Extension Schools

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In USA, you will see that people have a zeal to learn new things no matter what their age is. Adult education and continuing education are some common terms used in USA for the courses done for degree credit or just for personal enrichment, self-learning, skill development and professional growth. It generally involves courses done after undergraduate studies.

Many universities have a continuing education division offering such courses. This division is more famous as Extension School. Courses are offered through normal classroom teaching, or as distance course via online access and web conference. People pursue them often as part time, for example, many professionals who work full time enroll for evening courses.

One of the benefit of enrolling into these courses is that you may find your fellow classmates from various countries, diverse cultures, different profession and variant age groups. Few courses, which are offered online, often attract students around the world. At times, you even get the opportunity to work in groups assignments which would facilitates the learning process.

Different universities offer courses on vast variety of topics and cover various fields. All universities have different requirements for enrollment. For some, only TOEFL score is enough for enrollment in certification course. Websites of some of the famous extension schools of the top universities of USA are given below.

http://www.extension.harvard.edu/
http://extension.berkeley.edu/
http://web.extension.illinois.edu/
http://continuingstudies.stanford.edu/
http://scpd.stanford.edu/

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Career in Transit Blogs

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The career in transit blog site is dedicated to help the spouses who move to US on dependent visa status like F2, H4 etc.. Our goal is to make their transition smooth by giving career guidance.

We provide a platform to get career growth related information. Collecting this information could otherwise take months through individual efforts.

In our blog-site, one can look for informational blogs in the following areas:

Job

Standout Cover Letter Gets Your Resume Noticed

Why your resume isn’t helping you to get interview calls?

Finding the right company for you

Job Sites

Education

Extension Schools

Preparation Starts Before Coming to USA

Skill Development

I have an accent when I speak English

Have you ever thought of writing a blog?

World class education for free!

Volunteering: A Beginning path of Professional growth

Employment Gap why a big taboo

Networking

Building your Small Talk Skills

What is an informational interview?

Why Networking is important in America for Job search?

Preparation Starts Before Coming to USA

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It is always exciting when you plan to move to a foreign country (USA) and is also one of the biggest life transitions. Most of the time, spouses accompany their husband on dependent visa status of F2 or H4 without planning about their own career in advance. Out of excitement or family pressure, they simply resign from their job and move to USA. It doesn’t take long for excitement to vanish when loneliness and boredom surrounds them. Then, they look for opportunities they can avail on their specific visa status.

Usually spouses decide to pursue higher studies once they realize that getting into school is one of the better options to enter into the job market. Two years are lost in the whole process of deciding and enrolling into the school. Entrance exam preparation and application process almost takes one year. To save time and make the experience enriching and rewarding, it is advisable to take exams in your home country like GMAT, SAT, ACT, GRE, MCAT, LSAT, TOEFL, IELTS or other exams depending upon the requirement of the schools. It is important to inquire about the information on schools like the tuition costs, admission requirements, program start dates and more that suits your personal and professional goals beforehand. It’s also recommended to request for transcripts from your graduate college before leaving for US as universities and schools in US require them as part of application process.

Later on, after moving to US , start with the application process as schools have their own application deadlines which usually is at most 10 months before the beginning of the school term. This will not only save your time, but will also save you from stress and frustration.

P.S. –  “No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much can be done if we are always doing.” – Thomas Jefferson

Ramya Nagaraja’s story

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Ramya1

My name is Ramya and this is my story. I moved to the USA with my husband in 2012 when he started an MS program. Back in India, I had done Masters and had worked for over 6 years in software industry. I quit my job so as to keep family together. Our kid was 1 year old then. I hoped to find a job with H1B sponsorship once in the US. But that was not to come easily.

In 2012, I applied to a few companies through employee referrals. So I got phone screening calls from 2 big companies. But soon after, H1B cap for the year was reached and I could not be considered by any company that year. I was very disappointed because it meant I had to wait for another year to even apply for jobs; and another 6 months to start working if I found a job and H1B. Having never stayed back at home, having had an identity outside of home always, it was not easy to accept that situation. Worse still, there was no guarantee that I would get a job the next year; with a 2 year gap by then! So we as a family considered moving back to India if I didn’t find a job the following year.

