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FAQ

  1. What are the costs of living in US?
  2. I can give you some rough ideas about Texas (which is known to be a pretty inexpensive state). Rent of a one-bedroom apartment: 400$ in University Apartments and 600$ off-campus. Health insurance (which I guess is mandatory for international students): maybe around 70$ a month (in case it is not covered by the school, otherwise you don't need to consider that). Grocery shopping (including food and ingredients): around 30-40$ a week for a single person. Electricity: 30$ for on-campus apartments and at least 70$ for off-campus apartments.
  3. How should I prepare for GRE and TOEFL?
  4. Please have a look at this page about GRE and TOEFL
  5. How can I have financial aids while studying?
  6. The best way to receive financial aids is to apply for Teacher Assistantship (TA) or Research Assistantship (RA) when applying to schools. Then, they will also consider your application for financial aids, beside your application for that school.
  7. What should I bring to US (if I am going to live there for a long time)?
  8. I am positive that there is a document prepared by Sharif University students in which they have described everything in detail. As a rough idea, avoid bringing electrical appliances unless you either have a converter (110v to 220v) or the appliance works with both voltages. Generally electrical appliances are quite inexpensive here. If you want to buy a laptop, I would suggest you buy it here (vs Iran) as you have access to varieties of options and customer services.
  9. Is Texas the best state to live?
  10. I can not say whether it is the best state or not. The costs are relatively low for where we live (but please look for more quantified descriptions on the web). People are warm and friendly (but I have not "lived" in other states, so maybe the story is the same for other states). The weather is relatively warm and hot and humid in summer in the region that we live. I would suggest you to have a look at weather reports in the past few years. As a first hand experience, it is not that much bad. We are in buildings or vehicles most of the times in summer and hence we do not feel the heat that much.
  11. Should I apply only to Texan universities?
  12. I do not recommend so! There are plenty of schools all around the US and I do not recommend someone to limit choices only because of a state.
  13. Should I be worried about my low undergrad GPA?
  14. Undergraduate GPA is important; it is clear in the transcripts. But it is not the only important factor. Your GPA in Masters degree, your research experiences, your work experiences, your probable publications, sometimes your exam records (like TOEFL and GRE), your statement of purpose and your recommendation letters are also some other factors that count. It is a combination of many factors that help you for your application. I recommend you not to loose your hope, as hope is the most important factor!
  15. I do not know which schools should I apply to, based on schools rankings. How should I choose?
  16. I was once recommended to choose a method that made sense to me: Estimate your level and proper schools in that level, choose a proportion of your target schools in that level (like 80%), a proportion in schools less than your estimate (like 10%) and a proportion in schools that are higher than your estimate (like the rest of 10%). I would recommend you to be realistic and use your common sense.
  17. How is College Station, TX?
  18. College Station is a nice and small town (it sometimes looks more like a village) with nice and friendly people. It is about 1.5 to 3 hours from Houston (depending on where in Houston you want to go) and around 2 hours from Austin. People have access to various kinds of restaurants, stores, sports facilities and recreations in College Station. This is while Houston and Austin (and even Dallas, but with three hours of driving) or nearby alternatives are available to access urban facilities.
  19. How is Texas A&M University campus?
  20. The campus is practically huge (one of the largest in the nation) and is nice and beautiful.
  21. How are the living facilities in Texas A&M University?
  22. On-campus apartments are in different styles. There are Hensel apartments which are small, but clean, nice and inexpensive (about 430 dollars per month, around 2009). Other apartments are more expensive (like 500 or 600 dollars a month, around 2009). Hensel apartments also have natural gas for cooking and the heater. I think all of them provide internet and TV cable (look it in their on-line brochures). They are also close to the campus and you normally don't need car to come back and forth. Some of the Iranians live on-campus, but many live off-campus.
  23. How are the costs of living in College Station, TX?
  24. Texas is known to be one of the inexpensive states in the US. The cost of renting in College Station is good (although it has increased recently) and you can rent a one bedroom apartment for around 600 dollars (it varies depending on the location and conditions). If you apply for OnCampus apartments, they are more inexpensive and still convenient. You also need to allocate at least 400 to 500$ a month for grocery and stuffs like that (of course it totally depends on your manner of leaving!). Generally, I can say 1500$ a month (assuming that you don't pay for tuition) will cover costs of a couple (even lesser amounts would work, too). The tuition is generally low in Texas A&M University, as I have heard that it is one of the lowest ones in the nation. Please find more in other items in this FAQ.
  25. How much are the tuitions in Texas A&M University?
  26. I would suggest you have a look at Tuition and Fees (Student Accounts & Billing Office) that contains many resources. Also there is a Cost of Attendance page which contains a calculator.
  27. Can I receive student loans in Texas A&M University?
  28. Please have a look at Student Loan Services.
  29. Can I find jobs while I am a student in Texas A&M University?
  30. Please have a look at Jobs for Aggies website. As far as I know, you can do part-time on campus jobs while you are student. As far as I know, this should not exceed 20 hours per week.
  31. Can I get scholarships?
  32. Many people who send me emails ask about scholarships. I guess by "scholarship" you might mean "financial aid". Please look for the definitions of "scholarship", "financial aid", "teacher assistantship (TA)", "research assistantship (RA)" and "fellowship" in websites such as wikipedia. You do not want to limit yourself to scholarships when looking for opportunities. Regarding how to look for financial aids, I have explained in previous items.
  33. Since it's really important for me to find a good job after graduation, how Texas A&M University can prepare me for a competitive career perspective?
  34. Finding a job is important for everyone. I don't have a clear and straightforward answer to this question. Needless to say, it depends on the type of job. Generally speaking, I think it might highly depend on the type and quality of your research, your publications, the depth of knowledge you have made in the years and the network of people you have developed through your studies. I think case of Texas A&M is like other universities: you need to work hard to get good results.
  35. Is there any problem for an Iranian applicant to be admitted in aerospace engineering?
  36. As far as I know, theoretically speaking, no. Iranians can get admitted into aerospace engineering programs as well. We have a few Iranians in our department. Statistically speaking, I don't know how much it is less common for Iranians to be admitted.
  37. How can I thank you for your help?
  38. You do not need to do anything special. If you just be considerate and learn my name, you have already done a big favor. Please note that people's names are the most important word for them and the least you can do is to learn their names correctly. I would also like to point to another issue that happens frequently: When someone spends some time and replies your email (sometimes with many paragraphs), it would be much nicer if you reply and drop a line stating that you have received their response.

Please feel free to contact me if you come up with some questions that are not covered in this section.

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?

Mahatma Gandhi