Universities abroad seek holistically developed individuals, so you’re going to need a lot more than just good test scores and recommendations. You will need to start building your profile from a young age by pursuing your strengths and interests.
study abroad programs are becoming increasingly attractive as more and more college students seek meaningful ways to spend college breaks or explore a true diversity of cultures. As a result, not only has a great international program become more expensive but also a lot more competitive to get accepted into.
First and foremost step–Talk to parents, teachers, current students abroad as well as alumni to evaluate if you would be interested in studying abroad. Contact an education consultant who is looking into study abroad applications to understand what’s best for you, how you should plan your timeline of standardized tests and applications to colleges abroad. Remember to study hard for your standardized tests (SAT, SAT Subject Tests, ACT, TOEFL, IELTS among others) and register well in advance. Plan your test dates well so you have time to retake if required.
It is important to build your student profile with project work, summer internships, extra-curricular activities and volunteer work. If you know the industry you’re looking to get into, network with people in this industry to understand job trends and skill set required to enter the industry as it well helps you in selecting programs and schools for applications.
Shortlist universities with your education consultant and carefully evaluate the available options criteria such as offered programs, rankings, location, campus life, eligibility, scholarship and financial aid opportunities.
Some destinations like the US and the UK are well known to international students but the picture is changing and new study abroad destinations are making headway.
While researching for a college, it is imperative that you do not make rankings your foremost criterion. You need to get started early and make the official college website your Bible. Spend time in figuring out how the information you have garnered from websites/ brochures becomes significant to your academic goals and personal growth.
Know why the country/university is in news
In times of geopolitical changes like today, it is also essential to keep an eye on the study abroad destination and review its economic state, political events such as elections, university budget cuts and hiring trends across the industry. It is very important to have a good clarity around why you want to study abroad.
Once you have made up your mind on studying abroad or giving a shot at the opportunity, it is always good to have an idea on how much are you willing to spend on education. Over last 10-15 years, the cost of education in many countries has increased. However, the budget should not be the only criteria dictating where to apply.
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Many universities have a number of tools such as aid, in-state tuition, and loans to help academically strong students. Also, some offer scholarships to support bright minds. Look at a number of factors when you decide on your study program, study location, and country choice.
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Make a list
The next important thing is to create a shortlist of colleges based on your interests, profile, grades, test scores etc. A good counselor should be able to guide and help you in the shortlist process, as there are thousands of colleges and options, and not all colleges and programs are equal. Key is to get a good list of aspirational colleges, good colleges where you have a healthy chance and a few backup colleges. You will also have to see which colleges match your study program and may even offer your financial aid. College location, reputation, environment, and placement play an important role.
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Plan it early
You need to make sure you start early preparing for your study abroad process and work hard towards achieving a good outcome. Many students do not pay enough attention to the process or give their best shot. Education is an important stepping-stone for your future career so it is always good to start early and take it seriously. This is the only way you can achieve good outcomes.
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