University: University of Southern California
Course: MS in Computer Science
Date: May 2018
Counter No: 14
Visa Interview Experience:
I will add my notes and advice in the end. If this could help even one of you, this post has served its purpose.
(Greetings Exchanged with a courteous smile)
VO: Do you have your i20 on you?
ME: (handed over)
VO: So, USC! Why USC?
ME: Their Curriculum. It’s pretty flexible....(was cut off by the VO here)
VO: Don't give me the typical. Tell me honestly.
ME: Well, their Engineering School is very highly ranked. And they don't force subjects on you. Apart from Algorithms, which you have to take, you can pretty decide your own curriculum around it. So I really meant it when I said I was impressed how flexible their curriculum is.
VO: (Giving a nod of approval while he listened) So, where else did you apply?
ME: (listed universities)
VO: Why USC among all these then?
ME: It really came down to NCSU and USC. And I have friends at both places. Talked to them, did my own research, and USC came about to be the better option with the reasons I was telling you about.
VO: How are you sponsoring your education?
ME: I have savings and an education loan.
VO: What does your Mom and Dad do?
VO: What's your Father's annual income in lacs?
ME: (answered). I do want to point out he’s not sponsoring my education.
VO: No, that’s fine. You’re good. Have you paid your SEVIS fee?
ME: Yes, Sir. Did you want the receipt?
VO: No I got it, even if you had not told me. (laughs)
VO: What are you going to do after MS?
ME: I want to move to New Delhi. Been in South India for 8 years, I think a change of location is called for.
VO: What was your GRE score?
VO: (Impressed expression) Good job.
ME: (confused expression) Well, I think I could have done better, but thank you.
(At this time he opened my passport for the first time and noticed I have B1 and have travelled to US)
VO: Have you travelled to US before?
ME: Yes, Sir. First time I travelled for Business and last year I had gone for vacation.
VO: (Impressed) You already have a B1! Why didn't you start with it? (Rhetorical)
VO: You’re like the first student that at least I saw who already had a B1 and will have an F1. Pretty good.
VO: You’re good to go. Study hard and enjoy your stay.
ME: Thank you so much!
- He did NOT check any document although he asked about almost everything.
- It was more like a friendly chat than an interview which is tricky to handle sometimes.
- The obvious- stay confident and courteous.
- DO NOT volunteer information. AT ALL. It’s his job to ask what he wants to know. Let him.
- Arrange documents meticulously. Like you could pull any doc without looking. Last thing you want to do is fumble for a piece of paper when asked for it.
- Don’t be afraid to ask/point out something.
- There is no right/wrong answer to any question; how you present the answer is the key.
- If you can notice their name on the ID and can address them by it, you'll score brownie points. That goes for any conversation and that's what VISA interview is - a conversation. (Trick is to not dwell on it or overdo it)
- Don’t forget to Party after you get the VISA
- Don’t forget to share your experience and help out others.