Over the past few weeks, we have been discussing “Step 5: Prepare to Leave” from EducationUSA for Masters programs in the United States. So far we have talked about travel arrangements and port of entry procedures.

In today’s column, we understand what a student should expect when they arrive on the US college campus.

Before leaving India, students should arrange temporary accommodation for the first days of their stay. Students can contact the International Student Services Office at their institution in the United States to verify if the university offers such accommodation. Additionally, they can contact the Indian or South Asian Student Association (if applicable) at their university to inquire about the possibility of an Indian student / family hosting them during their first days in the city.

The Office of International Student Services and campus student associations may also be able to provide information on the availability of an airport pickup option for new students arriving on campus. Alternatively, students can search for a hotel / hostel in the city and reserve a room for the first few days. They can also use the airport taxi or shuttle service.

U.S. institutions typically notify students of reporting procedures when a student arrives on campus. It is important that students monitor these emails from their university / college. In the first days of their arrival, students will be required to complete the International Student Orientation Program and a Department Orientation Program. The university / department usually shares information about these programs in advance, and students are expected to attend these sessions. When planning their trip, students should take into account the dates of these orientation programs.

In addition, upon arrival and during the orientation program, students should understand and be educated about the following procedures:
– Where and how to open a bank account
– How to get to the campus (availability of the bus service / bus passes for students)
– The best telephone operators in the region
– Places to buy groceries and other daily necessities including Indian groceries
– Location of important places on campus: library, classrooms, laboratories, bookstore, etc.
– How to register for courses

During the first few days of arrival, students may also experience the jet lag. So, they may want to set aside time for short naps and light exercise and follow a sleep and meal schedule according to the new time zone to combat jet lag.

Finally, and very importantly, students should note that in the current pandemic situation, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires that all passengers arriving in the United States from a country foreigners undergo a Covid-19 screening test. Students should check the Concurrent Covid-19 Testing Guidelines on https://travel.state.gov/ and www.cbp.gov websites before boarding their flight from India. While the United States government does not require arriving passengers to be vaccinated against Covid-19, it is important that students check with their institution in the United States for these prerequisites, if applicable.

– Monika Setia (Regional Manager and EducationUSA Advisor at the Foundation for Education of the United States and India based at the United States Consulate General in Hyderabad)

Questions answers :

Q. I am interested in pursuing a master’s degree program in public policy and administration in the United States. I came across MPP and MPA degrees while exploring institutions. what is the difference between both?
– Rameshwar Rao
A. At the graduate level, students can pursue a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) or Masters of Public Policy (MPP) in the United States if they are interested in the field of public policy and administration.

In an MPA program, students develop their understanding of policy implementation, project execution, and program management. The MPA course curriculum includes subjects such as human resources, budget and finance processes, information systems, policy and program formulation, implementation and evaluation, ethics, leadership decision and problem solving, political and legal institutions and processes, economic and social institutions and organization and management concepts and behaviors.

On the other hand, the MPP program, which emphasizes research and analysis, focuses on data analysis, analysis and evaluation of political problems and developing solutions to political problems. . Thus, the curriculum of an MPP program includes subjects such as microeconomics, public finance, statistics and advanced data analysis, qualitative research, policy process politics, policy analysis, public management, urban policy and program evaluation.

Q. My daughter is applying next year for an undergraduate program in the United States. Who should she get the letters of recommendation from?
– Monique
A. Typically, higher education institutions in the United States require letters from a school counselor and one or two teachers for undergraduate applications. Some institutions also accept additional recommendations from coaches or other recommenders. In cases where a school counselor is not available, students can ask the principal or another teacher appointed by the principal to write the letter. Recommendations should not be written by direct family members.

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