Studyabroad.shiksha.com got in touch with one of the students – Priyanka Gautam, who got admission to University of Texas, Dallas’ Master of Science in Information Technology and Management’s 2016 – 2018 batch.
Question: Why did you choose to study abroad?
Priyanka Gautam: I was not always clear about studying abroad. I completed my graduation in Computer Science in 2012 and joined Infosys where I have been working in a technical domain ever since. My work involved tasks related to applications, database management and so on. Over the years my job responsibilities expanded to include analysis and management. I was looking for a training or guidance from somewhere nearby which could help me achieve the same. I was searching for a course which could help me effectively analyze and manage IT and everything related. I did not find anything comprehensive online. I didn’t even find any relevant courses in India. There were plenty of management courses but technical subjects were missing from them. My search led me to courses commonly referred to as Management Information Systems. I found US Universities offered the course (under different names) which was a right balance of technology and management. The course offered me the right balance and that made me decide on studying abroad.
Q: Was US your only choice as study destination or did you consider other countries as well?
PG: I searched but found that most of the Universities in UK and also other countries had courses with a focus on management. The Universities in USA, however, offered both in equal measure and hence I decided to study in USA.
Q: Once you were sure of going abroad to study, how did you research the application process? Was it a difficult stage?
PG: It was a challenge. When I started all I knew was the course I wanted to take up and the country I wanted to study in. But I knew nothing about the Universities – what all do they require. So I started by searching for the top ranked universities that matched my profile. My research led me to MS Colleges in USA on Shiksha. I was happy to find a lot of relevant information. Not only did it have ranked universities offering the course, but it also mentioned the entry requirement for Universities, the minimum score, tuition fees, and comparisons. I opted for personal guidance from Shiksha.com and signed up.
I got a call from a Shiksha Counsellor asking if I needed assistance. It was a short call but she explained about the exams that would be required like GRE and English Proficiency Exams – TOEFL for Universities in USA. She guided me with a selection of universities that matched both my profile as well as my specific requirements. All of it was made easy by the Shiksha study abroad counseling team and I was guided on each step of my application, which helped a lot.
Q: Which universities did you apply to?
PG: I applied to six universities in USA and one in Canada – University of Texas, Dallas; San Diego State University; Carleton University in Canada; University of Illinois Chicago; University of Cincinnati, and Oklahoma State University. I got admission offers from the first four and chose UT, Dallas as it was the best ranked for the course and one of my dream universities that I wanted to get into.
Q: Did you have any apprehensions when you signed up for Shiksha study abroad counseling service?
PG: I had my concerns. My first question was obvious – the fee structure. But I was pleasantly surprised that there wasn’t any. My counselor shared the process and after a few interactions with her, my apprehensions went away. Also, with me being a working professional, the online format was very convenient. The counselor was proactive and I was really relaxed throughout the entire process. I was not worried whether my applications have been filled correctly, if I have missed out on any information or whether the university has received my application or not.
I would also like to share that before I reached out to Shiksha.com, I approached a lot of consultants and was very disheartened. The responses were rather late and I was constantly on hold. It was then that I started looking for online solutions and luckily found Shiksha.com. The promptness and professional attitude helped.
Q: Did you receive any scholarship? How did you apply for it?
PG: I have received the Dean’s Excellence Scholarship from University of Texas, Dallas which gives me 50 percent waiver in the tuition fee as well as $1000 for the first year of graduation. After shortlisting, I was asked to apply for the scholarship and was supposed to provide a scholarship essay which I did. That, in turn, helped me get the scholarship.
Q: What did you think was the most challenging part of applying to universities abroad?
PG: Everything was streamlined for me. But the challenging part was the writing of essays. I was required to submit a Statement of Purpose, my intent of study and my Resume. I did not know what the university wanted out of those drafts. I went through many drafts and was thankful for the guidance provided by the Shiksha team. Not only did they explain the format of SOP and format of an Academic Resume, but also guided about what all could be included and how to best present my profile. The editor spoke with me and shared her review, which helped me improve my drafts. It was because of her help and expert guidance that I think the drafts came out rather well.
Q: Tell us about the Student Visa process.
PG: Applying for the student visa for USA was rather easy. It was all online and I was thankful for the assistance received. I was a little nervous about the Student Visa Interview but it all went rather well.
Q: How was your visa interview? What questions did the visa officer ask you?
PG: The US visa interview lasted for hardly 4 minutes. The visa officer asked me - which all universities I applied to, why I chose this university if I had received a better admit and why I did not choose that university. When I specified that I chose UT, Dallas because the course was better, she asked me about the course and what exactly will I study. Next question was about the finances; who would fund my education, professions of my parents, how much is the scholarship for and the annual income of my parents. They even asked how my parents would manage the expense, whether or not I had any relatives or friends in the US and about my siblings and what they did. Convinced with my replies, the visa officer approved my visa.
Q: Do you have any advice for prospective international students?
PG: My advice to students would be to be focused. Don’t worry about the expenses but rather on your goals. Get guidance from somebody who has experience and is able to guide you through the process. Don’t follow the crowd but instead follow your instincts. If you believe higher education would help your career then go and get it. Follow your dreams as education is something which would always help you.
Priyanka is now going to begin her college session in the United States of America. Studyabroad.Shiksha.com wishes her a prosperous career.
Read more Shiksha Success Stories:
- P. Gopinath's journey to making to the course of his choice at Sweden
- Sourabh shares his experience of successfully applying to universities at US and Canada
- Shubhansh's journey from quitting his job to getting into NJIT
- Vaibhav on why European universities were his exclusive choice
- Why Aishvarya chose a Canadian university over American colleges
- How Ankit made it to Lakehead University's most popular course
- How Medha made the decision between pursuing MBA and MS
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