What’s Better for MS in USA Admission Counselling: End-to-End Guidance or Bite-Size Services?

Every year we receive several queries and requests for MS in USA admission counselling. Applicants either work with study abroad agencies or independent admissions consultants. At Stoodnt, we offer both options – applicants are free to choose to work with traditional study abroad counsellors or admissions consultants.

Admissions Counselling Services for MS in USA

These days a lot of applicants are opting for admissions consultants due to the obvious advantages; especially, because of unbiased and quality career guidance & application services.

However, a majority still prefer to work with study abroad agencies or counsellors to cut down application-related costs.

As an independent MS admissions consultant myself, I don’t see a problem with that. MS in USA is an expensive affair. You are looking at an overall cost of anything between Rs. 25 Lacs and 85 Lacs. For the majority of Indian families, that is definitely expensive.

You should choose your Counsellor wisely and according to your aspirations and budget. At the end of the day, before getting an offer letter, you are already going to spend around Rs. 50,000 – 1.2 Lacs.

How? Let’s see the breakdown in the next section.

Cost in INR for MS in USA Applications

  • IELTS / TOEFL: Rs. 13,250 – 13,650
  • GRE / GMAT: Rs. 15,700 – 18,500
  • Reporting official test scores to universities: Rs. 1,500 – 2,000 per recipient (you can report your score for free to 4 universities for free through ETS though)
  • University Application Fees: Rs. 5,000 – 9,250 per university
  • WES Evaluation (not required for all univerisities though): Rs. 11,900 – 15,500

If you add up, you will need to spend a minimum of Rs. 75,000 before even getting an admit.

After all these, not everyone is too willing (or might not afford) to avail of premium counselling services from admissions consultants.

Working with study abroad counsellors might cost you somewhere between Rs. 5,000 – 35,000 (say for 5-6 applications). For admissions consultants, that cost could be Rs. 15,000 – 55,000 (for 3 – 5 applications).

How much should you spend on application review services or admissions consulting services?

As a benchmark, in the last 4 years, applicants (families) have spent 0.5 – 1.5% of the total budget of abroad education on admissions consulting.

At Stoodnt, we offer flexible solutions even for independent admissions consulting services to improve your admission chances.

Independent Admission Counselling Services for MS in USA

If you have decided to work with an independent admission consultant, what should you sign up for – End-to-End Guidance or Bite-Size MS in USA Admission Counselling Services? Let’s have a look at some of our recent case studies.

MS in USA Admission – Case-Study 1: Shubham

  • Background: Final Year B.Tech ECE Student
  • GPA: 6.4 (till 6th Semester)
  • GRE Score: 313
  • Target: MS Data Science / MS Computer Science with Data Science Specialization
  • Other Details: Had 3 relevant internships (in data science) and a few online certifications in Python and Data Science
  • Service Opted: End-to-End MS Application Guidance for 4 Universities

As you can see from above, the GPA and GRE score were pretty below average. He was also a non-CS student with no professional work experience.

Shubham had approached us in late July. He had opted for a 1-on-1 consultation session to get his profile evaluated first and to have some advice on application strategies. Below is his session booking snapshot:

MS in USA Counselling

After the session (and a few emails), Shubham signed up for an end-to-end guidance package for 4 universities. He had applied to the University of Washington, Northeastern University, UMass Amherst, and Colorado State University. He also applied to a couple of more universities on his own.

The MS in Computer Science with Data Science Specialization at UMass Amherst is one of the Top 25 MS Data Science Programs in the USA.

Since his profile was a bit tricky, I also connected with him with Sunita Bose, who represents top US State Universities. That allowed him to apply to a few more good state universities without spending anything additional (normally, applicants need to pay Rs. 5,000 – 15,000).

Shubham got three rejections, got waitlisted at one. Shubham got admitted at UMass Amherst for MS Data Analytics and Computational Social Sciences.

Need Personalized Guidance

Speak with Tanmoy Ray

MS in USA Admission – Case-Study 2: Sreerekha

  • Background: Final Year BE Computer Science Student
  • GPA: 6.86 (till 6th Semester)
  • GRE Score: 310
  • Target: MS Data Science / MS Computer Science with Data Science Specialization
  • Other Details: Had done 2 internships (not relevant to data science)
  • Service Opted: End-to-End MS Application Guidance for 5 Universities

Normally, we don’t take any end-to-end guidance clients after November (for MS in USA next fall). Sreerekha had contacted us in December.

MS Computer Science with Data Science Specialization in USA Counselling

They had relatives who studied and were working in the US. However, they still deiced to opt for admissions consulting services from us.

