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'What is the right time to appear for GRE?'

July 18, 2015 08:04 IST
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"It's not necessary to have property to get a US VISA. VISA is based on good scores and a good I20 (admit) in hand."

"To be an astronaut, it takes much more than a curiosity, fascination, though that is where one can begin. To become a scientist, payload, mission specialist or pilot astronaut, basic qualification is a bachelors in Engg or Biological Sciences, with very high grades/GPA."

Overseas education consultant NNS Chandra offers advice on how to pick the right international education.

'What is the right time to appear for GRE?'

In an online chat with readers, every Friday, overseas education consultant NNS Chandra addressed queries related to international admissions.

For those who missed the chat on July 17, here's the transcript:

manoj sahoo: My daughter Minerva is more interested in space exploration, aliens, planets and stars etc.

She has watched space related movies like gravity and other space documentaries. Also she visits scientific exhibitions and programs.

So I am thinking in what way she can be a career astronaut after her schooling. 

NNS Chandra: What an appropriate name for a girl who dreams to explore space. Minerva. WOW.

I would love to talk to her. But tell her to be an astronaut, it takes much more than a curiosity, fascination, though that is where one can begin.

To become a scientist, payload, mission specialist or pilot astronaut, basic qualification is a bachelors in Engg or Biological Sciences, with very high grades/GPA.

Ask her whether she would be interested to volunteer in a Science and Technology Museum in Boston. They have a huge program in Space for studnets her age/grade.

Uday-Dongare: Dear Mr. Chandra, My daughter currently in 4th year of LLB want to go for LLM. can you suggest good universities, and specializations.

NNS Chandra: I can write a whole page of possible Universities in USA, Uday....starting with NYU, Berkley or George Town and list can go on, right? Same with specialisations.

Please ask her to email me her grades, GPA, scores, TOEFL, and of course her SOP. I can be more specific if she can write on her court room experience if any even as an observer/mock trial etc.

aditya ramesh: Hi sir, I recently completed my second year undergrad(b.Tech,electronics).

I am keen on a MS in the US or NUS, Singapore.

I wanted to know the typical GRE scores required to get into the top 30 colleges in the US or the NUS. And also what is the right time to take up GRE and is some sort of coaching for GRE required ?

NNS Chandra: Hi Aditya. Top 30 universities would look at a GRE score of 320 especially if you are looking at MS related to electrical engineering.

GRE coaching helps to understand the pattern of the tests and usually institutes have shorter and faster methods to approach problems in GRE. It's not compulsory though. totally on you. (I am quoting Priya here)

Sai: Hi Sir I got only 57 per cent in B.Tech and interested in doing Masters in Business Consulting course.

Any possibility that I may get admission to any colleges in the US?

And pl do suggest any college that offers ERP course in Masters either in the US or some other country where I can get admission.I have sinus problem and looking for climate similar to India.

NNS Chandra: Hi Sai, Are you a PMP or CBAP? That might be a good way to enter consulting.

My colllegue Priya writes she is not sure about ERP course. But she is encouraging you to look at MS MIS or MS Business Analytics.

Admission into a good univ will also depend on work ex if any and test scores. The above programmes in the US.

anil pillai: Dear Sir, my son cleared his B.E. in Electronics and Telecommunication from Mumbai university and got more than 65 per cent and he got about 90 per cent in SSC and HSC.

He got 90 per cent GRE, and he want to do Masters in Electronics in US can you guide us. Currently he is in Bangalore serving in Infosysis ( Campus selection). Anil Pillai

NNS Chandra: Hi Anil, Your son seems to be a good student and got some good grades. Please ask him to send his resume and SOP to me. I would love to guide him in what ever way I can.

manoj sahoo: HelloI am mr. sahoo. My daughter is 9 years old in class 4. She is interested to be an astronaut.

What career should she follow, please guide. Also is there any study program for kids in NASA?Thanks.

NNS Chandra: Interesting Mr Sahoo, Is she interested in Physics? Being a scientist? Or fascinated with space?

There are courses you can take in schools like MIT to NSA as an young girl who is interested in space, ofcourse. Did she watch Interstellar?

Interstellar -- We were born too late to explore the world, but born too early to explore the stars.

Perhaps it is only through our art that we can do the latter, and this movie helps scratch that itch by exploring the deep yearning for exploration and fresh starts that pervades the pervasive frontier culture of America.

arindam chatterjee: Hi I am 39 years aged Oil technologist seeking PHD degree in allied field of Edible oils and fats in any of the reputed universities in the US. Please suggest.

NNS Chandra: One University which is coming to my mind is Texas A&M.

I met with a professor a month back in Austin and listening to his works and research in food science was an amazing experience.

