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International student needs help in choosing the school

MacLisMacLis 9 replies1 threads New Member
edited March 2018 in International Students
Hello,
I am an international student from Poland. I will not discuss my stats here as I have received all my admission decisions. I need help in deciding what to do now as I am not satisfied with the outcome.
First of all, I am likely to studying Computer/Electrical Engineering but I am not sure with this choice - that is one reason why US universities were tempting compared to Polish and British ones as I do not have to choose major when applying.
I live near Warsaw and Polish universities are free so cost of attendance is 0. I have guaranteed entry to literally every Polish university because of my recognition.
I got an offer from a few British universities which were my safe choices - Southampton, UCL, Manchester, Edinburgh. The conditions of the offer are quite easy to meet.
Studying in the US was my dream. Unfortunately, I got rejected from MIT, Yale, Harvard and Stanford. However, I got admitted by Georgia Tech which seems like a good option too.
Unfortunately, I am an international so I do not qualify for financial aid at GT. I would have to borrow at least 150,000 USD to study there. It is not easy to borrow so much money but assuming I found a lender I am not sure if it is just worth the cost. British universities are cheaper and easier to pay for but I really do not want to end up there because all the effort and money spend on SAT and US applications. I lost so much time preparing for US college and getting admitted to any British university seems so easy that my ambitions and expectations are much higher. If the cost does not matter I would go to GT, but it does and I am not sure what to do. Especially, if I decide I want to go for Ph.D. I will be screwed with such a high student debt. But if I go to British college, I will have my Masters diploma in 4 years (instead of 6) and I will be able to go for Ph.D. in the States...
Please help me in making such a tough decisions. If I knew that I would have ended up at Britsh uni, I would not have wasted so much time for applications, exams, research project and so on, as it is quite easy to get to Oxbridge for my school colleagues. But I did not even apply there as I was fully committed to US applications...
So even though I have quite a few options I feel like I just screwed up.
Maybe I should go to Polish/British university and try to transfer? How easy it is to get a job in States for an international if I end up with huge debt after graduating from GT?

Any advice will be appreciated and I wish you Happy Easter!
edited March 2018
28 replies
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Replies to: International student needs help in choosing the school

  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 5734 replies1 threads Senior Member
    "I would have to borrow at least 150,000 USD to study there."

    That is a HUGE debt. It might make graduate school impossible. It might also take decades to pay off. It is possible that you could get part way through your studies, with significant debt, and then find that you are unable to borrow enough money to finish. I have seen this happen to a few students who therefore ended up with most of the debt but no degree. Finally, you might be unable to get a student visa to study in the US if you are not able to prove that you will be financially able to finish your degree.

    To me, requiring a debt of $150,000 for a bachelor's degree is an absolute non-starter: I would not do this.

    I think that you need to consider other options. I think that you need to just forget about GT. It isn't going to happen.

    "MIT, Yale, Harvard and Stanford" are all extremely difficult to get into, and even more difficult for international students.
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  • milee30milee30 2170 replies13 threads Senior Member
    "How easy it is to get a job in States for an international if I end up with huge debt after graduating from GT?"

    Not easy and not a good plan. Right now, international students study under a visa that in most cases will allow them to work for one year after graduation but it can be difficult to find an employer to hire you knowing you can only work for one year and that they'll have to deal with all the paperwork. In prior years, an H1B visa would be a real possibility especially if you specialized in computer engineering/programming, but that program has been cut hugely in the past year and is likely to be even further squeezed for the next three years at least. Possibly the easiest way to get to work in the US is to get a job with an employer in your home country or the UK and then after you've worked the minimum time, be transferred internally.

    But it would be very, very risky to bet on getting a US job after graduation.
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  • MacLisMacLis 9 replies1 threads New Member
    Is there any chance to transfer from European university to the US during first year of studies?
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  • MacLisMacLis 9 replies1 threads New Member
    edited March 2018
    One more idea has just come to my mind. My application was focused on research project I led. On April 15 I will receive the results of the finals of Polish preliminary competition of EUCYS - European Union Contest of Young Scientist. If everything goes perfect, I will represent my country during prestigious international science fair. In my opinion it is quite a big deal. Simultanously, I have just learnt that I am a finalist of Polish Physics Olympiad which gives me guaranteed entry to Polish univerisities (I know it works different overseas but it is still an important recognition) Maybe it is a good idea to write an appeal letter if I really qualify for EUCYS. What do you think?
    edited March 2018
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  • PublisherPublisher 8976 replies107 threads Senior Member
    Although admittance to Georgia Tech for Computer/Electrical Engineering is a significant accomplishment, free is better in your situation.
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  • gearmomgearmom 3960 replies6 threads Senior Member
    The US for your Phd. Time will go by fast.
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  • aunt beaaunt bea 9911 replies64 threads Senior Member
    How easy it is to get a job in States
    I know this is probably what you want the end result to be, but right now, it is not affordable nor doable. US immigration policies are strict; companies have plenty of US students in the CS/EE universities from which to choose. They don't need to go through the hurdles of visas and fees to hire these students.

