“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” according to Nelson Mandela. Education is the acquisition of knowledge. Education helps a person have a purpose and direction in their life.
It is very important to be educated and to have the basic skills to sustain life in today’s times. In India education system is divided into three major junctures; primary, secondary and higher. Many students opt to go abroad for higher studies after 12th grade.
It is a known fact that studying abroad changes your life and how! But little do the people around you realize that everything is about to change for you. The first step involving the application letter to the last step of receiving your acceptance letter, the whole process is a climb across a mountain.
Here are a few steps to guide you along the way
1. Know the University: The first thing that you need to find out is the university you want to study in. When you wish to study abroad and have your mind set on it, it is highly likely that you already have your heart set on a university.
So get on with it! Find out all about your dream college; its heritage, about its country, the history, the languages. There is a world waiting for you to explore it.
It is a big step and a very important one but you have got to do the research before choosing. There are so many opportunities for studying abroad. So work backward. First, decide on a few countries and their universities in which you see yourself studying in. Explore where you want to study to find your perfect study destination.
Now you want to know about college too. There are many universities in any given country. But you have got to narrow it down. So get to work and find out all about the process of application, the scholarships provided, etc.
2. Know the Exams: Not just about the college and the university, it is important to know about all the major exams you have got to take to apply to these universities. Depending on the course you want to pursue some of them are as follows:
- SAT: Scholastic Aptitude Test
- MCAT: Medical college admission test
- LSAT: Law school admission test
- GMAT: Graduate management admission test
- GRE: Graduate Record Examination
- IELTS: International English Language Testing System
- TOEFL: Test of English as a language
3. Scholarship and Student Finances: This is one of the most important steps when you wish to study abroad. Applying procedure for scholarships may differ from college to college.
So you have to dig in and know exactly how and when to apply for a scholarship. The only thing that should occupy your mind almost all the time is, “how do I get that scholarship?”
To get that scholarship you have got to work hard for it to get your credit up. You could even ask one of your favorite teacher (who was fond of you too!) to write a recommendation letter for you. One can also opt for extracurricular activities to gain some extra credits for the course you wish to pursue.
Other than scholarships, various education loans can also be taken in case there is an issue of funds. It is not necessary that everybody who goes abroad has lump sum amount of money for expenditure so it is always better to be ready and plan accordingly as to how you want to get through your college years.
In India, education loans are easily available, also students can opt to do a part-time job after college to support themselves.
4. Accommodation and fee structure: the fee structure varies from college to college and course to course. Hence, it is essential to have a thorough knowledge of these particulars. To have better clarity, you can make a notebook or a file and add the information whenever necessary.
Many colleges have their own hostels and accommodation. These are provided in the college premises itself. You should be aware of the duration and the procedure for application of a room. It is also possible that a college may not have its own hostel.
In that case, you should look for accommodations in the area near the college. This will help you save time traveling in the college years.
5. Look for any guardian: It is always beneficial to have a relative or a friend of your family when going abroad. Challenges and problems can arrive anytime at your doorstep. You may or may not be able to contact your parents at the time of need. Even if you can, they cannot be physically present in a blink of an eye.
It is therefore always an advantage to have someone you can call or contact in the hour of need. It will also make you more relaxed to know that someone you already know or in relation with you is there for you.
6. Passport n visa: If you are genuinely interested in studying abroad you have got to get your passport made well before time. These things usually take a lot of time. In the procedure for applying for a passport and receiving it your hand, a few months go by.
Therefore, one must plan ahead and get your passport made well before time. The procedure to apply for a visa should be known well before time to apply to avoid any problems at later stages. Generally, it is easy to get a visa but one must be aware of the requirements of documents and the procedure.
7. Interview Preparation: The applying procedure may even consist of an interview. But, you do not have to pack your bags and go for the interview to any place. Thanks to the internet and mobile phones it is possible to conduct interviews right at home! You should be comfortable in giving long interviews over the phone or through video conferencing. Your vocabulary should be up to the standard. It is possible that the interviewer may ask you questions like:
- Why do you want to join our college?
- What is the particular course you are interested in?
- What made you choose this college?
- What are your expectations from this college and course?
- About your family background.
- About your interests and extracurricular activities.
8. Networking: Networking is very important if you wish to go abroad for higher studies. Use your social media profile to network with fellow students who are applying to the same colleges as you. This will clear your goals and also help you get a better understanding of the procedure.
Sometimes, no matter how much we research and check, it is possible that we miss out an important point. By the help of discussion, you get to know more about other student’s plans and the other colleges that you might have not applied to.
9. Work Opportunities: You get to have more access to work opportunities. This means that you can decide what you want to do after college. Work and plan accordingly.
In many cases, students often stay in the same place after college and look for work. In other cases, students come back to India after completing their higher education.
College life is the best time of your life. Even more true for those who go abroad for higher education. To witness a new culture and meet new people is something we all wish to do in our former issues. It’s a dream for most of us to travel the world and explore. You can even learn a new language while you stay at your college.