have to wait another a month to know their admission status. In the meantime probably the best use of time (assuming one is not busy in other things) will be to refresh your economics and mathematics. Those who have their undergraduate or graduate degree in economics already they must have read the books those are prerequisites to economics graduate courses. However some of the applicants will be coming to economics from other backgrounds and they might not be aware which books to read. This series Books to Read (BTR) will introduce some wonderful economics and related textbooks which make you ready for the graduate courses.

The first book that I am going to discuss is
Intermediate Microeconomics by Hal R. Varian

This textbook is probably the most widely used textbook for microeconomics today. This is a nicely written book which is very comprehensive and lucid to read. As name suggests it’s an intermediate level book and you don’t need any background in economics to read this. However you must be familiar with some high school mathematical techniques in order to better understand the book and be ready for graduate school. The diagrams are the assets of the books. In fact, for an economics student understanding the context in diagrammatical representation can be very helpful and intuitive.

One is supposed to read the entire book before the graduate courses begin. The book contains consumer theory, production theory, and behavior of firms, markets (perfect competition, monopoly, monopolistic competition, oligopoly, monopsony and so on) and welfare, externalities etc. In short it has everything that you need in order to prepare yourself for graduate school.

The exercises at the end of each chapter must be solved. A student wishing for an advanced degree in economics must not refrain from the appendices and make sure that he completely understands the mathematical derivations too. There is a work out book by Varian based on this textbook. Solving the workbook will make sure that you have understood the topic completely and you know how to use the applications in solving the problems. You also do lot of practice which is helpful.

Therefore it it’s a one book in microeconomics that I would recommend somebody to read at undergraduate level it will be Intermediate Microeconomics by Hal R. Varian.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Impact of fake documents and lies on visa approval

There are many visa applicants who lie during the visa interview and present fake documents. Remember the interviewer is trained for his work so any lies about anything may lead to a rejection of the visa. If you present any fake documents regarding financial situation or academic grades not only your visa can be rejected but you might also be barred for visa for a certain period of time or even worse forever. Hence never present any fake documents. In some cases the visa has been revoked even after a visa was granted. The decision was taken after it was found that some of the documents were ‘fake’ and hence visa revoked. Such cases have been found normally in those cases where a student was not awarded funding and hence in order to show the sufficient amount of money in his account, the student took the help of some private agency. Such agencies put the required amount of money in your bank account until your visa interview is done and charge some price for it.

Not always however the fake documents are identified but refraining from any unlawful act is certainly an advisable idea. Sometimes visa applicants lied about their relatives and siblings being in USA. They think that if their siblings are already in USA their visa might get rejected as visa officer might think they are planning to settle down in USA itself. However this is a misconception. In fact, every visa application is viewed as completely separate to other visa application and it doesn’t matter if two siblings are applying for a visa same year. There are several such cases when two siblings have been approved visa at the same time. Hence one should not lie about anything. If you have any close relative or siblings in USA, reply honestly. More often than not this is not going to affect your chances of getting visa approved. However if you are found out lying it’s almost certain that your visa will be denied.

Once you have a successful visa interview the interviewer will keep your passport. The passport with the visa on it will then be sent to your address through courier. You will need some valid document in order to collect it like driver’s license, taxpayer's ID or some other valid photo identity card depending on the country you live in. Once you get your visa, you can start packing. The next step will be preparing for your long awaited journey to United States of America.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Student Visa: How to Show ‘Ties to Home Country”?

One of the most crucial things as is often projected is showing sufficient ties to your home country. The ties to your country may be either financial or emotional or both. Of course, financial ties can be shown easily but the emotional ties are very difficult to show. Visa officers want to make sure that you are going to come back to your home country after you have finished your education in US. As a matter of policy all the non-immigrant visa applicants are assumed to be a prospective immigrant and hence are treated accordingly. The question however, is how to show the sufficient ties to home country?

