Interview Preparation

Many applicants will be missing a beat or two at the thought of Visa Interview. Its like sudden rise in adrenaline levels, exciting, bewildering and intimidating.
 
So we thought of sharing some tips on interviews so that the whole affair can be carried away with a sense of peace.
 
Remember that there is no substitute for preparation. So prepare well for all aspects of the interview.
Preparing for the Interview:
 
* Go through respective consulate web site to know more about the rules and other happenings, go through FAQ of F1 student visa.
 
* Everything a student wants to know about F1 visa is readily available in the consulate web sites. Try to see and understand every link in the site, so that you will get 1st hand information about everything, which will increase your comfortable level and confidence.
 
* Try to understand what the Visa Officer (VO) is expecting from you folks, in order to issue F1-Visa for you.
 
*
US consulate is your first chance of meeting the US officials on your way to USA. Its time for you to look ahead and meet them in a dignified, balanced and professional way and get the visa stamping to USA. But don't meet them shakily, nervously and loose the chance of education in USA. Don't try to take any chance with visa. Be focused on your goals and prepare well to reach them confidently.
 
* Behave like a True professional when meeting
USA officials for interview.
 

* Some questions were given at the end of this mail for your information.

 

* Prepare answers to most commonly asked questions. Make sure your answers are focusing on your achievements, skills, you being a sincere student, proof of having sufficient funds and your intentions of coming back to India after completion of your graduate and/or Research programs.

* Rehearse the answers to common and specific questions either by taping your answers or by attending a mock interview with your friends and have their opinions and reviews and if you feel you are lacking at some points, try to improve them till you become perfect.

* Know your strengths and weaknesses, and then try to overcome them in interviews by good preparation and practice beforehand. Practice makes perfect.

*Practice to speak clearly and slowly, naturally (as you speak always), so that interviewer can understand what you are saying. Your answers should reflect clarity of thought and clarity of your intentions. Don't talk too fast sacrificing clarity; Don't be dragging either. Avoid mannerisms such as "you see", "I mean", "Sort of" "Ya Ya". When you want to differ with VO or want to present a different view to VO, use phrases such as "Let us look at this from a different angle" and present your views.  

 
* Read your financial documents thoroughly and ask yourself possible questions from them. You should be able to defend and support your documents be it Academics, qualifying exams scores and financial documents in all ways possible.

 
* Carry all documents in an order in a folder with multiple pouches (Like harmonium folder). So that you can put different set of documents into different pouches (like University documents set, Scores set, Marks sheets set, financial documents set, property documents set etc) it will be very easy for you to remove and present them to VO without any time waste, whenever asked for. The speed at which you are able to show the relevant document whenever asked for also counts a lot.

At Interview
* Use formal dress to appear for interview.
* Use Executive clothing; deep and bright colors may not suit the occasion.Clothes have to be clean and ironed to represent order and discipline.
* Carry only relevant documents.
* Do not present any certificates unless asked for.
* Remember to collect all the certificates given for perusal at the interview. And if you had any doubts clarify there itself.
* Greet the interviewer first, even if VO is not listening or not looking at you.
* While answering questions remember to look at the interviewer instead of looking down. Keep continuous eye contact with visa officer throughout the interview.

* Avoid bad body language and mannerisms like touching moustache, scratching nose, or arranging hair or any kind of unwanted things as per the interview norms.
* Listen to questions carefully to comprehend. If you have not understood a question, politely request for a repeat.
* Give short answers unless asked for longer ones. If possible always be prepared with two sets of answers for questions, both long and short. First give short answer and if VO asks for details then give long answer or explain in detail. So that you will be still in comfort zone.
* Exude confidence but not arrogance.
* Mouth all words clearly and speak loud enough to hear.
* Answer immediately without wasting time.
* Avoid being too humorous or ironical in your answers. But little fun with good sense of humor is always welcome.
* Keep looking at the VO and never at other things in the room or at other counters.
* Don't become conscious of others looking at you or watching. Remember its your visa and your future. Between VO and you no one exists.
* Give authentic information about any details connected with your documents. Remember they can cross-verify any detail within no time.
* Answers should not be given in a raised voice even when the question comes in that manner. Remember VO will be having tough time too, with huge volumes of applicants and asking same questions and listening almost identical answers day in and day out. They too will be under great pressure to issue a visa till the applicant intentions and arranging of funds are made clear to them. It's not that we should feel comfortable in interview, but in our personal opinion we should also make VO comfortable by presenting all facts and figures in a systematic and organized way of answering, presenting documentary evidence whenever necessary or asked for.

