What to Do When
Timing is everything. Here is a schedule to help you get the fall semester with
the least trouble.
- Take up the GRE and TOEFL in September
- Start applying to the universities by late October and finish by late
- You should here from the universities in a couple of months. If you get
admission to the University of Colorado at Boulder (congrats!!), find out who
your graduate advisor is and seek course advice
- Identify professors who are in the same field as you are and tell them about
yourself. DO NOT MAIL RESUMES UNLESS ASKED FOR.
- Schedule a Visa appointment for June
- Once the Visa is done, you’re ready for the ride of your life!!
Visa, Now What?
There’s a lot to do in the few weeks you have before you get here (and life will
seem to fast forward during that time). These tips might do you some good.
- Learn typing
- Learn driving and get the driving license and an International Driving Permit.
This usually takes 40 days. So its better that you start off early.
- Learn to cook.
- Apply for a bank loan (if necessary)
- Make your passport valid for 6 months more than your stay indicated in your
- Find out the necessary immunization info at
- Generally there are some vaccines like Hepatitis B, which require 3 doses once
each month. So do it early. These vaccines are very costly in US and you
certainly do not want to start spending money the moment you land in US. Get
requisite immunization done (especially MMR)
- Complete the health documentation that you may have to submit when
you arrive in US.
- Get a medical check up done.
- If you have health insurance in India, bring the related documents to the
U.S. with you. You may be able to get it extended in the U.S. (Check with your
insurance company to see if they provide that kind of service)
Go and block a ticket first. You need not pay anything while blocking, it’s
free! You can pay later (generally 10 days before departure) after your ticket
and schedule is confirmed. Block flights with many airlines. If you are
vegetarian make sure you get that across
Try and book a direct flight to your place, even if you have to take a local
airline it is better and safer than greyhound, which usually has its stops in
the shadiest area of towns. Buy a single ticket all the way through – add on are
very expensive. Avoid change of airline. A direct flight is the best. If change
of airline can't be avoided' leave at least 4-6 hrs gap between the scheduled
arrival of one flight and the scheduled departure of the connecting flight.
Baggage is usually safe with a single airline - change of airline sometimes
leads to misplaced luggage. Some airlines don't take care of baggage transfer -
you may have to personally carry it (check this while booking) and cross check
every thing you are promised by the Travel agent with the original air lines.
Even if you have confirmed ticket in you hand.
And remember to ask for student concessions...Generally all the airlines will
come up with one or the other discount offer for students...so check all this
out before you pay the money.
Pick-up and Accommodation
Once your arrival date is more or less confirmed, get in touch with the
volunteers from ISA to be picked up from the Airport and/or hosted for a few
Do the following:
Remember, Posting in the board does not guarantee instant response. We are
volunteers and can get very busy with our primary goal i.e. to study and ace our
courses. Being patient and polite never hurt anybody!!!
What to Bring with you
Other than your fee requirements you may have to take $2000-$3000. You can get
this from Thomas Cook/American Express or any Foreign Exchange bank like SBI, SBH IOB etc. Do this after you buy your ticket. Take
most of the money in the form of TC's and DD's. The typical combination is DD for the entire fee you have to pay, $2000-$3000 in TCs,
and $100 in cash - a combination of notes and coins.
Carry all documentation safely, and have photocopies to back you up - letter
from Univ., mark sheets, etc. (the visa stuff basically). Things to get
photocopied: Make three sets of the following copies, keep one set at home and
take the remaining two sets with you.
• Xth, Inter (10+2), Degree marks sheets, Convocation Certificate of Under
• I-20 and acceptance letter from the university.
• Take all the I-20's with you if you have more than one.
Last week in India
- Call up and find if there is any change of the schedule of the plane (inform the people coming to pick you up of any such change).
- If you're vegetarian, call up the airline and request for your meals to be vegetarian.
- Relax the day before journey, and check all the documents you are taking with you once again.
On the day of the flight
- Wear something REALLY comfortable - it's a long flight.
- Check all the documents once again and keep them at appropriate places.
- Be at the airport 3-4 hours before the departure.
- Relax during flight, sleep as much as possible.
- For vegetarians - watch out before you eat - you may get non-veg even if you had asked for veg. Veg food is generally bland - fruits/juices are good choices. (Before ordering anything on board check if, you have to pay for it separately). Don't hesitate to ask questions.
- Once out of India be very careful (from sheer experience of seniors). Don't trust anyone. Don't hire a taxi (unless emergency) till you reach your destination. If required don't hesitate to spend money.