Students General FAQ About Arizona State University (ASU) ‎

General FAQ

1Will I get admission with a GRE score of…?
I’ve got admission to ASU. Should I go, how good is ASU.
I haven’t got any assistantship as of now.
What are my chances of getting financial aid when I come to ASU?
Whom to contact for getting financial aid?
Can you check my admission status? Do I need to submit some other documents…? 
Can you let me know the names and email addresses of people in XYZ department? 
When are decisions made regarding admissions?
Can you tell me the pre-requisites that I will have to take? 
Oops, I have got some pre-requisite courses, which I think I have already done!
Can I defer my admission?
What if I decide not to join ASU?
What is this Yahoo group I’ve heard about?
Where can I find official information related to Visa issues?
Flight Information
What if I miss a connection? 
Immigration and Customs
Luggage Handling
Lost or Delayed Luggage
What documents do I need to carry while traveling?
When should I come to ASU?
What is Tuition fee at ASU?
Do we HAVE to live “on-campus”?
Can I work off-campus?
What do I need to do once I reach ASU?
What should NOT be brought from INDIA?
What are other important things I need to know?

1. Will I get admission with a GRE score of…?

Admission for a specific program does not necessarily depends on the GRE score alone. Different programs have different minimum scores. Make sure you have good verbal score in GRE (maybe around 500 or more) and also a decent TOEFL score, other wise you will end up taking some English improvement courses. So do all the homework in India. You can contact the specific department and the Professors there to enquire about the possibility of your admission.

2. I’ve got admission to ASU. Should I go, how good is ASU.

The ranking varies every year, and it varies for every department. The current ranking of ASU maybe obtained from one of the rankings list (for e.g. It was relatively easy to get funding here, though very few students come here with aid, but due to the sudden increase in the number of incoming students, it is becoming harder by the day. If you don’t expect to get admission into one of the better schools, ASU might be a better bet.

3. I haven’t got any assistantship as of now.

Very few come to ASU with funding. You can probably come here and then look for funding in the department. One always stands a better chance if he/she directly talks to the professors. ASU is a pretty big campus, and there a lot of on campus jobs available. Most of the on campus jobs fetch a basic monthly salary sufficient to manage your monthly expenses, but not the tuition fee. So even if you don’t get a funding from the department, you can manage monthly expenses with an on campus job.

4. What are my chances of getting financial aid when I come to ASU?

It is very difficult to predict that! The funding scene differs from department to department. The students here would not know one’s chances of getting financial aid. It is better to contact the specific department and the Professors there to know about the chances of getting a financial aid.

5. Whom to contact for getting financial aid?


Every semester, the TA positions in ASU are awarded by the respective departments and not by the professors (as many students think). Students have to apply for a TA position by filling the application forms available with the concerned department, once the person reaches here. This means, you cannot apply for these positions when you are in India. As far as my knowledge goes, the applications forms are not available online on the respective department’s web pages.

The various factors that are considered for granting the TA position are:

SPEAK TEST / TSE Scores – If you have not appeared for the TSE, then I suggest, if you have got some time before starting from India then do that. Otherwise you will end up paying in $$ to appear for the test over here. The other option is to appear for the SPEAK TEST, which is considered sufficient in lieu of a TSE in ASU. You cannot appear for the SPEAK TEST in India. You can do that when you reach here. The SPEAK TEST is administered on- campus frequently. In view of the limited seats each month, it is suggested that you should enroll for it as soon as you reach ASU, so that you don’t have to wait for months to get a date for the test.

Under-graduation GPA – Anything above 3.5/4.0 adds to your chances.

Recommendation Letters – By this, I mean the letters from the ASU professors (who may like to have you as his/her TA) and not the recommendation letters that you have got from your school professors.

Facts: A person has hardly got a TA position in the first semester, unless the person has been committed a TA position in the I-20 itself as a form of some financial aid/support from ASU. This may be given to some of the exceptionally brilliant students and not to everyone in the form of Fellowship or Scholarship or similar heads of funding. Moreover the Graduate Advisor want to see what courses have you taken in ASU and hence for what courses, you can be considered as a TA. So scramble starts from the second semester to grab the few positions. You compete with P.hd students as they are awarded the positions first.


