Student Visa Interview Tips
1. How many
universities did you apply to?
The question is a very
basic. It should be answered with caution. See the explanation in the next
2. How many
This question is
interlinked with previous one. If you applied to 4, got admission in 1 and
were rejected in 3, you donít have to be Mr. TRUTH. You may answer,
applied to 4, accepted in 1, awaiting 2, 1 rejection OR applied to 4, got
admission in 1, awaiting 3.
But then you have to
state as in Question 3, that this was supposed to be your first choice
anyhow, so even if you would have had the admission offer from any of the
other 3, you would certainly have gone for this one. But if you are one of
those types who offered to 1 and got just 1, donít go about saying
that!!! Say you applied to 4, got 1, awaiting 3. Put up the other univ's
names;-) coz they think that someone who has applied to just one univ
isnít really serious about his admissions and so isnít interested in
educational purpose; which means a direct reject. If you applied to 11,
got from just one, better say that you applied to just 4 or 5, and one
reject, one admit and rest awaiting. Many a times its better not to carry
the reject letters, though some people advise so, but the thing is some
univs reject on totally baseless matters.
The answer to this
question also is dependant on the earlier one.
Always try to speak out
the better score first. If you have a good TOEFL score, say 270, and a GRE
of 1750, and speak out your TOEFL first and then GRE. Usually people
think, they can go and lead them by answering long and sweet, like if
asked for scores, the long answer might be:
"Sir, I took my
Computer based TOEFL and scored 270 at it, while I took the GRE and scored
800 in Quantitative, 710 in Analytical and 430 in Verbal".
Well this can heat up
the officer. He/She might feel you are taking him for ride, even if you
are not. So keep it short. So let the answer be: "TOEFL 270, GRE:
1940". Thatís it, as much as he asked for. Make his job easier and
so he doesnít get pissed off at any of your leading behaviors.
Spell it out as it has
been at your university. Say "Sir, We have a percentage system, and I
scored xx% overall" IF your final year marks excel the other
semesters marks, spell that one out, coz usually in some universities,
they look at the final year marks to grade the student in the Certificate.
When later asked as to why u said XX% whereas the total marks of all your
mark sheets add up to XX-5/10% then clarify yourself...(They wont always
go checking all your mark sheets, but then you werenít lying)
As per your details.
7. What was your
bachelor's degree in?
As per your details.
8. What is the
purpose of your trip?
CS/Telecommunications/EE...whatever or PhD in MEch/
9. Which university
are you planning to go to?
The University of your
choice and the univ you want the VISA for.
10.Who is planning to
As mentioned in your
I-20. If you have a scholarship, say that. Else in case the I-20 says
"Family funds" say that, and you may add that sir, my father and
my mother are supporting me for my higher education.
11.Why do you plan to
Say that you felt that
higher qualifications give a better place, a better standard in today's
competitive world. You felt that you have a good know-how of your field,
but a bit more technical knowledge in "the field you are going for MS
in" will serve you greatly, when you come back here and join the
industry of your choice.
12.Why do you wish to
study in the US and not in Bangladesh?
The courses in the field
I am interested in are not being offered (or very few institutions offer
such courses). In addition to that the research going on is something I
would like to be associated with. (Speak about the facilities as well).
Talk about a few researches being conducted in that field. Technical words
work out when other things donít.
This question can be
best answered when you do a bit of homework about your university. Browse
the Web page of the University, visit the pages of the professors, and go
through their projects. Now remember some of the key words, like the
project a professor X is working on. Mention something about the project
if the officer is listening and is giving you time to explain. When you do
such things, they think that you are pretty serious about your studies and
are really into it. Well, some people believe in mentioning about the rank
of the university, or the student to faculty ratio. Well these all things
donít affect how you are interested in it. You can say all these stuff
such as rank and all, but you have to state what make you interested and
it should be something about research or academics. You can also show
letters of correspondence with your University professors. If you donít
have those, build some. Click here to know how to build a Correspondence
14. Your passbooks
show that a large amount of money has recently been deposited. How would
you explain that?
(NOBODY keeps huge sums
of money in their savings account, so relax! If you have borrowed the
money here is what you could do Its quite likely that in the past you may
have received huge sums of money like selling of some property, retirement
of parents etc so u could say something like) In year X we had received Tk.
T and instead of depositing the amount in a bank at a low interest rate,
we invested it in other sources which gave us high interest rates or we
gave it to our needy friends. Now we have taken this money back to finance
my education. (Of course itís really dicey to answer this question, but
if you are confident you shouldnít have a problem. If you have some
proof of receiving a huge sum of money some years back, make sure you
15. What does your
father do? What if my dad has taken the VR?
Well this does have a
specific reply, but then you can put it as "Sir, My father is working
with a German collaborated company for the past 25 years as a Manager in
XYZ department. The long reply helps over here. If your father has taken a
voluntary retirement, dont mention that he has retired. Well there are two
approaches to this. One, say that your father worked with this company for
the last 30 years and now has his own consultancy dealing with (insert
some financial or technical terms). Two, Say that your father worked as
Asst Mgr./Mgr./GM with some company for the past 25 years, took a VR and
now has a consultancy of his own. Never show him to be idle, coz that
means your income has drastically reduced and works as a negative point.
Stating about the VR often helps coz then you can assure him that most of
the money you have shown is yours coz usually people get huge amounts on
taking a VR. So that does help on the financial grounds.
16. Does any of your
relative stay in the US?
