The Five Issues
The questions you will be asked in your interview will be used to determine the following key issues:
- Whether the sole purpose of your travel is to pursue a program of study.
- Whether you have the ability and intention to be a full-time student in the U.S.
- Whether you possess adequate funds to cover all tuition, living and anticipated incidental expenses without taking unauthorized employment.
Note: If you will be a student on the Computer Professionals Program or Accounting Professionals Program, your I-20 form (prepared by the University) will show that your internship will cover a major portion of your tuition and fees.
- Whether you have sufficiently strong social, economic, and other “ties” to your home country to compel your departure from the U.S. upon completion of the planned program of studies.
- Whether you are telling the truth.
The Visa Officer simply needs to be able to say Yes to these five questions to provide you a student visa. Your job is to convince the officer to say Yes.
How can I prepare for the Visa interview?
Acquire knowledge of the process. Get free, accurate information from the U.S. Embassy website in your country. It will give you the specifics of what they will require and expect you to know. For example, you must know when to apply. Visas should be applied for no more than 120 days prior to the expected date of arrival at the University as listed on the I-20.
Be prepared. Bring the following to the visa interview: the I-20 form, all school documents, test scores, acceptance letter from the University, evidence of funding, bank statements, real estate holdings evidence, father’s position at home, business card if you work, letters of recommendation for your educational plan, letters from future employers in your home country, and any documents that you feel would help you prove your ties to your home country and intent to return home. Be completely familiar with all information on the I-20 form, especially the finance information.
Answer the questions the officer asks. Avoid prepared speeches. Don’t use a prepared script. Know your personal plan or story. Know or develop your own personal career plan, your story of why you are going to the USA, what you plan to study and why you selected Maharishi University of Management, and what you plan to do in your home country after graduation. Your sincerity and the reasonableness or plausibility of your plan will be most persuasive. They are looking for evidence that you have given serious thought to your plans. Do you have an ambition, and is it believable in the context of your country?
Tell the truth. If the visa officer thinks you are lying, you won’t get a visa. If you don’t know an answer, tell the officer you don’t know. Tell him if you don’t understand the question and ask him to rephrase it. This is not a test; it is an interview. They know that English is your second language and you may be nervous; stumbling over one question is not fatal. However, one dishonest or faked answer could result in not getting your visa.
Practicing for the Visa Interview
All the questions asked will seek to answer the five key questions above. Some may be designed to directly answer those issues, other are indirect ways of getting an answer.
Look at the five issues and think carefully about how you address them. Then write a few paragraphs which answer each of these five questions: sincerely, truthfully, completely, concisely and persuasively. Read the letter out loud to a friend or relative. Re-write it. Read it out again. This is your story.
You may or may not have the opportunity to tell some of your story at the interview, depending on the questions being asked. The most important part of the interview is that you respond to the question asked, not that you tell your story. Having developed your story, however, you will naturally be able to tell it if a question relating to it comes up, which is likely.
Below are some sample questions that are often asked of our applicants:
- How did you learn about the University?
- How many other universities did you apply to?
- Why did you choose this University? (Why not a bigger school?
- Who is Maharishi and do you follow him?
- Which school did you graduate from?
- Tell me why you want to go to America?
- Where do you work now?
- How much do you earn now?
- What is your academic background and why do your want to pursue this degree?
- What is this program?
- How is it structured academically and financially?
- What is meant by "Internship" on the I-20?
- Do you want to work in the U.S.?
- What are your resources to pay your university charges?
- Why didn't you apply for a graduate program directly after your bachelor’s degree?
- Why don't you study for this degree in your home country?
- What arrangements have you made for your wife (and children) during your absence?
- What will you do after you go back to your home country?
- Have you taken GRE, GMAT or ESL? If not, why not?
Have a friend or relative ask you these questions and provide responses.
IMPORTANT: Many of our international students did not receive their visa after their first interview. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t immediately get the result you desire. You can always try again for another entry date. Best of luck.