Dear Mentor:

How to get a masters degree in the US.

My Azeri colleague has a son who will graduate this summer with a business degree from the Azerbaijan Business University. He wishes to send him to the States to gain a Masters degree but he isn't sure how to go about this. The boy has an uncle in West Hollywood California, so maybe a college round about there would suffice? What my friend wants basically is how much it would cost and if there is any chance of sponsorship? Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Friend Indeed, Location Unknown

Dear Friend Indeed:

The process of getting into a US university for international students is time consuming, but fairly straightforward. In part, it is identical to the process that an American student would go through to get admission. That is, identify and apply to colleges in which you wish to pursue the degree program. In addition to the usual letters of recommendation and academic transcripts, an entrance exam is generally required, prior to submitting the application. Depending on the program, schools specify the entrance exam requirements. For example, GMAT is required for most MBA programs in the US. Taking the entrance exams and applying to colleges has to be done by your friend's son, with help perhaps from people like you and the student's uncle in the US. However, iMahal does offer extensive Education Resources and Guidance. Also, the iMahal College Finder may prove particularly useful to him in identifying colleges that meet his own specific needs. The College Finder can identify the colleges in his field of interest in California, USA.

The additional burden for international students arises from the government rules and regulations. Since international students are prohibited from gaining employment (except for assistantships or up to 20 hours per week employment on campus), they are required to demonstrate the ability to finance their education for the entire duration. Financial aid to international students is rather restrictive. This is where the student's uncle can help out. If he is willing to finance his nephew's education, then he can sponsor his nephew and vouch for the financial assistance for the entire stay.

The school issues all the necessary paperwork to obtain the international student visa. The student is then expected to appear for an interview, along with all the necessary paperwork, with American Embassy officials in the home country to obtain the visa. American officials in the home country have the final say in determining whether the visa should be granted. They ascertain that the student intends to stay in the US temporarily (that is, strictly for the duration of his education) and that the student has financial resources to sustain himself.

The school guidance counselors are the best source of guidance and support throughout the process.

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