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On June 19, 2017, I was paying my visa fees for US visa and I thought about how much I have spent in one year for the whole application process. I started crunching in numbers remembering all the money spent, all the extra bucks spent on sending universities my GRE, TOEFL scores. I made it up and here is the list.
The list is in chronological order which means it is starting from June 2016 and ending in June 2017.
This includes all the books I bought to prepare for the test.
I know a lot of people must be wondering why I bought these books rather than just downloading the PDF. But I have always been more inclined to have physical books in hand rather than a PDF. Also, I went to a coaching class that’s why I had the official guides. This is not the complete set of resources I have used. You can check out my other posts.
All this cost me around 30-35 USD – 2200 INR (I have approximated each value to the closest bear with me)
Total = $35
Jamboree coaching classes
If you have been following my mails and also my youtube channel, you might know that I am strictly against consultants. I am highly anti them. They are a waste of money and also they can ruin your future. But coaching classes are different, the reason why I went Jamboree was because it was the closest to my place. That’s it. I feel like if you are not working and you are vacationing, for some people it is very difficult to study on their own. I lose my focus and get diverted. I joined the classes so that I will at least spend 2-3 hours on GRE during the classes and some more hours while doing assignments.
Also, Jamboree gave me 4 books, 2 for quant and 2 for verbal. They also have an online portal and flashcard app. You can download the flash card app. It’s free but only for Android.
They also have 9 Mock test for GRE and some mocks for TOEFL. I did not buy another mocks just for that purpose. Yeah, that was the sole reason for that. I talked to a couple of seniors about this also and they advised me the same thing. Jamboree costed me 20,000 INR = $ 310
Total = $345
Graduate Record Examination
I bet 50% of you did not know that GRE stands for that. I did not either, I googled it when some elder person asked me what GRE stands for. So if you did not know yet, I took GRE twice, once in October and once in November. That adds up to two amounts $205 + $205 = USD 410 which equates to INR 26,500.
Wow, that’s quite an amount but all of this would not matter, I will tell you why at the end of this blog.
Also, I sent my GRE score to 5 extra universities. I know even after having twice attempts and 4 universities which I could send free scores to. I had to send in scores to 5 universities. That costed me 27*5 = USD 135 = INR 9000.
Only GRE has made my pocket USD 550 lighter.
Total = $895
TOEFL is not a pain in the ass like GRE. You will have to take TOEFL one time unless you fuck up really bad. Also if you are looking for an assistantship, you need a good score for TOEFL. A minimum of 26 in listening and speaking each.
I spent USD170 (INR 11,000) for the main test. Luckily I got 106 in the first attempt.
Also, I had to send in the score to two extra universities which mean I spent $40 ($20 each) = INR 2600.
TOEFL cost me a total of $210.
Total = $1105
During my second attempt, I bought a magoosh account and focussed on just that. Magoosh could be a game changer for a lot of people. I think the whole setup is arranged nicely.
Honestly, I spent $15 i.e. INR 1000 on that. Me and my friend got a steal deal from someone for $30 for a 3-month valid account. And we were extremely, hence we frugal shared that account as well. We managed it.
Total – $1120
University Application Cost
I applied to a total of 9 Universities among which one of the universities REJECTED my application. They did not reject me, but my application since it was not completed. That university was the University of Florida.
Here is the list of universities and their application cost
- Purdue, UIUC, ASU, Clemson – $100*4 = $400
- UFL – $30
- Swedish Universities (KTH, Chalmers, JU) – 900 SEK = $105
- TU Delft – 105 EUR = $120
Now if you are wondering why I just mentioned $105 for Swedish Universities, it is because you can apply up to 5 universities/courses in Sweden for that price. I loved the process of Swedish application. It took me 15 minutes to finish the whole thing and I did not even need GRE for this. All I needed was $105 and my credentials. EASY AF!
Totalling this amount, $655
Total – $1775
After all this, I had to wait 2-3 months before I had admits from universities coming in through. The first admit I received was from KTH, following with that ASU, UIUC, Purdue and Clemson. I received admit letter from TU Delft in the second week of June.
After receiving admits, there is a tedious process which you have to go through to show funding and getting i-20. The next few process is of Visa and you do not have to worry for until 3 months before going to university.
I-20 and Visa
I did not know that there are so many small fees included with i-20 and visa, but the hard truth has been accepted now. So if you do not know what is i-20, I will explain in one sentence. I-20 is the document that is from the University to US embassy stating that they have checked your financial documents and they have officially given you admission.
You have to have the original document with you in hand while going for the visa interview and for ordering that to you home from the university, you will have to pay $60.
Next, you have to fill a DS-160 form, consider this as your visa application. You will have to pay 170 USD ( INR 10880). After this, since you are a student you will have to pay a sevis fee which is equal to $200.
Totalling this, it will be equal to $430.
Total – $2190 (INR 1,41,000)
So, I spent approximately USD 2000 for the whole application process. This number might be scary for a lot of people and when I add it up, I feel like I did spend a lot. But you have to consider the fact that if you land up a job in the US you minimum income will be around 3000 USD/month. This is as minimum for master’s graduate as it can get.
Now, are you feeling like that the total amount is nothing compared to what you will earn.
That’s my whole point for this post. If you ever wondered, that if you should not either take GRE again or not buy books or apply to more university because it cost a lot. THEN RETHINK! You might spend a little more now but ROI is huge.