Those leaving for higher studies can approach USEFI centres for information, guidance
Non-accredited universities and unknown institutions are playing havoc with the careers of Indian students who land in the United States for learning, and a better career from thereon. But a few students understand the intricacies involved in identifying the accreditation by various agencies.
Unlike India, the regional accreditation carries more weight in the US institutions than the national accreditation.
“But not many international students are aware of this practice and tend to believe that accreditation by some national agencies are more worthy,” says Renuka Raja Rao, country coordinator, Educational Advising Services, United States India Educational Foundation (USEFI).
The problem is also aggravated by the unauthentic information given by the consultants who have their own interests. But students need not approach the consultants at all as the entire information regarding US education is available free of cost at USEFI centres through Education USA, a network of 450 centres disseminating information on US education around the world.
“Apart from personal individual service these centres provide unbiased, authentic, accurate and up-to-date information on the universities, accreditation, programmes, cities, application process and travel,” Ms. Renuka informs.
In fact, a toll-free number has also been put into service – 18001031231 - on which students can call up from Monday to Friday between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. and seek clarifications from the advisors.
The State Department has also put up videos on You Tube on choosing the genuine varsities and accredited programmes, Ms. Renuka says. “When authentic and free information available where is the need to approach consultants”?
One can also check the accreditation status of the US universities on the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology on ‘www.abet.org' and on the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business ‘www.aacsb.edu' or Council for Higher Education Accreditation ‘www.chea.org'. The comprehensive information is also available on ‘www.educationusa.state.gov.'
Ms. Renuka, who has more than a decade of experience in guiding international students, advises the aspirants not to believe in universities and institutions that don't emphasise on tests like TOEFL, GRE of GMAT.
Education in such institutes may not be worthy enough to spend precious time and money.
“The US Government gives licences to start academic institutions if they fulfil certain requirements, but accreditation is a different process and it emphasises the quality of the institution as well as the different programmes offered there. Students should differentiate between them.”
Prospective students, Ms. Renuka feels, should start preparation a year in advance.
The best season to join is the Fall season (August to September) as there are more courses opened up for internationals students and orientation classes are held to prepare students for the academic programme apart from better housing options and good weather.