Neha (name changed) approached me last year to get some feedback on her application strategy for Fall 2022 admissions (via our Flagship 1-on-1 career consultation service). She had applied to 5/6 universities for the Fall 2021 round. Unfortunately, she received rejections from everywhere. This time, she applied to only two programs and she got into one of her top choices for the Spring 2022 intake. Her fall 2022 application is still under review. But, that doesn’t matter as she has already started her program in January 2022. So, get to know how Neha and Stoodnt turned the tide this time.
Neha was keen to get into the field of Computing, Data Science and Machine Learning. So, she wanted to apply for MS Computer Science or MS Data Science. We figured out the two major challenges with her profile:
- Neha had a 3-year BA (Economics) degree from India. She had completed a Masters degree in Computer Science, but that was in distance.
- She was having a 9-year career gap (due to a combination of maternity break and visa restrictions).
- Neha (along with her husband and son) was based out of Texas. So, there was a geographic constraint as well.
Profile Building and Application Strategy
We also brainstormed to identify a few key gaps in her Fall 2021 applications and coming up with an action plan:
- There was no significant effort in researching the schools where she eventually applied. So, I asked her to contact the Admission Officers and to gather more first-hand information to idetify the right-fit programs/schools.
- We also discussed a roadmap for the next 6 – 8 months to learn a few relevant skills through MOOCs (e.g. Python, AWS Cloud Practitioner and Solutions Architect Certifications, etc.) and preparing for GRE (even if the Schools were GRE optional).
- The SoP and LoRs were pretty weak. So, I suggested a bite-size package (rather than an end-to-end guidance package). Neha got her SoP and LoRs reviewed by her husband (his friends) and her ex-colleagues (during Fall 2021 applications). Neha was hesitant; but she did take the leap oif faith. Read What does an admission consultant know that friends & family don’t!
Why Neha’s Admit Story Deserve a Cheer?
This is not the first time that someone got a favorable outcome after working with us.
This was also not a first-of-a-kind case for me.
I had worked with another Indian Female IT candidate with 2-years (only) of maternity break. She had got into the University of Zurich (back in 2018). In Europe, work restrictions for spouses are not as harsh as in the US. Even working with a reapplicant and/or someone with multiple rejections was not an unknown territory for me.
In 2020, I worked with another Female IT candidate who had recently come to the US (on H1-B dependent visa) and got into a Top-25 US University. She had hardly any gap on her resume.
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A Challenging Case for Me
But, Neha’s case was pretty challenging for me due to some obvious reasons. Additionally, there were a few other factors that are beyond the scope of this article. Hence, Neha’s case is personally very heartening for me to due to lot of factors.
Update on H1-B Dependent Visa
It’s quite common that Indians to move to the US on an H1-B Visa (or switch to H1-B from OPT) for better career opportunities. It’s also equally common that a young Indian girl travels across the oceans to land up in an unknown country with a guy on an H1-B Visa. She becomes an H4 visa holder – the dependent spouse.
Switching to H1-B from H4 is not very straightforward. However, the study route (F1) is a great option for passionate and genuine learners. Read Best ways H4 dependent visa holders can work in the USA.
There have been some recent developments. The US allowed providing automatic work authorization permits to the spouses of the H-1B visa holders in Nov 2021. However, for Neha, this was irrelevant. A relevant MS degree was the only way for her to get back to the workforce.
Now, onto the next segment – Neha’s application journey and feedback!
MS Business Analytics Admit for H1-B Dependent Reapplicant from Arts Background with Career (Maternity) Gap
My Motivation for Pursuing MS and The Ding Analysis
I was having a long career break so decided to pursue MS (Comp. Sc.) to enter the workforce. The first time I applied, I completely underestimated the application process. So the result was obvious, I got rejected from all the schools I applied for. I was not so sure where my application was lagging. So I decided to take a consultation session with Tanmoy Ray.
In a 1:1 session with Tanmoy, he told me that having a career break should not be an issue, it’s what I do in the break that really matters. He told me to learn the latest tools and technologies to showcase my eagerness to learn and readiness for a top university.
I should admit that I have implemented each and every suggestion given by Tanmoy from refining my skill-set to considering other degree programs and finally got admission to UT Dallas.
Feedback on Professional Admission Counselling Service by Stoodnt
Why did I sign up?
I signed up for the professional admission counselling service as I got good career guidance I got from Tanmoy in the 1:1 session. Additionally, I also looked at the previous reviews and feedback.
Working with Tanmoy while being on a different time zone
The entire process was done remotely (Google Meet or Email). Tanmoy was always there to answer all my queries in a timely fashion.
Tanmoy knows his stuff very well and I would really like to thank him for his support during my application process.
What changed this time?
The first time I applied, I was not at all ready. I didn’t spend much time on SoP and I didn’t research the program properly. This time, with the help of Tanmoy, I knew what I was doing.
I spent so much time preparing my SoP and researching about the program. Everything was so organized and I was confident that I will get admission to one of my preferred universities. Well indeed, I got admission to UT Dallas.
Customized Bite-Size Services
I had a very limited budget to spend on professional admission counselling services; especially when I had got multiple rejections in the last round.
I found bite-size services are pretty useful and the pricing is very reasonable. Not everyone requires everything. A student should have a choice of what kind of service he/she wants to take and that’s what Stoodnt is offering.
Working with a Professional Admissions Consultant vs Relatives / Friends / Colleagues
I think receiving feedback from relatives/colleagues is not as effective as feedback from a consultant. Their feedback can be biased sometimes and they will not be as updated with the current industry trends as consultants are.
My Two Cents for Other Female Applicants with Similar Profiles
I would say that visa issues can restrain you from working but nobody can restrain you from learning anything. Utilize that time to pursue your passion, research more on what you want to do in the future, and make your list of to-do things accordingly.
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