Another option looked good at the time – to pursue an MBA in the US. Since I already had MTech from India, I didn’t want to do that but it was a good time in my career to make that leap from technical to managerial role. Again, it is not a simple procedure to do an MBA in the US, for internationals. We have to give GMAT and apply to schools at least 9 months in advance. As a first step, I prepared for GMAT for 3 months and got a decent score. Mainly, it helped me keep sane during those otherwise no-goal days. I went to Information sessions of B schools. But finally when time came to apply, I didn’t apply to any B school because there were uncertainties on personal front.Where will my husband find a job? Where will I apply to? Will I be able to manage an MBA with a kid by myself if my husband worked somewhere else? With lots of unknown parameters in the equations, I could not take the plunge there.

And then came the season of applying to jobs again – hopeful of the H1B’s that were to be opened up. It was clear from a long time that in 2013, H1B’s would be picked by lottery as the number of applications would be so much more than could be handled in the first week. So much more pressure to find a sponsor before April! I applied through employee referrals, LinkedIn, Dice, Monster etc. I must have applied to about 30 companies during those 2 months. Each application involved creating a detailed profile in each company’s career site. I heard back from hardly anybody for a long time. Lot of consultants called up, having seen my resume on Dice, but most of them were not genuine. I could not risk my future by taking their service. A few of them told that the only way to find a job was through F1->OPT route because that is how companies get to try you as an intern before offering a job.

Towards end of February, I got 3 calls from relevant companies in the same industry that I worked for earlier. I had applied to all of them through employee referrals. Two of them showed interest but were not ready to wait till October. They asked me to apply in May but they knew as well as I that H1B would not last till May. One company was ready to wait till October and asked me to give on-site interview. And that is what gave me the job finally. Later, H1B’s were selected by lottery indeed and by luck, mine was selected.

In summary, these didn’t work for me:
1. Premium LinkedIn account and Job applications via LinkedIn
2. Online job portals like Dice and Monster
3. Blind job application on company’s website

The only thing that worked for me was:
Employee referral in a company that had a very similar job posted as I had worked on earlier. Networking was my savior.

If I were to go back in time and advise myself, I would say this, “Do everything you can early – prepare for school admission, prepare for job interviews and network hard to maintain old connections as well as to make new connections. Things will work out in the end. In the meanwhile, enjoy the break:-)”

Ramya Nagaraja

Leah Grace C’s story

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Before coming to the US, my husband and I founded a software startup in Montreal, Canada. We knew that we eventually wanted to go to Boston for his MBA but we wanted to take that chance of building a business. We didn’t find immediate success but it was and still is a great learning experience. We left Canada, leaving most of the management to our employees.

I arrived in Boston on F2 visa. My husband and I still had the startup bug and the opportunities at MIT helped fuel that. Through the Legatum Center at MIT and the MIT IDEAS Global Challenge, we were able to get funding for a project in the Philippines, where I’m from. This is the one thing that kept me “sane” during those first few months in Boston while my husband went to school every day and I used to sit at home due to my visa status. After two months I made the decision to go to graduate school. Going to graduate school in the US has always been a dream of mine but it was my recent business experience and living among the business school community in Cambridge that gave me the needed push. I started studying for the GMAT and took the test a month later.

I found Hult International Business School through an Economist article plus I’ve known some friends who went there for their MBAs. I knew that I only wanted a 1-year program and its proximity to the MIT Housing where we live was a bonus. I met with one of the recruiters and hearing my story, she encouraged me to apply for August 2012 admission.

When I got accepted, I immediately made plans to go back to Canada to apply for an F1 visa there. I could have applied within the US but it would have taken a lot of time and the US State Department does not really approve of it (based on past personal experience). Thankfully, I had no problems with the visa application at all.

I would suggest spouses coming to US on F2 visa to take a decision early and start working towards your goal.

Leah Grace C.

Manali V. Yadav’s Story

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Manali

I love Lucy. So did America. Lucille Ball was the undisputed queen of American television in the years following World War II, bringing mirth and merriment into households still reeling from the most catastrophic war known to mankind. She once famously said, “One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.” This advice is worth writing down in a diary somewhere. For those of us who have moved with our husbands to share in their dreams in foreign lands, Lucy’s advice is more precious than gold. Remember – the trick is to be happy and let one’s creative juices flow.

