There is always a big dilemma in the mind of all Indian students who are coming to USA for higher education as to which university they should select from many others where they have got their I-20 (confirmed admission). This can prove very vital in long run as selection of wrong university can lead to a disaster in spite of the student being very bright. In contrast to this, there have been cases where average medium students have performed very well, due to the proper selection of the university. Most of the students coming from India have generally got 3 to 4 I-20 (confirmed admissions) in their hands. The final selection of the university becomes very difficult by sitting far away in India, without detailed knowledge of all the universities. Though, Inter-net can help you to some extent in this, it may also mislead at times due to the showmanship and misconcepts presented on the web-sites. Here are some of the factors that should be considered prior to final selection of the university
1.Reputation- This is the most important of all. The reputation of any university can be known using Inter-net facilities. There is a list available of top 100 to 500 universities of USA for ready reference. Though it may not be possible for all the students to get admission in such universities, the average, good universities can be available for selection. I have seen cases of students coming here to some particular university and finding only a room of 500 sq. feet, which was being referred as the university. You can imagine the condition of a student who is coming from far away countries for the first time to USA. Make sure to get all details like number of students studying in the university, number of branches for study, library facilities, campus area facilities, and the number of students graduating each year. Feedback from any of your relatives and friends staying in USA can be of immense help in this aspect. Try to collect as much details as you can by tapping all the resources you can think of. Senior students staying in USA can also help in this matter.
2. Structure of fees- There are two types of universities in USA. One is totally private where you can expect very high fees of education. The other type is government institute where you can have better fees structure. Try to select the university funded by the government. Normally, for completing your master’s degree in engineering, you have to complete 32 credits. The fees of around $600 to $750 per credit are considered reasonable and normal in the present scenario.
3. Location- Second vital aspect is the location of the university. Try to select the university near or in the city area. This will help you in easy shopping of the items you need. As you will not have a car for the period of study, the near-by mall or a grocery store can be a big relief. This will also save your time in going distant places for some ordinary causes. Such a location will also help you in finding a good, economical apartment near to your university. Some job opportunities also will be more in such universities. I have seen students running around in miles for some grocery items, thus wasting their valuable time. Keep your safety also in mind while selection as off-late, few disturbing incidents have happened recently in our country.
4. Select a small group of friends- Always try to select a small group of your 3/4 friends, if possible. This will reduce your expense considerably as the cost will get divided among more heads. You will not need to look for new apartment partners in this case. Study also becomes easy and enjoyable if you have good friends with you.
5. Number of scholarships being awarded each year- There are some universities, which awards high number of scholarships to the students. Select such university. The details on this can be found out from the detailed prospectus of the university, either on line or in hard copy. You may consult your seniors in this matter.
6. Population of foreign students- Always try to select the university having the most population of the students from abroad. This will help you in your study and you will be able to make new, good friends rather easily. The library facilities in such university shall be fabulous and you may end up saving lot of money in purchasing new books etc.
7. Weather- As you are aware, there is a wide variety of weather in USA, from extremely rough in northern part to very favorable and moderate weather in southern parts. Try to avoid places having severe cold as it may not suit you as your home country’s weather may be hot and you have been used to it all your life.
8. Standard of living- The variation in standard of living is also very high in USA between various states. Try to select states having low and moderate standard of living like Texas, Oklahoma, North and South Carolina, etc. please avoid states like California, Florida, New jercy, Maryland, New York etc. This factor itself can make difference up to 20% in the total expenditure of your study.
If all above factors are considered prior to finally select the university you will be studying at, you will have a safe, enjoyable and pleasant time of your study life.