    The US has well over 3000 colleges and universities. There are lots of students graduating in these fields. You picked the hardest and most expensive universities to gain admittance. Didn't work did it?

    Now you are considering GT.
    Who would loan you $150K? No bank nor lender in the US would do it.

    Take the free education.
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  • b@r!um[email protected]!um 10246 replies175 threads Senior Member
    To answer your specific questions:
    How easy it is to get a job in States for an international if I end up with huge debt after graduating from GT?
    Finding a job isn't the problem. Getting a work visa is. The US holds a lottery for H-1B work visas (the work visas for college-educated professionals) every year because there are so many more applicants than visas available. In the most recent year, you would have had about a 30% chance of having your application processed at all. It's not a gamble I would want to base my future on.

    The other path to a work permit would be through marriage to a US citizen. US authorities are quite paranoid about foreigners who may marry a US citizen solely to get a work permit, and will monitor the "legitimacy" of the marriage. Having to physically live with your spouse will constrain your career options, since you can't just take a better-paying job in another city.
    Maybe I should go to Polish/British university and try to transfer?
    Not a good option. Many American universities would not consider international transfer applicants at all because they are missing courses towards American general education requirements. The remaining universities do not consider international transfer students for financial aid. You'd be back to having to borrow obscene amounts of money to pay for your education.
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  • MacLisMacLis 9 replies1 threads New Member
    @MYOS1634
    You got into Edinburgh for CS, which ranks among the best in the world for AI and machine learning research. Since you're a European resident, it's FREE thanks to the SAAS scholarship. In addition, UEdinburgh allows you to add an elective course from any program at the University except medicine and vet science (so, business, film studies, linguistics, xgwtever strikes your fancy) and you can switch from your program to another without losing credits between the first and second year, so you get the flexibility you want. Finally, it's well recognized in the us so, do well there, and apply to top master's programs such as Stanford or anywhere else. There's nothing you would do from Georgia tech that you can't do from UEdinburgh, and it's without the debt.
    That is a good point. On the other hand, studying in Edinburgh takes one more year. It is possible to start directly from the second year so you can receive BEng in 3 years or MEng in 4 years just as at English universities. I guess with my results it would be possible to finish it faster - I have e-mailed the uni to ask about it.

    @aunt bea
    I know this is probably what you want the end result to be, but right now, it is not affordable nor doable. US immigration policies are strict; companies have plenty of US students in the CS/EE universities from which to choose. They don't need to go through the hurdles of visas and fees to hire these students.
    No, I want to work in Poland. Too many young people leave Poland to settle in richer countries. But I want to do something valuable in my career that is why I wanted to study at the top unis and then come back to Poland. If I had a huge debt like this, I wouldn't have the choice other than working in the US to pay for the loan.
    Who would loan you $150K? No bank nor lender in the US would do it.
    It is quite possible. With the help from my family I can borrow some money in Poland, for the last 2 years of studying it is possible to borrow money from companies such as MPOWER. But well, it is not affordable nor comfortable to study and keep thinking about making ends meet.

    @[email protected]!um
    Have you heard the term "sunk cost fallacy"? We have a tendency to get emotionally invested into projects that we have put time or money into, sometimes so much so that we stop making rational decisions. Turns out that not every project we start is worth finishing.
    Thank you.
    Finding a job isn't the problem. Getting a work visa is. The US holds a lottery for H-1B work visas (the work visas for college-educated professionals) every year because there are so many more applicants than visas available. In the most recent year, you would have had about a 30% chance of having your application processed at all. It's not a gamble I would want to base my future on.
    That is an important insight. Thanks.
    The other path to a work permit would be through marriage to a US citizen. US authorities are quite paranoid about foreigners who may marry a US citizen solely to get a work permit, and will monitor the "legitimacy" of the marriage. Having to physically live with your spouse will constrain your career options, since you can't just take a better-paying job in another city.
    I would never do such a thing to receive a work permit.

    @katliamom
    If someone offered you a free Mercedes or a $70,000 BMW -- would you pick the BMW?

    Of course not.

    Be smart. (You're clearly intelligent!) Stay in Europe, do well there, and if you still want to study in the U.S. look for funded graduate programs in America where schools pay YOU to study, not the other way around.

    You "won the lottery" by being born in Europe. Now go and enjoy the excellent and very inexpensive (compared to the US) education you can get there. Many Americans would love to be in your position!

