Dear Mentor:

Can I get admitted to a US university without the prerequisites?

I did my B.C.A. [Bachelor of Computer Applications] from Osmania University, Hyderbad. The problem is that I have just 15 years of education but we need 16 years of education to do an MS in the US. So kindly tell me whether it is possible for me to do MS without pre-course.

Short Cut to MS, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

Dear Short Cut to MS:

Every week we get many emails like yours. We select one for publication in the weekly Dear Mentor: column. So, you are the lucky one this week.

You are right in noting that US schools require at least 4 years of college education with a degree that is equivalent to a Bachelor's degree in the US. The US Bachelor's degree program is of 4 year duration, which students enter after completing Grade 12 in high school; thus, the calculation of 16 years of education in total. It is not merely 16 years of education, it at least 4 years of education in degree program(s). You can not simply do a 1-year diploma to fulfill the requirement.

Unless your Bachelor's degree from India is of a 4-year duration - such as an engineering degree - you are typically required to complete your Master's degree in India to become eligible for an MS program in the US. You have to meet the stated academic qualifications - no ifs, ands, or buts!

We are not aware of any such thing as a "pre-course." Regardless, you surely can not expect a school to waive the fundamental requirement of educational qualifications just because you (and many others from India, from what we have learnt through inquiries sent to iMahal) want it to do so. You would not expect any college in India to let you in if you do not have the academic qualification, right?

You have to put in the effort required to meet the eligibility requirements first. And, then the competition for admission begins because, as you know, eligibility doesn't imply acceptance.

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