Recently, with the Trump Administration targeting H1B including Green Card Suspensions, there has been a lot of confusion among students about if studying in America was possible or not. The money factor has always played its role but with economic turmoil what else to be expected.
𝐈𝐦𝐦𝐢𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐛𝐚𝐧: This ban has been extended till the end of the year. But if you are just going to study in America for MS or Ph.D. you are looking at 2 to 5 years down the road, COVID-19 has caused severe issues but will these issues be the same 5 years later? So do not base your decision on something that can change in a later time. It’s an executive order that has been signed and things will go back to normal, but an opportunity missed will not come back to you again
𝐔𝐒 𝐄𝐦𝐛𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐲 𝐂𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐞: With the US being closed we will be seeing many students deferring their admissions since our university and many universities across America will open on August 24, 2020. US embassy if doesn’t open till October, and you have to wait about 3-4 weeks to get the visa (amount of time I had to wait to get my visa), so students do not want to be in this situation as, by the time you get the visa, the fall semester will be almost done. So you can either defer your admission to Spring 2021 or Fall of 2021. As students who have the visas already are only the ones who are able to travel and join their program of study
𝐌𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐝𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐫 𝐐𝐮𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧: 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 “𝐒𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐚𝐫𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩𝐬!” : As much as this question is received and heard of, as much as it is difficult to provide a simple answer. So let’s break this question down to simple parts.
𝐒𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐢𝐭𝐲: That’s the first step and most crucial one. Once you select a university you need to make sure what are their requirements and what are their scholarship opportunities. The better the university with scholarship prospects, the better you are.
𝐀𝐬𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐬𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐚𝐫𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩: Usually there is just your own application that will fulfill the scholarship application requirement by that I mean, the application you fill out is all you need, and usually they don’t require you to submit an extra application for scholarships but make sure you are aware of the list of scholarships that you know you are eligible for. Like when I applied, I had the list of scholarships I knew I fulfilled the requirement of including full-rides. This gives you a head start and makes you be prepared in case there are scholarships that require an extra application.
𝐌𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐭 𝐒𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐚𝐫𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩𝐬: All scholarships are based on merit besides some which require you to be US citizens. Thus, it is important that when you apply, that you apply with a strong profile so you can be considered for those scholarships. Once the admission decision is made and they have given their full-ride offers, there is a less probability that now you will find a scholarship for your first semester if they haven’t given you, the offer you expected. So first make your profile strong and then hunt for a Merit scholarship, you may get the admission but you may not get the scholarship which may hinder your goals
𝐄𝐱𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐅𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠: External funding is not easy to allocate but shouldn’t be considered unimportant. Your university will help you determine external funding options so always discuss with your International office, they can help you more than what you imagine. So keep external funding in your view as well.
𝐈-𝟐𝟎/ 𝐁𝐚𝐧𝐤 𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭: I-20 will explain to you the scholarships you got as well. On your I-20
it will tell you the scholarships university provided and the personal funds you must provide. The amount of funds you must provide is the bank statement you must show. It’s better your bank statement shows more money than documented on I-20. You do not have to pay anything until you get there but friendly advice is you can’t afford to live there if you have fewer scholarships and you have to pay for an apartment or dorm as well.
𝐀𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐃𝐨𝐫𝐦/ 𝐄𝐱𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐅𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐬: It’s better you know where you are staying before you decide to leave for the US. It’s a bad opinion to consider thinking of finding an apartment once you are there unless you have a family with whom you can stay. For undergrad students, you must spend one year at the dorms. For graduate students, make sure you know which apartment or where you are going to live. For an apartment, you need to sign a lease and may even need to have a US co-signer. You must provide security and they usually ask about your credit score or as well demand that your income is two times that of the rent. So my apartment is 575$ a month so they needed a 575$ security at the same time. The reason this apartment is expensive is that it’s right in front of my campus, if you live farther you can find a cheaper one but do consider that in winter times, a lot of walking can be difficult and the public transport route is close to your apartment. So many factors to consider before you rent your apartment.
𝑬𝒙𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒏𝒂𝒍 𝑭𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒔: External Funds as well play their role here. 575$ is around 96000 PKR. As a one year lease, it will cost 11 lacs PKR. After trying to find connections to establish a possibility of external funding, I was able to secure the same apartment at no cost to me.
So that is why I highlight external funding so you do not undermine this kind of funding.
𝐎𝐧-𝐜𝐚𝐦𝐩𝐮𝐬 𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐨𝐲𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭: You are limited to 20 hours a week during Studying in America, a job on campus. No one will hire you in cash. Your income is reported to the IRS using your SSN. Working 20 hours a week only on campus is a law. You can’t be employed off-campus like at a McDonald’s or Car Wash. Money that you make from On-campus employment help towards buying groceries, books, emergency needs, internet, phone plan, and all that. You can’t depend on this employment to pay for your apartment/dorm including tuition, you can not manage. Risking your status with working off campus can lead to deportation and permanent visa ban!
𝘿𝙤 𝘾𝙤𝙣𝙨𝙞𝙙𝙚𝙧 these factors before you choose any country as a study abroad destination. Deciding wisely can save a lot of hassle in the long run!