I have a GRE score of x, TOEFL score of y, GPA of z. Can you tell me my chances of getting admission and financial aid?
We CANNOT make an honest evaluation of your chances of admission (much less financial aid) based on your academic performance, test scores, projects, work experience. We suggest that you contact the faculty or staff of your department and the admission committe through email, they can give you a more accurate information regarding your admission status. We further encourage you to keep in touch with the admissions committee, letting them know that you are interested and are waiting for their response.
Currently I don't have any aid. What is the probability of getting some kind of financial aid after I come to the University?
It is possible to arrive at the University and then find either TA (Teaching Assistantship), RA (Research Assistantship), GA (Graduate Assistantship) or some form of campus job. Compared to other departments, the chances of getting financial aid in the computer science department are relatively less. However, you should NOT assume that you will definitely be able to secure funding and should be prepared financially in such case. Securing an RA position depends on finding a professor who is: a) willing (would be willing if his/her research interests match yours) b) able (would be able if has enough research grants) to fund your study. It is not necessary that you find a professor who meets both conditions. You will most likely but not necessarily get RA if you enroll in PhD program, since you would be able to make substantial contribution to your professor's research. Note that it is possible to get RA with professors outside your department, however his work must be related to your program of study (you must check with your department). The same goes for TA positions too. TA positions are decided before the start of the semester.
Is it possible to get TA before I get to the University?
Yes it is provided you recieved admission. You need to contact the faculty and department regarding this.
Is it possible to get RA before I get to the University?
Yes it is. We suggest you email professors who are working in your area of interest. We suggest that you describe your experience in his research areas and attach resume (in text format only), but please keep it short and to the point. Note that most professors probably get dozens of such mails daily, so don't be surprised if you don't receive a reply. Contacting graduate students in your department could be useful as they could tell you about the current funding situation in your department.
Will it help if I come early and talk to the professors?
Sure it could help, this depends on the professors and the funding they have. Remember, there is NO GUARANTEE that you'll be able to secure funding even if you arrive early.
Can I work on-campus?
If you are on F-1 visa, you can work on-campus during the semester (up to 20 hours per week) and upto 40 hours per week during summer and winter break. There are a number of on-campus jobs available. You could earn a about $400 per month, which would cover your living expenses. On-campus jobs do not cover tuition, which will probably be your single largest expenditure.
Can I work off-campus?
You cannot work off-campus without authorization from the INS and International Student Services. For more information, please contact International Student Services.
What are credit hours?
Credit hours are the number of hours that you attend the university per week in a semester. Most of the courses are 3 credit hours each, but there are 1 and 2 credit hour courses too.
Can you tell me something about getting a visa?
We suggest that you contact the branch of the United States Educational Foundation in India (USEFI) closest to you to answer your visa related questions. You also might find the following web site useful: http://usapply.tripod.com/
Do I need to get any innoculations or immunizations before coming to UNM?
You need MMR vaccinations and proof that you don't have tuberculosis (Mantoux, PPD, Tuberculin skin test and chest X-rays). However you can also get your MMR vaccinations and TB tests here at the Student Health Services for a fee.
When should I arrive in Laramie?
Your I-20 specifies the date by which you are expected to arrive at the University. We suggest that you arrive by that date. Keep in mind that it is good to have at least a week to settle down before classes begin. Coming earlier could be helpful if you are interested in meeting with faculty. If you decide to arrive early, keep in mind that:
- some professors might be on vacation.
- you will have to budget for your longer stay in US.
If you want to arrive later than the date specified on your I-20, we strongly suggest to inform the international admissions committee and your department as well. If you wish ISA to pick you up at the airport, click here for guidelines to email your flight information.
How much money should I carry with me?
If you do not have aid, you must carry at least the tution fee (which is listed in your I-20) and living expenses for the first semester. There may be few additional fees not included in your tuition fee. If you do have aid, you will receive your stipend/salary at the end of each month (and no, you can't reason with the Department to give you a part of that early). So you will not be paid till the end of September. You should carry enough to meet the first two month's expenses (and more if you're arriving here early). The average monthly expenses are between $450 to $650.
How should I carry my tution fee and other expenses?