Below is the feedback by Sreerekha and her Father:

End-to-End MS in USA Admission Counselling Feedback

1.      Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
MS in USA Admit Story with Low GPA and GRE

I am a B.E Computer Science student at BITS Pilani Dubai Campus. I was planning to pursue my higher education in the U.S and that’s when I came across Stoodnt. I got admitted to the M.S Data Science program at Drexel University.

Editor’s Note: Drexel is among the Top 30 Universities in the US for Computer Science.

2.      What made you contact Tanmoy/Stoodnt in the first place?

I started planning for my higher studies in the third month of my final year in college.

Initially, I was completely blank about what course I should go for and about the application process. During my hunt for such information, luckily I found Stoodnt.

I read more about what they do and came to know about their counsellors and services. That’s how I got in touch with Mr. Tanmoy Ray for the first time. After our first meeting, I was quite clear about where to start and how to proceed.

3.      Why did you opt for an end-to-end guidance package?

As I was completely new to this and had a very strong intention to get admission in my first attempt, I preferred to proceed with an end-to-end guidance package. It ensured proper and professional assistance in every stage of the process.

4.      How has been your overall experience with the admissions consulting services?

 My first meeting with Mr. Tanmoy was for about half an hour and by the end of the call, I had a clear idea about the course that suits my interests and the exams I had to attend. I was able to prepare for my GRE and TOEFL in the span of 1 month and completed my application procedures the next month. This was possible only due to the proper guidance and services offered by Stoodnt.

5.      Your feedback on university list and SoP review/editing.

A list of universities was given to me based on my course of interest and location. They were one of the best universities in the U.S.

After the SoP brainstorming session, I made my SoP with the help of the guidelines and tips given to me.

My SoPs were reviewed multiple times and even the minute details were taken care of. The review/editing process was indeed commendable.

6.      You started the application process a bit late. Did you face any extreme challenges?

Even though I started my application process a bit late, I did not face a lot of challenges as I was able to get timely advice from Mr. Tanmoy. Without wasting further time, I completed all the requirements for my admission.

7.      You had cousins/relatives who had studied in the US. You obviously could have taken help from them. According to you, what’s the biggest advantage of working with professional admissions consultants?

Even though I have relatives in the U.S, they were only able to give me limited information and resources. With Stoodnt, I was able to get personalized services. It gave me a broader vision of the whole process and the professional guidance helped me complete things in a short span of time.

Editor’s Note: It’s not only Stoodnt. Read this article on MBA Crystal BallProfessional admissions consultants (who happen to be alumni of top universities) are more likely to help you crack the top universities in comparison to friends and family.

8.      You had offers from Drexel and UMass Dartmouth. What’s your rationale behind choosing Drexel?

I chose Drexel University mainly because of its Co-op program, which is very different from other universities in the U.S. The Data Science curriculum at Drexel is just what I was looking for. Its location in the heart of Philadelphia is another highlight.

Related Article: MS Data/Business Analytics in USA: Admissions, Academics and Jobs for International Students – Q&A with HOD at Drexel University

Disclaimer: Stoodnt does interviews with Admission Officers and Faculty Members at Universities to provide valuable insights to applicants through the free blogs (after all, not everyone can afford any counseling services at all; but deserve some guidance).

Stoodnt also helps universities with their online outreach, branding, and engagement through sponsored posts and sponsored webinars. However, Stoodnt does not engage in commission-based recruitment contracts with universities.

9.      Any advice for future applicants?

I would advise future applicants to start the application process well in advance with the assistance of such a professional team who are experienced to guide you and help you achieve your goals.

Need Personalized Guidance

Speak with Tanmoy Ray

Parent’s Feedback and Review on MS in USA Admission Counselling Services:

“Initially, we were planning to start the admission and application process for my daughter’s graduate studies only after her undergrad course completion. But luckily, we changed our plans. All thanks to Stoodnt.

After our first interaction with Mr. Tanmoy Ray, we decided to start applying earlier. He helped us choose good universities and the course which suited her interests. Hence, she was able to get admitted for the Fall 2021 batch without wasting any time. I highly appreciate the support, guidance and friendly interaction of Mr. Tanmoy. I would recommend Stoodnt to future applicants.”

– Sreerekha’s Father

Bite-Size MS in USA Admission Counselling Services

We had launched the bite-size counseling services for MS back in 2019. We had a massive success (in terms of the number of students we helped and the admission rates). Read Bite-Size Custom MS Counselling Services – Scopes, Advantages & Fall 2020 Reviews.

