Vignesh Manohar
Updated on 27 May, 2018

A comprehensive set of FAQs - Part 3: Counselling, university selection, info specific to ECE/EEE & miscellaneous questions

Read PART 1 & PART 2 of the FAQs about GRE, TOEFL, SOP, LOR, acads, resume, profile, finances and more.

Q.17 Do I need a counsellor?

This is a tricky question. It depends largely on if you have people to help you out (seniors/relatives). If you have no idea whatsoever, going to a good counsellor is highly recommended. USIEF is probably a very effective choice (The membership is hardly Rs. 3000). In order to meet the counsellors, you need to take an appointment, sometimes a week or 2 in advance. If you start the process early, USIEF is probably a great choice. Otherwise, there are other counsellors and some are very good. Do a bit of a discussion with the guys who they have counselled in the past and take your decision based on that.

Q.18 What does a counsellor do?

Ideally, the counsellor does the following things:

  • Polishes your SOP/LOR/Resume (They CANNOT make these documents for you)
  • Makes you aware of the universities good for your field that you can get into
  • Helps you with the finances
  • Helps you with the VISA processes
  • The most important: They are the ones who are there to answer every silly doubt you get during the process. Trust me, you will get many.

Q.19 Is accepting multiple admits a problem?

You may accept as many unfunded admits as you want. However, it is highly recommended that the moment you decide on your university, send the other universities a mail notifying that you won’t be joining them. Typically, the deadlines to accept an offer from a university would be April 15th. Though many do get admits post 15th.



List of specialisations usually available:

  • VLSI
  • Embedded electronics
  • Signals and Systems
  • Telecommunications
  • Electromagnetics
  • Microwave engineering
  • Optics/photonics
  • Power electronics
  • Nanoelectronics

As for placement scenario, you will need to consult seniors of your college. Finally, it all boils down to how good you are in the field that you are pursuing.

Q.20 How do you shortlist universities?

This is by far the most challenging part of the process. While short listing, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you particular about your specialisation?: There are some universities (like UCLA, UT Austin) which admit you to a specific area of specialisation while there are many which allow you to decide once you get there. Further, some colleges may be known for their courses on Analog circuits and electromagnetics (like UCLA) while some are revered for their courses on networking (Like NCSU) and then, there are universities like Georgia Tech which are awesome overall. So this is a very relevant question to ask yourself.
  • How strong is your profile?: Some universities are reputed for taking only IITians and BITSians. Unless your profile matches theirs, you cannot pin up so much hopes on it.
  • How much can you finance?: It goes without saying that you must apply to universities whose fee structure and living expenses can be handled by you. There’s no point in applying to a university like Carnegie Mellon if you cannot afford it. Believe me, there’s nothing worse than rejecting an admit offer for the lack of finances. Generally, universities in Texas and Arizona tend to be cheaper (exceptions may exist).
  • Last but not the least, weather: Though it may not be a big issue for the most of us, be aware that a good part of America has real freezing temperatures in winter. Los Angeles has great weather, but its probably one of the most expensive cities to stay in.


  • Application procedures will test your patience to the core.
  • The universities there will ALWAYS contact you if some document is missing. Rest assured that insufficient documentation will not be a reason for your rejection, as long as you keep doing what is demanded.
  • Your SOP more often than not, will be an eye opener for you and will really make you think what you really want in life. So enjoy the process.
  • Feel free to check via phone/email with your university if they have received all the documents if in doubt. They are usually very helpful.
  • Use DHL/FedEx for your couriers. They ensure that the package reached there in 3 days flat. It’s worth the money.

Best wishes to all of you!

Vignesh Manohar's Profile:

GRE: 319 (Quant: 163 | Verbal: 156 | AWA: 4)
TOEFL: 109 (R: 30 | L: 30 | S: 24 | W: 25)
Acads: 76.5%, Electronics and Telecom Engineering, Mumbai University
Contact: [email protected]


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Vignesh Manohar

I am an electronics and telecommunications engineer and am pursuing my M.S from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). My research interests include the area of Electromagnetics, Microwaves and Antenna. I am a member of the Antenna Research group at UCLA.


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