Life of A MS Student In The United States

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It just feels like yesterday when I began my dream of coming to the United States for my Masters. It’s been 3 years now, I have completed my Masters and working in a company. The journey of me being a student in the United States has certainly been great and filled with ups and downs. You being a prospective student coming to the United States this year or may be in upcoming years, I would like to share the life of an MS Student in USA. This post would clear a lots of doubts that’s lingering in your mind.  So let’s start with it. It’s going to be a long post but very informative.

First Few Weeks: The Challenge of New Environment

The moment your plane lands in United States, your new life has begun. Students should be aware that there are Indian Student Association associated with the University that helps in picking you up from the airport. Most of the students generally stay in a temporary accommodation for the first few weeks before they rent a new house.

Temporary Accommodations usually are not that great depending on which state you are going. If you are coming to New York or Boston, expect temporary accommodations to be cramped up with lots of new students. So be prepared for that. Apart from stay, you also need to visit the University orientation, setup a Bank Account, know about your neighborhood as to which places are safe, know where’s the grocery stores and other stuff.

Also, you need to start looking for a new house and try to make a group or join the group of students who already have rented the house. Always take advise from Seniors as they know about the neighborhood and the prices for renting the house. Be communicative and ask suggestions whenever you make any decisions regarding renting, opening up a account etc.

Looking For A Part Time Job: The Next Important Thing

Well I have a different opinion on the part-time job. I usually suggest that students should concentrate towards their studies in the first semester rather than taking a part-time job. After one semester, you can certainly go for a part-time job. But it’s totally up to you.

Searching for a part-time is always a difficult job looking at the number of Indian Students joining the Universities and the number of part-time jobs available. Part-Time jobs work mostly on referrals. Example: If someone is working in Library, he can refer you for a job in Library. So try to make contacts and request them if they can refer you.

Also, University has a page where they list out the part time jobs available. Apart from that you can also go into any store that is present inside the campus and ask if they have any openings. This is a tough job but it does take sometime to get a part0time job.

My suggestion would be to get good grades and become a Teaching or Research Assistant rather than working in a store. Teaching and Research Assistant can be added in your resume and it does elevates your profile when recruiters see it.

Studying: A Totally New World

Well if I can put Studying in the University in one word, I would say Challenging. Studies are totally different over here. You have all the freedom to choose whichever subjects you want to study and how much ever subject you wish to take in a semester. Always consult with the seniors as to which subjects are good to go for in the first semester and what’s the syllabus gonna be.

It happens many times that the same subject is taken by two different professors. Again consult with the seniors which professor to go for and how difficult the curriculum is. Always remember, professor would teach you the basics and the assignment levels would be way high than what professor has taught. Whenever you have doubts, immediately approach the professors or the Teaching Assistant to get it resolved.

Do not copy assignments as you would be in a big mess if you do it. Trust me as I have myself caught many students doing that as I was a Teaching Assistant and strict actions were taken against them. Never try it.

The Assignments and Projects are gonna be tough but it will elevate your skills and you would become more proficient in those subjects. Put in all your efforts towards these Assignments and Projects and get a good grade. Do not loose your focus during this period. Study hard, use the library and work hard towards your goal. This would help you in getting into a great company.

Internship Hunting: A New Beginning 

Based on the University you go, You would allowed to go for an Internship anywhere between 4 to 8 months. So Universities allow you to go normally between May and December or even Jan and May. So if you are aiming to go for an Internship in May, start hunting for it from January. The first step would be to prepare a good resume. Take help from Counselors in the University as they help you in building the resume.

Once the resume is built, the next step would be to start applying. Here’s how you find a job in the United States.

  • Websites like Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Official Company Websites
  • Asking for Seniors to refer you in the Company
  • Contacting HR’s through LinkedIn
  • Attending Career Fairs in your city and University

These are the ways to get a call from a company. The process of getting a job is different. Here’s the process:

  • HR shortlists your resume and gives a call to get to know you
  • HR forwards the resume to the Hiring Manager
  • If Hiring Manager likes your Resume, he/she would setup a technical phone interview
  • After the phone interview, if they are happy with you, you would be called for an onsite
  • If they are happy with the answers you gave, you would get an offer

It takes anywhere between 2 weeks to a month to get an offer from a company. You should know everything you mentioned in your resume.

Life As An Intern: Awesome Experience

To be an Intern in a company is one of the best experiences you would have. The environment will totally be friendly, interactive and fun. People would come up to you to welcome you as an intern. You would be guided through the first few weeks and then allowed to choose tasks you wish to do. You can even bring up new ideas and the ideas would be appreciated.

