Monday, June 30, 2008

US aspirants, watch out

I t is the dream of brilliant students to go to the United States for pursuing higher studies.

But they should not dreamily accept the first offer that comes along. In fact, they should have a checklist on the steps to be taken before reaching the US, so that things run smoothly. There are more than 83,000 Indian students in the US, of which the highest number is from Andhra Pradesh.

The first and foremost thing any student aspiring to leave for the US for higher education needs to cross check is whether the institution they are going to study in is genuine or not.

The United States Educational Foundation in India, that held an interactive workshop in the city recently, warns that there are thousands of unaccredited colleges in the US. Taking a course from such colleges would be a sheer waste of time and money. So it is better to check thoroughly before taking the leap.

It is also imperative that the students check whether the chosen course has accreditation since companies also look at the reputation of the college before employing candidates.

There are more than 3,600 accredited universities in the US and a student taking a course in one of them will earn a visa very easily.

An institution such as India’s NAAC accreditation exists in the US too to give the stamp of approval to universities.

“As it is a very important decision, students need to check thoroughly,” says Mr David Ian Hopper, vice-consul of the American Consulate. “They should research on the reputation of the college or university, job prospects and even talk to the alumni before applying.” Students should also avoid dubious universities in the US which offer courses in collaboration with Indian institutions. There is little chance of getting visa for such a programme.

“We have many students coming to us with dubious degrees," says Janaka Pushpanathan, regional officer of US Educational Foundation in India. “They invest lakhs of rupees and later lament.

So we want them to consult us before applying.” Aspirants can check out www.chea.org for the list of authorised colleges in the US. They can also clear doubts at the UNITI foundation in Paigah palace.

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