To fly like a butterfly all you need to do is to come out of your cocoon and spread your wings.
Higher education in the US and elsewhere is a dream for many students. However, it takes a lot to fulfill the dream. Admission is based on several standardized tests like SAT, GRE, TOEFL, and GMAT. You need to have good financial support in form of grants, and scholarships to survive in a foreign country.Im sure many of you who have plans of studying abroad, and want to enroll yourselves into various undergraduate or postgraduate programs are probably reading this post. This post is a collective contribution by many friends of mine, most of which have spent their entire college years in the US,UK and Australia.
Indeed it has never been so good for Indian students wishing to fly abroad for education. A number of countries to choose from, a plethora of courses on varied subjects and hassle free visa procedure for students have seen more and more students opting for graduates and post graduates courses abroad. The government’s recent decision to provide educational loans up to 15 lakhs rupees for foreign studies has served as an icing on the cake. It is dreams come true for many students, making foreign education no longer the elite few. A worldwide acceptance degree, exposure to international work experience & different cultures, excellent infrastructure & facilities and most important the chance to pursue a subject of one’s own liking are some of the main factors attracting a student to pursue in a foreign degree.
Beside U.S.A. and U.K., which are perennial favorites, countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Germany and Canada have now opened their doors for Indian students.The relaxation of several laws pertaining to international students by the government of Australia has opened up new horizons for students. Internationally recognized degrees and relatively less costs may soon see Australia as a favorite on the list of countries for foreign studies. New Zealand, being one of the cheapest countries in terms of living costs and tuition fees is also preferred by some students. Both these countries require the students to take up the IELTS exam, which is an English proficiency test before granting admission.
Germany is well known for its degrees in the technical field especially areas such as aeronautical engineering, automobile engineering, etc. One of the main advantages of studying in Germany is that the tuition fee is waivered so that the students pay only for his living and boarding expenses. However the requirement of German language in some universities may serve as a deterrent to studying in Germany.
The UNICEF due to its year round pleasant climate and beautiful landscapes ranks Canada as the no. 1 destination in the world. Its close proximity to the US, which offers ample job opportunities, makes it an ideal choice for students not wishing to study in the USA.
If an Indian student would feel at the home or at least close to home, anywhere outside India than it has to be U.K. The cultural similarities between the two countries make many students options for United Kingdom.
Now coming up is the hot favorite of today’s generation The US of A which attracts flux of international students than any other country in the world. India is the second largest exporter of students to The United States of America next to China. In fact every year more than 50,000 students are going to India from U.S.A. alone and this number is increasing every year by 10.4%. US is well known for a state of the art educational institution, highly acclaimed degrees and international work exposure of 15 months in most of the good institution. It also boasts of an extremely professional yet favorable environment, which is conducive to the overall growth of an international student. My personal experience with students is that they find US so attractive because of excellent teaching facility, practical knowledge and flexibility in the program.
There are more than 3500 accredited universities in the USA, which offers a wide variety of programs ranging from public health, biotechnology, bioinformatics, advertising, design graphics, and animation to the more conventional degree such as engineering, business management, mathematics & computer sciences. Thus a student has innumerable choices to select a program, which suit the interest best. For a student aspiring to study in the US, the TOEFL and SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) exams are mandatory for undergraduate program (leading to a graduation degree) and GMAT (Graduate Management Aptitude Test) and GRE (Graduate Record Examination) for graduate programs. The top universities also recommend you to take SAT subject test (SAT –II).
SAT – I (Scholastic Aptitude Test – I): SAT – I test is taken by students, who want to pursue for the undergraduate degree (Bachelor’s) in United States. It is a multiple-choice paper-based test (PBT) taken six times in a year (i.e., October, November, December, January, May, June). The SAT-I includes both verbal and math’s sections. SAT-I is three hour long and consists of seven test sections. The Math’s and Verbal section is of 800 marks each, which is added for a total test score of 1600. There are negative marking for wrong answers (only multiple choice questions).
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): The purpose of the test is to evaluate the English proficiency of non-native speakers of English. This test is required to be taken by all the students whose native language is not English and wish to study in colleges and universities where English is the language of instruction. The test consists of 4 sections listening, structure, reading & writing and is evaluated on a score out of 300.
GRE – General Test (Graduate Record Examination): GRE – General Test is required to be taken by the students who want to pursue graduate degree (Masters). It is a multiple choice Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) taken throughout the year.
GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test): GMAT is required to be taken by the students who want to pursue graduate degree in Management (MBA). It is a multiple choice Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) taken throughout the year.
The qualifying exam scores along with the student academic performance, Statement of Purpose, Recommendation plays an important role in securing admission to good universities. USA follows G.P.A. (Great Point Average) system. There your work is graded on a scale out of 4. Another difference between the Indian and American education system is that America follows the system of credits. Each course is defined in terms of credits. Credit indicates the subject depth, the number of hours required to complete the course and also the level of learning achieved. When a student successfully completes a three-credit course, he earns three credits. Normally, a bachelor’s program requires 120 credits before he can be awarded a degree.
The bachelor’s program is of four years duration. Each year consists of two semesters with long breaks in summer and winter. However, students who want to complete the program in less time can take an accelerated program.
The admission procedure requires at least 8 to 10 months along with your application, TOEFL and SAT score, and University also requires a personal essay highlighting your credentials & stating why you have selected that particular university. Recommendation letters from your professors are also required. Students appearing for Twelfth next year can being the procedure right away and those who have already passed may be eligible to join for spring or fall 2003. Students are advised to consult a counselor, who can guide them according to their case and also for financial aid.
The rule for student visa for the US has changed. The drop box facility no longer exists. Students applying for a visa have to take an appointment with the US Consulate General and attend a personal interview. Student should meet the counselor for visa guidance. They have to carry all the original documents including financial documents covering the total cost of education and reliable source of income for each subsequent year should be mentioned in the application. The purpose of the interview is to convince the official that he/she would return to the home country.