You would be paid good. You will certainly enjoy the days as an intern. You will have good amount to money for your expenses and to save for your tuition fees for your upcoming semesters. As an intern you will be paid anywhere between 20$/hour to 35$/hour. You will allowed to work for 40 hrs in a week.

Life would be great during this period. Always try to convert your internship into a full-time job as you can avoid the hassles of getting a full-time job after graduation. If you are on a 8 month internship, approach your month after 6 months to talk regarding your prospects as a full time employee. Never feel that is it good to talk regarding full-time opportunities or not. People certainly would expect you to show the interest for the full-time job. So go ahead and speak with your manager.

Final Sprint Towards Full-Time Job

After your internship, you would certainly be back to your studies. If you are unable to convert your Internship into a Full-Time then it’s time again for hunting. This time you will have more opportunities as compared to Internship opportunities. Update your resume and follow the same process as that of Internship to get a call.

Full time job search would include 6 to 7 interviews in all. If you are going for software developer, then you will go through coding tests before the interviews. You should be very proficient in your subjects and skills when you are in search for full-time. The interviews will be grilling and will focus on your past experience, problem solving abilities and your fundamental knowledge on your skill sets.

Conclusion

This was a short summary on your life that you would go through when you are an MS student in the United States. Hope the post was useful. Let me know if you have any doubts through the comment section and I will reply it immediately

18 thoughts on “Life of A MS Student In The United States

  1. What is the procedure to file for H1 visa? Does company recommendations help for an easier H1? Or is it just based on luck?

    • Your company files for your H1B Visa. I would write the post as to how the procedure works, but the company has to file it for you. You cannot file it on your own. If the number of applicants for H1B is more than a certain number, then lottery system comes to play and then its on luck whether you get it or not.

  2. Students usually get few months between the admit and the beginning of their session what will be your advice to do in those 4-5 months that can help in their study in MS. I have applied for MS Computer Science.

    • Once you have decided which subjects you are going to take for the first semester, I would say you can check the curriculum of these subjects and start studying. Make your foundations stronger before coming. For Example: In Northeastern for the first semester students learn python. So in that case learn python before coming. It will give you the advantage when you do your assignments and projects. Make your basics strong in programming languages before coming to the United States.

      • Hi
        Thanks
        I am working as tester in sap labs India. I do not have much liking towards programming. I am searching for courses to take for my masters in us. Somebody suggested me MIS. But I do not have any knowledge as to does this course require good programming. Can you please suggest some course or anything about MIS program.
        Regards

    • College ranking will certainly impact the companies that come for career fairs. You will get a lot of opportunities in good Univs to interact with the employers. Other than that companies look your profile as a whole and not judge you based on which Univ you attended. Companies do have Univs list from which they call the students. It’s always good to go for the top 100 Univs in USA.

  3. Do you recommend students taking loan for ms? As the exp in the first year happens to be $25000. And after the coursework the student will have only three years to work (in case of no h1b). Then the student will have to return back. Will the loan repayment put the student in debt for years and as returning back to India payment will become more difficult. what do you recommend? If taking so much loan is worth the future and study?

    • Well I took a loan for MS as I wasn’t able to afford the cost of expenses. I did start repaying the loan during internship period itself. It takes few years to repay it but you don’t have any other option if you don’t have that much money in hand. Don’t think about H1B and all as it’s a long way for you. It’s worth to come to USA for studies and enhancing your skill set and working here after MS. You will gain a lot of experience.

  4. Can I have multiple I20’s? I recently got an admit to Stony Brook University and they are asking me to sign and send an acceptance letter but I want to wait for the results of 3 more universities. Am I obliged to join if I send the acceptance letter?

  5. Hey can you tell what is the future in civil engineering in US after MS and what subjects I should take for MS or any of your friend who has done civil engineering and I can talk to him??

  6. i am recently preparing for gre and planning to pursue my masters progran in usa. i have completed my engineering from electronics and comm engg. i wanna know which streams or branches i am eligible to pursue my masters and what should be the safe gre score.

  7. Hello Sir ,

    Aspiring to Pursue Masters in Mechanical Engineering
    GRE 309 , TOEFL 110 , CGPA 8.47
    Shortlisted Universities
    Purdue West Lafayette
    Ohio state University
    Texas A&M
    UW Madison

    Kindly share your suggestions

  8. I have a master Degree back in India in embedded, But I have found my interest in VLSI Can I apply for MS in US ? with Master Degree already but in Embedded Domain ?
    will this be viewed as Positive or negative for my application

    I also now have experience of some 15 months in Big MNC in VLSI .

    Please Guide

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