How to get a masters in the US and get a grant to study

In recent years, more and more young people from Russia and the CIS went to study abroad. One of the most popular destinations is the country of dreamers — United States of America. Easy access to information when you are ready to diligently gnaw the granite of science allows you to get quality higher education abroad absolutely for free.

If you are considering USA as a country for obtaining a master’s degree, this article is just for you.

Why education in USA

American universities have an excellent international reputation for high training standards and strict admission requirements. It is no secret that the nation’s leading universities such as Harvard, Stanford universities and Massachusetts Institute of technology, enroll only a small percentage of all applicants — the most persistent and talented. And alumni of these universities are guaranteed a comfortable future, because in a year or two of training, they sign contracts with the best international companies.

While studying for a master’s program in the U.S., students are introduced to representatives of the different cultures of the world, and in addition, get access to various resources for research and gain valuable experience. A upon graduation, stay here to live and work.

How to get a masters in the US and get a grant to study

Where to start

Start preparing for grad school in the US needs as early as possible. This process can take more than one year. Students from CIS will have to carefully understand the Western system of education and understand the selection criteria of future masters.

As a rule, in the West on the master’s program have already accumulated some experience in the specialty, but not immediately after receiving the bachelor’s degree. Also during the studies, care should be taken to the high estimates, because they are the first indicator of your interest in study. Participation in scientific research, availability of publications, internships and volunteer programs will add points to your resume. Remember that the admissions Committee always prefers the socially active candidates.

And, of course, you will need to take TOEFL and GRE/GMAT, prepare an essay, get letters of recommendations and find funding. On the latter, I will tell next.


Education in USA is one of the most expensive in the world: 1 year of studying here costs an average of $45 thousand. The majority of students are Americans receives financial assistance from state, University or private foundations. It covers part of the cost of tuition, depending on financial situation of the student. Somebody takes the credits which then pay for decades. Many graduate students work part time Tutors or instructors undergraduate course in the University, and help professors with research and verification tests. Fees can partially or fully cover the cost of tuition.

How to get a masters in the US and get a grant to study

For foreign students the most realistic 2 ways of getting funding:

  • to win a state grant for training or
  • to receive a scholarship from the University.

Grants or scholarships for master’s degree are approximately 40% of all applicants.

To obtain the scholarship, which will cover all expenses, use of the Fulbright program. It allows foreign students, including from Russia and other CIS countries, to study a year in the United States. The Commission annually at U.S. embassies select a few dozen talented students to send them to study in America for free. The organizers say that the school does not matter, but most places still goes to the students of the exact Sciences, particularly engineering.

There are more specialized programs. For example, the Yale World Fellows Program provides foreign students with outstanding leadership qualities grant for 1 semester at Yale University, and the IHS Journalism Internship Program is designed for journalists and writers.

Much more than you think, so don’t be lazy to look good in the Internet. Some programs are designed for students from developing countries, others for women and ethnic minorities. Everyone can find a program for yourself.

Many universities offer one-time grants (scholarships) from its own Fund. It should be noted that if the scholarship covers only 1 semester, then next you will have to pay themselves. As a rule, scholarships from universities do not cover all costs.

As for student loans, then holders of a student visa can be difficult. Because they have no credit history, social security number, right to work off campus, as well as guarantees that they will remain in the country and will repay the loan in 10 years.

You can get a loan using guarantor, a legal U.S. resident.

Other costs

Here is the list of other expenses that you have to be willing to cover out of pocket.

1. The GRE exam: $200.

2. The TOEFL: $170.

3. Application: $60-40 in each University.

4. Form I-20 and visa in total will cost $400.

5. Airline tickets one way: $800.

6. Health insurance: $1.2 thousand a year.

7. Accommodation costs: $15-25 thousand a year.

How to get a masters in the US and get a grant to study

Search University and program

On average, applicants apply for a master’s degree from 8 universities in the U.S. — so more chances to do at least one of them. Choosing a school, it is worth considering that getting a scholarship is easier to prestigious private universities than in tax-financed state. The reason is simple: universities like Harvard have huge funds allocated private funds for research and often sponsored by successful graduates and therefore are more willing to grant scholarships to foreign students.

Before you choose a University, choose a program of study.

For example, if you want to pursue a degree in computer science, start a Google search with the phrase «best computer science master’s programs in the US«. By the way, to get a masters in computer science in order do not need to have her bachelor’s degree. Many universities accept people with any skills. The main thing — to prove their commitment to the knowledge and awareness of choice.

Having defined the programmes and universities, please send each institution an email with a question about how to get funding international students.

Entrance exams

Most prestigious universities require students to pass exams GRE and TOEFL.

About the last heard of almost everything: the exam for the English language pass for admission to foreign universities. For successful admission to a graduate program typically requires from 100 points (out of 120).

GRE is a common exam for admission to the masters who pass as Americans and foreign students. The GRE task is to establish the level of language proficiency, analytical thinking skills, and the ability to cope with mathematical tasks level of the exam.

Most of the international students has difficulty with the language part of the test. Unlike TOEFL, GRE contains complex structures and words that are very rarely used in spoken English. To pass this module, it is recommended to read more fiction (of course, in the original), and purchase the textbooks to prepare for GRE. Some programs require submitting GRE Subject — augmented version of the test with questions of high complexity in individual disciplines: chemistry, psychology, literature, etc.

GMAT is an analogue of the GRE designed for students of business schools. Recently, many business schools started to accept GRE instead. The structure of GMAT same as GRE, differ only in the mathematical section.

Examination results are sent to examination centre directly to the admissions office of the University. Several schools can specify when registering for the exam for free, and after passing each sent result will cost about $25. Exams can be reused, but each time they will have to pay.

How to get a masters in the US and get a grant to study

Cover letter, CV (resume) and recommendations from teachers

For admission to most programs requires:

  • cover letter;
  • summary;
  • 3 letters of recommendation from former professors, supervisors or employers.

In the cover letter you should explain why you want to attend a selected training program and what distinguishes you from other applicants. Tell us which courses interest you the most. As a rule, successful cover letters are the elements of the story — creativity is highly valued in the West. The CV should be given all the experience you knowledge and experience: education, jobs, awards, publications, special skills, etc.

In letters of recommendation teachers or supervisors should write about your personal qualities that help you succeed in your studies. It is believed that the students should not know what is written in these letters, therefore teachers send them directly to admission committees of universities. Unfortunately, if you live in Russia, it is very likely that the recommendation letters you have to write yourself. If the letter is written in Russian, need to translate it into English.


As you already know, submitting electronic applications to universities worth $60-80 each. It is important to have time to apply them to the period that each institution sets its own. The remaining documents listed on the University website, the applicant must send by EMS.

How to get a masters in the US and get a grant to study

Yay! I am a student!

Approved or declined your request you will find out soon from the email. If you have been accepted to several universities, the choice is yours. Don’t forget to notify its decision to all universities where you applied. Do not worry if you failed to enter the University of her dreams on the first try. Founder of Alibaba Jack MA tried unsuccessfully to get into Harvard 10 (!) times, but this did not prevent him to open a successful international company. In the end, you can always try again. Perseverance is always rewarded!

About what to do next, you will learn from the international Commission of the University. In particular, you will be sent form I-20with which you will go to the Embassy to apply for a student visa. Note: you can be admitted to the University, but not to obtain financial assistance.