Monday, August 29, 2011

Students with the American Dream – A word of caution!

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A conversation I had with a student planning to pursue his Masters in the US
Student:  Sir, I have got only 980 in GRE
Me: That is kind of less, are you planning to retake the exam again?
Student: No Sir, I have enrolled myself with a consultancy and they have promised me admission in at least three colleges with this score.
Me: So you don’t have to do any homework and the consultant will help you with admit?
Student: Yes sir, they kind of do my SOP and help me get good recommendation letters.
Me: What? So you don’t write your SOP also?
Student: They have some standard SOPs. I will use one of them.
Me: How much do they charge?
Student: Rs. 75,000
Me: Holy Cow!!!! You are paying this much for this service? Are you gone mad?
Student: They will make me financial statement to be taken for visa and also help me fill up the visa documents which I heard is tedious.
Me: What do you mean; they will make your financial documents?
Student: Sir we need to show some bank deposit and some financial documents. They will provide with all that. We just need to take all those for visa stamping.
Me: Do you know that what you are thinking of doing is illegal?
Student: Lot of my seniors and my friends have gone to the same consultant and got visa.
Me: Do you know that if the visa officer at the time of your visa interview catches you, your American dream will kind of end there.
Student: I don’t think visa officers know all these. These kinds of things are happening for a long time. If they know that these documents are forged how did my friends who went through this consultant get a visa?
Me: Have you heard of Wikileaks?
Student: Yes Sir, a website that exposed so many secrets about America. But Sir, why are you asking me that question?
Me: I am asking for a reason. Have you read about the Wikileaks documents pertaining to India?
Student: Is there something like that?
Me: Yes, it got published in The Hindu newspaper over a period of few days. I will show one such article.
I went and opened and showed him the article titled “Hyderabad a U.S visa fraud hub” published in The Hindu. These reports were from two cables send from US Consulate Offices in New Delhi and Mumbai. The title and couple of lines in the article caught the attention of the student.
Student: Sir, it looks like visa officers know of all the fraud ways we adapt to get visa.
Me: That is exactly the point I want to tell you. They know everything.
Student: That means if I go through this consultant and get admit, then I may be in trouble when I go for visa interview.
Me: Exactly, they may reject your visa for producing fake documents and may even ban you from entering US for the next 10 years. One more thing – you may have heard of people getting visa rejected, right?
Student: Yes Sir. I have heard of it a lot.
Me: You know why? Most of them do illegal things like that and get themselves in to trouble. They will never tell you that they got it rejected because they did something illegal. I have seen so many of my friends applying for visa. I have not seen even a single person who went to US consulate with proper documents getting his visa rejected. So the bottom line is, never ever try to fool the visa officer.
Student: Sir, I just started this process through this consultant. I don’t want to go with this consultant after listening to you. What should I do to select universities?
Me: You can approach some good consultants for advice but you need to do your part also. These days there are lots of forums and Facebook Pages that can help you out with everything you need to know about admission to US universities. Read this article from The Hindu. The websites like Edulix  has so many discussions going on about the admission process that you may get answers to almost all your questions there. You no longer have to go to any consultant for that matter.
Student: Thank you so much sir. Talking to you today was an eye-opener for me. Can I come back to you if I have any questions?
Me: Sure, let me know if you have any questions.
Student: Also I will tell all my friends planning to apply through these consultants not to do it.
Me: Please do and help them also.
The student gave me a big smile and left my cabin…
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Anonymous Effbie said...

This student is really naive... If you really wish something you have to do your part of work to get it...

I am surprised by this convesation!

August 20, 2011 6:57 AM  
Anonymous vety said...

wow, I like the way u just assume that the people reading your blog are dumb. Wiki-leaks connected to visa's, lol if the government catches you with this you will be charged with terrorism.

October 28, 2011 12:02 AM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

This came in The Hindu, India's National Newspaper
Govt is not that dumb to connect me to terrorism...Whatever I have mentioned in my blog I have given proper link

October 28, 2011 12:05 AM  

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