Iraqi Voices

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The List Project is running an “Iraqi Voices” series on our blog and is encouraging U.S.-affiliated Iraqis to write us to share their stories.  Last week, we introduced Ubaida, a U.S. affiliated Iraqi  who arrived in the U.S. in October 2009.  In his last post, Ubaida shared his story with our readers and discussed his dream of attending a University in the U.S.  In this post, Ubaida discusses his introduction to the University admissions process and his first few steps on following his dream.   In order to inform other Iraqis of the University process, Ubaida is sharing his story and thoughts on his own experience of returning to school.  Please email us or leave a comment if you have anything you would like to share.  Visit our blog next week to read more about Ubaida’s story!

My Engineering Master Degree in the United States of America     Part II

After my arrival to the United States and my resettlement in Seattle, I started to search for the best universities with the help of my great friends and attorneys MW and BZ from the firm of Mayer Brown. These guys helped me to arrange my thoughts and retrieve my energy to be able to talk with universities. In the end, with help of these two great friends I had my first conference call with the Texas A&M University admissions office. It is great that you can talk to the university without any restrictions, and I had the chance to talk with them about everything that I was concerned about, like costs, documents required…etc. The admissions office at Texas A&M mentioned that if I held permanent residency (Green Card) then I would be counted as a domestic student. This is definitely important in order to decrease the costs of the study.  At Texas A&M, when you are domestic student you do not need to take the TOFEL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), but you still need to take the GRE (Graduates Records Examination) which is very important for your master’s degree in most accredited universities in the US.  The main obstacles for me to overcome to be accepted were taking the GRE and the fact that the number of applicants was more than ten time the available seats. Therefore, because of the competiveness, acceptance is based mainly on GRE scores. However, I had a chance to talk to many other universities about requirements, tuition and fees, and realized that I needed to think of a better investment.  After many searches, the decision that I made was to change from the technical side over to management.  Getting an MBA or Engineering Management degree was the best chance for me to experience my career goals.

I learned that I would also have to take an entrance test in either case (Technical or Management). There was one difference in the types of test between an MBA and Engineering Management degree, which is the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) for the MBA rather than the GRE test for Engineering Management.  These exams are required for most accredited universities in the United States, and both have a quantitative (basic math) and comprehensive language test. For the GMAT, the math part is the easier part of the examination, and there is an additional part for problem solving. I learned that there are also some good training courses for both exams to learn the techniques for answering questions.

In the next part I will talk about the application requirements and some of the recommended Credential Evaluation firms and process.

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