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International Student Issues

This section discusses the various issues faced by international students applying to the U.S. for education. We discuss here eligibility criteria for US colleges, accommodation, health insurance and rules for taking up employment while studying.



The three most important criteria for both graduate & undergraduate courses are :

1.  Consistently Good Academic Record
2.  Financial Support
3.  Proficiency in English

Other eligibility criteria :

Undergraduate Programs (BS, BE, BA etc)

Most Colleges all over the U.S. require a minimum of 12 years of formal education. In the Indian context, it implies qualifying in class 12th examination or junior college, as applicable.  The acceptable degrees include: Indian School Certificate, Intermediate Certificate, Higher School Certificate, Higher Secondary Certificate, All India Senior School Certificate.

Graduate Programs (MS, MA,MBA etc)

Most schools require qualifications comparable to a U.S. Bachelor’s degree (Four-Year Degree Program) or a minimum of 16 years of formal education. In the Indian context, this implies qualifying in either a professional four-year course like engineering or other such courses.

If you have completed a 3-year degree program in India, the advisable plan of action to maximize eligibility for U.S. graduate schools is to apply for a Post Graduate degree in India. A one-year university affiliated program will make up for the fourth year of a U.S. Undergraduate degree.

Students who apply are also required to take standardized tests like GRE, GMAT, LSAT and TOEFL etc. depending on the course or program chosen. For more details on these, check out the Tests To Be Taken section. The minimum TOEFL score required is usually 550 (Paper-based test) or 220 (Computer-based test) for graduate courses. But for financial aid, a minimum score of is 600 (Paper-based test) or 250 (Computer-based test) is usually required. 


  • Professional programs like the CA, ICWA, part time diplomas such as those in management or communication may or may not be accepted. Though many universities, especially Business Schools, have started recognizing the Indian CA.
  • Independent certificate courses offered by private institutions like Aptech, NIIT, etc. may or may not be accepted based on each individual university’s evaluation.
  • One-year education of a two year degree course (like M.Tech, MA etc) may not be accepted by most schools. The full course has to be completed for qualification, unless there is a recognized university exam at the end of one year.

No standardized policy exists regarding the acceptance of such programs. Some universities may accept the three-year Indian Graduation Degree for a few programs. Confirmation can only be obtained by either writing directly or formally applying to the universities concerned.

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