Normally if you have a large family in your country it’s a sort of emotional tie to your country. They expect you to come back to live with your family. The family business and the property in your country are an evidence of financial ties to your country which makes the probability of returning back to the country higher. For this purpose, many visa applicants produce the ‘title’ of their properties to the visa officers which shows that their parents or family owns the property of such and such amount of value in domestic currency and then also show the value in the dollars by using the ongoing exchange rate. I am not however sure if this is absolutely required. However this should help in getting visa approved. But I don’t think you need to worry much about this if you have other proper documents. After all there are many poor students who come to USA for higher education funded by the university and they don’t have much to show as property or family business. Most importantly it’s your approach to the questions being asked that matter most in visa getting approved.

A visa officer may ask questions like given below in order to judge ties to your country

“What are your plans after you finish your degree?”

You can always answer that you may work in USA for a couple of years and then come back to your country and use your work experience there. Or you may simply answer that once you have your degree you will come back to your country and use the learning in your country for whatsoever reason you deem fit. It’s not a good idea to tell them that you won’t come back to your country and rather you will work in USA only and live there forever. If you answer like this your visa is almost denied.

The interviewer is also concerned about the financial situation of your family. If a visa officer believes that you are the bread earner of your family and that your family depends on your income, your visa might get rejected. So answer carefully.

As a matter of fact, more than the papers presented to the visa officer the approach towards the question related to ties to home country matter. One should be aware of the context and most probably he/she will be approved a student visa. You don’t need to know the specific questions that are going to be asked but you need to know the sort of answers that can be asked and if you know the context you can figure out the probable questions and would be able to find out an appropriate answer. If you read the visa questions related posts on this blog, you know the context and you can certainly devise your own answers depending on your unique situation and you are likely to get your visa approved.

Please do follow the blog if you like it and show your presence by feedback, questions and comments.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

GMAT: Information and Preparation

Dear Readers, one of the followers of this blog, Carcass is writing the following post for GMAT test takers looking for admission into Management PhD programs and MBA programs. Since many students from the related fields are using the blog for useful information, I find such attempts to include information regarding GMAT and other related exams an extension of the blog which would be helpful to a larger set of audience. Since most part of the application is almost same for every discipline the applicant of other streams can use them without any loss of generality and I would like to thank Carcass for this post and would welcome other readers to post some quality information related to their respective fields.

Hi to everyone, I'm Carcass and I'm proud to write this debrief on GMAT for this blog, a real “gold mine” for the applicants to PhD and its complicated process. Thanks for your work Econ Grad.

So, when an applicant decides to apply for a PhD in business administration or management or for an MBA in a business school (top or not) the GMAT is probably the most important factor to consider.

However, I want to emphasize that each part of the application process is important and has its specific role (letters of recommendation, SOP, GPA, and so on) BUT in my opinion the GMAT and its score covers at least a good 40-50%. The reason why? Because an applicant can do a PhD even at 50 years for instance or an MBA after several years of work and hence there could be differences in the level of study at different times and may not be comparable. The GMAT is the best yardstick to test different skills in “real time” by a Business School (logic, grammar skills, how to approach to a problem), in fact: your GPA can be low because you worked during the university or your letters can be inflated and so on. GMAT tells at what point you are.

I wrote this article to describe what the GMAT is, but at the same time trying to give you a different point of view based on my experience.

GMAT is a CAT test (Computer Adaptive Test) which means that if you answer more questions correctly then you have to answer tough questions. The maximum score is 800 that you can achieve. Don't be afraid anyway, a high score can be achieved but consider this: if you want to apply in a top BS you need a high score; please refer to this for 2011. Getting a score of 700+ is indeed a good score for top programs.

For all the information you need go to the official GMAT website. You can also follow this link for more useful information and get a free guide titled "The GMAT Uncovered".
So, now let's take a look closer to the GMAT.

First step for the test is to write the AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment) where you have to write about two arguments: analysis of an issue AND an argument; you have 30 minutes for each of them.

The best tips that I can give you about, are: at least 750-800 words, an inherent coherence of these essays, and the most important thing: even though this part of the exam (the first to face) DOES NOT count for the total score, a low score (max is 6.0) may create problems. For admission in a Business School, a low score involves that essay or SOP must be the best possible, in particular for non-native speakers, it should be at least 5.0. Maybe the best template for this, you can find at this link (the structure is not so different from the format that someone has to write for TOEFL, only a bit longer).