For expenses while travelling, carry either cash or traveller's cheques (TC) (Try to get TCs in less than $100 denominations, as these are easily acceptable). For tution fee and expenses at UW, you can carry a single Demand Draft (DD) in your name. You can pay tution fee to UW through the bank account that you create, once you arrive here.
Can I find an apartment after I reach Laramie and how long will it take?
Of course you can. Finding an apartment depends on when you reach here, your preferences and your ability to find roommates. Students who have financial aid and are coming for the fall semester, are required by the university to attend one month English course. During this time you will be provided with pocket money for food and free stay at the dormitories. During this time you can meet other Indian students who will also be taking the English course. Typically finding an apartment takes 2 to 4 weeks. Students coming in Spring, find it more difficult to find a roommate.
Can you book an apartment for me?
No, we cannot. We can only arrange your accommodation for the first week and you have to find an apartment by then.
I don't know anyone, can ISO find roommates for me?
Don't worry, most of us didn't know each other before we got here. You can wait till you come here. Usually most Indians find Indian roommates.
What is the duration of the lease?
The lease may be signed for 1 year or in some cases 6 months depending on the owner's rental policy.
How many roommates can I have?
The maximum number people that can share an apartment depends on the owner's policy and is listed in the rental agreement. Generally, two are allowed in a single bedroom apartment while four are allowed in 2 bedroom apartment.
How much would be the rent and deposit?
Depending on factors such as number of rooms, furnished/unfurnished, closeness to campus, paid/unpaid utilities and other facilites, the rent can vary anywhere between $400 to $700 which can be shared between the roommates. The deposit is usually one months rent.
Are apartments furnished?
It depends, furnished appartment cost more. Unfurnished apartments are equipped with refrigerator, cooking range (conventional oven + burners or hot plates) and maybe a dishwasher. The apartments are carpeted, and have closets. Furnished apartments have couch, beds, dining table etc. apart from the above.
What are the average living expenses?
You should expect to spend approximately: $200-$350 per month, apartment/house rent + utilities $75-$150 per month, food and supplies $100 per month, miscellaneous expenses Note that this would be the minimum that you would need to spend. The above list does not include international or long distance calls. This depends on your usage. You can purchase phone cards online to call india or long distance within US. International cards may cost anywhere between 25 cents to 50 cents and 2 to 5 cents for long distance calls within US. Apart from cost per minute, you should look for hidden charges such as connection fee, rounding minutes, weekly/monthly charges etc. The card quality might depend on the price, time and day (you may get better quality on weekdays than on weekends) you call. You can also buy calling plans with phone companies. We suggest that you familiarize yourself with the plan and the expenditure before you buy the plan. Currently, the approximate cost for these plans is 55 cents or above for international calls and 5 cents or above. You can make international and long distance calls through internet too at competetive prices but the quality depends on the bandwidth (ISP) and the company providing the voice service.
Will we have to cook our own food? If so, what should we carry for cooking purposes?
Yes, you will probably have to cook your own food. Most of us here cook. Pressure cooker/Pressure pan is the most important utensil that you need to get. Do not forget extra safety valves and gaskets. You might want to get some kitchenware as well such as frying pans, serving spoons, plates etc though you can buy all that after you come here. When buying these utensils, make sure they are big enough to cook for 4 people.
I heard that Laramie is really cold in winter. What kind of winter clothes should i carry?
You heard right. It snows and snows hard in winter, which starts in November and the snow stays till May. All apartments are equipped with heaters, and you won't feel the cold indoors. Carry 1 or 2 sweaters, a woolen cap, warm socks and a winter jacket. You can buy winter clothes that can withstand the Laramie winter here cheaper than in India.
What about laundry?
Washing machines and Dryers are available in most of the apartment buildings. If not, you can always find public laundromats nearby. You'll need around $3 (in quarters, 1 quarter = 25 cents and 1 dollar = 100 cents) to wash and dry one load. You will probably need to do your laundry once in 2 weeks (or with a lesser frequency).
How safe is UW Campus?
UW Campus is very safe. Many of us spend late nights in the labs, and walk back to the apartments alone. The major crime that happens in Laramie is bicycle thefts.