* Never become desperate, wearisome and tiresome even if the interview is going in a long way than expected. Still try to maintain your composure, looking positive, confident and smiling.
* Answer questions in simple single sentences. Use a language that is easy to understand but formal in its usage.
* Avoid giving additional information unless asked for it.
* If you are complimented for your answers, achievements, scores and percentages, remember to thank the VO.
* Avoid repeating the phrases or words. Remember you have gone through GRE and TOEFL and speak accordingly.
* Keep a smiling face so as to welcome any questions.
* It is un-wise to contradict an answer through a subsequent answer. Always stick to the same answer whenever asked for.
* An applicants behavior should convince the VO about the quality of personality that the candidate has.
* Avoid any exhibition of emotions other than the feelings of welcoming questions and ready to give the answers.
* You have to make the answers short, to the point and precise.

* Develop Language skills including good pronunciation and effective expressions.

* Use simple yet forceful language.

* Practice to arrange facts logically.

* Meet difficult questions with a smile.

* Don't be unduly emotional during interview.

* If you present an argument give facts to support it.

* Continue to be pleasant throughout interview and a smile helps a lot.

* Check your body language.

* Be polite: Show no signs of arrogance or superiority.

* Never give an impression that you are desperate to go to USA.

* Never give an impression that you are confused at any point of time.

* Don't get disheartened if any of your views are answers were were shunned by VO or VO not listening to you. Sometimes VO wants to test your patience. Just stay positive.

 

* Just Be confident of your success. Give answers confidently, boldly, and visa will be yours.

 
On final note, thank the interviewer for his time.

Some More Tips: (suggested by students in groups)
* Learn about research areas in your major at your university.
* Be confident and positive throughout, and apply presence of mind.
* Don't contradict your previous answer in your next answer.
* Have a good memory of CA statement b4 going to consulate Various sources of incomes and amounts.

* Stick to same answers even if Vo is asking the same questions again and again.
* Write your name address phone no passport no at back of DD's or write as per your consulate rules
* Sign i-20 before going to consulate.
* Be relaxed and don't show that you are desperate to go to US.
* Avoid calling the officers Sir excessively, which will be irritating to them.
* Avoid saying pardon, come again, I didn't get you, Just say something expecting question based on document in his hand.  * If you guessed wrong question he will question you again.
* Watch the lips of the person while you are at counter as if you are not able to listen to them cause of bad quality of speakers, you can at-least guess question from lip movements, at worst you can at-least understand VO is asking you something.
* Don't give more information than needed or asked by them.
* Answer only to question; do not try to justify your answer unless asked.
* Do not let your answers contradict values from your Statements. Be careful in this regard.
* Study thoroughly the complete documentation mentioned in the CA statement, especially if it is family friend and be prepared for questions on them like what is the sponsor's income, what is the value of the property, how much of the funds is in liquid / semi-liquid form.

* Be prepared with convincing / strong reasons for returning to your homeland. (Present and Future employment options of your chosen field, Family, business, financial set-up, etc.)
* Make Eye contact. Look at VO when he/she is speaking. Don't look away while answering or listening.
* Act natural.
* Listen to the question carefully and let the interviewer complete the question before you answer.
* Answer confidently and honestly.
* Show enthusiasm and optimism throughout the interview.
* Admit honestly, if you don't know the answer. Nobody knows everything. However, explain that you are willing and have the ability to learn, given a chance or say something like " I am slightly out of touch in that area..."
* Bring up the key words that the VO is looking for from you like "after coming back to India" or "when I come back to India after MS", during the interview, whenever possible.
* Do have positive attitude and remember attitude is everything.
* Do not feel nervous. Nobody is going to hurt you.
* Do not be overaggressive.
* Do not jump to answers after listening to half the question
* Do not over answer or under answer. Answer to the point.
* Don't have negative attitude or don't be pessimistic regarding the outcome.

Some sample behaviors of people who take initiatives for which VO is searching for in an interview are  - whether applicant:

* Knows how to answer questions.
* Knows how to deal with uncertainty.
* Exudes (or shows) confidence and professionalism.
* Takes advantage of opportunities to learn.
* Finds ways to stay motivated.
* Does what it takes to get the job done.
* Shows commitment.
* Self Confidence, Goal Oriented, Focused, Driven, and Sense of Conviction
* Willingness to learn new things.
* Establish Rapport.

