Higher Education Abroad – A step by step Guide
Pursuing Higher Education Abroad, is a dream for many. To achieve this dream, many students strive hard. While hard work is the essence of success, clever or smart work would help you expedite the process of getting into your dream university. The first and foremost thing that all the fresh graduates or even the final year students should keep in their mind, is that , higher education abroad process is a lengthy one and needs ample time to complete it. But with correct approach and guidance, anyone can pull off it.
Having a calm mindset and knowing what you would like to study in your Master’s program, will help you direct the whole process in the direction of your dedicated MS. Here are the timeline and the process of how to deal and how to land the best university for you.
Note: The Timelines given are for the Fall 2020 Intake. For the Spring 2020 Intake minus 3 months in each process.
Preparing for the Competitive Examinations
Many countries require English Test scores and GRE/GMAT scores as the Application Requirements. Therefore it is best to give those examinations first before planning to apply to the universities. The most common English Exams preferred by the students are IELTS and TOEFL.
IELTS is an exam, which is jointly managed by British Council, IDP Australia and Cambridge Assessment English. It is a test which is primarily testing the candidates on British English. It is a prevalent English Examination as it is accepted widely by the majority of the universities in the world except for a few premier universities of the United States of America which requires TOEFL. TOEFL is the English Standard Exam managed by the ETS. This Test tests the students based on American English. TOEFL is also widely accepted all over the world and in all the universities in the USA.
GRE is a Computer Based Standardized test managed by the ETS. It is required by many Universities as a part of the Application Requirements. This test will analyze and evaluate the test giver’s Math and Verbal ability. The Total Score of the Exam is for 340 and a separate 6 mark for the Essay Section. While reporting the score, the scores will look like – Quants Score out of 170, Verbal Score out of 170, and the Essay score out of 6.
Preparation is the key to success. With determination and routine practice will give you exceptional results. The GRE/GMAT can be cracked with a constant preparation for 45 to 60 days. IELTS/TOEFL being English Exam two or three weeks training would be more than enough. The Preparation for these examinations should start around May, and the exams should be given before the Mid-October. While the IELTS and TOEFL scores would be sent to the test taker after 15 days, the GRE/GMAT Quants and Verbal Scores can be seen immediately after finishing the exam. However, the scores would be sent to the test take only after 10 days along with the Essay scores.
Shortlisting the Universities
Most common decision to be made by the students is shortlisting the potential Universities. The popular programs chosen by students in India are M.S and MBA. Some of the common countries for higher education are as follows.
The country known for the hopping Kangaroos is also known for a massive number of international students studying their Masters. A significant reason for students choosing Australia as their study destination is for its friendliness to other nationals and great scholarship options. Australian degree programs are concentrated mostly on the practical and skill-based training thereby making it easier for students to succeed well in their career.
The Canadian degree is well accepted all over the world as a well-renowned degree. Considering the plethora of career opportunities in the IT, Electrical, Electronic, Medical, and even the Mechanical Sectors, the number of people applying to the Canadian Universities are always increasing. Students apply mainly for STEM-based degree programs in this country. MBA is a program applied widely in Canada owing to its best career opportunities post-graduation. Additionally, the tuition cost for MBA in Canada is comparatively cheap than other countries. Hence the high competition. Similarly, STEM M.S courses are also applied by many students.
The USA is the most common country of choice for many people because of its wide range of degree programs and scholarship options like Graduate, Reasearch and other University Assistantships. Majority of the students applying to the USA universities are applying for Science, Engineering and Arts degree programs. Being the birthplace for so many fortune 500 companies, the USA is the choice for many people who seek industrial experience during their higher education.
4. The UK and Ireland
The United Kingdom comprises England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. And Ireland separately is the Republic of Ireland – a separate country. The UK has hands-down so many top ranking universities and provides high-quality education to the students. Ireland similarly has a few but very high ranking universities in its kitty. Both the countries are known for both the Engineering, Science as well as the MBA programs. The UK especially has some world-class MBA programs with great value. But it is very important to note the UK does not give any visa extensions or stay back options for international students to pursue a career or find a job in their country. Therefore it is very vital to consider this when choosing the UK as your study destination.
