When to take the GRE

Ideally applications are made to Fall only in the good colleges. You should have your GRE score in hand by 31st August.

Deadlines of many good colleges:

1 Nov - For international applicant for a few top colleges
1 Dec - For most ivy leagues and topmost colleges
15 to 31 Dec - For all remaining good or decent colleges
15 Jan to 15 February - For all remaining average or decent colleges
15 February+ = think of applying next year. Very few options

If you are thinking of admission into a top college or are looking for PhD, you need to communicate with the professors and believe me the entire process takes much time. You need atleast minimum 1 month for selecting the universities, based on your interaction with professors

For many fields MS is not offered by top universities - only PhD

PHD advantages:

  • Opportunity to do wonderful research and get more exposure without other worries

  • All top colleges offer only PhD

  • Increased chances for admission

  • No fees to pay - study without worries

  • Additional stipend - salary for doing research and teaching

  • In rare circumstances can leave in 2-3 years with an MS (not recommended)

MS disadvantages:

  • Less opportunities to do graduate research

  • No good college offers MS

  • Less chances of funding

  • Little exposure - you will gain nothing except an admit into US

Only advantage of MS - finishes early

Deadlines for giving GRE

If you are giving your GRE after 1 Nov, then you are heading for serious trouble, and ideally you should forget about applying to any top university.

Apply as early as possible. If you start early and finish your communications with professors in the month of October, finish all your applications by 15 November.

Preparing SOP needs atleast 15 days.

Recommendation letters: Professors take time to fill online ones. Don’t waste till last moment.

Transcripts: have many transcripts ready before November

Resume preparation, SOP modification for each individual university is a highly time consuming process. Finish your GRE and get your scores before 1 to 15th October to have time for all these processes if you are applying for a PhD

  • Identify areas of interest - or the specific field your desired future career for example regenerative medicine in biology or artificial intelligence in CS.

  • Try to have strong theoretical basis in that. Do strong laboratory or research projects in the field while in college...

  • Win 2 to 3 national level technical paper presentations. Participate in as many as you can in the field of your interest (which you want to pursue your further studies in)

  • 80% is excellent so don’t worry about acads. B.Tech or BE is more than sufficient to enter a PhD and most of the new PhD admits are bachelors. Have atleast above 65% for eligibility

  • Try to present technical papers at IIT's and communicate with IIT professors and try to do research under them. If you do a research project at IIT, its 50% as good as passing out from there.

  • If you are able to present any original research paper at international conference, your paper will be published in international journals. All universities give most importance to these and your chances are increased by nearly 50%.

Remember GRE score is just one factor and criteria to evaluate different marking systems. Guys with 1550 scores may be rejected and those with 1200 have been accepted.

Please understand that SOP is given more importance than GRE scores and Acads if you are able to fit in their minimum criteria, and even if you score 1600 with 85% acads, you will be rejected because of a bad SOP.
No consultant can help you, because he is not YOU. He has not graduated in your subject and he does not have the passions that are required to write an SOP for a PhD in your field of interest.

Ideally 2 safe colleges should be decided by consultant as per his experience, and you should apply to atleast 4-5 other good colleges, acc to interaction with professors and 1-2 dream colleges. Many good colleges have no application fee. Try them out

If you have money apply to 14-15 colleges. 2 safe, 6-7 top, others good

  • Gov registered post - 15 to 30 days - 200 Rs (untraceable)

  • Gov speed post - 10 days - 475 Rs. (can be tracked on internet)

  • Private courier - 4 days - 750 Rs. (can be tracked on internet)

Plan your application accordingly.

ETS provides you a service to send your scores to any 4 universities. You should plan and mark accordingly before giving the tests.

That will save you around 650 x 4 x 2 = Rs. 5200  later for GRE & TOEFL score reporting

For PhD in technical or science backgrounds: No extra curricular activities are needed except if they have won you awards at University, State or National levels.

Community service is given importance, but try to link it with your technical issues in your SOP... This is not MBA, and you need to give in facts and figures for your research work or capabilities and talk practical to the point. If you don’t have any research experience, projects or achievements to flaunt, then only you should give fundas.