The answers to this vary
from person to person. The two basic replies being: Either "YES"
or "NO". But I believe that you be truthful at this instance. I
have seen many people who have been true and werenít affected by that.
In fact at an USEFI
seminar, addressed by the Consulate Officer.. it was said by the officer
himself that," We know that most of the student will end up staying
there after completing their studies, but at least we can do our part of
skimming them. We can at least play the part of sieving across the
deserving people and not every pedestrian."
This means that they
evaluate you on the basis of your merits and not by what the person
staying abroad is going to do for you. And the financial part is because
they want to be assured that you can at least go through your studies
It just happens that
many a times, they check your file. Based on details provided in your
passport, and if they do apprehend you lying, that might spell trouble.
So, I think telling the truth is the best thing.
If your uncle or cousin
or distant aunt stays there, you donít have to say "YES" coz
that doesnít matter. All that matters is your immediate relatives i.e.
own brother, sister, father or mother.
brother/sister is studying there too. How will your parents support both
Now, you have your
chance of taking the officer for a ride here. Even if your brother/sister
doesnít have an aid/scholarship, you can say he got a TA/RA there and so
he need not be supported by the family any more for his educational
18.Why is your GRE
score low? (Or any section score low)
This is the most
preferred answer. I answered the first few questions incorrectly and I
couldnít improve my score later even after performing well later. (Low =
<1800 Otherwise you can say that you think your score is average and on
the basis of that the university has given you the admission). You can
also mention that "This score is considered to be ideal for the
Engineers (if you are one). or according to what you are. You can always
build up a story, saying that the GRE Score interpreter sheet says that.
Such as Engineers donít need to have an extra ordinary VERBAL Score, If
the other sections complement it, you can show that the other sections are
stressed upon by universities while selection for admission (Say this only
when you think the situation is getting tense).
If you have a low VERBAL
score, but a good TOEFL score, you can always say that "Please look
at my TOEFL score Sir, I have done well at that". Besides GRE is just
one of the many aspects that the universities look at for admission (Say
this line only when you think you are drowning).
Be really well prepared
for this question. This answer is not fool proof, but itís you who can
make it seem so. The basic things are:
20. Why are you
changing your stream?
This generally occurs
coz people having done their BE in Civil go on to pursue MS in CS. I am
giving this reply specifically for transfer to CS stream, coz I donít
think anyone from CS would be going to Mech ;). This is easy to get
through. You can say either of the points:
Always try to show that
you have an interest for that subject. Never project that you are taking
this up coz the market is strong. This is coz you are changing your
stream. They might end up thinking that you just used your BE to get to
this stage and that u dint do that on interest. Theyíll think you are
fickle minded. Show that you do everything with your interest, you even
did your BE in Civil or any other field coz you had interest in it, and
now CS is your interest too.
21. What is your
father's annual income?
This question often
decides your ability to pay for your expenses. They think that money can
be put into banks, but annual income is a proof, which they heavily rely
upon to decide the student's parentís capability to spend for his
Whatever the officer
asks. 1) What is your father's annual income? 2). What is your family's
annual income? The moment the words 'Annual Income" creeps in, state
your complete family annual income, i.e. if your mother is also an earning
member, if you have agricultural income, if you have rental income plus
the interests and dividends...State all of them together. Donít commit
the blunder of stating just your father's income. Many a times it hampers
your chances. If it seems low to them. Obviously a sum of mother's income,
your father's income, agricultural (if u have), total will be more than a
single one. And if they ask for the IT returns, hand over both of your
parent's return statements, plus the agricultural papers plus the rental
receipt (duplicate) at a time. And if he/she just argues (usually they
donít) that you were asked about your father's income. Then say"
Sir, MY family is sponsoring me. Along with my father my mother is also an
earning member and an income tax payer. Family funds is what the I-20
states, and so my family including my father and mother (opt brother, if u
have one earning) are sponsoring me and here are their statements and
proofs of other modes of income.
22.You look like
potential immigrants OR I donít think you will come back to Bangladesh.
This is a real tricky
question. Many get blue when they hear this and lose their senses as how
to tackle this question. Stay calm and think what all you can say
like:"I am from a very well-to do family and money is not at all
essential for me. I stand to inherit a lot from my parents (say this if u
have lots of property) so staying and working in the US is not a criterion
at all. The only thing I lack is this Masters (or whatever degree) which
will make me a better software professional.
Most important Factor
Let me tell you
something. The most important factor is "CONFIDENCE".
Nothing can depose that. Whatever the answer is, if you are confident and
show that you arenít nervous a bit, that will really help you get
through. Complete Documents, Convincing Skills, Confidence and Present
mindedness is what you have to invest. These are the keys to getting
through the interview successfully. Many do get through coz of sheer luck,
when some of the casual officers just seem to be in a hurry to get through
with the troop of VISA aspirants facing their counter.
But then I believe that
your parents do all the job of putting together all the financial
documents and stuff. The only thing you need to do is to put a confident
self of yours over there.
Itís not that all the
questions I have put here are the only ones; they might come up with any
other alien stuff. But then present mindedness and spontaneity is what
helps under those situations. You have to be prepared with an answer the
moment he shoots a question at you.
Donít make a face as
if you just committed a sin. Hand over the documents and look at him.
Remember, all your documents are as genuine as your Birth Certificate.
Since every applicant is unique in terms of visa interview, it is suggested that you will prepare your own answer. Keep your mind open to face any question. Don't think that someone got visa by giving a particular answer to a particular question, so you have to answer in the same way. Make your OWN answer to every question. Do NOT copy from others.
Wish you good luck!!!
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