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Complete Guide To Applying For US Student Visa And MPower International Student Loan In 2023

Host Country

UNITED STATES (U.S.)

Target audience

INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS

Program Overview

The United States (US) offers one of the most preferred education systems from high school to postgraduate.

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With the highest number of universities in the world than any other country, the US receives tens of foreign international students every year for degree and certificate studies at various levels of study.

However, many deserving students fail to get into a US university due to lack of funding or  an improper application process.

Below is our guide to applying for a Masters’s degree in the US, getting the loan for the fees, and acquiring the study visa.

Guide to applying for a degree in the US

Look for the University and program that you want that fits your background and qualifications. (Refer to the list below for suggestions).

Create an account, apply and finish the master’s application program directly from the university website.

Request for application fee waivers by email or attending program webinars.

If required by the university, and if possible, try to Request for GRE/GMAT waiver via email or through the program application portal. (If you have a quantitative background either through undergraduate studies or professional experience it becomes easier to get approved)

Make sure you get good recommenders who will strengthen your application and can attest to your strengths and ability to succeed in a rigorous master’s program.

In the essays, make sure you emphasize your strengths, achievements as well as professional and volunteer experience so that your application is unique (Remember being from Africa or Asia is an advantage on its own as you will bring diversity in the class)

Also work on your resume detailing professional achievements, not just responsibilities. And get a good CV design, remember the CV looks matter.

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The CV should have a maximum of 2 pages. This is not a book!

Some universities require a course-by-course evaluation, so get one sorted to get your application completed. The average cost of getting one is about $175 but try to apply from universities that do not require one.

IEE is a cheap method to use and their website is – https://www.myiee.org/

Remember if you studied your undergraduate studies in English, all the universities listed below will NOT require TOEFL or IELTS.

Proposed universities (Ones with GRE Waiver options and Highly ranked):

  1. George Washington University- https://graduate.admissions.gwu.edu/programs
  • University of Notre Dame- https://www.nd.edu/academics/graduate-programs/
  • Cornell University- https://gradschool.cornell.edu/admissions/degrees-fields/graduate-degrees/
  • Michigan State University- https://grad.msu.edu/
  • Carnegie Mellon University- https://www.cs.cmu.edu/masters-programs
  • Vanderbilt University:

https://gradschool.vanderbilt.edu/academics/programs_and_departments.php

  • Boston University- https://www.bu.edu/academics/degree-programs/
  • University of Rochester- http://rochester.edu/admissions/masters-fall-2020.html
  1. The University of Southern California- https://gradadm.usc.edu/our-programs/
  1. Emory University- https://www.emory.edu/home/academics/degrees-programs.html
  1. Indiana University- https://graduate.indiana.edu/admissions/programs.shtml
  1. Columbia University- https://gsas.columbia.edu/content/ma-programs
  1. MIT- https://gradadmissions.mit.edu/programs/degrees/masters-degrees
  1. NYU- https://www.nyu.edu/academics/nyu-online/graduate-degrees.html
  1. Rice University- https://graduate.rice.edu/programs-study
  1. University of North Carolina- https://gradschool.unc.edu/programs/

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Admission Process

Some universities will require an admissions interview and make sure you impress in this interview since that’s a good opportunity to show your strengths and abilities.

Though the interview is virtual, dress well, speak fluent English (Remember they will also test your English abilities since you are a foreign student), and make a good impression.

You will then get your admissions decision and if admitted, thank the lord!!! All the effort was worth it!!

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Mpower Student Loan application

After you get your admissions offer with a stipulated merit-based scholarship from the school and when you now know the balance shortfall, apply for a student loan for the remaining balance from the following:

MPower-

Once you have everything set, apply for the loan. This usually takes about 2 weeks, until your loan is confirmed.

Once your loan is confirmed, you will receive a loan Visa support letter from Mpower that you will use for your Visa application process.

Since your funding is secured, pay for your university enrolment deposit (Which is non-refundable and will be added to your tuition), usually USD 2000 depending on the program.

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VISA application process

Request I-20 form from your school and present the loan confirmation letter and proof of enrollment deposit payment.

Once you get your I-20 form, you will have to book a visa interview at the US Embassy website for the F1-Visa application. (F1-Visa is the one for international students). The total estimated cost to get your F1 VISA will be around USD 510.

If you get called to a VISA interview, make sure you make a good impression with the

consular officer, demonstrate fit for the program and show proof of income for your studies, this can either be from personal funds, a loan, or both.

Read this article for tips on your VISA interview: https://www.nafsa.org/professional-resources/browse-by-interest/10-points-remember-when-applying-student-visa

Remember to take to the Visa interview, your passport, DS160 application confirmation, SEVIS fee payment receipt, academic transcripts/ certificates, USD160 cash, passport-size photos, I20 form, and proof of funding documents.

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Travel arrangements and flight

Once your Visa is confirmed, buy a plane ticket online. The estimated cost will be lower if you buy early but can get as high as double if you buy late. Use Google flights to track affordable flight prices and book a flight to your school.

Once done, start making travel arrangements, kiss your family goodbye, and fly to the United States.

Accommodation

You will need to plan for your accommodation for the first weeks because the MPower loans usually come about 2 weeks after the start date.

The most convenient accommodation you can get is Airbnb, it’s cheaper so that you have a place to stay for the first weeks whilst you look for an apartment for the duration of your studies.

Once this is sorted begin your studies and give it your best shot!!

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After Graduation

To remain in the US after graduation, get a job and sign up for Optical Practical Training (OPT) which is for one year after graduation & if your master’s degree was STEM, you get the opportunity to get an additional 2 years extension from the first year making it 3 years total.

If not STEM, look for employment immediately to stay in the USA on H1B Visa.

Remember to get employment, network, get your resume and cover letters reviewed and polished, gain skills, send in competitive applications, and ace interview opportunities.

Closing remarks

Go and succeed, and be the best version of yourself in the land of the free!! Remember to invest & give back once you succeed.

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Note:

  1. The information provided in this guide is for informative purposes only and does not guarantee admission into any US program.
  • Campuslifestyle is not affiliated with the universities or loan agencies mentioned. Information and figures were provided as of January 2023 and is subject to change.
  • For official support and advice, contact the responsible authorities, loan agencies, and universities via email or phone for guidance.

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