Things to Keep in Mind Before Applying for International Education
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Since the early 2000s, there has been a phenomenal increase in the number of our students heading for International Education. As we start with another round of Admissions for the next academic year, here is a list of things to know before taking the plunge:
What do You Want to Study: ‘I want to do MBA’ or ‘Which is your BEST course?’ – These are some of the familiar responses one gets while attending Admission Fairs. However, it is highly recommended that you concentrate on the Course Curriculum rather than the Degree. Universities offer you degrees depending on your age-group, professional maturity, background etc. Students should take the efforts to know what exactly they want to study as their career depends on this choice. A wrong choice will lead to another round of migration.
Course Structure: Colleges abroad have different start dates, duration, teaching set-ups etc. These are defined by the professional requirements within the specific country. Clarity in the course structure is highly essential to ensure you know what you are getting into. Suggest you spend time understanding the Course Structure.
Entry Requirements: Each college has a unique method of admitting students. Some might require a GMAT/GRE score, a minimum GPA etc. It is up to the students to ensure the right scores are available in time to send the applications. Ideally, taking the entrance exam a year prior to the start date is an acceptable practice. However, students who appear for the exams closer to the Application End Date too stand a chance of getting a foot is the subject to availability.
Scholarships: Universities are all the time looking for quality candidates. These candidates will turn into their Brand Ambassadors post studies. The earlier you apply, the more chances you will have at applying for Scholarships. Do keep a tab on the various Scholarships one can apply to. You will end up saving on tuition costs, which can be used for travelling purposes during your studies.
Research on Alumni & Current Students: Tools like LinkedIn have made it easier to know the career trajectory of any professional. Spend time in finding the relevant alumni of a school and analyzing their career progression. It will give you a sense of what to expect from the degree in the short term.
Plan your Finances: Many times students don’t really give a thought to this VERY IMPORTANT aspect. They take the pains to submit their applications, make the application fee payments but are surprised when they get an Offer Letter. It is only then that they start checking their financials. But, doesn’t this contradict some of the skills you mentioned in the Statement Of Purpose? The best way would be to start by knowing the Tuition Fees and Cost of Living for the duration of the studies. Check with your family whether it can be afforded rather than giving them a shock. Finances are one aspect that should be taken very seriously.
Visa Norms: Thanks to the internet, information spreads fast. It is necessary to know the different kind of Visas you are eligible to apply. For Eg: France offers Indian Students an up to 5yr Circulation Schengen Visa for a Masters or higher degree. This is in addition to the Student Visa which one applies for during their studies. Having said that, do note these Visa regulations do change from Country to Country.
Language Skills: If you are going to a non-English speaking country, it is advisable to have at least a basic understanding of the language on the ground. The familiarity with the language will get the other person to ease up to you and will help you make a smooth transition. You will also be able to avoid the Culture Shock associated with living in a different country.