Dear Mentor:

What does it cost, and which school is best?

I have applied to MS Electrical Engineering for the Spring semester 2002. I have received the admit from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, but later I found out that they have sent the I-20 [eligibility for non-immigrant F-1 student visa] without receiving my TOEFL [Test of English as a Foreign Language] and GRE [Graduate Record Exam] scores. Can I go with that I-20 for the visa? I am in a dilemma that how they have issued me an I-20 without receiving my TOEFL and GRE scores from the ETS [Educational Testing Service]. I had enclosed only a photocopy of the TOEFL score in the application packet. I have a TOEFL score of 270 and GRE of 1780: Verbal - 490, Quantitative - 730 and Analytical - 560. I intend to specialize in VLSI/DSP. I want to know the quality of study at the university and the aid scene and whether we can get TA's [Teaching Assistantships] or RA's [Research Assistantships] once we get in to the university. I heard that this university is well funded. Is it true? What is the course fees for one semester? I have no aid from the university. I have also received admits from University of Alabama in Huntsville and in Birmingham, Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, and University of Arkansas in Fayetteville I am also in a dilemma to decide between these universities. Please suggest to me which one is best. Some people have said that Texas Tech University in Lubbock is best, while others are saying it is a waste, but I found it has a NRC ranking of 69.

Anxious Admit, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India

Dear Anxious Admit:

Just about every question you have asked has been answered in the iMahal guide on Studying in America and Canada. College-specific information is available at college websites. You can find the List of Engineering Colleges in the US in the iMahal Education Channel. Here, you can find the Web addresses for all college websites.

Colleges do not accept the entrance exam scores - such as on the TOEFL and GRE - from applicants; the scores are sent directly to colleges by the ETS, per your instructions. It does not matter if you sent the GRE score to the colleges or not, what matters is whether the ETS sent your scores to the college.

The I-20 is one of the requirements for obtaining an international student visa. To see if you have all the required documentation for the visa, and fulfill the requirements, visit the chapter on International Student Visa in the iMahal guide on Studying in America and Canada. The chapter on Applying for Admission and Financial Assistance addresses your questions on selecting colleges and college rankings. The guide contains a whole chapter on Financial Assistance.

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