The RA positions are awarded by the professors in the concerned dept. and not by the department. One can apply for a RA position in other department also, but the department prefers students from their own department. The professor while awarding the positions considers the following things:

1. If you have taken any courses under him in the previous semesters. If so, then what was your grade in that, if not then will you be taking any courses if he awards you such a position. The other way around to look at his coin is, how far the Professor knows you and if you are in his good books.

2. Are you interested to work under him in his research areas? Now if the professor is into Wireless Communications and if you go and tell him that you are interested in doing something in Digital Signal Processing, then better not waste your efforts and chill, as the result is bound to be NULL. So the students need to study the areas in which the professor is into and then try to work something which will convince him that, yes, you can be the right person on which he/she can think upon.

3. Does the professor have some funds available for research projects/work or for some industry related projects on which he is working? If not then the chances of awarding a RA is again very remote.

Students may like to get in touch with the professors (the information for each department and its professors is available on ASU web pages) when in India and can explore if he/she responds and offers some thing. The university website ( gives the email addresses of all the professors of every department. It also gives information about the fields in which they are working. Usually, one might contact the professor and write to him/her about his/her interests. If the professor is interested, he/she will get in touch with you. It is always a good idea to have contact with the professors by mail and let him/her know who you are. Inform them if you have got an admission. They will be more interested in you once you have been admitted. If not immediately, you might improve your chances of getting aid when you come and meet him/her personally.

6. Can you check my admission status? Do I need to submit some other documents…?

We are not authorized to find details about the admissions. The confidentiality of information of a student is maintained very strictly. The Departments and the International Student Office can provide the details of the documents. We can just provide an overview!

7. Can you let me know the names and email addresses of people in XYZ department?

ISA cannot arbitrarily give out names and email addresses of students. However, we will post names of students who themselves have volunteered to have their names and department listed on the web page. You may contact them.

8. When are decisions made regarding admissions?

Depends on which semester you are applying for. For fall, students’ start receiving admission letters as early as March and admissions continue until late June. A word of advice is ‘apply as early as possible’.
ONLY AFTER receiving these, will your packet (Transcripts, GRE score, Letter of Recommendation, Statement of Purpose, Resume, etc) be forwarded to the respective department.

9. Can you tell me the pre-requisites that I will have to take?

Sorry again! We are not the student record analysts! Please contact the respective department for all information related to academics. Besides, the department will have to look at your transcripts to determine that.

10. Oops, I have got some pre-requisite courses, which I think I have already done!

Usually students do not enclose a description of the courses, which they have or will be taking. It is very difficult for the graduate admissions committee to know what you have covered by simply looking at the course headings (since names differ). It may be helpful to send syllabus/curriculum details along with your application packets. If you have not done that so far, and have been given pre-requisites, you may try to waive them by sending a letter attested by your college/university stating that you have covered the necessary topics/subject under so and so course name. You may even get them waived after coming here by producing the necessary syllabus/curriculum details or as required by the respective department.

11. Can I defer my admission?

Yes you can. Inform your department (administrative person in-charge) regarding this and they will provide more information in this regard.

12. What if I decide not to join ASU?

Inform your department (administrative person in-charge) in this regard and you may be asked to return your I-20. It is courteous to inform that you will not be joining since another deserving student may be offered the financial aid that was offered to you.

13. What is this Yahoo group I’ve heard about?

ISA is not involved in any Yahoo group of the new incoming students.

14. Where can I find official information related to Visa issues?

The best place for official information regarding Visa issues is the US Consulates in India. There are 4 Consulate offices in India at New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai.

New Delhi
Link to US Embassies and Consulates worldwide

15. Flight Information

Phoenix being a major US port of entry, most of you can take flights from India to Sky Harbor Airport, Phoenix. This will avoid any hassle of taking domestic connections from New York, Chicago, Los- Angeles or other airports to Phoenix. Try to come to Phoenix directly instead of taking domestic connections.

16. What if I miss a connection? 

Inform the airlines and try and get the next flight. Call in and let us know so that we will know the exact time you will be coming in, so that we may alter your pick-up plan.

