A large number of Indian students move to foreign countries for higher education and contribute significantly to their economy. According to the Indian Students Mobility report by the World Education Service (WES), the number of Indian enrollments abroad is the second highest after China. However, data shows that these Indian applicants are majorly from the mega cities like Delhi and Mumbai, whereas only a handful of students are from the smaller and emerging towns. The reason behind this may be due to lack of access to information and proper guidance. Considering the lack of awareness among small-town students, we have written his article to help them navigate their way to a prestigious foreign university. The article will help the students familiarize themselves with the application process of going abroad.
Immigration policies and post-study work options are the major factors influencing student enrollments abroad. Over the last few years, there have been rapid changes in the student outflow from India to study abroad destinations like UK and USA due to changing policies. For example, the United Kingdom, once a traditional favourite, seems to have lost its top spot. Following the UK government’s tight immigration policies and rigid post-study work schemes, there was a sudden drop of Indian students to the UK in just one decade. The UK saw a high Indian student enrollment of 39,090 in 2010-2011 following enrollment drops from 2012 onwards. During 2014-2015 UK saw a major decline to 18,320 according to a WES report. This decline still continues.
The United States of America too no longer seems to be the dream destination. According to a survey, there has been a significant decline of international student applications from all over the world to the USA. A report by the Institute of International Education states there has been a 12% drop in 2017 from a whopping 25% in the previous year in India’s enrollment alone. However, prospective applicants may still feel good about the fact that more and more US universities and companies are releasing welcome videos and messages to assure international students that they are still safe and sought after.
This reinforces my earlier point on the importance of information, as the overseas education landscape is very dynamic.
Beyond USA and UK
With USA and UK losing their charm, countries that are seeing continued growth in terms of student enrolment and student-friendly policies are Canada and Australia. Other countries with significant development in Indian enrolments over the last few years are New Zealand, Singapore, China, France, The Netherlands, and Germany. Many European countries and largely Scandinavian countries like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Ireland are emerging as popular destinations among Indian students. Prospective applicants must also keep an eye on non-conventional options such as Africa, UAE, South Korea and Taiwan, which could just provide something unique.
Planning Your Study Abroad Application Process
Study abroad could be a life-changing experience. By studying abroad, you are giving yourself an opportunity for all-round development, to explore the world beyond your home country, to learn and accept a new culture, make new friends and most importantly increase your employability globally. Who knows, HR at Google may read your CV sent to him through your university’s alumni group. Well, to be honest, that HR might also be reviewing an IITian’s CV, but the question arises will he be reviewing a fresher's CV from any other local college? Local colleges sure have their value and indispensable role in education. This article is not about a debate on the quality and quantity of local colleges but it takes cognizance of the reality and helps to strategize for that CV which can make it to top companies.
Those interested to study abroad must be cautious with the college selection and application process. It is also important to understand that not every college or university abroad is a top or recognized one. Similar to India there are colleges abroad lacking in quality education and recognition. In such a situation ‘research becomes the key’ to a successful application and when we talk about research it means exploring factors such as university and subject ranking, admission requirements, fee and scholarships, post-study work options, career opportunities and visa requirements, just to name a few. These factors are different from campus to campus. They will also differ depending upon the degree that you are looking for.
Research Points to Know as an International Applicant
- Importance of University Ranking - This is one of the most crucial factors for an international student. Ranking could be based on a university’s range of academic programs, student-teacher ratio, industrial tie-ups, quality of faculty, acceptance rate, extracurricular activities, financial aid, student outcomes, alumni network, internship placements, etc.
- Admission Requirements and Intakes - Admission requirements vary greatly with universities and programs across the globe. Depending on what your desired program of study is, international students must prepare for study abroad entrance exams. Popular exams include SAT, ACT, GMAT, GRE, IELTS, TOEFL, and PTE. Additionally, applicants must keep a note of the admission intakes and deadlines for each country and university offers.
- Fee and Scholarships – What is the cost of higher education abroad? There is no simple answer to this question. Similar to admission requirements, tuition and living expenses also vary between countries and universities. In addition, you must also explore scholarship or financial aid options. Most universities abroad give financial support to its international students, criteria of which may differ. Education loans to study abroad are also offered by leading financial institutions in India.
- Post Study Work Options – Gaining some work experience and that too in a foreign country will undoubtedly increase your employability. Post-study work options after you complete your studies is another major criterion for an international applicant while choosing his/her study abroad destination.
- Student Visa – Every country has its own student visa norms. While you can apply for the visa only after you have been formally accepted by the university, applicants must do some groundwork on the visa requirements prior to the application process and make proper arrangements.
Know What to Study – Be Distinct
Identify your interests, aptitude, career aspirations and choose your desired subject or program accordingly. You need not pursue engineering because your neighbour’s son is doing so. Every individual for that matter has different skills and potential. Find out yours and be unique in your own terms.
‘Only Class Toppers Can Apply to Foreign Universities’ is Now a Clichéd Phrase
You scored 80% yet struggling to find your place in a top Indian university like Delhi University, however, proper planning can actually help you get into a top foreign university with those grades. A rigorous ‘profile-building’ can also help applicants with mediocre grades get into a highly ranked university abroad. Through strategic planning, getting into a top foreign university could be easier than securing a place at a top Indian university.
Check out various aspects of the application process:
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