The Republic of Ireland, on the other hand, gives stay back option for the international students in addition to their student visa. The country also has high investments in the research, therefore, providing the opportunity for the students to explore their fellowships and grant options.
5. Europe Countries
Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands are the top priority options for many Indian Students who are looking for a cheaper tuition fee, high quality of education and better career prospects. Being home for so many industrial companies ranging from Mechanical, Automobile, IT, Medical, Pharmaceutical, and even Agricultural sectors, after the graduation students are employed in among those companies. As an added bonus many programs in these countries give an internship opportunity which if performed well can transform into full-time employment. Germany is a country known for its full tuition fee waivers for international students who excel academically. Similarly, both Sweden and the Netherlands have fantastic scholarship options. Europe has very high exposure for MBA students. Since a lot of companies have their main branch in one of the European countries, the MBA career prospects are very top in the European countries.
The shortlisting of the country, as well as the universities based on your desired degree program, should be made before you write your GRE/GMAT. Because once the test is given the test-taker can apply to 4 universities from the GRE/GMAT test center. Therefore to send your score, a deliberate decision has to be made regarding the university shortlisting. So, precisely before your GRE/GMAT exam in October or before that, the university shortlisting have to be made.
Gathering the Additional Documents for Application
The Application Evaluation in the Universities differs from each other. But few documents remain the same for each and every university. There are specific guidelines the students ought to follow while preparing those documents.
● The Statement of Purpose or the Personal Statement is an essay document that a student has to write to express the following
● The reason for studying the Master Degree program
● How will the program help the student in their career?
● Why choose a university?
● What are the student’s intents in pursuing the research while studying at the university?
● What are the research interest areas?
An explanation for how the student overcame a hurdle in their academic life?
These pointers have to be included in the SOP. Additionally, the student can make their essay stand out by using unique writing styles and narration.
Letter Of Recommendation
The Letter of Recommendation is a document that the student should obtain from either their academic faculties or their employers. This letter should be written by the faculty/employer or on behalf of them by the student. Upon analyzing the content, the respective personnel can sign the letter and give it to the student. The LOR is usually seen as very high importance by the Universities. Since it has to explain the student-faculty/employer relation and the views from the supervision point of view, it will give the Universities a different perception of the student.
A few universities require a financial declaration from the Student’s sponsor for processing the application. Not every but a sufficient number of universities do need a financial statement from the sponsor who provides funds for the student to study at the university. For this sake, the required fund for one academic year should be shown as a proof on bank letterhead. But do not worry, this requirement is not for each and every university. Many universities ask for a financial statement only after the application decision is made.
Keep all your internship, certifications, and even any achievement certificates handy during the application. This would help you while uploading the documents in the application portal.
Applying to the Universities
The Application deadline varies from University to University. Therefore, once you shortlist the Universities, note down their deadlines and work accordingly. Once the entrance examinations are over make arrangements to send your scores to the University. Since sending scores can vary between 10 – 15 days starting the process even before you apply to the university will expedite the application process. Start sending the scores immediately after your exams; for example, if the exam is given on October first week, then after the two weeks (the processing time taken by the management to send scores officially to the candidates) the students can start sending the scores by applying to the ETS or British Council respectively.
After initiating the process of sending the scores, start applying to your shortlisted Universities. During your application, the university will ask for the email addresses of the recommenders, provide the details and inform the recommenders in advance. This will make sure that the recommenders will be swift in uploading your LORs in the portal.
Waiting for the Decision
After making the application and sending in all the necessary documents, the University will now take time to evaluate the application and make a decision. This can take any time between 3 to 4 weeks based on the universities. After getting the admit, the students can either take a loan or show their proof of finance and get their Visa through the Visa processes.
Therefore following the guidelines correctly will ensure that the whole application process is swift and gives you enough time to prepare your travel to the University.
Please read this article also for more clear idea.