Second step is the Quantitative section, during which you will be asked to answer 37 questions in 75 minutes, and it is presented in two different formats: Problem Solving and Data sufficiency.
The first requires you to set up and complete any calculations to find the exact results (numerical or algebraic); the second requires you to read a problem and thereafter consider TWO statements, by which you don't have to necessarily find an exact number or value BUT if the two statements, alone or combined or neither, are SUFFICIENT to solve the stem.

The best tips are: a really good math fundamentals, an holistic approach, tons of practice; ultimately, it is a kind of math that all of us studied at high school or in the first year of college, nothing to do with for instance tensor calculus or other stuffs, but number properties, geometry, fractions and so on. Here, the real difficult is to combine different skills at the same time and have a sort of “strategy” as to how to attack the problem.

The third step is comparatively more difficult, especially for non-native speakers (even for native, however): the Verbal Section format where you have to answer 41 questions in 75 minutes. There are three different formats: Sentence Correction, Critical reasoning and Reading Comprehension. The first tests your grammatical skills (GMAT tests only a finite range of rules, for instance: modifier, pronouns and so on). The critical reasoning section tests your reasoning after reading a short statement or paragraph, read a stimulus and select one of five different choices that best fits with the statement. In the reading comprehension, you have to read a short or a long passage and then answer to questions about the main purpose of the passage, what you infer about on a particular portion of the passage and so on.

What can we say about the GMAT: it is a really complex test, that tests the combination of different kind of skills at the same time, this is the real difficulty of this type of a CAT test under time pressure (a factor to be considered carefully); of course to do all this, you have to study hard and must have a STRATEGY, finding your weak and strength points to beat it; find yours.

Final thoughts: I would like to say what I read some time ago when I started to study for this test: The GMAT doesn't test what you KNOW, but what you THINK, and HOW you think. Finally, some useful links where you can find advices, free test and most important thing, a community that can help you anytime.

Lectures free by one of the best teacher on the GMAT: Ron Purewal. Thursday with Ron

Please don't hesitate to raise any doubts and any suggestions are welcome. Please do follow the blog if you find it useful. Good Luck :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Explaining low GRE score in Statement of Purpose (SOP)

I have been seeing this search item for quite some time now “how to explain low gre score in sop”. Finally I decided to write a post about it. I did some research over internet to find something which should be useful rather than just randomly writing something. I came at the conclusion that only situation the low GRE score can be explained is if the candidate has been asked to do so by the department or if there is some place provided in online application for any such reasons. Only a few universities usually provide any such columns though, where the candidate can explain GRE score or poor GPA or something similar.

Another situation arises when the admission committee asks you to explain the reason behind the low GRE score. This indicates that the admission committee found your application competitive except the GRE score part. In such a case you may be asked to explain the low GRE score. If you have a genuine and convincing reason for the low GRE score you can try to explain it to them. Some students become nervous when they are writing GRE for the first time, others may not have prepared for the same well in advance or someone might have spent too much time on a single question which might have proved costly. As a metter of fact, lots of student write GRE without adequate preparation and later they realize they could have scored much more if they had invested some more time into it. But unfortunately this becomes too late and fearing the loss of a year they might decide to go to some low rank school with the very same score.

Though above listed reasons are genuine, nonetheless more often than not, these are not well taken by the admission committee. The lack of preparation is essentially a fault of the student and nervousness is also not well received as an excuse for the aspirants who are going to do PhD. But if the admission committee has specifically asked you to explain this tell them the truth.

Further, which section score is bad that also matters which depends upon the program you are applying to. If your score is less than 3.0 in analytical writing then probably you don’t have much scope for explaining this as you don’t really need to prepare much for the writing section. This tests your ability to write in English, some simple grammar and spelling mistakes are not going to be well received for a PhD candidate especially those who are going to have their PhD in humanities or history or similar disciplines. For economics most important is quant section. The questions that appear in GRE quant section are indeed easy ones. That’s high school mathematics. But that needs some practice and if you didn’t practice and scored badly, none other than you is to be blamed. The verbal is not that much important for economics PhD aspirants but for good universities, a score of about 500 is still expected.

Remember the statement of purpose is place to showcase your strengths. So to the extent possible use it to showcase your strengths and don’t provide any excuses for bad performance unless it’s ultimately needed and has very genuine reason behind this with no shortcoming of yours. Hope this helps.

