I got my visa approved on 28th May at Hyderabad consulate for my Masters in Cinematography, Film/Video production at DePaul University. Rather than talking about what happened there, I'll give you brief points about what you could do to have your visa approved. My visa was in fact a difficult one since my Engineering in UG and Masters in Film is not a match.
Putting all these in mind, here goes your help:
1. Remember that your visa decision is almost done even before you attend the interview, taking your DS-160 as base. So, keep in mind to fill it up carefully and you should remember every information in it. Do no enter fake info.
2. International students, specially from India give 3 billion$ to their economy by studying there, so they would never think of losing out money and that means visa officers get instructions to approve more. So approving a visa is their benefit too.
3. As I said DS-160 is based for your approval, your interview is 10% considerate to confirm that their decision is correct. Regarding this, there are three things that may kill your approval..
- Nervousness: Yes, you will unknowingly provide wrong information in the pursuit of impressing the VO. Just chill, think of anything that will divert your mind and come back to conscious only when you are before the counter. Keep smiling and appear as if you are strong and confident. smile and wish people right from the time you enter the consulate, as you can get along with being natural.
- Unrelated/ long answers: VO's hate to learn about the chicken when they want you to speak of the fish. Be precise. Example: In hyderabad consulate, a guy before me was asked what his father's profession was. He told and also added that his father has 14 acres of agriculture land. What was needed for him to tell that? prove he has enough money. Be to the point, talk about in 1 or 2 lines. thats it. Remember, they hardly know or have a proof of what you are speaking, except those related to location, some known universities.
- Goofing up what you know: If they ask what you know about the place or university, tell those you actually saw or know it. I would advice not to talk of 'research' unless you are going for Ph.D. If you are strong enough to answer it, go ahead. Remember, if they get a doubt, they may check what you said on the internet.
4. Be more confident in answering, why you selected the university over others and about your sponsor. If suppose your parent is an accountant, tell it as 'He is a Professional at accounts and statistics', if he is working in Govt, tell he is so and so..with the Govt of India. For Americans, its all in the name. Give the designation a boost of the name.
5. When they ask you about your finances, be sure you say what is written in your CA document. They may also ask you sometimes, how can they fund even though you show good money. Tell them, your father/ mother saved some money for your masters, or tell them your grandfather saved his agriculture income to fund you.
6. Be prepared to face any question. Its not always like..pass your i20, give your passport, which university and all. recently at counter 13 at Hyderabad, the VO asked to speak of some memories from the college. Another VO asked what was the use of all his B.Tech life. So be prepared! When you are standing at the counter, recollect all your B.Tech life, your Masters process till the moment you entered the consulate.
7. Be frank, you will never fail to answer anything that is true. Be honest and be open to the Visa officer. Since I took filmmaking, the VO asked me why did you take B.Tech. I told it happened by chance and not by choice. I couldnt give my opinion that time, so I had to do it. This is frank and believable. Sometimes, you may want to justify why you did B.Tech in ECE and take up CSE, just be frank you have more opportunities in it and ECE subjects are also helping in this. Do not be like I realized I like CSE. did it take 4 years to realize?
8. Lastly, when the VISA is approved, say thank-you, wish him to have a nice day and leave composed. Don't show you are excited or very happy. Leave normal. Its rare, but the VO may call you back to reconsider.
If the Visa is rejected. Listen if the VO says why or do not ask him. Smile and say him, Its okay and you will try your best again. Wish him good day and leave confident. It may happen, he will call you back for a surprise.
What ever happens with the VISA, remember everything has a reason to happen and for the best of us. Never give up and I'm sure all of you would make it at the very first attempt.