I too had apprehensions prior to moving to the Boston. After all, I was a successful career woman with an enviable job in one of India’s leading architecture firms. I was unsure if I was ready to part ways with what had been an important and enjoyable part of my life. I kept fighting these demons right until it was time to board my flight. I guess my mother sensed my anxiety in the tone of my voice as I called her up before it was time to shut off my mobile phone. They say mothers know best. They really do. “Don’t view the next opportunity as a replacement. Start a new chapter in your life. No two chapters should be the same” she said. And then, it dawned upon me. I wasn’t giving up my life as a career woman. I was merely gaining one of a housewife. Instead of making homes for a living, I was now going to make mine.

Being an architect and artist, my daily schedule in Boston couldn’t be any better. Boston is called the Athens of the United States. After all, Boston is the Number 1 Innovative City in the United States, “on the cutting edge of finding, inventing, and capitalizing on everything hot and new”, Boston is the Youngest city in the Country – said a survey. Countless universities and colleges coexist in a very small area, each a leader in a unique field. Unlike universities in other corners of the world, American institutes are welcoming to one and all. You don’t need to be a student to attend events in these universities. I took it upon myself to attend as many art exhibitions and visit as many museums as I could. I often attend talks by leaders in architecture – luminaries whose work I had studied as a student in India. I have met some incredibly gifted personalities and have become oriented with cultures from several countries. I have gone on food tasting events, learnt greetings in foreign languages and learned dance forms from other nations.

Just a word of advice – Like everything else in life, pursuing an advanced degree in the United States requires some planning. Be sure to check the websites of institutes to study their degree offerings, admission requirements and application deadlines. No two universities are alike in this regard. Some require GRE scores while others have more eclectic requirements. You must be willing to invest some time in preparing yourself to take these tests and fill out the application forms, some of which could be quite extensive. However, almost all universities require citizens from non-English speaking countries, including India, to take the TOEFL to demonstrate their command over the English language. Also, application deadlines to commence classes in a particular semester generally precede the semester by 6-8 months. For instance, if you are keen on joining a university in the fall semester, the deadline to apply might be in December or January. My husband had urged me to take GRE and TOEFL before I got married (December) Ironically, amidst the wedding preparations I was celebrating my engagement with Quants and Verbal. Luckily I was through with decent marks getting admitted to an excellent Co-op program in Design, which emphasize on learning in the workplace as well as the classroom.

Inspired and informed, I have taken the leap and enrolled myself for a Master’s degree in design at Boston Architectural College. I start classes in the fall. The next chapter of my life of being a student of design and a homemaker in conjunction is about to begin. I couldn’t be any more excited.

Manali V. Yadav

Richa Goel’s Story

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Juhi

In December 2008 when my husband accepted an offer and decided to move to USA on H-1B visa, I was employed with Sun Microsystems India. My daughter was just one month old and I was on maternity leave. For the best benefit of my family, especially the little one, I decided to resign from my job to immediately join my husband in USA on H4 visa. I hold a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Engineering and was working for last five years and had also worked in USA for a short period of three months on L-1B visa previously.

While in USA, I was enjoying my full time role of mother and homemaker and I was sure not to get back to working till my daughter would be big enough to be sent to full time daycare or school. However I still updated and uploaded my resume on Job search sites like Dice, Monster, Indeed etc. Also I forwarded my resume to all my old colleagues in India who were working for MNCs so they could forward it to their companies for a suitable job opening in USA. Additionally I emailed my resume to a few consultants including the one through which my husband had got a job. I used to get plenty of emails and phone responses from consultants and companies but it never made to even first round of technical interview because of my visa status and job location.

I was never disappointed and continued to update my resume to keep it current . I also started enquiring with other working women in my neighborhood and friends circle to understand if I will have to undergo a degree or course to get onto OPT etc which could help me in getting a job. I was certain not to get back to working or studies till my daughter turns two but wanted to use this time to decide on how to get back to working afterwords. Year 2010, I started to get few calls and as usual I told them about my visa status but that year Visa quota for India was still not full and few companies and consultants were ready to sponsor me for H-1B so I was interviewed over phone. I didn’t make thru 2-3 phone interviews but every phone interview helped me to prepare better for next interview. In August 2010, I got call from a company HR which had a job opening where my previous job experience exactly matched to what they were looking for. I had a technical telephone interview and then face to face and yes I got the job.

October 2010 my daughter turned two and I settled her to a full time day care center and started working in December 2010. All in all I believe my continuous positive attitude and putting efforts in every direction possible helped me to get a job in USA.

Thanks and Best Regards,
Richa

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