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Going abroad?

Natasha Pratap provides practical tips to those aspiring to study in the U.S. in her book

DIYA IS set on doing her Masters in Business Management from an American university. She has good scores and her parents are willing to fund her studies. But where will she find information about the processes involved in applying for the course? When does she have to apply? What about scholarships and visa applications?

Diya is not the only one who has so many questions to ask. There are many in a similar predicament. It is to help them that Mumbai-based Natasha Pratap wrote "Wanna Study In The U.S.? 101 Tips To Get You There!"(Rs. 395). The 300-odd pages provide practical and accessible information on the application process, step by step, including selecting universities, writing essays and getting recommendations.

"A friend, who was applying to some universities, wanted me to read his essays. Reading them, I realised that he had no clue about what the universities are looking for. One thought led to the other and soon I was putting down points on the application process," says Natasha. "It began with about 50 tips which increased to nearly 70 before I finally arrived at 101 tips."

Informative essays

The user-friendly guide, written in a simple, eloquent and interactive style, has essays by applicants from various fields, who were admitted to universities such as Stanford, Harvard and Yale.

The seven weeks that Natasha took to put the book together proved yet another learning experience. "To get the essays, I stood on the corridors of the USEFI office in Mumbai, taking down phone numbers of students going to the U.S., who were looking for room-mates and paying guest accommodations. I called up quite a few of them, from different parts of the country, and got them to write essays."

Foreword by Ambani

Besides essays, there are interviews with Wendy Hansen, associate director, Stanford, MBA Admissions, and Carsten Stendevad, Harvard Admissions Committee, which give the applicants an American perspective to the whole process. There's also a question and answer section on visas prepared in consultation with the U.S. Consulate of Mumbai, besides a section for parents.

"The book is my way of giving back what I have received. I hope it provides students with information, insights and the confidence to take the right steps."

An interesting aspect is the foreword by Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani. "I had heard him speak once in Mumbai. It left an impact on me. So when I decided on a foreword, I thought of him. It was an emotional moment for my parents and me when his letter arrived with a short write-up," says Natasha.

The author, who currently runs Words for Any Occasion (WAO), which offers creative writing services and customised writing workshop, sees her effort as "a service project, a response to a need. I hope it serves its purpose."


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