You can click here to have an idea about how to write a good SOP and click here to judge yourself how your SOP is after you have finshed writing it.

Please follow the blog and raise doubts and provide feedbacks.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Student Visa Interview Questions and Answers

In a student visa interview the interviewer is primarily concerned about following issues:

                     1. The student has sufficient funds to finance his studies while in USA

                     2. The student is competitive enough to complete the course he has been accepted for

                     3. The student has minimum level of speaking English capability in order to survive academically as well as in daily life

                     4. The applicant has sufficient ties to his country or not that is, if he’s likely to be back to his country or not

In an attempt to find the situation of the students on above listed points the interviewer is going to form his questions. The visa interviewer does not have much time and normally the interview does not last more than 2-3 minutes. Hence it’s advised to be better prepared for the interview that is, keep your documents organized in a folder, and be concise and organized in your answers to the questions. Being better organized and prepared will increase your chances of getting visa.

As far as economics PhD applicants are concerned I would assume that not significant proportion of students would accept admission offers without assistantship. Those who are going without assistantship are required to submit a large amount of money at their disposal and they should provide authentic bank letter, passbook and other assets for financial availability.

I am surprised why a visa officer would try to determine if the student is competitive enough to complete the program he has been selected for. After all this is something which has to be determined by the admission committee and it’s not a mistake to assume that they can take better decision about the ability of the student to complete the program than the visa officers. Normally this is not a big issue. But this could create problems if you have any backlogs. In such cases you must be prepared to provide a proper reason if you are asked why you have any backlogs.

Normally the third issue is not a problem for those who have TOEFL or IELTS or some English test score. For that the score should be good normally better than what is being asked by the departments. But usually no one gets a visa denied on this basis unless you have real bad score especially in speaking section.

The fourth and final question needs good amount of space hence this will be discussed in next post. If you have any doubts regarding admission or visa process feel free to ask. I would welcome someone who can contribute by writing some guest posts regarding the specific visa process of the country you belong to. In general you are welcome to contribute to the whole admission process.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Complete F-1 Visa Process in Easiest Steps

Once you are confirmed which university you are going to join, the next step is to apply for a student visa. By now you are pretty excited and want to get a visa as soon as possible. But getting a visa can be a lengthy process. In fact it’s a cumbersome process if not dealt with in a proper way. To summarize, the complete visa process can be defined as below:

A. Issuance of I-20 form

Complete the Financial Affidavit form; send it along with Bank letter to the International services office or address provided by the mail from the department

B. SEVIS Fee (SEVIS I-901): Documents needed

                  1. Form I-20

                  2. Credit card to pay the fee (Master Card, Visa)

C. DS-160 Form and Visa Fee

                 1. Scan and upload your application photo

                 2. Complete your DS-160 application online

                 3. Print barcode at the end of the application on a laser printer

                4. Pay the visa application fee (at the current exchange rate) at one of the designated branches of the specified bank, the bank depends upon the country from you are applying

                5. Make your appointment through VFS. You will use your barcode and fee receipt number to schedule an appointment

                6. Carry the Following Documents with You:

                               • A passport

                               • Your confirmation page (printed on a laser printer).

                               • Visa Appointment letter

                               • Visa fee receipt (Bank fee receipt)

                               • SEVIS receipts

• In addition, if you are applying for a petition-based visa (H, L, F, J, M, R visas) should also bring petition-related documents.

                              • One recent (within the past six months) passport size photograph 50mm X 50mm (2" x 2") with a white or off-white background.

7. Additional required documents:

                              a. I-20 form

                              b. Admission letter from the university

                              c. Proof of funding:

                                             i. Department Assistantship offer letter

                                             ii. Bank Letter showing the financial availability and/or financial affidavit

                             d. Detailed Resume

                             e. Supporting educational documents

                                             i. Mark sheets of bachelors and Masters (any degree after bachelor’s)

                                            ii. Academic transcripts of bachelors and Masters (any degree after bachelor’s)

                                           iii. GRE and TOEFL score cards

                                           iv. Diploma of Bachelors and Masters (any degree after bachelor’s)

You should then be prepared for some likely to be asked questions in a visa interview which constitute the subject matter of the next post.