Tips for Indian Students to Deal With Competition for Graduate Programs in US in 2021

By Subhashri Roy Updated On - Mar 30, 2021 08:17 AM

Factors such as the victory of Joe Biden in the US Presidential elections 2020 and the impressive COVID-19 management in the US have played a crucial role in attracting more Indian students. Find out how Indian students applying for graduate programmes in the US this year can overcome this competition. 

With studies showing almost little or no impact on students wishing to study overseas and the US still being the top study destination, it is predicted that Indian students are likely to face extreme competition for graduate programmes in the US in 2021. One of the major reasons for the same is that those who dropped their study abroad plans in 2020 would also be applying this year.

Although a number of US universities are unsure if they would be able to welcome international students to campus or not, they are all set to process applications as normal for the upcoming intakes. 

Also, factors such as the victory of Joe Biden in the US Presidential elections 2020 and the impressive Covid-19 management in the US have further played a crucial role in attracting more students from across the globe along with a significant percentage from India. Let us now look into how Indian students can deal with the competition in the US in 2021. 

Tips for Indians to Deal with Competition in the US for Graduate Programs in 2021

Given below are the tips for Indian students who are planning on pursuing a Master’s degree in the US in the current academic year: 

Shortlist More Universities and Apply to Universities Not on Your List

One of the major ways to fulfil your study abroad dream despite competitive upcoming intakes in the US in 2021 is to shortlist more universities. Also, keeping in mind the current situation shaped by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is significant that you handpick universities that are Covid-safe and have been responding to the pandemic and the international students in a satisfactory manner. 

Know Your University

With more and more universities going digital and even conducting admissions online, one of the best methods to get ahead is by networking with the university officials on social media platforms such as LinkedIn. When universities go through applications, those with greater outreach or those who have made an effort in reaching out will always stand out.

Get Someone to Write a Well-written Constructive Recommendation

The Letter Of Recommendation, never to be mixed with a resume, should be crisp, short and to the point in order to have a lasting impact on the admissions committee of a university. It is a great tool to showcase your strengths and stand out from the crowd. short, crisp and to the point to have the best impact. 

An ideal LOR would be the one that is written by someone who knows you well and has not been forced to write it. For that, you must make sure that you have a prior meeting with the concerned person to mention the need of a LOR for admission to a foreign university.

Write a Strong Statement of Purpose (SOP)

Your application to almost any US university would require you to submit an SOP. A well-written personal statement is attached with great importance, that often works as a decisive factor in admission or denial. While many may think that an SOP is a narrative of your accomplishments, it is rather a piece that should be able to prove that you are ideal for the programme you have applied for and that it will certainly help you achieve your goals and ambitions. 

Also, remember that every university might want you to add different pointers to your SOP. You must hence go through each university’s guidelines (if any) before submitting the same. 

Attempt Standardized Tests

With exam conducting authorities having closed a number of testing centres in different areas/locations across the world, applicants have not been able to take standardized tests at test centres. However, tests such as the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE) are being conducted in online mode, wherein students can take these tests from the comfort of their homes. 

It is due to this that many universities in the US have made submission of GMAT/GRE scores optional or removed it completely from the selection process for the current academic year. Having said that, taking and submitting the scores of standardized tests can help put you on the map and get into top schools. 

Apply Early

Now, many ignore this thinking that it would not make much of a difference. Although it might vary from university to university, many US universities do prefer international students applying way before the application deadline. Needless to say that you might also be eligible for early application scholarships or financial aid offered by the university.

Learn New Technical Skills

Universities, today, are more focused on admitting students who not only have work experience in a related field but have skills that make them more employable. Industries have gone digital and employees are working from home, requiring them to be proficient in a number of digital/technical skills.

Reasons Why US Admissions in 2021 Would be More Competitive

Over and above, there are a good three reasons why Indian students applying for graduate programmes in the US would face more competition this year. Let us find out what they are: 

  • The End of Trump Era: Trump rule was marked by rigid immigration rules leading to fewer international students studying in the US and those already in the US more fearful about their stay in the country. With the win of Joe Biden, a Democrat, in the US Presidential Elections 2020, it is hoped that the US would attract more overseas students, with a large chunk from India. The Biden administration has promised to revoke all the immigration policies implemented by Trump and welcome more than 500,000 Indians over the next few years. 

  • Better Covid-19 Management at US Universities: From complying with the public health guidelines to offering mental health support, US universities have left no stone unturned to ensure that all students are taken care of during these unprecedented times whilst not compromising with standard of education. Most universities in the US are delivering classes in online mode or hybrid mode which is a mix of both online and on-campus learning. A lot of universities are also offering hardship funds to students who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. 

  • Growing Need for STEM Graduates: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there has been a rapidly growing need for STEM training to result in innovation and job creation in the States. International students applying for STEM graduate programmes can also find scholarship schemes or new specialised grants programs introduced in the midst of the pandemic. 

Hope this article answers your questions related to facing competition while applying to US universities in 2021. In case you have further questions, please reach out to us at or 785 9990 990. Our team would be happy to assist you. 

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