17. Immigration and Customs

Port of entry is the first US city where your incoming international plane lands. In most cases, a flight attendant will distribute customs declaration forms and immigration forms before the plane lands at Atlanta. Fill all these out, while on the plane. The forms include questions about the contents of your luggage. Penalties for incorrect declaration can be severe, and you would not want to get caught up in a verbal interaction with officers, just after landing. One important note here, please do not scratch or over-write anything, ask for a new one and surrender the old one.
Hence be pretty honest and write the details as questioned. So long as pickles and spices are packed and sealed in a proper manner, they can be classified as non-perishable and dehydrated, and you may declare them as such. While coming out go through the “GREEN CHANNEL” not the “RED CHANNEL”. Pay attention to signs.

18. Luggage Handling

Even if your luggage is booked through to your final destination, it will be off-loaded at your port of entry. Phoenix, being the port of entry and your final destination too, you should not face any problems. In case your port of entry is not Phoenix, make sure you check your luggage and that it is loaded in the connecting flight.
It is your responsibility to pick up the entire luggage off the conveyor belt and take it through the customs area.
DO NOT PANIC if the officer asks you to open the luggage. It will be in your interest to pack it with your own hands in India, so that when you un-pack it at the airport (if at all!!), there should not be a condition that the stuff in an unpacked condition is twice as much as the one initially packed in!!

19. Lost or Delayed Luggage

If by any chance your luggage does not seem to pop up on the conveyor system, look for it for a certain finite amount of time.
Beyond which, contact your specific Airline-office and fill up a DELAYED / LOST LUGGAGE form. Give them the destination address and phone number so that they can ship it there, after it arrives. There is a fair chance that the luggage might have got shipped to another destination or would not have been uploaded on your plane at your connecting airport (Frankfurt / London etc.)
See to it that you fill up the form before leaving the premises. Do not be rude but be firm while dealing with the airline representatives. And do not panic too. It’ll come home safe.

20. What documents do I need to carry while traveling?

Carry your Passport; I-20, cash, traveler’s checks and entry permit (in its original sealed envelope) on your person, or in a handbag that you carry into the cabin. Do not put any cash in the baggage you check in. Incidentally, you won’t need more than $100 during travel, unless you want to do some duty-free shopping. Carry the rest of your money in the form of US travelers’ checks.

21. When should I come to ASU?

Coming to ASU depends on financial aid and your own convenience. If you do not have financial aid then, coming 10-15 days before the first day of classes is ideal. That will help you look for an on-campus job (or assistantship) and also adjust yourself to the place. Those with assistantship can arrive a week before the first day of classes.

22. What is Tuition fee at ASU?

The info regarding tuition fee is available at All the international students have to enroll for a minimum of 9 credit hours. Students having GA/RA/TA are required to pay resident tuition. Other students (even those with on-campus jobs) have to pay non-resident tuition.

23. Do we HAVE to live “on-campus”?

No! Not at all. Almost all the international graduate students live “off-campus”. It is much economical and convenient to live off-campus. The off-campus accommodation is available at walking distance from the university and there is no problem in commutation whatsoever. Unlike most of the other cities in United States, the bus service is very economic and efficient. There is a free bus service from the off campus accommodation locations to the university every 15-30 minutes.

24. Can I work off-campus?

Students on F-1 visas are not allowed to work off-campus. Under extenuating circumstances this restriction may be waived, but only with prior permission from the Immigration and Naturalization Services, and that too only after completing nine months of studies here. The Immigration Department is very strict about permitting F-1 students to work off-campus, even if the situation appears desperate from the point of view of the student. Spouses on F-2 Visa are not allowed to work under any circumstances.

25. What do I need to do once I reach ASU?

Things to do once you are here:

  • Get your Identification card (ASU Sun Card).
  • Get your ASU e-mail account activated.
  • Attend the Orientation program.
  • Open your Bank Account.
  • Contact your department and your adviser.
  • Get an apartment to live in.
  • Get your social security number
  • Subscribe to ASU India.
  • Start having a good time at ASU.