MS in USA Admission – Case-Study 3: Maya

MS Bioinformatics Admit in USA - Review & Feedback

Maya (LinkedIn profile) had signed up for a 2-round SoP Review for her application at Brown. She used the knowledge and guidance from one application to apply to 7 other top US universities. She had received admits from Brown, Northwestern, and Penn.

Maya did her undergraduate degree in Computational Biology from UCLA. She had a great profile with an excellent GPA, extracurricular profile, relevant internship, and research experience.

Her GRE score (327) was way above average as well (she did her Bachelors from UCLA and 2021 was the year when many universities were following a GRE-optional policy). Her scores were – Verbal Reasoning: 164 (94th percentile) | Quantitative Reasoning: 163 (80th percentile) | AWA: 5.0 (92nd percentile)

So, don’t assume that the bite-size review did all the wonders for her. I or any other admissions consultant don’t possess any magic wand.

By the time she had approached us, she had already submitted quite a few applications at some of the most selective US universities (Harvard, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Minnesota, etc.). Below is the snapshot of her session booking:

MS Bioinformatics Admit in USA

Bite-Size MS in USA Admission Counselling Feedback

1.         What made you contact Stoodnt (or Tanmoy Ray) initially?

A need for guidance and expertise in the university admissions process.

2.       What convinced you to sign up for the SoP/Essay service for MS admissions?

Tanmoy’s advice from the first session had been useful and informative. I felt that my SoP needed some review and his knowledge base and expertise seemed like they would aid the SoP.

3.       The entire process has been done remotely (Phone, Zoom, or Email). Did you face any problem with the online/digital process?


4.       What’s your feedback on the SoP Review service and 1-on-1 sessions [application and offer-review/analysis]?

 Great sessions. 

5.       Any feedback on the counselling services pricing pricing?

 Yes, reasonable. 

6.       Would you recommend your friends, relatives, or colleagues for such bite-size services (1-on-1 Sessions, University Shortlisting, or SoP/Essay Services)?


7.       According to you, are these bite-size services a good idea as they are in the price range of Rs. 4,000 – Rs. 18,000 whereas end-to-end guidance packages are in the range of Rs. 30,000 – Rs. 51,000?

 Yes. Depends on the need though. Most grad students who have studied in the US before won’t need end-to-end counseling. 

Thanks for all your help, it was really great working with you.

– Maya

MS in USA Admission – Case-Study 4: Priyanka

Priyanka (LinkedIn profile) did her undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering from Nanyang Technological University (Singapore).

Best Admission Consultants for MS in USA

Her GPA was 3.25 (as per WES evaluation). Her GRE score was 314.

She had a couple of internships under her belt. Additionally, she was working in Singapore (as SAP consultant).

Priyanka had signed up for a 2-round SoP Review. She had applied to a total of 3 universities and had received offers from all 3 universities, including UC Irvine and San Jose State University.

Bite-Size MS in USA Admission Counselling Feedback

1.       What made you contact Stoodnt (or Tanmoy Ray) initially?

Since it was my first time applying to universities in the US, I wanted to seek professional help in constructing an effective SOP. I came to know about Stoodnt through the ‘Yocket’ website.

2.       What convinced you to sign up for the SoP/Essay service for MS admissions?

I had come across Mr. Tanmoy’s website with rave reviews by students who had successfully gotten admits to the universities of their choice through his guidance.

I also came across the different service packages provided on his website suited for specific needs at a suitable price range. This convinced me to approach Mr. Tanmoy for advice on my SOP.

3.       The entire process has been done remotely (Phone, Skype, or Email). Did you face any problem with the online/digital process?

No, even though the guidance was done remotely it was very effective and informative. Mr. Tanmoy was very patient and cleared all my queries.

4.       What’s your feedback on the SoP/Essay service?

I was completely satisfied and content with the service provided. Prior to seeking his advice, I was not very sure what to include in my SOP.

The session with Mr. Tanmoy was an eye-opener.

He helped in understanding the flow of an SOP, how to be concise, and include the necessary information. He helped to vet/review my work and gave valuable feedback that helped me to improve the content of my SOP. 

5.       Did you find the pricing worth it?

For an informative SOP service with two rounds of reviews, I found the price point very reasonable. After seeking his advice I was able to get a clearer idea of the relative points to include in an SOP. I would say the pricing was worth it.

6.       Would you recommend your friends, relatives, or colleagues for such bite-size counselling services?

I would definitely recommend these services to my friends and relatives. These bite-sized services are beneficial and constructive.

