Dear Mentor:

How should I prepare for GRE and admissions?

Just now I finished my Bachelorís degree in engineering (mechanical). I want to pursue further studies (Materís degree) in the US. I want to know when I should register for the GRE and TOEFL exams and preferable test date, and a timetable for the tasks to perform to secure admission; it will be very useful. Thanking you.

Timeline for Admission, Chennai, India

Dear Timeline for Admission:

The admissions process in the US begins in the Fall for the academic session starting next Fall; that is, the process shall begin in September-October timeframe for the class starting in 2002. Schools recognize that your final grades may not be available when you apply for admission, but that you would submit them as soon as they become available. The admissions process is completed typically by April-May.

You should apply for admission as soon as you can complete the application, except for the final grades, if necessary. While each school has its own specific admission requirements, most will require the GRE for graduate studies in engineering. Obviously you should apply for admission after having taken the GRE. It is not only required to complete your application but it would also offer you a better idea of which schools to target. For example, the iMahal College Finder can help you identify colleges that best meet your performance and personal needs based on your GRE scores.

Having been accepted, the school will issue appropriate paperwork for obtaining a student visa from the US embassy in India. The documents from the school do not assure the grant of a visa, but are necessary. Should you encounter any issues with the visa process, or have question about anything else, your school counselor should be able to assist you. You should visit the iMahal Education Section for Entrance Exams to obtain information on GRE and TOEFL. These tests are conducted in India, as well as in many other countries around the world. Many exam centers offer computer-based tests, which can be taken at any time that is convenient for you.

So, the timeline is straightforward. Start researching the colleges now: you can use the iMahal List of Engineering Colleges and Universities in the US. At the same time, prepare for the required entrance exams, such as GRE and TOEFL. You should work hard and do well on these exams to improve your chances of acceptance and for obtaining financial aid. Narrow down the list of colleges, based on your performance on the GRE. Apply to colleges as soon as possible after taking the entrance exams, say in mid- to late-Fall. Schools have varied timelines for informing you of their decision. When you have received offers of admission and decided the school to which you wish to go, start the visa process immediately.


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