    26. What should NOT be brought from INDIA?
  • Excessive winter clothing – We get cheaper and better quality clothing here. Don’t worry; there would be enough time for you to cover yourself up.
  • Organic Edibles – Something like fruits, vegetables or meat products. You will face trouble at the customs. Pickles are ok but definitely NOT fruits!
  • Loads of formal clothing – Just unnecessary! Shorts and T-shirts are the order of the day here.
  • For Women, excessive jewelry -Again, the same reason as above, it isn’t appropriate for daily wear, but good only for special occasions.
  • Utensils -You gets most of them here. They just occupy a lot of space, and of course, weigh a lot. If you are bent on packing you bags to their fullest, then you could possibly get a truckload of Indian delicacies for the Indian-grub-starved desi junta!
  • Electric appliances – which work on 220V. Forget about their working, you cant even plug them in.

    27. What are other important things I need to know?

  • International Students are NOT allowed to work Off-Campus through out their stay. No exceptions. If caught, deported directly.
  • On Campus Jobs wont waive your tuition. You need to still pay the out-state (non-resident) tuition.
  • Graduate, Research and Teaching Assistants pay in-state (resident) tuition.
  • Health Insurance is COMPULSORY. The ones bought in India are NOT valid here.
  • Medical examination to be done in India as specified in the documents, is compulsory, don’t take risks, you may be asked to do them here at a cost. And get them filled in that place itself.
  • Give us your travel plans in advance, so that we can arrange for your airport pick-up your initial temporary accommodation.

    28. Miscellaneous:

Some Advice:

  • Please take all facts and calculations in account before starting your new adventure here. The rules and regulations here concerning all aspects viz. academics, policies, university/government rules are very strict with no exceptions or waivers.
  • Please do not direct your queries to many people at a time. Kindly understand, we are ordinary students like you guys, we ourselves are busy here, kindly give us time for your reply. Each one of us gets an average of 10-15 emails per day!
  • This is a bad phase in this nation’s economy take that into account. The economic slowdown has affected both jobs and funding at schools. Plan for long term goals, its an important phase/transition in your lives.
  • Finally, please don’t ask us about other universities, we don’t have any info about them. We’ll end up giving you wrong info most of the times. And, kindly be specific in your questions.

A Guide To American Conversation:

  • The telephone is never engaged, it is always busy
  • You don’t disconnect a phone, you simply hang up
  • You don’t stop at signals, you halt at the lights
  • You don’t pass out from a university, you graduate
  • You don’t accelerate, you step on the gas
  • If your tire is punctured, it means you have a flat.
  • There are no petrol bunks or petrol pumps, there are gas stations
  • You never post a letter, you always mail it
  • You don’t stand in a queue, you are in a line
  • You no longer like something, you appreciate it.
  • # is not a hash, it is a pound sign.
  • There is no full stop at the end of a statement, instead you find a period


  • Penny = 1 cent
  • Nickel = 5 cents
  • Dime = 10 cents
  • Quarter = 25 cents
  • Half Dollar = 50 cents
  • Silver Dollar = 100 cents

American Terms and Their Indian Equivalence:

