Dear Mentor:

Can I get assistantship starting in the spring semester?

I am studying my 5th year of engineering in Moscow and want to do my Masters in an American University. My specialized field of study is Automation of Technological and Production processes. My GPA is 4.3 on the 5 scale. My prerequisites satisfy the Electrical and Computer Engineering departments but do not fully satisfy (4-6 subjects) the Industrial and Mechanical departments. But only the Industrial and Mechanical departments are offering my course of study. I would like to apply for a Teaching or Research assistantship. Will my prerequisites effect my stand in getting these assistantships, as I prefer doing my Master's in my specialised field? I want to apply for the Spring Semester 2003. Do Universities offer Research and Teaching assistantships in the Spring and Summer semesters or are these fellowships only for Fall? Please advise.

Admissions vs Financial Aid, Moscow, Russia

Dear Admissions vs Financial Aid:

We are not quite sure what you mean when you say the 4-6 subjects do not qualify. Regardless, we can provide you guidance on how to proceed.

You will be well advised to read the iMahal Authoritative Guide for Studying in America and Canada. The iMahal Guide outlines how to proceed and improve your chances for admissions and financial aid.

The academic requirements for admission are typically stated as a degree in the same or related field. While the universities would wish to ensure that you did in fact complete relevant courses within the discipline of prior studies, they do not count the number of courses and/or look for certain courses within the program. That is, either you have the qualifying degree or you do not, and it is not dependent on "4-6 courses that you say do not qualify."

Obtaining admission is a pre-requisite to financial aid. A subset of students who are admitted are offered financial aid due to their past superior performance and potential for continued success. The dimensions of the selection criteria for admission and financial aid are identical. They include: past academic performance, reputation of the degree-granting institutions, performance on entrance exam(s) such as the GRE (Graduate Record Exam), letters of recommendation, personal statement of purpose, and so on. However, your are expected to demonstrate superior performance on these dimensions to secure financial aid. Financial aid is not dependent on whether you have done certain "qualifying courses" in the past.

Financial aid is not dependent on whether you start you program in a certain semester. Most international students start their studies in the US in the Fall semester. The reason is simple: Most fundamental core courses are offered on in the Fall semester. It is the admissions process and the course offering of a program in a particular university that determine whether you can start the program in the Spring or Summer semesters. If you can start the program in a particular semester, you will be considered for financial aid by the university, if you so desire.

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