If you’re trying to enter the United States on a student visa, you may be dreading the interview process. You know how important it is. You feel like your entire future hangs in the balance. How can you possibly do well under that type of pressure?

First, it’s important to relax and remember that thousands of people go through this interview process. It’s not as daunting or impossible as it feels. You can do very well on it if you prepare in advance.

To help you, here are some tips from experts:

  • Get all of your documents together in advance. These include things like your university acceptance letter, your visa application and the I-20 form.
  • Work on your English. Even if you’re fluent in the classroom, take the time to practice in a real-world setting every chance you get. If you can’t do that, use different forms of entertainment — like music, movies and TV shows — to expose yourself to English as often as you can.
  • During the interview, talk about the entire process. This includes why you want to study in the U.S. and how it can help your family. Note that you plan to leave the U.S. and return home when your visa expires. Be very clear that you plan to follow the rules and the schedule that they give you.
  • Try to keep your answers as short and direct as you can. Give the interviewer the information they need to make a decision, and be prepared to elaborate if asked. However, keep things concise when possible.

This process does not have to be daunting. Just make sure you know exactly what steps to take. An experienced immigration attorney can provide valuable guidance.