Nepalese students – USA study guide


USA study guide for Nepalese students

Gaurav Upreti: With over 6,000 Colleges and Universities, the USA has top schools in every corner of the country, but it all depends on what are you looking for. Based on popularity and quality, the top universities in the USA are listed below:

What are the top universities in the USA?

  • Cornell University
  • Harvard University
  • Brown University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Columbia University
  • Yale University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Princeton University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • The University of California at Berkley
  • Stanford University
  • John Hopkins University
  • Carnegie Melon University
  • New York University 
  • Ohio State University
  • The University of Texas at Austin

What are the best subjects/courses/majors to study in the USA?

Out of about 300+ majors to study in the USA, it is difficult to say what is the best major to study in the USA as it solely depends on the interest and background of the student. 

However, it will be very safe to say that STEM-designated majors are the ones that you usually won’t go wrong with.

Based on the growth and demand of the US job market following could be considered as lucrative if not the best majors to study in the USA for Nepales students:

  • IT & Computers Science (Data, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, etc.)
  • Biology (Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Biomedical Sciences, and Environment science, etc.)
  • Health (Nursing, Physiotherapy, Nutrition and Dietetics, Food Science)
  • Business (Analytics, Digital Marketing, Accounting, Finance, etc.)
  • Engineering (Civil, Computer, Mechanical, etc.)

With these STEM-designated majors, students can work for 3 years on Optional Practical Training (OPT). Some of the programs like Public Health, Finance, Business Analytics, Actuarial Science, Accounting at some universities have STEM designations. Students must check the individual programs of the university.

How much does it cost to study in the USA?

Generally, the tuition cost for undergraduate degrees ranges from $10,000.00 to $50,000.00 per year. Depending on the location, the cost of Room and Board ranges from $6,000.00 to $20,000.00. 

The tuition cost for graduate degrees would range from $8,000.00 to $50,000.00 (18 credits a year). Graduate students are not generally required to stay in on-campus housing. 

You need to check if the universities you are applying to have any financial support. Unless you get a significant aid/scholarship or Graduate Assistantship, you will need to spend about $10,000.00 to $20,000.00 per year for tuition even if you have some scholarships/aid/support. 

It again depends on how top-ranked school you are intending to join.

What is the F-1 Visa Application Process? How to apply for a U.S. Student Visa from Nepal? 

To be eligible to study in a University or College in the United States, an applicant who is a citizen of a foreign country must obtain a student visa from the Visa Consulate/Embassy of the United States from a nearby location.

A student visa issued for an applicant to continue their higher studies in University or College is termed an F-1 visa. F1 visa is categorized under non-immigration visa. Supporting documentation to be taken at the time of interview depends upon the requirement of the specific country’s visa consulate. 

To apply for an F-1 visa, an applicant must apply to a SEVP, Student and Exchange Visitor Program-Approved university or college, get accepted, and obtain an I-20. 

To get a clearer picture of how to move on with the F-1 visa interview application, these step-by-step points can be helpful to the prospective F-1 visa applicants.

check also: Nepalese in America – Job, Income & Lifestyle

1.  Apply for Admission and Receive an Acceptance/Admission Letter

After making insightful research and selection of the university, an application along with the required application material should be submitted to the university. All the submitted application materials are reviewed, and acceptance is granted to the qualified applicants. 

2.   Obtain an I-20

Once the applicant is admitted to the university, an applicant can obtain his/her I-20 by submitting required financial documents along with their valid passport.

3.  Get Prepared for VISA Application

F1 visa can be issued 120 days in advance of the academic course start date. However, the F-1 visa holders are not allowed to enter the United States before 30 days of the course start date. 

Applicant’s passport needs to have at least a couple of blank pages to get the visa printed once the visa is approved. 

Also, it is recommended to have the passport valid for at least six months beyond the intended length of stay for the intended academic course.

a.      Make SEVIS / I-901 fee online payment (the US $350.00)

If you are applying from Nepal, you can make the payment via any of the banks nearby.

b.      Complete and Submit DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application) form before the visa interview. Barcode ID which is obtained on the confirmation page after submission of the DS-160 form is required while booking an interview date.

c.       Schedule an F-1 Visa Interview Appointment

Step 1:

Applicants are required to create their profile using their email account through this link: Cgifederal.Secure.Force.com .