7.       According to you, are these bite-size services a good idea as they are in the price range of $65 – $250; whereas end-to-end guidance packages are in the range of $450 – $700?

Definitely. For students looking for guidance on specific aspects of their application, such bite-sized services are very effective. Furthermore, the price range is also very reasonable.

MS in USA Admission Counselling Services by Stoodnt

We always advise applicants to sign up for 1-on-1 sessions first. That helps us to evaluate the profile and recommend the best and most cost-effective application strategy.

For the 2021 admission cycle, I did 156 1-on-1 sessions. 14 of those signed up for an end-to-end guidance package (minimum 3 universities). While 18 signed up for bite-size guidance services.

Yes, not everyone needs a comprehensive package.

Besides, I always keep the number of applicants maximum of 5 at any given point in time.

Advice on Signing Up for MS in USA Admission Counselling Services

We start signing up end-to-end counseling clients in June (for fall next year). I take a new sign-up only when the previous pool of applicants is done. Our capacity is limited since we spend our time on personalized and expert guidance. So, quite often, we have to refuse many applicants.

We don’t follow a factory setting to counsel 100 – 200 applicants every year. All independent admission consultants at Stoodnt work with 10 – 20 applicants every admission cycle.

Even our University Representatives like Sunita Bose or Milind Singh works with ~30 – 40 students every year to connect them with universities and help with applications. Check out the panel of counsellors on Stoodnt.

Stoodnt is a for-profit organization. However, at the end of the day, we believe in providing best-in-class, flexible, and quality study abroad counselling guidance.

Admission officers are trying to put themselves in the shoes of recruiters and filtering out potentially high-profile candidates (and a diverse class).

Increasing Your MS in USA Admission Chances

Increasing your admission chances at a top (and best-fit) university along with the right career guidance can be achieved through an end-to-end counselling package.

But, opt for end-to-end guidance only if you need it. Always consult us beforehand.

At the same time, don’t be too naive.

Bite-Size MS in USA Counselling Can Help You Save $$$

In order to save $150 – $300, don’t end up wasting $1,200. See this email below:

Best MS Admission Counselling Services in India
Fall 2019 Applicant

The above applicant spent $1,000 – $1,200 only on the application fees (applied to 11 schools even with a competitive profile). But, the candidate struggled to get even 2 admits.

We did help candidates to make it to top universities even when they approach us in January. Read MS Computer Science Admits at Georgia Tech and Cornell after multiple rejections. But, those difficult to replicate.

If surveys and statistics are anything to go by, it’s going to be a tough ride out there. But don’t get intimidated by the competition and stats.

Start early, prepare well and give it your best shot. We are there to help you with your applications and professional journeys.

Hybrid and Custom MS in USA Admission Counselling Service

The candidate below did way better – approaching us early and applying to only 6-7 universities.

SOP Review & Editing Services for MS in USA Admission

Please Note: Our SOP Review & Editing Services’ Pricing has slightly increased in 2021.

The applicant (email conversation above) had applied to 6 – 7 US universities. He had a high GPA and GRE along with 5-years of work-ex. But, he had started with one application review with us to avoid the risks of getting rejections.

Read Shahid’s story on multiple admits (Duke, Northwestern, Rochester) for MS Data Science in USA with Scholarships.

So, choose wisely!

If our personalized approach looks appealing to you, send us a note [customer.support@stoodnt.com] with your background, interest areas, and aspirations. We look forward to working with you.

Don’t Get Tempted by Low Pricing for Bite-Size Services

At the same time, don’t think that a bite-size counselling service will work for you, just because it worked for someone else.

No consultant can give you a 100% guarantee of admission at any university. Below is a candidate who approached us in December for application guidance.

Both of us knew that there is no point in going for a comprehensive package. But, he wanted to take a shot. I also thought he might make it to 1 school. Below is his review after the 1-on-1 session.

1-on-1 counselling review

He signed up for a 2-round SOP review. We mutually agreed to do a 1-university application review (CV, SOP, and LORs).

He applied to ETH Zurich, Georgia Tech, and Carnegie Mellon; and he had started his preparations only in December (for next fall). He had a pretty decent profile.

But, he got rejected by all 3 universities.

In our line of business, we don’t want repeat customers. That’s not the ideal outcome for us.

After all rejections, the candidate could have opted for some other consultant. But, he believed in the process. He did keep faith in me – that’s more important for admission consultants (than money). Here is his email in June 2021:

Best Admission Cousultants for MS in USA

It’s all about working with the right consultant rather than the best consultant.

Lastly, it’s all about making the right choice.

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