University: University of Wisconsin, Madison
Course: PhD in Computer Science
Date: May 2018
Counter No: 30
Visa Interview Experience:
VO was a lady in her thirties. I was patiently waiting for my turn as a B1 Visa applicant was giving her interview. VO was asking way too many questions to her. She rejected her after around 5 minutes of interview and wished her luck. Then came my turn, I already had my passport and I-20 in my hand by then:
ME: Good Morning ma'am
VO: Please pass me your passport. I passed my passport along with my I-20 and she said Oh yes, and your I-20. Since, there weren't many F-1 students around my time slot, she might have forgotten to ask the I-20.
VO: Which University are you going to?
ME: I'm going to University of Wisconsin, Madison
VO: Looking at my I-20, Oh, a PhD degree in Computer Science. Do you have a Masters degree already?
ME: No. I'll actually be starting as a Masters student.
VO: Even I wanted to do a PhD but my Masters thesis itself was hell enough for me and she laughed. (I too laughed and didn't really know what to say.) (I was so close to asking her what did she do her Masters in, but luckily I realized she was the interviewer and not me)
VO: So, your Bachelor's too is in Computer Science?
ME: Yes, ma'am.
VO: I thought so, but still wanted to ask anyway and she smiled
VO: How much was your undergraduate score?
ME: My undergraduate score was 9.88 out of 10.
VO: Did Madison require you to take GRE?
ME: Yes, ma'am.
VO: How much did you score in GRE?
ME: I scored 324 in GRE and a 5 point in Analytical Writing.
VO: Why do you want to do a PhD?
ME: I want to establish my own company based on a high scale distributed database back here in India. Madison is well known for it's research in Databases.
VO: How many Universities did you apply to?
ME: I applied for a PhD at 4 Universities and for an MS at 5 Universities.
VO: How many admits did you get?
ME: I got an admit for PhD at Madison and an admit for MS at Georgia Institute of Technology
VO: Oh, but you want to do a PhD anyway. (I think she answered herself a subsequent question of Why did you choose Madison over GaTech)(She started looking at the screen and typing. I was getting so nervous but still tried to keep my calm. She didn't say anything for at least 30 seconds)
VO: My next question was going to be about funding, but since it's a PhD admit, I thought it should be funded. Then she looked at the I-20 and verified whether it was funded.
VO: How long will the studies take? 4 years?
ME: It'll take around 5-6 years ma'am since I'll be starting with an MS. (She took a pause again and started typing something looking at the screen. This time she took the booklet containing yellow slips and kept it near her. I was getting soooo anxious. This pause was around 30 seconds too.)
VO: Which other countries have you been to?
ME: I had been to the United Arab Emirates when I was in my 5th grade and to Saudi Arabia when I was in my 4th grade. (She took a 3rd pause, I tried to convince myself since I hadn't screwed up anything yet and had prepared really well. She had no reason whatsoever to reject me. This pause as well was around 30 seconds.)
VO: Okay, I'm approving your Visa. Study hard.
ME: Thank you ma'am. Collected my I-20 and ran so fast from that place.
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