Final Note:
* Just be cool, confident and vibe well with VO.
* Whenever there's a chance, flash a smile.
* Whenever an embarrassing question was asked, and you don't know how to answer, just flash a smile, have two invisible deep breaths and start saying the relevant thing.
* Be positive in all actions and expect positive outcome. Have good body language.
* Even the interview is going the other way also don't loose your confidence. Things will be on-track again in your favor if you are confident and stay positive.
* Don't give big answers, just precise and to-the-point answers will do, unless asked for.
* No need to explain tons and tons of things.
* Have a precise answer for how you are arranging funds. Give a gist of your sponsor's financial position and if VO asks to explain, then only give detailed answer for that. Be prepared with a good answer, both precise one and a detailed one.
* Don't show any document until asked for.
* Most important thing is presence of mind and with that you should be able to get the interview always on track. It's only in you how to get the interview back on track.

Golden Rules for Visa:
* Looking good and confident.
* Looking disciplined and organized.
* Sounding natural in accent and communication.
* Maintaining eye-to-eye contact with VO throughout interview.
* Staying positive throughout.
* Clarity of thought in expressing views.
* Speaking Loud with confidence.
* Having good presence of mind.
* Showing good knowledge about your area of interest.
* Having good and credible future plans.
* Proving you as a serious student in studies.
* A little bit of sense of humor.
* Exude professionalism in whatever you do &
* Smile and put Visa Officer at ease.

Sample Visa Interview Questions:
* Why the specified University.
* Which Universities did you apply to?  (Both admits and rejects)?

* Show me your GRE scorecard.
* Where did you Undergraduate?
* Who is sponsoring you?
* What does your father do?
* What is your father's Income?
* How many brothers and sisters do you have?
* Do you have any relatives in
USA?
* What will you do after completing MS?
* Show your Experience Certificate. (If you are going to studies after some work experience)
* Why Study in
USA.
* Did you got any Scholarships?

* Why haven't you got any scholarship? 
* Have you got any Loans?
* Show your Pass Books/Bank statements.
* What is your Undergraduate GPA/Percentage?
* Parents retired?  Then how will they pay?
* Tell about your university.
* Mention some professor names
* Tell me how can you prove that you are going to come back?
* Where did your brother/parents complete their studies?
* Why are you leaving your current job? (If you are working)
* Have you ever been to US?
* What will you do after coming back to Home?
* You have so...brothers and sisters so your fathers saving are for all, Then how will he/ you finance?
* Where do your parents live (If they live in
USA)?
* Do you know anyone (in
USA) / in your University?
* What will you do if your Visa is rejected?
* Will you come back to home during summers?
* What do you think? Why University is giving Scholarship to you...

* Why do you wish to study in the US and not in India?
* If you have changed field of specialization, (for ex. If you are BE Mechanical and opting for MS in computer science) then what brought about the change?
* What steps have you taken to ensure that you will be able to perform well in the new field you wish to change to?
* What do you plan to study at the university?
* How many universities did you apply for?
* Which universities accepted you?
* Why did you select this particular university?
* What are your plans after graduation?
* How will you finance your education funds for 2 years or 3 years? (generally you have to prove that you can fund the first year of your education but we suggest that you be prepared with this answer)?
* Do you have a brother / sister, or any other relative already at this university?

In some cases VO's have asked questions like

 

* Tell me about yourself?

* What are your hobbies?

* What does success mean to you?

* Where do you plan to be in 5 years from now?

* Tell about your achievements?

* What are your strengths?

*  What are your weaknesses?

* How did you prepare for this interview?

* What will you do if you your visa was rejected?

* Describe your dream career?

* What are you looking for, from life? 

 

Give answers to the above questions in relation to, or resulting career after your masters program and your coming back to India context only. 

 

"May the force be with you all and may all your dreams come true."

 All the best & Good Luck !

Regards,
Ganapathi Raju & Kesav

 MS Consultancy

301, Above Food World

Rethibowli Ring Road

Mehdipatnam

Hyderabad - 500 028.

 

Tel:  (040) - 23515029 ,  55259529.

Mob:  98481 96581 ,  98483 39131.

email:  mscon@speedpost.net