Choosing from a bouquet

It’s no mean job to hone in on a university abroad when you have so many to choose from!

Rai Umraopati Ray

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and study abroad? May be you have already applied to various universities and got offer letters from several. Now, the tough job is to select the university where you’d like to study. The decision of narrowing down your choice to one university from a large bouquet is quite tough and varies from one student to another. The parameters depend on the individual.

While some undergraduate students prefer to study at a university with a good mix of international students, others who are keen on doing a Masters programme prefer institutes that have reputable academics. The location of a particular university may also be of significance to some. Another factor that influences a student’s decision is the total cost of expenditure that he/she can incur while abroad. Thus, going for scholarships is the best option to take care of the required finances, fully or even partially. There are number of scholarships available as Indian students are sought after in the academic world. International universities and colleges look forward to have bright and intelligent Indian students. Many students opt for education loans too but it is wise to do a proper research on this.

According to our in-house experts, the primary concern of a student should be the quality of academics and the cost of study. If a student has to choose between an institute, which enjoys a better academic reputation where the cost of study is slightly higher than one that is offering a higher scholarship, go for the college that has a better academic standard. The focus should be to get admitted in the best of the universities and in the course of your choice. Of course, if students plan to only pursue graduation in a foreign destination, then the reputation of the university is extremely important. However, if students want to pursue a Masters and Ph.D, then the GPA grade point average that is earned in the course of study is just as important as the university’s reputation.

Students who have multiple offers for Masters degrees or Ph.D programmes should consider the quality of the faculty, the depth of the academic and research programme. The amount of tuition fee waiver must also be considered in this case. When students want to pursue doctoral programmes, then it is prudent to choose a university that is offering an integrated Masters-Ph.D track. This will definitely be better than being at a university that is just offering admission to a Masters programme. A student who is accepted as a doctoral candidate gets benefits from all the largesse, such as a full tuition waiver and a handsome research assistantship. For Ph.D candidates, utmost emphasis should be laid on the availability of a doctoral advisor in the faculty who is involved in such an area of work at the university that matches the candidate’s credentials and research interest. This will ensure the award of a graduate assistantship (GA) and a tuition fee waiver.

Do a proper research of the university, course, and faculty; look for global rankings and their inputs; check for grants and scholarships; connect with the alumni to know their experiences; visit the education centre of the specific university/country; check visa rules. So among the several offers, choose the one that is nearest to your heart and mind.

 

Check List

  • Choice: You have almost unlimited choice if you wish to study abroad.
  • Quality: Global rankings, such as the QS World University Rankings etc can help you focus on some of the most highly regarded institutions worldwide.
  • Independence: Going to university always entails a step towards autonomy from your home background, but this is multiplied many times over when the experience takes place abroad.
  • Experience a new culture: In today’s international world, many of us will interact with people of different cultures on a daily basis but nothing is quite the same as being able to live in another culture—and that’s exactly what studying abroad allows you to do.
  • Learn a new language: If you choose to study abroad, you’ll have the opportunity to learn a new language. Most varsities offer courses in English — but you’ll have to go shopping in Italian, or buy your metro ticket in Japanese.
  • Career advantage: People who have studied abroad display a higher level of independence and resourcefulness. If you’ve got study abroad experience on your CV/resume, you could be one step ahead of the crowd.
  • Personal development and growth: Studying abroad will enable you to grow as a person in ways that go far beyond those that occur at university at home.
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