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Admission to Stanford,Harvard, MIT or other Top of the line Universities

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According to my experience :
1.All require GRE subject Test. Some claim that it is not needed but in order that your application stands out I recommend you take GRE subject Test. This will facilitate a decision in your favor.
2.They need some research work. Preferably published individually or jointly with a professor. You may even have some peer reviews. People plan this well in advance and somehow wriggle through and get their name inserted along with a professor.
3.Your field of interest should match with a professor willing to accept you as a graduate scholar.
4.Excellent Recommendations written by Professors / Superiors knowing you well and willing to write specifically about your reseach interest and scholarship. These should not be vague or general.
5.Outstanding Essays. Each School should be provided an essay specifically written for it and should not be a ‘copy-paste’ exercise.
6.Excellent GPA
7.Good GRE and TOEFL scores
8. Apply early.
9. Above all plan early about the steps required to be taken. Succesful people start taking the initial steps from Junior year. Do not wait till the Senior year.
All or some of these come to play to decide on your application.

If you are admitted by these institutes than financing your education will not be a problem.
An important observation
Admission in PhD is difficult as compared to admits to MS degree.
Universities generally require good academics and/or good research experience. If you have these you can get into a very high rank university. It is believed that good research experience can lead you to a top 1-20 ranked university.But this does not imply that academics and subject test is not given due weightage.
As you go to low rank universities (21-40) they concentrate more on academics and subject tests.Universities Ranked 41 and below concentrate on academics and experience but not subject test.
But once you get admits 80-90% of the times you get assistantships.
Academics play an important role if you don’t have experience.

A more Important Note

I am well aware that every applicant will not meet each of the criteria listed above.However if you cover about 80-90% of these you have a fair chance of admission and you must try. You may be lucky.GOOD LUCK

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Required Financial Documents for International Students

International Students are required to file financial documents along with their admission applications.

Here are some tips on Financial Documents which may help you.

1.Financial Statements what they are?

Financial statements are meant to show to the universities that you or your sponsor have enough liquidity to finance your study and living expenses while you are a student in the American University.

This is a requirement by law and you have to provide it . There is no waiver on this score.

2.What does liquidity imply?

Cash in the saving bank account,Fixed deposits in the bank,savings in the post office accounts. I call these as “Pure Liquid Assets” and if you have these then there is no hassle with the universities.

People who do not have enough funds in the above do group some allied items in their Financial Statements. These I call as “Allied Liquid Assets”. Demat accounts, PF, Life Insurance Policies are normally mentioned here.

Some Universities do accept the Allied Assets and some do not. It is a matter of convincing the univs.

3.How much funds need to be shown?

You have to show two semesters cost comprising of Fees,living and miscellaneous expenses.

Check the universities requirements on these and show the funds accordingly.Each university has it’s own cost structure.Select the universities you want to apply and prepare the documents showing the highest expenses. This is done in order that you use the same Financial statement for all your Universities.

Note Read below “What if you I target for assistantship”

4.How to prepare the affidavit?

The affidavit of support should be on a stamp paper and attested by a Notary Public after your sponsor signs it.

This is done to impress the university otherwise it has no legal standing in USA.

The affidavit should carry supporting documents from your(sponsors) bank certifying the amount you are having in your account. For FDs get another certificate. Similarly for other items.

Remember that you are targeting several universities This implies that all your affidavits and bank certificates should be sent in original to each univ. So prepare as many as you intend applying plus one or two more. Preferably send the University’s financial forms along with your affidavit

5. When should the financial affidavit be sent?

It is best to send it along with the application. This helps the university. Sending it later some times causes hassles to coordinate the documents.

However if you are not prepared with them you can send these documents later when the univ asks for them. This will not affect your admission decision.

6.What if I target for assistantship?

If you are targeting for assistantship and are confident that you will get it and have decided not to go to a particular university unless the assistantship is granted you need not send the financial documents initially.

If any assistantship is granted you can reduce the amount of grant from the required finances and prepare the document accordingly.

7. I do not have funds so how should I go about?

People propagate several unethical ways do this. I do not.

Maybe with experience I have mellowed down .

Enough to say that I know some universities do verify with the banks about your documents. If you are caught on the wrong foot then there is no one to save you. The adviser shall not come forward nor the person who prepared the documents for you.

I can only comment that there are legal ways to overcome this difficulty. Use your ingenuity.

To this I will add that over 50% of persons who aspire to study abroad face this difficulty and your are not unique in this.

Think and you will find a correct and legal way out.

8.What is the period of validity of these documents?

About 4-6 months.

9. Can I use these financial documents for Visa purpose?

Yes and No.

While you must carry these documents while going for visa however it will be prudent to prepare separate documents when you go for visa.

More on this later.

Good Luck