TOEFL us citizen international degree

jones
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TOEFL us citizen international degree

Postby jones » Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:32 am

I'ma US citizen, applying to grad school for astrophysics for Fall 2010. I did my undergraduate degree in an Indian university. I'm not sure if I have to take the TOEFL since the website requirements usually say it's required for International students, however I wouldn't be considered an International student since I'm a US citizen, Does anybody know what I have to do?

mahar
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Re: TOEFL us citizen international degree

Postby mahar » Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:30 am

Have you attended any school in the US (high school, etc) ?

jones
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Re: TOEFL us citizen international degree

Postby jones » Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:40 am

Nope, lived in India since I was really young. However I took the SAT's in school and both the subject and general GRE's

mahar
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Re: TOEFL us citizen international degree

Postby mahar » Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:56 am

Then, I think that you have to take the toefl but I'm not sure.
Send an email to a university asking if you are eligible for a waiver of toefl.

shouravv
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Re: TOEFL us citizen international degree

Postby shouravv » Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:37 pm

Prepare for and take TOEFL (iBT). If the score is good (aka. 110+) then voluntarily report it; if not then wait until/unless asked.

mahar
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Re: TOEFL us citizen international degree

Postby mahar » Wed Sep 02, 2009 3:03 pm

110+?? ok, this is a perfect score, not simply a good one .
I think everything above 100 is a good score. Some universities want above 90, even the top (e.g. Stanford EE).

shouravv
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Re: TOEFL us citizen international degree

Postby shouravv » Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:15 pm

There is usually a different criteria when determining TA-ing ability etc., and it also matters how the score breaks down. I had a 112, but only 26/30 in speaking. While my university required a mere 90 or something for "applicant eligibility", they require at least 28/30 in speaking for TA's. I did not have it, and so I had to take a special test conducted by the university (modeled after the old ETS TSE format) to prove that I can speak English well enough. And guess what, even though I am an international student, I attended college in the US.

Now, your situation is unique. Quite possibly you will not be required to take TOEFL. What I meant to say is that unless it is as high as 110+ (it is quite common, actually), you shouldn't volunteer to report it to schools that don't require it.
Last edited by shouravv on Wed Sep 09, 2009 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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grae313
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Re: TOEFL us citizen international degree

Postby grae313 » Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:41 pm

Keep in mind that if universities list a requirement for a score, it is usually a bare minimum, not a suggested score unless they state it's an average. For example, all will say they want applicants to have above a 3.0 GPA, but the vast majority of applicants will typically have 3.5+ and the average of accepted students is usually higher.

jones
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Re: TOEFL us citizen international degree

Postby jones » Thu Sep 03, 2009 6:13 am

Ok, thanks for all the advice!

mahar
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Re: TOEFL us citizen international degree

Postby mahar » Thu Sep 03, 2009 9:58 am

shouravv wrote:There is usually a different criteria when determining TA-ing ability etc., and it also matters how the score breaks down. I had a 112, but only 26/30 in speaking. While my university requited a mere 90 or something for "applicant eligibility", they require at least 28/30 in speaking for TA's. I did not have it, and so I had a take a special test conducted by the university (modeled after old ETS TSE format) to prove that I know enough English. And guess what, even though I am an international student, I attended college in the US.

I see. But this does not make sense. You can find many templates for all the questions of the speaking section of the iBT and if you speak quickly you can ace it even without speaking better than others. Standarized tests... :twisted:

I had a problem with my speech when I was very young and now it comes again occasionally under very stressful conditions, so I have to control my voice in order to avoid it and this costs me few seconds. That's why I failed to give a complete answer to 2 or 3 of the speaking questions. Hence, I don't expect a high score in speaking.
Do you think that the people in admissions will understand a situation like this and give me an opportunity to prove myself? :?

I don't have any problem in my presentations (two poster presentations so far).

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grae313
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Re: TOEFL us citizen international degree

Postby grae313 » Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:33 am

Often times an admissions committee will conduct a phone interview with international applicants, which from what I've heard about it, seems to be a way for them to check the English skills of applicants they are unsure of, among other things. If your score ends up being a really big deal (you get really low) address it in your personal statement, and hopefully they will call you up if they are considering your application but are worried about your score. If you just get a little lower then you would like, don't stress over it.

mahar
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Re: TOEFL us citizen international degree

Postby mahar » Thu Sep 03, 2009 12:41 pm

Thanks for your response.
I will address the situation only if my speaking score is low compared to the other sections.
Tomorrow is the big day (toefl scores come out).

At least, I have one secured admission (in top50 but with one of the top research groups in the field I'm working), so I don't worry about a case of complete failure. :)
Although, I'm aiming higher :)

physics_auth
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Re: TOEFL us citizen international degree

Postby physics_auth » Sun Sep 06, 2009 9:46 am

mahar wrote:Thanks for your response.
I will address the situation only if my speaking score is low compared to the other sections.
Tomorrow is the big day (toefl scores come out).

At least, I have one secured admission (in top50 but with one of the top research groups in the field I'm working), so I don't worry about a case of complete failure. :)
Although, I'm aiming higher :)


Why the top reasearch group you mentioned is not enough for you? Would you prefer to get admitted from Harvard and work with a reasearch group not as good as the one you mentioned? If you choose the group you mentioned then they may be able to promote you to more prestigious places (i.e. universities or institutes) in the course of time ... . I guess that it's better to join a group (left alone a top one) which already knows who you are than a group which doesn't know your work and you don't know them too (in advance). ... don't look a gift horse in the mouth! (Mr Malliaras, now assoc. prof. at Cornell, didn't even finish his PhD studies in US, but his pioneering work on materials "won" him a respectful working position in a top US institute ... ). Finally, it's up to you ... .

mahar
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Re: TOEFL us citizen international degree

Postby mahar » Sun Sep 06, 2009 4:51 pm

Well, the place is a factor and from the things I have heard it is not the best place in the world. I mean the weather, etc.

Of course, I prefer to work in this research group rather than a not so good research group from Harvard for example. I definitely agree with you.

I will not apply to universities just for their name. I will apply only to those which have strong research groups in my field.

Well, I will apply to MIT (not physics, but materials science) and Stanford (EE) because there are top research groups in my field and I know the few people from those groups (socializing in conferences is always a good thing :) )

shouravv
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Re: TOEFL us citizen international degree

Postby shouravv » Sun Sep 06, 2009 11:19 pm

mahar wrote: ...and if you speak quickly you can ace it even without speaking better than others.
Actually it is important to speak clearly, and to fill up the 30sec / 60sec slots fully, rather than speaking too fast and finishing ahead of time. The embarrassing truth about any speaking test is that they are less interested in what you say (contents) than how you say it (clarity, accent, coherence). You can do more harm than good by speaking too fast. Try recording your own voice, just for fun, and you'll see what I mean.




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