MAKING IT ABROAD
Five manoeuvres every student aspiring to study outside India must consider
While applying to prominent global institutions for studies, it is very important to not get overwhelmed by the voluminous information, often varying in scope and content. Remember a few basic, holistic facets, which if taken care of, can ensure that you don’t do a shabby job at your applications and learn along the way.
1 Start early
Applications open up almost a year before the commencement of a programme. Don’t get confused by the spring/fall conundrum; hardly 10 per cent of the world’s top 100 programmes accept spring (Jan-March) intake and thus, fall (Aug-Oct) intake is the right season to target the admissions. Generally, most international programmes have three to four admission cycles; the first cycle is where one has the best chance as all the seats are available and the scholarships yet to be bagged. Ideally, start your preparation for the relevant examination (GMAT/GRE/SAT) 18 to 20 months before and start working on the applications around 13 months before the same.
2 Methodically shortlist the institutions
Admissions to Ivy League institutions are competitive. Do not apply to schools just because you know their names and do not underestimate institutions because you have not heard of them. Refer to authentic rankings; look at the current class profiles, average scores, and the academic concentrations to evaluate your chances of selection. Find out the placement records, weigh the intellectual capital, and explore the academic and extra-curricular opportunities to evaluate the strength of a programme. Further, speak to a few Indian students who may be currently studying there or have recently passed out and gain clarity about the ground reality as the prospects are often different for international students. Segregate your portfolio of schools into three parts— dream, practical, and safe.
3 Create a story
Institutions always want to know the reasons why you wish to fly across the ocean to study with them. Avoid clichéd responses available on the Internet; rather tell a story that links your past with the need for a degree in the concerned discipline, from the specific institution, and link all of it with your short-term career goal and the long-term vision. Don’t worry about “how an application essay must look?” because the more different your essays look, the better it is.
4 Don’t be overwhelmed
For recommendations, ensure that the person recommending you has directly supervised you and gives adequate number of relevant examples. For resume, get your hands on a good template for the nature of degree you are applying for and personalise this template with clear, concise pointers. For online application forms, try to have someone go through your entire application before you press the submit button. Do not let any one part of the process overwhelm you and remember, every part of the application matters.
5 Shirk the shortcuts
In your quest for premium global education, you will find several easy options approaching you; some sophisticated company, acting as an agent to a Tier IV global institution will be willing to have you admitted without any test scores (or into MBA/MS programmes on the basis of TOEFL/IELTS) or a representative of some global institution may directly invite you for an interview; these options are, without any exceptions, misleading.