Indian students who have a sizable presence in the US celebrate festivals like Holi in a big way
Each year, hundreds of thousands of Indian students prepare for various entrance examinations in an attempt to gain admission to a reputed college for a Bachelor’s Degree course.
While most Indian students typically aspire and prepare for entry to an Engineering or Medical course, Commerce, Business, Arts, Humanities and other novel courses are also gaining increasing attention of students. Competition has thus become stiff across courses, especially if the student is aiming for ‘category A’ institutions. There is a huge mismatch in the number of such institutions offering undergraduate programmes, and the increasing number of students aspiring to seek admission.
A good undergraduate programme is the launch pad to a student’s career plans. The lack of quality institutes in India offering such courses and the limited seats make life really hard for prospective undergraduate students. Thus, there is an increasing number of students pursuing undergraduate education overseas. With outstanding infrastructure, cutting-edge course curricula and comparatively less competition for admission, countries like the US, Australia, Canada and the UK are excellent study destinations.
Undergraduate courses in the US are generally of a 4-year duration, while the UK offers UG courses of 3-year duration. Streams ranging from Engineering, Medical, Business and Commerce to Fashion, Design, Architecture and general or liberal studies are offered. The entrance requirements may vary from college to college, but largely it is based on the student’s academic performance till the Higher Secondary level, interviews & aptitude test scores such as TOEFL, IELTS and SAT, and performance in extra-curricular activities.
Many colleges and universities, particularly in the US, offer undergraduate courses in Liberal Arts & Sciences. Liberal Arts & Sciences based curriculum is designed to expose the students to a variety of courses from diverse streams, laying emphasis on different modes of inquiry, interdisciplinary connections and independent thinking. Such courses are meant to ignite students’ curiosity and help them decide on their future course options. Students can opt for either two years of foundation programmes in liberal studies and specialize in a stream of their choice in the final two years or they can study Liberal Arts & Sciences for four years and graduate with a degree in it. Some of the more famous institutes offering such courses are Colgate University, Dartmouth College, Swarthmore College, etc.
Students also have a choice of pursuing regular stream programmes such as Engineering or Humanities or Business. The US has numerous public as well as private institutes offering undergraduate courses; countries like the UK, Australia and Canada also have such courses on offer. Students who complete their UG course overseas find it easier to enrol in a Master’s or graduate level programme in the same country.
Benefits of studying abroad
While the benefits of attending an undergraduate course in the US or any other country are several and offer a great route to more advanced degrees, research and employment opportunities, the cost of pursuing those programmes may pose a big challenge to most Indian students.
Funding your education
The cost can range from Rs. 20-30 lakhs all the way to Rs. 1 crore or more at premier institutes. Considering that most Indian households do not have access to funds of such proportions, a popular alternative is to opt for education loan. Education loans for undergraduate courses were difficult to come by due to high costs and an acute lack of understanding of such courses and their future prospects by lending institutions. However, due to the emergence of specialized and dedicated education loan companies, finance options for undergraduate courses are readily available in the Indian market today.
With a number of globally reputed institutes like Carnegie Mellon, University of Southern California, University of Texas, University of Michigan, Cal Tech, etc in the US, Monash University, University of Western Australia, University of Sydney, University of Wollongong, etc in Australia and University of Leeds, University of Manchester, University of Warwick and Cambridge University in the United Kingdom significantly increasing their undergraduate student enrolment from India, the need for education loans to fund undergraduate courses has sharply increased in recent times.
Availability of loans
Loans covering the full cost of the undergraduate education are available through many banks and NBFCS - sometimes the amount being as high as Rs 1 crore or more. The loan covers the entire cost of education for 3 or 4 years. So, choose a loan that suits your study needs. The student is required to bring a parent as a co-obligator to the loan and a collateral security is also required to guarantee the loan.
Choose an undergraduate programme without financial factors impeding your aspirations. It is important to pursue your interest and gain a great foundation to a resounding career.
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