    Yeah, I understand that unless someone pays for my studies, it is not reasonable to think about studying in GT.
    Then I will stick to UK universities.
    What do you think about BEng and MEng degrees? If I want to earn my postgraduate degree in the US, which one should I consider? Does MEng let me go directly to PhD in the States? If not, getting BEng and then finishing Master's degree in States will be the best I guess.

    And how about this one? Is it even worth considering?
    One more idea has just come to my mind. My application was focused on research project I led. On April 15 I will receive the results of the finals of Polish preliminary competition of EUCYS - European Union Contest of Young Scientist. If everything goes perfect, I will represent my country during prestigious international science fair. In my opinion it is quite a big deal. Simultanously, I have just learnt that I am a finalist of Polish Physics Olympiad which gives me guaranteed entry to Polish univerisities (I know it works different overseas but it is still an important recognition) Maybe it is a good idea to write an appeal letter if I really qualify for EUCYS. What do you think?
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  • katliamomkatliamom 12861 replies169 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2018
    About the appeal -- you can try, if you want. But appeals are rarely granted by these very selective schools. You are an impressive candidate - but so is every international student who got into MIT, Yale and Stanford. (That's something you hear about these schools: students used to being exceptional are suddenly average.)

    I can't advise you about which is better BE or ME. Not my area of expertise. I will say, that in the U.S. most engineering students don't go for PhDs. Most go to work with their Bachelor's and Masters degrees. Which is why there's such a huge percentage of international students in Engineering PhD programs. If you do well in Europe, you have a good chance of getting into a PhD program in the US.
    edited April 2018
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  • b@r!um[email protected]!um 10246 replies175 threads Senior Member
    What do you think about BEng and MEng degrees? If I want to earn my postgraduate degree in the US, which one should I consider? Does MEng let me go directly to PhD in the States? If not, getting BEng and then finishing Master's degree in States will be the best I guess.
    I would get the MEng first, then apply for the PhD. Several advantages:

    (a) Some American universities don't recognize 3-year Bachelor's degrees from Europe as equivalent to a 4-year Bachelor's degree from the US, but they will recognize a 4-year Master's degree from Europe as sufficient to enter a PhD program.

    (b) American graduate programs care A LOT about research experience and letters of recommendation from faculty you have worked with. You will have more of both after the MEng.

    (c) It can be trickier to obtain funding for a Master's degree in Engineering in the US than for a PhD. PhD students would typically get first dips on funding, and Master's students have to compete for what's left over.

    PhD programs are structured in 1 of 2 ways. Sometimes, the Master's portion and the PhD portion of the program are separate and have to be completed in turn. In that case, you are betting off applying with a Master's degree under your belt already because of reason (c). Other times, the coursework for the Master's degree is integrated into the PhD program, and students can get admitted into the PhD program directly with a Bachelor's degree. In that scenario, you are still better off applying with a Master's degree already because of reason (b).
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  • menloparkmommenloparkmom 12474 replies541 threads Senior Member
    "No, I want to work in Poland. Too many young people leave Poland to settle in richer countries. But I want to do something valuable in my career that is why I wanted to study at the top unis and then come back to Poland. If I had a huge debt like this, I wouldn't have the choice other than working in the US to pay for the loan."

    Then DONT come to the US for your UG education to begin with!!!!!! It is a lose- lose proposition for you if you do.
    'Congrats on your European acceptances! There are HUNDREDS of thousands of US students who would LOVE to be in your shoes- and be able to go to college for FREE!
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 42173 replies453 threads Senior Member
    UEdinburgh's 4-year degree is recognized by US grad schools to get into a PHD program. Look into th M.Eng to see if it includes more research or more experience (or both).
    In addition, 4 years for a degree is the norm in the US so there's no "extra" year, and a Master's degree would take 6 years in the US.
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  • MacLisMacLis 9 replies1 threads New Member
    Then I have to research and choose between Edinburgh and Southampton for my MEng studies. Thank you for all your answers and I will appreciate any other advices too!
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 42173 replies453 threads Senior Member
    Errr.... Edinburgh is top level worldwide. Southampton is regional at best. Not the same universe.
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  • MacLisMacLis 9 replies1 threads New Member
    Well, Southampton is famous for its EEE courses. For example here it is ranked above Edinburgh every year.
    https://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/rankings?s=Electrical+&+Electronic+Engineering
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 42173 replies453 threads Senior Member
    I thought you were interested in CS/CSE. Southampton is not near Edinburgh in that field.
    EEE is different - is that the course you were admitted to?
    Two downsides is that you'd need the M.Eng and you'd have to pay full fees (no equivalent to the SAAS scholarship).
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