Apartment = flat
Battery = cell
Beat up = worn out, shabby (said of a thing)
Beat around the bush = avoid an issue
Been had = to have been taken advantage of
Big shot = a supposedly important person or someone who thinks he/she is
Big deal = anything important, exciting
Bike = cycle
Break the ice = make a beginning
Buck = dollar bill
Bombed = see “high”
Boot = trunk
Booze = alcoholic beverage
Bummer = a term to designate that something undesirable has happened
Cab = taxi
Cash = paying someone with currency rather than a check
Check = cheque
Check out = look over a situation
Cilantro = coriander
Collect Call = a telephone call where the recipient of the call pays
Cookie = biscuit
Cool or neat = slang term denoting approval for something or someone
Cool it = calm down
Cop = slang for policeman
Cut it out = stop it
Crack up = to lose emotional control in laughter
Date = to go out with someone; also the person with whom you go
Down = to feel depressed, sad
Downtown = Central Business District of any American city
Down to earth = practical, straightforward, (person)
Drive one up the wall = drive one nuts; to make one very nervous, or upset
Drop = to withdraw from a course on or before the set date
Drugstore = Pharmacy/Chemist
Eggplant = Brinjal
Electricity = current
Elevator = lift
Eraser = rubber
Fall for = take a strong liking for
Fed up = disgusted with, or tired of
Fender = bumper
Flammable = inflammable
Flashlight = torch
Freak out = to lose control of oneself, go crazy
Gas = petrol
Give a ring = to call on the telephone
Go to pot = to deteriorate
Grass = slang term for marijuana
Gripe = to complain
Hang up = in reference to the telephone it means do not hang up the receiver
Hang in there = keep trying; do not be discouraged
Hassled = troubled by
Have a lot on the ball = to be capable, talented, or efficient
High = intoxicated (“loaded”) from liquor or drugs
Hit the sack = go to bed
Hood = bonnet
Hung up = to be in conflict over a problem
I.D. = identification
In a nutshell = very briefly and concisely
Jock = an athlete
Keep your shirt on = be clam, be patient
Know the ropes = be familiar with the details of an undertaking
Lemon = bad buy or purchase
Loaded = to get intoxicated
Long Distance Call = STD/Trunk call
Make ends meet = budget within one’s income
Make up = (1) to apologize after a fight or disagreement
(2) To do an assignment after it was due
(3) Cosmetics a woman uses
Mailbox = post box
Mid term = test given during the middle of the quarter
Motel = inexpensive hotel
Motorbike = motorcycle
Muffler = silencer of a car
Okra = ladyfinger
On the house = free, no cost
Old man = slang term for father
Once in a blue moon = seldom, infrequently
Out of it = (1) somebody whose mind is far away or preoccupied
(2) Somebody not fitting into a certain group
Out of the question = unthinkable, impossible
Over my dead body = not if I can stop it!
Out of sight = term of approval denoting something exciting or very good
Panhandler = beggar
Payphone = public telephone
Pedestrian Crossing = zebra crossing
Peanuts = groundnuts
Phony = someone who is insincere, also fake
Play it by ear = to respond to circumstances as they arise
Play second fiddle = be second in importance
Pop-Quiz = a test given with no prior warning
Pop/Soda = aerated drink/soft drink
Pot = a term used for marijuana
Psyched up = to mentally prepare yourself for something; excited about something
Pull one’s leg = to tease someone
Pull strings = use influence
Pull the wool over someone’s eyes = deceive or mislead someone
Put someone on = to tease or try to fool. “Are you putting me on?”
Put your foot in your mouth = say something you regret having said
Rip off = to steal; charge an exorbitant price for some item
Redneck = hillbilly
Restroom = toilet
Returned Check = bounced cheque
Run around with = be friends with
Screwed up = confused
Shook up = upset
Show = movie or film, cinema
Sidewalk = footpath/pavement
Skip or cut = not go to class
Stoned = to get high on grass
Straight = one who goes along with the norms of society, conservative
Subway = underground railway system
Take a rain check = to postpone an invitation, accepting it for a later date
Take for granted = to assume
Through the grapevine = through gossip
To Go = carry out (especially referring to food)
To the max = to the maximum or greatest degree
Traffic Light = traffic signal
Trash Can = dustbin
Uptight = worried, tense
Under the weather = sick, not feeling well
Windbreaker = windcheater
With flying colors = with victory or success
Wasted = an extreme lack of energy. Also can mean “high”
Ya’ll = you all
Zee = the letter “Z”
ZIP Code = postal code
Zero in on = focus or concentrate on

Immigration FAQs

1. What forms should I fill before I come to ASU?

You have togo to and fill in the Address and
Immigration Information pages. You should also keep all the immigration
documents safe with you all the while.

2. Where should I go to see the academic advisor?

Just go to the respective department and ask for your assigned advisor. You
can also check for the professors on the ASU website and find out the professor
under whom you would like to work and make him your advisor.

3. How do I get the computer account / ASURITE for ASU?

Initially all the new students will get the ASURITE ID but that will be
activated only after you register for classes and pay the fees at ASU. It is
very important that the students register and pay fees to get the computer
account activated and use the computers in the ASU campus.

4. What is the amount I have to pay?

Fall 2003 — 6,058$ for tution and 469$ for insurance
and Spring 2003 — 6,058$ for tution and 657$ for insurance

Disclaimer: ISA is not responsible for any statements made or documents asked in this page. We would not entertain any calls or emails related to this page. This page is intended only for student information and we appreciate your understanding.