The interview scheduling fee is USD 160.00 and applicants shall be able to pay in the exchanged NPR amount via Nepal Investment Bank Ltd.

Step 2:

Once the payment goes successful, applicants are provided with the receipt number from the Nepal Investment Bank. Usually, it takes a minimum of 1 hour to have the receipt number get activated and reflected in the profile.

Step 3:

After the receipt number is activated in the profile, continue the application. Dates are now available to get scheduled. Interview Appointment Confirmation is required to be printed.

There are no visa reciprocity fees for students and exchange visitor visas for Nepali Nationalities. 

What are the documents for a student visa/F-1?

Major Documents to be taken at the interview.

  • Appointment Confirmation Letter
  • SEVIS/ I-901 Payment Confirmation
  • DS 160 Barcode Confirmation Page
  • Original Valid I 20
  • Original Valid Passport
  • Photograph- 2*2 inches; covering the specification of the US Visa applicants
  • Educational Transcripts

Check also: Nepalese American: Facts and Statistics

How to prepare for the F1 Interview? What are the tips for a US Student Visa Interview at the US Embassy in Kathmandu?

Based on what we have seen, heard, and known, you will need to convince the visa officer that you have compelling reasons to return to Nepal. Remember that the overstay rate of Nepalese students in the year 2020 was above 13% according to the data available by the U.S. authorities.

You need to have a genuine plan to study and have a clear plan as to how this degree fits your career aspirations. 

Unless asked, you are not required to present any financial (bank savings and income papers) but you need to be able to talk to the officer as to how you are planning to pay your fees both for tuition and living. 

It is important to understand the fact that education in the United States is very expensive and you will need to plan accordingly.

The visa interview is the cumulative result of everything; for example, the academic profile you have had, the financial status your parents have, the career plans you have set for yourself, and your abilities to hold the conversation with the visa officer. 

You should be honest and tell the organic answers that reflect your situation, not the ones you have rehearsed. You should maintain a positive attitude when you talk to the visa officer. 

They want to hear from THE REAL YOU during the interview which means the answers you have borrowed from your friends or taught by consultancies or researched from google/social media may disqualify you. 

You need to be precise as they don’t have time to listen to your entire story.

We have seen that many students and parents take the visa interview as ‘luck’ but don’t bother in realizing that they need to prove to the visa officer that they are intending to study and have plans to return home. 

Everyone needs to be in a position to afford to pay for the entire period of studies (not just for one semester). 

We have seen that many students who struggle to present bank loans to the Embassies/Consulates in other countries, choose the US and end up with negative results.  

If you have a plan to study, can afford to pay comfortably, and have reasons to return home after studies, you will be able to convince the officer and will get your F-1 approved.

We advise you to attend the sessions USEF Kathmandu organizes by inviting the visa officers.

What are the top common 5 Colleges/Universities in the USA for Nepalese Students?

Based on what we have seen, the following universities have a good presence of Nepalese students. We believe that they need to fit in well in terms of their academic and financial profiles so that they will be successful.

1. St. Cloud State University

2. University of Texas at Arlington

3. Howard University

4. Minnesota State University Mankato

5. University of North Texas

What are the Scholarships/Funding/ Assistantships for Nepalese Students in the USA?

If you are planning to study abroad and are a deserving student, there could be no better country than the USA for you. With over 6,500 Colleges and Universities offering various kinds of scholarships, there has to be one that fits your needs.

International students from Nepal can be eligible for different kinds of scholarships including Full-ride, Full Tuition, Out-of-State Waiver, Departmental Scholarships, and other common scholarships like ‘You’re Welcome, ‘Cross/Multicultural’, etc. if they are planning to study at the Undergraduate. 

Most of the competitive scholarships require students to have a strong GPA, English Test Scores, and SAT/ACT scores along with an appealing Essay. 

The non-competitive/common scholarships are awarded to all the admitted students regardless of their GPAs and test records.

Graduate students can apply for Graduate Assistantships (Teaching, Research, or Administrative).

The Department or individual professors award the assistantships based on students’ research/academic interest, GPA, test scores, research publications, and professional experiences. 

Some private universities offer scholarships to high-achieving graduate students which range from 10% to 100% waivers. Students must check with the universities and apply early. 


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