PhD is more about selecting the lab and the professor, right? If you email me your SOP, research intro, CV I can be more specific.

Adnan Chogle: Sir my class 8 and 9th scores are very poor. I got 68 per cent in class 8 and 71 in class 9. In class 10 I got 81 per cent. Will this affect my chance of admission in an Ivy League college?

NNS Chandra: Adan, You shows an upward graph in your studies and score. Which is good.

80 per cent in 10th grade is still not there but if you are consistent and go significantly up for 11th and predicted in 12th, you should be fine as a candidate to a top school.

Top underGrad admission is not solely depending on your grades, but in demonstrating your are a solid student, engaged citizen, a leader etc.

And what programme are you in now, which city? Which part of world?

Your score is relative right?

You can always email me with specific questions and additional data on yourself. I would be glad to provide more direction.

MADATHIL: My daughter is doing her third year engineering (mechanical).

She wants to pursue MS from US after her graduation. She will be preparing for GRE.

We are not financially well off. Understand one should have enough property to show for sending one's kin to USA. What is the way out. Please guide.Thanks Ashok Menon

NNS Chandra: Hi Madathil, it's not necessary to have property to get a US VISA. VISA is based on good scores and a good I20 (admit) in hand.

My colleague MS Priya, also, adds how you will pay for the program is also important but property is not.

Ram: Hi Sir, my son has just got in to 3rd year B.Tech. He has aspirations to do his MS in US. Please suggest any good training institutes for GRE in Hyderabad

NNS Chandra: Hi Ram, I am not quite familiar with region specific training facilities. And as a policy we do not recommend any. My colleague Ms Priya is from Hyd and she suggests "In Hyderabad he can check PROMAC"

guru: Which is the best college to study medicine?

NNS Chandra: Which part of the world, Guru? Requirements and type of degree everything depends, right?

Lots of options, but yet kind of confusing and challenging. Please email me.

Madhumita Gosh: Can you pls share some guidelines on how to get a good letter of recommendation?

Who are the people I should approach and what should it include?

NNS Chandra: Hello Madhumita, Are you Doctoral candidate or a masters/undergrad candidate?

The style and requirement of the recommendation and choice of recommender would vary, base on that.

General rule, go do and clear writing, with out mistake.

Clarity in relation and how he/she know the candidate, and explain the academic observation.

My colleague Ms Priya adds - Madhumita Ghosh - Recommendation letters are to be taken by professors who taught you or who has mentored your through a project.

If you are working you can take one recommendation letter from team leader/boss/ who you report to. this also depends on the program you are applying to.

Rana Dhindsa: Sir my son is in ICSE board and has cleared his class 10.

Could you pls advice him on the best diploma courses in the technology and IT domain that he can pursue in Germany, Australia or New Zealand?

Also what will be the cost I would have to bear?

NNS Chandra: Hi Rana, Germany would be an interesting place to pursue technology studies. Great PolyTechs. Cost you should be looking at 30-35 K USD per year all in. Depends on student too.

NewZeland I will check with my colleague, she is specialising in the area. Email me ref. this chat. Will get back.

Shubham Paldewar: What are the best universities to pursue chemical engineering in the US?

NNS Chandra: Shubham, Columbia program is the oldest and considered to be the best.

One of my students from India got in to the Petroleum Engg Prog in Utah and having great time.

UCLA is a good school with a solid programme. With tons of research going on same as Princeton. If you can be more specific and email me quoting this chat I can reply with details.

Firoz Khan: I am 40 years old and work as senior executive holding CXO level role.

I am keen to pursue my MBA in a B School in US full time. Do I qualify for my student visa despite my age?

NNS Chandra: Firoz, I can assure you that age is not a challenge when it comes to admission or VISA to USA.

You are considered a mature student. Your experience would be appreciated and opinions valued. But the application process remains the same.

If you can email me your resume I can provide additional inputs. Please quote this chat while writing.

Baskar: Sir, I am a graduate, currently I am studying BBA, and I want to pursue my post graduation in UK and I am very much interested in making a career in the field of travelling, can you please advice me where and how should I apply for the same, thanks.

NNS Chandra: Hi Baskar, It is a good idea to do your program in UK.

There are several opportunities in travel and tourism. London Universities have management program. Challenging to get in.

Can I know your scores and grades, please? I can thus guide you properly.

Lead image used for representational purposes only. Credit: Rediff Archives


Have questions for NNS Chandra? Post them here! You may also email him on

About NNS Chandra

Based in Boston, USA, Chandra is an engineer by training, an academician by trade and researcher by passion.

He often shuttles between India and the US to coach students in admission related counselling.

He is associated with professional organisations like Study Iowa, NACAC, OCACA, ACA, ASCA to name a few.

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