Be careful when choosing the country, college and course of study.

One sector that is not affected by the word ‘recession’ is education, especially when it comes to studying abroad. Young students can still be seen queuing outside U.S. Consulates and hopping from one education consultant to another in the hope of identifying a passage to a university or college on foreign soil.

But in the melee to catch the ‘Abroad’ bus, at times they tend to board the ‘wrong’ bus or miss the ‘right’ bus by a whisker.

What goes wrong? There are many things to be considered before setting on that ambitious project of ‘study abroad.’

The project needs advance planning and understanding of certain complexities. Apart from other considerations the three most important factors that need to be looked into are: Careful choosing of the country where one intends to go, careful choosing of the college or university and, most importantly, concentrating on acquiring a degree rather than look for supplementary aspects like permanent residency or part-time jobs.

“Just due to the last reason, many students at times find themselves in the wrong country, wrong college and in the wrong course,” says the Director of TIME, J.V. Murty.

Options

Generally, students try to go abroad either to acquire a MS degree in core subjects, do MBA or enrol in a PG diploma programme.

“When it comes to choosing the country, the most preferred option is the U.S., where there are a number of good universities and colleges. The U.K., Canada and Australia could also work out well. But one has to be careful in choosing the college in these countries, as quite a few colleges are of low grade and are mere visa factories,” cautions Mr. Murty.

He adds that Singapore and a few non-English speaking European countries such as France, Germany and Switzerland do have good options but one has to seek details from reliable sources before taking a call.

One can try few options like INSEAD- France, London Business School-U.K., IESE Business School-Spain, ESADE Business School, BOCCONI School of Management Milan-Italy and RSM Erasmus-Rotterdam.

There are some strict dos and don’ts to be followed by students going abroad:

Understand the requirements for visa even before choosing and applying for a college or university in a specific country.

Never indulge in producing fraudulent certificates (financial or academic).

Do not go to a consultant for obtaining financial documents.

Do not copy others’ SOP or essays.

The SOP/essay should have clarity of thought, should highlight your commitment and focus and specify your short-term and long-term goals.

Enquire about the quality of the college and the programme from reliable sources. Do a bit of research.

Try to get the recommendation letters from your professors.

The letters should be specific rather than being general and should be balanced and not just highlight your strengths.

Take your time — do not be in a hurry.