Visa interview experience:
Visa type: F-1
Intended University: Arizona State University
Intended Term: Spring 2020
Program: Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering
Funding: Graduate Research Assistantship+ Full tuition waiver + 100% Health Insurance (around $1300 surplus in the I-20).
Date of interview: 16 October 2019
Scheduled time: 8:30 am
Reached embassy: 7:15 am
Entered embassy: 8:40 am
Interview started around 9:15 am
Counter number: 09
VO description: Very attractive American woman with curly hair (Actually got a crush on her 😉).
Interview duration: Around 1:30 min.
I noticed that the VO previously accepted two (F1 &F2 visas) and another couple in front me were handed with a list of security questions.
VO: Hi! (With a pretty smile)
Me: Good Morning!
VO: Please pass me your passport.
Me: Sure! (Passed the Passport). I also have an older passport. Should I?
VO: Yeah sure! Oh and Your I20 also.
Me: Of course (Passed the I20 and the Old passport)
VO: So, you’re going to Arizona State?
Me: Yes! I am going to Arizona State University to pursue my Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering.
VO: Okay great! What was your undergraduate university?
Me: Khulna University of Engineering and Technology (KUET)
VO: (Typing something) So, what was your undergrad major?
Me: Electrical and Electronic Engineering
VO: What do you plan to do after your Ph.D.?
Me: I will return to my country and join as a faculty at a local university.
VO: Okay Great! So you are going for your Ph.D.? Do you have a Master’s degree?
Me: No! I am directly going for Ph.D. (smiled a little bit).
VO: Oh that’s great!
(Now she started checking my Old passport
VO: So, what countries outside of Bangladesh have you visited?
Me: India and Malaysia.
VO: Okay! (She passed my old passport as well as the I20 but kept the latest one and I realized my visa was approved)
VO: (Passed the blue leaflet) Okay I am approving your visa. You will receive an email after 5 days to collect your passport. Have fun in Arizona! (With a beautiful smile 😍)
Me: Thank you! Thank you so much (Smiling)
Undergrad CGPA: 3.39 (EEE, KUET)
Passing Year: 2018
Research Interest: Nanotechnology, Nano-materials, and Nano-devices.
GRE: 313 (V-152, Q-161, AWA-3)
TOEFL 105 (R: 28, L: 26, W: 28, S: 23)
Publications: 7 IEEE conference papers (4 Published, 3 Accepted); 1 IEEE Access Journal (Published)
1. CGPA and GRE
I never thought I would get into ASU with my CGPA and GRE score. However, I sent a total of 26 emails to ASU and only one Professor responded. She was impressed by my number of publications and my research works were aligned with her current research topics. After 2 very long and stressful Skype interviews and 28-page report submission, she finally agreed to hire me and I applied to ASU.
But the Graduate Director had some concerns about my CGPA. Therefore, he wanted to offer me admission to the Master’s program. My professor sent me an email regarding this issue and told me to send her some additional documents so that she could convince the Graduate Director. I sent those documents, and she was finally able to convince the Grad. Director. Eventually, I was offered admission to Ph.D.
Therefore, email as many as professors you can and try to increase your number of quality publications.
2. LOR and SOP
Make sure you have an excellent LOR and SOP.
3. Social Media
Submit each and every social media account that you have used in the last five years, even if some are deactivated. Be honest.
4. Visa Interview
Just be confident and try to keep a smiley face. If you have full funding, you have no reason to worry.