Hey guys, it’s been a while here, as it was promised in the previous post that I would continue with this series of Studying in the US for FREE, if you weren’t following before, please check the previous article so you would understand this better.
Just as it was emphasized in the previous post, studying in the US especially when you are looking for financial assistance requires much dedication and time from you.
You can’t just sit down and expect magic to happen. You will spend time and Money especially on Exams and submitting documents but trust me, every penny spent is well worth it in the end.
In this article, I would be writing about one of the most important stages of your application process, which is; School Search. Yes, this stage is very vital because every school is different in a lot of ways including admission requirements, funding availability, deadline for application and many others.
Also, it is worth noting that there are about 5,500 University in the U.S, this makes the selection of schools more tedious and requires a lot of research in order to get the right ones. I will be going through some very useful tips you will need to streamline your search and make the best decision, remember our focus here is getting the right school with more opportunity in FUNDING/SCHOLARSHIP.
When searching for Grad Schools, it is worth noting that you have to be very flexible especially regarding the course of study.
The reason for this is because some courses/programs are very competitive and even if you are the smartest person on earth, getting into such programs are usually tough especially if you are looking for funding. A very typical example of this is Computer Science.
Please note, I am not discouraging anyone to go for their dream course or whatever, if you have your money for tuition all these information might not be useful to you, my target audience here are people like me that couldn’t afford those High tuitions for college but have the desire to come to the US for Grad school.
Some may be wondering what I mean when I say being flexible in your school selection, well, just as I said before, you should be flexible. I will explain this with some examples,
My bachelor’s degree was in Electrical Engineering, when I was searching for grad schools, I was only looking up for ‘Electrical Engineering‘, yes there are lots of schools you would get on this but I can tell you that it’s very competitive, you will have to compete with top students all over the world before you can get funding at Master’s level in Electrical Engineering.
Instead of just searching for Electrical Engineering, I looked into related engineering courses which only requires Bachelor’s degree in any Engineering programs, such as Engineering technology, System Engineering, Process Engineering, Engineering Management, Nuclear Engineering, Manufacturing engineering, Information system, and many others, this would increase your chances of getting funding because most of these courses are less competitive (also good job prospects) and mostly well funded. I had my Master’s degree in Engineering Technology (Funded) and I can tell you the job market is very good and matter of fact I can still work as an Electrical Engineer if I choose to.
Please note that I’ not advising you to deviate completely from your Course of study, my advice is that you should consider other related and similar field that would be less competitive. As a Computer Science major, you could consider Information System, Network Engineer, Cyber Security, Information management among others, you don’t have to just keep searching for ‘Computer Science’
Searching for Schools
There are many ways that you can select your schools of preference, either through an (i.) online search or (ii.) by recommendation (from friends or internal student). The latter really works well An example is when a friend in a particular school tells you about a funding opportunity in a particular program in his/her school, this works very well because you’re getting your information from an internal source and in most cases they are very accurate, I remember I recommended my grad school to some applicants then, and most of them got funding in the school, I have also recommended some other schools to people. So I would advise you ask people you know are in schools here or have graduated, they might help you with some useful information.
The other option is by an online search. This is very important because there are lots of information you can get online and this can be very tedious and it requires lots of patience but it’s crucial you spend those time on it.
I will be sharing some tips on searching for the right school and how you would know if you might get some funding/scholarships or not, also I will give some very useful school search website that would help you narrow your search.
One big mistake I see many people always make is focusing too much on School Ranking/Rating. Yes, school rating is okay if you have very competitive grades. You can consider a few of them, but again, you don’t have to sweat on this, it’s mostly for prestige and maybe a little bit more opportunities after graduation. Just make sure that your prospective schools are accredited (Note: most schools are accredited in the US), forget about Rating, most schools are very good here.
If you know your profile is extremely good (Good GPA, GRE/TOEFL, and others) then you might want to consider those top tier schools and compete against the best around the world, but with an average profile or just above average, you don’t have to stress yourself much on this, even if you’re lucky to get admitted, chances of getting funding would be extremely slim. Again school rating doesn’t matter much, most employers don’t even care, just get the degree and know your stuff.
There are many online resources to search for schools online, I know you’re thinking of www.google.com, yes it’s part of it and you should make use of that, but in many cases, Google might not be very useful when applying lots of filters to your search, like I said previously there are about 5,500 universities in the U.S.
Below are some of the online school search engines I would recommend you use;
There are still many more but these are my favorites and I think they would do whatever you want. These websites give you options to adjust your search by Programs (Course of Study), States (If you have any preference, I recommend you always leave this open), Private/Public (I always recommend you stick to Public school unless you got $$). The golden rule is to apply to about three schools, this would give more opportunities in terms of getting Funding.
Will be taking another break here as well and next posts will discuss how to source for funding, sending emails to ask for funding and things to consider before you start your applications with a school.
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