Education on the other side of the fence never ceases to lure students from India. Till two or three decades ago, medical professionals left in hordes to study and practise abroad while after that till recently it was engineering graduates lining up for admissions into the universities of the U.S.A. Following the U.S. were the universities of Canada, U.K., Australia and New Zealand, though not necessarily in that order.
However, the rush for the studies abroad has been, of late, moderated by the all-pervading scourge of global recession. The number of applications awaiting the kind consideration of American universities has come down drastically, the trend fostered by the crumbling fall of mighty IT.
The Assistant Secretary of the Yale University George Joseph, who is the in-charge of Asian activities, says that there has been an overall decline of about 10 per cent in the applications from Indian students reaching the American universities.
However, he notes that the number of applications from other parts of the world is on the rise, more so from China. Yale, as a matter of fact, has the largest number of students from China, followed by India. Of the 10,500 students holding admission in the various courses of the university, 150 are from India. Yale, the third oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one among the Ivy League institutions, has not experienced any decline in the applications, says Mr. Jospeh.
This could be partially due to the high standards practised by the university which is more known for its School of Management than for the Information Technology. Partly it could be due to the various options of study it offers to its students. One example is the opportunity to go for doctoral studies directly after the undergraduate studies, thereby eliminating the need for a Masters degree.
However, Yale has more Indians in its postgraduate programme than in the undergraduate studies, the reason being that Indians consider education abroad only as a post-graduate option.
The Yale College, which offers undergraduate courses, has a Liberal Arts Programme like any other American University. As part of this programme, the students have the first two years to close in on their respective majors.
The university also offers many postgraduate programmes in subjects such as Science, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Medicine, Music, Public Health, and Anthropology among others.
Mr. Joseph seeks to dispel the myths of affordability of the Yale studies.
Bonanza for students
“Yale offers financial aid to its students unlike the scholarships given by the other American universities. The latter most often do not grant admission to students desiring a scholarship. Yale, on the other hand, is need-blind. While not holding the option for scholarship as a criterion for selection, the university offers to pay everything inclusive of airfare for students whose family income is less than $60,000. As the income exceeds the limit, so does the expenditure in suitable proportion. In any case, the expenditure does not exceed 10 per cent of the family income,” he explains.
Apart from this, the university also helps by arranging bank loans, the payment of which can be bargained with the recruiters at the time of placements. And for the students who get jobs that pay less than $60,000 per annum, the university pays back the loan! To deserve this kind of bonanza, the candidates have to be exceptionally brilliant. Apart from excellent academic record, good scores in GRE and TOEFL, and recommendations from the faculty, the students also should have demonstrated good leadership qualities and commitment to excel in their chosen fields. The post graduate students, apart from fulfilling the above requirements, should also have research exposure and publications to their credit. That only five to seven per cent of the applications actually escape the elimination procedure speaks of the tough selection process.
Coming to the placement, Mr. Joseph assures that though the job scene is not as bright as before, the graduates will not be left without placements.
“Fields of work might change, or place of work might be out of the U.S. due to the difficulties in obtaining visa, but the Yale students remain the preferred lot. There are always institutions that buck the trend,” he says.
Most of the Yale students get jobs on their own without university’s help, and quite a few go for higher studies, he assures.