Dream International

Connect with Alisha Mashruwala for all you need to know about foreign education.

Connect with Alisha Mashruwala, Harvard University alumna and co-founder of OnCourse Global, an education consulting company, for all you need to know about foreign education. Write to her on amashruwala.zee@gmail.com.

Did you know that there has been a 50 per cent increase in US Student Visas since last year? With cut offs from 97-100 per cent in Indian colleges, many students are looking at opportunities abroad. With a 92 per cent in your exams, chances of getting into an Ivy League are higher than getting in to Delhi University!

Students looking to study overseas, have a tremendous range of quality institutions in terms of program, curriculum flexibility, research opportunities and extra-curricular activities. So why is it so important to strike a balance between academics and extra-activities? Such activities define you and the experiences shape your personality. An education abroad taps all aspects of your holistic growth as an individual. Yes, academics will always play a crucial role, but colleges are looking for more than just that.

Most colleges and universities abroad offer unlimited opportunities for practical training related to the field of study. They typically have established affiliations with researchers and employers in different fields of study, providing students a platform to obtain valuable experience. At such a young age, wouldn’t you enjoy the potential chance to work with a Nobel-prize winning professor?

You have access to state of the art laboratories with advanced research facilities. Specialised technology and equipment allow each student to maximise their true potential and gain experience that is marketable in the real world. Along with academics, students can get involved in organisations and community work, and form a diverse network of students and faculty.

Although studying abroad comes with a cost, the broad range of tuition and living costs along with internship and on-campus work opportunities make countries like the US, UK, Canada, and Singapore viable options for international students. This column aims to address queries from students across disciplines in order to provide an insight into the study abroad options, procedures and requirements.

Q 1. What are the admission requirements for an undergraduate program in the US?

-Raunak Majumdar, Bangalore

Ans 1. In order to be eligible for admission to a US University, you must meet certain minimum entry requirements. These include a secondary school diploma or examination results, English language proficiency, and in most cases a score from a standardised test such as the SAT or the ACT. Each college has their own supplementary requirements for admission hence it is important to research what the universities may require in terms of your interests. Students are also required to submit recommendation letters from their high school teachers or counsellors.

Q 2. How long before are college applications for a graduate programme in the US generally due?

-Meghna Srivastava, Pune

Ans 2. It is advisable to give yourself enough time to conduct research about potential graduate programme and schools. If you plan to begin your course in the fall semester (August/September), start your research two years ahead of time. Most graduate schools start accepting applications about a year before the program’s start date. You should plan on spending a year gathering and reviewing information regarding programs, getting your recommendation letters in hand and preparing a statement of purpose. Each institution sets its own deadline date, and is usually firm about not accepting applications after that time.

Q 3. What is the approximate cost of study for an undergraduate program abroad?

-Anil D’Souza, Mumbai

Ans 3. The cost of education varies from country to country. An undergraduate degree in the US ranges from $30,000 to $60,000 a year. A three year undergraduate degree from the UK ranges from £15,000 to £23,000 a year. In comparison to this, a degree from Singapore ranges between SG$20,000 to SG$30,000 a year. There are various scholarship/financial aid opportunities that students can apply for.

Q 4. What is the importance of application essays for admission to an undergraduate program?

-Saifuddin Rangwalla, Mumbai

Ans 4. The application essay gives universities a chance to get a personal glimpse of you, an insight that is not possible in the grades and numbers that make up the rest of your application. In general, essays should be open-minded. Colleges look for qualities, accomplishments, incidents, failures, beliefs and ideas as part of the application essay or personal statement. Essays also allow admissions officers to assess writing and organisational skills along with academic ability.

Q 5. Is a student allowed to work during the course of a degree?

-Viral Mody, Kalyan

Ans 5. Yes, depending on the country of your choice. Getting a job while you study can help improve your organisational and language skills. International students are often allotted a set number of hours per week to pursue an on campus job. It is advisable to get in touch with the university’s International Office to understand the rules and regulations to work while studying.