Last Updated on: 22nd November 2023, 04:00 am
In a concerted effort to foster diversity, INTO University Partnerships has introduced a unique service, known as the Pre-Arrival Success Services (PASS) programme, aimed at assisting international students in navigating the US visa process, especially in countries where success rates remain low.
Through PASS, INTO offers visa support and guidance to international students at no cost to them, with a particular focus on promoting diversity on US campuses. The programme has successfully aided hundreds of students from various countries, including Pakistan, Turkey, Vietnam, Kenya, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan, in obtaining their visas.
Distinguished from traditional visa guidance, INTO’s PASS programme is a dedicated and personalised service led by a team of experienced advisors. The comprehensive support encompasses one-on-one mock interview sessions, workshops, and virtual webinars, providing comprehensive coverage of each step of the visa application process.
“The US international student visa application and interview can be a complex and challenging process for many students. Our primary goal is to build confidence in students throughout the visa process as they prepare to embark on their educational journey in the US,” stated Laura Nye, INTO PASS Programme Manager.
Initially launched as a pilot in 2020 to assist students from countries with low US visa success rates, the PASS programme has rapidly expanded into a full-fledged service. It has already facilitated over 1,000 students in successfully obtaining their F-1 visas, with an average 50% higher likelihood of visa approval compared to those without PASS.
The PASS digital webinars and workshops cover various topics, including “How to Apply for the F-1 Visa,” “Document Review,” “DS-160 Visa Application Overview,” “Interview Advice and Tips,” and a “General Q&A Forum.”
“Our programme is designed to address every aspect of the US visa process for students. We provide comprehensive information and the opportunity to address any concerns or questions they may have. We also facilitate connections with student experience teams at our partner universities and provide insights into campus resources. This ensures a smooth transition into university life, where students can leverage the available support,” explained Ms Nye.
The one-on-one mock interview sessions conducted by INTO’s US visa specialists equip students with the necessary skills and confidence for their visa interviews. This immersive experience enables students to effectively communicate their academic plans and goals, fostering confidence during their interviews.
Several students have shared their positive experiences with PASS. Ebilayefa, an undergraduate pathway student from Nigeria at The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), expressed gratitude for the sessions, stating, “Without PASS, I feel like I wouldn’t have been prepared for the interview because I wasn’t confident in myself, and my responses to questions were so poor. But with the coaching I had, I was taught how to answer questions effectively.”
The PASS programme has received accolades from INTO’s university partners in the US as it contributes to increasing campus diversity by attracting talented students from around the world.
Vince Milam, Director of Marketing & Recruitment at UAB, expressed appreciation, saying, “We truly appreciate all that the entire INTO PASS team does to help our students be more confident and successful at their interviews. We have even had students get refused 2 times and the PASS team has helped them be successful on their 3rd attempt. They provide such a valuable service.”
Oscar Del Rio, Director of Marketing and Recruitment at INTO Hofstra University, also praised the PASS team, stating, “The PASS team are a great support for our students. They provide students with valuable information and insight on the visa interview process. Their high-quality work is evident when speaking to students who have met with a PASS team member as they usually express their appreciation for the guidance received.”