Traveling with Family Members

Traveling with Family Members

Preparing for the GRE General Test

The GRE is a standardized test assessing verbal and quantitative reasoning as well as analytical writing skills. It is offered in a paper-based format on a few dates during the year in Iran; there is also a computer-based version available by appointment in other countries.

Test scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test can be an important factor in graduate admissions. Typically graduate departments do not have a minimum score but consider scores in combination with other factors, such as undergraduate grades, field-related experience/research, your personal statement and recommendations, and level of compatibility with the department’s focus.

New dates for the GRE test are postedat Be sure to register well in advance; deadlines are typically at least six weeks before test dates and test centers may fill quickly.

A few of the sites offering free preparation materials to familiarize you with the test and help you achieve your best score include— (official materials from the test developer, ETS)

Finding Your Field of Study

EducationUSA Iran has been receiving a number of questions from undergraduate students regarding how to choose a major and career. Some steps that we suggest include—

If you take part in an internship, volunteer work, or other longer-term activities as part of your career exploration, be sure to add information to your college applications describing your involvement. Such experiences can improve your college admission chances.

While you should have career goals prior to applying for U.S. study, it is common for students to change their fields of study during the course of their academic careers. The U.S. system is designed to allow students to explore a variety of fields and perhaps discover new career interests. Students often do not make a final decision on a major until the second year of their four-year bachelor’s degree program!

Conditional Admission

For full admission to U.S. degree programs, students need to score on average between 500 to 600 on the paper-based TOEFL or 79 to 90 on the Internet-based (iBT) version.  The exact score required varies considerably from institution to institution but all will require you to achieve a particular TOEFL level (or provide some similar proof of high-level English language proficiency).

If your TOEFL scores do not meet requirements but you are otherwise well-qualified, some universities may accept you through “conditional admission.”  Conditional admission generally means that you are approved to enter the university’s degree program if you first attend English language training (or fulfill other specified conditions).  You may also be required to take TOEFL again and achieve higher scores, though some institutions will accept successful completion of their English language program as a substitute.

If you have a score that is very close to the university’s admission requirement, some institutions may permit you to take one or two regular classes along with your English language training. Otherwise the English language study is likely to be full-time and noncredit, increasing the time it will take to earn your degree (and your program costs).

While conditional admission will prove a good option for some, the ideal situation is to achieve a score high enough that you don’t need conditional admission.  You can find tips on how to improve your English and raise your scores while still in Iran on the EducationUSA Iran web site at:

Traveling with Family Members

Family members planning to accompany you to the United States can apply for a visa based on their legal relationship to you. Only your spouse and children will qualify for this type of visa, and your children must be under age twenty-one. They would receive an F-2, J-2, or M-2 visa depending on whether you are awarded an F-1, J-1, or M-1 visa (the consular officer will make the decision depending on your type of academic/exchange program).

In a majority of cases, visas are awarded or denied to all based on the primary applicant’s ability to demonstrate his or her seriousness as a student, financial resources to pay for U.S. study/living expenses, and the intent to return to the home country after study is completed.

Keep in mind the added cost of living for taking family members to the United States. You must be able to provide proof of sufficient financial resources at the time of visa application.  Family members will not be allowed to work at all under U.S. visa regulations while in the United States and the hours allowed for students are limited, so the funds required will be substantial. Scholarships are also almost always designed to support a single person rather than a family.

In addition, some consular officers may determine that having your family in the United States is likely to lessen your ties to Iran and make it more likely that you will not return there. You need to show country ties and a realistic plan for after graduation to the consular officer that will demonstrate that you are not planning to immigrate.

While you may prefer to have your family with you during your studies in the U.S., consider whether bringing them is feasible for you as you strive to achieve your U.S. study goals.

For more information on student visa-related questions see:

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