We spoke to Ms. Meghna Baid, a computer science graduate from Portland State University(PSU) and asked about her own student experiences. Studying abroad in an unknown country is both a challenge and an adventure. The only thing comforting about it is that someone else did it first. Let’s learn about her experience.
You can read all the information you want in order to try and prepare yourself for the study abroad journey. But nothing will help as much as getting a direct account of student experiences that tell you what studying abroad is really like. Meghna was kind enough to give us all the deets about applying to PSU, part-time jobs, and what it was like to be an Indian student in USA.
1) What scores did she need to get into Portland State University?
While PSU does not have any minimum GRE score requirement, most students have a have combined verbal and quantitative scores of at least 300 and an analytical score of at least 3.7. Following in the same vein, Meghna scored a solid 317 out of 340 in her GRE exam. Along with that, she scored a 109 out of 120 in TOEFL and had a CGPA of 8.41 out of 10 in her B.Tech.
2) How long did it take her to prepare her applications?
University applications consist of the Application form, a Statement of Purpose(SOP), Letters of recommendation(LOR), transcripts, etc. among other documents. Meghna says it took her 2-3 weeks per application to compile the documents for each university, and apply accordingly. “Despite applying to the same course, each university’s requirements were kinda different from one another which meant special attention to each application”, said Meghna.
3) Why choose Portland State University?
Choosing the perfect university from the many you’ve applied to, is a confusing task. Meghna tells us that she applied to 8 graduate schools in USA: San Diego State University, San Jose State University, Portland State University, UT Dallas, Colorado State University, Arizona State University, Iowa State University, Institute of Technology(Chicago)
While she got accepted into 6 of them, Meghna says she had 3 main reasons for choosing Portland State University:
- Professors who were researching in the same field of her interest
- Top companies in proximity to the university that would allow her to easily apply for internships
- An elaborate and well-rounded curriculum that matched her area of research
4) Did she apply for any part-time/ full-time jobs? How did she get them?
Meghna applied for a Curricular practical training(CPT) program during her graduation period. CPT is an internship or practicum, relevant to your field of study. She got selected for a 5 month CPT program at Intel Corp. This job turned into a full-time job on her course completion. Another option most students have is to opt for the Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA) offered by PSU.
5) Any favorite hangout spots around college?
“We loved hanging out at the classic Cheerful Tortoise, a bar inside the university” she laughed. Every university has its own set of haunts and hangout spots frequented by almost all of the students. These places are a major part of most student experiences because this where you make a career influencing network. For the people of Portland State, these hangout spots were places such as Schmizza and Cheerful tortoise.
6) Word of advice for students who dream of studying abroad?
Throughout this whole Q & A session, Meghna shared a lot of valuable information and anecdotes with us. However, the one major piece of advice she had to give us was this:
“Always research before giving your tests. For instance, I wasted money by not knowing I could send in my test scores to up to 4 universities of my choice for FREE. This is with respect to GRE and TOEFL. This way you even get a direct and quick answer whether the university will accept your profile or not.”
7) According to her, what was the highlight of her study abroad experience?
Many have their own set of student experiences that act as the highlights of their student journey. For Meghna, it was her Convocation ceremony. She says, “It’s staggering to realize how many people are graduating with you. It was larger than life, those few minutes on the stage with your parents looking at you amidst the audience is everything:)”.
She also shared a fun tidbit about the convocation ceremony. PSU is renowned for its cultural diversity and hence, is home to international students from various nationalities. For that reason, to avoid mispronunciation at Convocation, the students are required to mention their names in phonetics beforehand! How respectful is that?
We really hope reading these questions, answered some of your own! iSchoolConnect believes in helping students avoid the complications and confusion that accompanies the study abroad process. We use our unique AI technology to help you find the perfect program and university based on your scores and preferences.
If you need any more information about studying abroad, you can take a look at some of our other helpful blogs such as How to apply for MS in USA, List of scholarships for studying abroad, Top universities for MS in USA, and so much more!
Want to share your study abroad story too? Say hello to us in the comments section below or perhaps write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to feature you!