Studying abroad is truly an experience of a lifetime, yet embarking on this journey can be daunting. This is because you have a host of decisions to make about colleges, disciplines, and countries before you can pack your bags and board a flight. Making the right choice can become difficult, especially when you throw tests and entrance exams into the mix.
To help you navigate the choppy waters, here’s a list of 7 pointers that you should keep in mind. Pay attention to these to make the right decision for your future.
Zero in on an area of interest
If you have earned an undergraduate degree in engineering, obviously a post-graduation in medicine is not an option. However, you still have to decide between an ME and an MBA degree and then zero in on the specialisation that will enhance your skill set, appeal to your interests and improve your job prospects.
Specialisations range from risk management and environmental engineering to aerospace studies. Therefore, start by making a list of the various options you have and then handpick the ones that make the cut.
Determine employment opportunities
An important consideration when choosing an overseas education programme is estimating job prospects that are in store in India and abroad. For instance, if you are considering a master’s degree in hotel management in Canada, carefully assess the demand for this degree in Canada, and also back home. This way you can decide whether this specialisation will give you a salary that is commensurate with the investment you’re making in your overseas education.
Research university rankings and campus life
Once you know what you want to study, scour the internet and check ratings and reviews of universities. This way you can pick colleges based on the quality of the faculty and research facilities.
For example, for an MBA consider top colleges such as Stanford Graduate School of Business, Harvard Graduate School of Business, INSEAD, London Business School and IE Business School. However, apart from rankings, also evaluate campus culture, extra-curricular activities, support groups, and financial aid.
Choose a country
Another approach is to make your choice on the basis of the country you wish to study in. To arrive at this answer you may consider the spoken language of the country, presence of relatives who you can rely on in times of need, the size of the Indian community, the job market, the cost of living, as well as the weather. For instance, you may favour Australia for its large Indian community and not France, as it’s a predominantly French-speaking nation.
Factor in the cost
The cost is one of the most important factors that you need to consider when selecting an overseas university. Weigh in the price of education and the ancillary expenses to decide whether the college or country that you’re considering is a good fit. To ascertain this amount add the tuition fees, living costs, and expenses towards health insurance. For example, post-graduation courses in the US can cost you anywhere between Rs.15 to 35 lakh per year, with living expenses averaging at around Rs.10 lakh per year, and health insurance plans costing Rs.35,000–70,000 annually. Learn about admission procedures There are two main factors you need to be cognizant of: the exams you need to take and the application timeline. Entrance exams are generally of two types: language exams such as IELTS and TOEFL, and aptitude tests such as GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and SAT. Depending on the college and the course you choose, you will have to give entrance exams to qualify.
For example, if you are seeking an MS in the US, you will have to give at least one English exam, and one standardised test.
The other thing you need to be aware of is the timeline for appearing for entrance exams, submitting applications, and getting your visa papers in order. For admission to a 2020 batch, the timeline may look something like this: June to December 2019: Give exams August to October 2019: Submit applications November 2019 to April 2020: Appear for interviews May to July 2020: Secure a visa
Examine the terms and conditions of your visa
For a student visa, you will need to have a valid passport and proof of admission from the college you wish to join. The visa will also determine the kind and amount of work you can take up in the country, and for how long you can stay. Thus, it is important for you to pay attention to the fine print. For example, when you’re granted an F-1 student visa in the US, you can only work on campus during your first year of studies.
Once you have decided which overseas university you wish to study at, take the next step and craft an eye-catching CV and personal essay. For guidance and help along the way, consult with Edisol.