Towards greener pastures

Self-help tips for those looking to study abroad

Published - February 12, 2022 01:35 pm IST

Each year, over five lakh students from India consider destinations abroad to pursue their undergraduate or postgraduate education.

Each year, over five lakh students from India consider destinations abroad to pursue their undergraduate or postgraduate education.

If you are one of the several million aspirants looking to study on foreign shores, you already know that the competition is stiff. Each year, over five lakh students from India consider destinations abroad to pursue their undergraduate or post-graduate education. Here are some tips to help you along the way:

Start early: This allows you to choose the best destination, university, and programmes; prepare your applications; determine your budget; and find the means to fund your education. While scholarships are available, only the best catch the eye of those who award merit-based ones. So starting early gives you a chance to possibly qualify.

Work hard: Prepare for hours of research, writing personal documents, gathering official ones, taking exams, proving medical fitness, determining finances and ensuring that everything is in order. A professional consultant or company will only provide guidance and help with research. It’s your effort that matters.

Create timelines: Make a plan and break it down into tasks and deliverables for each month, until the first deadline. This will include test prep, document collation and financial clarity. Try to meet the first and early deadlines for the universities and programmes you wish to apply to. This also allows you to re-calibrate, in case you don't get an offer.

Be realistic: Not everyone will have the profile for the best universities. If your consultant lets you know this, focus on the message and proceed with applying to universities best suited to your profile.

Be original: Many make the mistake of using readymade templates and professional services to create documents like letters of recommendation, statement of purpose and other essays. Top foreign universities treat plagiarism very seriously and their programmes involve lots of research and original perspectives. So ensure that what you submit is original.

Collaboration: Working with a professional consultant/service is a collaborative process. Don’t expect the consultant to take care of everything while you sit back and relax. They can only review and help but it has to be your work.

Budget and affordability: How much can you afford? Will you need a loan? If so, how will you pay it back? What are your collaterals? These are some essential questions to consider. Start addressing these early and talk to your parents, family or sponsor and have the information ready.

Application budget: This includes the costs of putting together your documents, medical tests, required competitive exams, application fees, visa costs, and flight tickets among others.

Be patient: Once you apply, you need to wait. Give it your best and ensure you are in a healthy frame of mind to receive the news when it comes.

Fall over Spring: In the Fall term, most study-abroad destinations have larger intakes, and more research grants and funding. Generally, it is better to apply for this time.

The writer is Head of Overseas Education Counseling Services, Yocket.

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