A lot of students are opting to pursue a degree abroad because of the global nature of the course structures and holistic methods of education. In India, a majority of students choose to complete their post-graduation degree abroad and finish their undergraduate degree from India. Studying abroad exposes you to new cultures, ways of life and very different methods of evaluation of your academics. When you initially begin to probe into the possibilities of pursuing a degree outside, the whole process may come off as extremely daunting. To make the seemingly cumbersome process simpler, one needs to create a timeline of how to go about the task of applying and preparing to adjust to life outside of India.
Based on whether you are applying for an undergraduate or postgraduate course, the eligibility criteria and procedure will differ from country to country and university to university as well. While the requirements may be different for different countries, study abroad consultants can help you with all the nitty-gritty of pursuing a degree abroad.
The entry requirements differ from country to country. For an undergraduate degree from the UK, one has to apply through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Studying in the USA has its own set of procedures as well. If you have studied from an International Baccalaureate board in high school, you need to send your A level transcripts. For other Indian boards, you need to ask your school to provide you with your school transcripts. This process takes some time and it is best to contact your school beforehand.
For most colleges abroad, your level of understanding and proficiency in English will affect your acceptance into the degree program of your choice. You will need to take a test to ensure your English proficiency. You can do this by taking one of the commonly accepted tests of English ability:
TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language
IELTS – International English Language Testing System
UCLES – University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate
A few steps with which you can begin the process of applying abroad are given below.
1. Find out about the course
Before you begin to start applying, you should research which colleges offer what courses. After you shortlist your courses and colleges, you should look up which course structures stand out to you the most. In this manner, you should create a list of your priority courses and colleges.
2. Connect with seniors
You should reach out to seniors or alumni who have either studied abroad or are currently pursuing a degree there. There’s no need to feel hesitant because all seniors are always happy to help out students who have genuine queries. Students who have gone through the process of application in recent years will be your best resource to get an insight into how to go about the whole process. They can also help you decide which city, course and college are the most convenient and beneficial for you.
3. Talk about Financing
Considering that your parents or guardians will be funding your education, especially if it’s an undergraduate degree, you should sit down and speak to them openly regarding financing. In doing so, you can better understand your options and where all you can apply. If financial aid applications are required, you can look into the documentation requirements and timeline of the procedure. Financial aid usually takes some time to get processed, so it is best if you start early. Talking about funding your education is one of the most important things when it comes to applying abroad.
4. Procurement of documents
Applying abroad will require you to produce a number of documents. You should look up the catalogue or brochure of admission of the choice of your University. The brochure will give you a detailed list of required documents. During this, you should also look into the visa procedure for the country you are applying to. Procuring all your documents beforehand will help you later and you will not stress out at the last minute.
5. Do not miss deadlines
While applying for colleges, you should be very vigilant about deadlines. There are never any extensions for deadlines and a missed deadline will mean a missed opportunity. Keep a check on the deadlines and apply well before. It is usually suggested to apply in the first two rounds when the intake of students is higher and more seats are available.
6. Contact the Office of International Programs
If you are a high school student looking for opportunities abroad, you should contact your school educational counsellor as soon as possible. If there is an Office of International Programs, you can contact them for suggestions on how to write your application essays and how to proceed further. The school educational counsellor will help you get your transcripts in order and send them in within the stipulated deadline.
7. Get your Letter of Recommendations written well before the deadline
Letters of Recommendation are an absolute necessity for your application to stand out. Whether applying for undergraduate or postgraduate courses, you should contact your teachers and professors well within time. You should give them a good time window to write your letters.
It may seem like a tedious and cumbersome process, but doing the application stepwise and beginning well ahead of time will ease things for you and your family. Researching ahead and being prepared to finish your applications well ahead of time should be the key to applying anywhere abroad.