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Why US remains the best option for Indian students – Free Press Journal

According to the September report of SEVIS By the Numbers, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, there were 179,887 master’s students from India in the United States in Spring 2022. Why have Indians developed such an affinity for master’s programs in the United States? Kathleen Joyce, Assistant Dean for Student Recruitment, Engineering, and Computer Science at Syracuse University, explains that the United States “has an outstanding array of options in terms of the quantity and quality of higher education institutions, with a broad range in terms of size, location, cost, and subject areas. Higher education in the United States provides students with unparalleled access to innovation, student support services, experiential learning opportunities, and flexibility in academics.”
Indian students increasingly opting for non-traditional courses
To begin with educational prospects, U.S. universities offer a broad spectrum of programs, ranging from engineering and business, humanities and health, and media and publishing, to art and design. Niky Chokshi, Executive Liaison for International Graduate Admissions at Arizona State University, says that she primarily sees Indian students applying in fields like data science, computer science, engineering, business and management, architecture and design, and biosciences. Joyce notes a similar trend, but adds, “Interests among Indian students are increasingly diverse and often reflect other areas of studies, including communications, arts, humanities, social sciences, and more.”
Some U.S. education program provide broad-based knowledge in a field, such as an MBA program. Alternatively, one can hone-in on targeted programs that specialize in a niche area. For instance, programs in entertainment management, sports management, media management, luxury and brand management, hospitality management, and others provide specific skills that are relevant to a targeted career path.
Interdisciplinary programs also offer unique options. For instance, some public health programs offer a specialization in data science that gives students a chance to support the design and implementation of public health programs using data. Students can enter a robotics program from multiple fields such as electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, and more, which allows them to interact with students from a diversity of backgrounds.
Chokshi advises, “I always encourage students to look deeper into interdisciplinary programs that will help them better define their unique value proposition.  This will in turn position them better when it comes to applying for internships and jobs.” She suggests programs like the Master of Global Management with a concentration in Data Science (Engineering), or a Master of Science in Innovation and Venture Development which integrates engineering, business, and architecture.
Coursework flexibility another important feature of US programmes
In addition to the diversity of programs, interdisciplinary programs provide significant flexibility in coursework. Most programs have a set of mandatory core courses and electives that enable students to choose from a range of courses. Apurva Mehta, who graduated in 2020 with an M.S. in Information Management from the University of Washington, chose his program for this reason.  He writes, “I was able to tailor my program to suit my needs by picking courses across all schools at the University of Washington. I was able to explore other interdisciplinary courses and learn about myriad topics that I found interesting.”
Programs may also include a thesis option, practicum, internship, or capstone project. In this way, students can adapt the program to the shape of their interests.
Deborah Rosario
Wide range of facilities remain attractive for many Indian students
Supporting the diversity and flexibility of a U.S. education are state-of-the-art facilities. For instance, Stony Brook University has a Virtual Reality Lab, a Network Security and Applied Cryptography Lab, a Center for Visual Computing, and others for the study of computer science. Chokshi explains that in addition to computer science labs, Arizona State University has “the largest drone studio in academia, robotics labs, the Biodesign Institute, School of Earth and Space Exploration, and the integration of 3D printing in several disciplines.”
World-class research, collaborations with industries are bonuses
Further, faculty at U.S. universities are highly qualified, drawn from the best of the world’s academics, and they usually engage in trailblazing research. For instance, the University of Colorado at Boulder receives NASA funds for research in aerospace engineering, and one of their projects investigates life sciences in space. At the University of Alabama, students and faculty conduct research into how individuals can use their brainwaves to fly drones. Such examples abound among U.S. universities.
Universities also collaborate with industry. The University of Alabama, for instance, is collaborating with the Alabama Power Company and Mercedes-Benz to explore electric vehicles. Universities use their connections with industry to fashion programs that meet the rigor required for real jobs.
Additionally, students emerge from their programs with both academic knowledge and industry know-how. Students can undertake internships during their programs to acquire work experience, and often they pursue practical training in their field of study after the program as well.
Financial, physical, and mental support available at ease
Beyond academics, U.S. universities are available at a range of different price points, so most families can find some to fit their budget. Universities tend to have global networks of alumni that provide enriching friendships and facilitate career development. Universities are also remarkable for the complement of holistic support services they provide. Most universities are likely to provide a writing center, physical and mental health support, international student support, and more. Critically, universities also provide robust career support. Universities like Arizona State University have career centers that Chokshi notes offer “career fairs, alumni networking, company information sessions, peer career advisors, resume and interview prep, and much more.”
Students say degree from the US enhanced their careers
Students report that studying in the United States has significantly enhanced their careers. Now a Senior Data Scientist at SAP Concur in Washington, Mehta says that his program gave him the “academic knowledge to help launch [his] career in the space [he] desired.”
Abhay Tiwari (name changed), a 2020 Master’s in Information Systems graduate from Texas A & M University, recommends the U.S. education system because it “challenges a person to rethink everything, be independent, learn to value others, network, and [reconsider] their outlook to life.” Now working at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Texas, he says that it was not just the technical knowledge that helped his career, but “what I learned while studying like networking with other people and the thought process.” 
From multiple perspectives, then, the U.S. is deservedly a leading study destination for master’s programs.
For more information, students can visit the EducationUSA website (https://educationusa.state.gov), and for individual questions of direct counselling with an EducationUSA adviser, they can write to USEducationQueries@state.gov
Deborah Rosario is currently an EducationUSA Adviser at USIEF Mumbai. 
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