It is important to research before going abroad for higher studies. Dig out information. Inculcate the habit of research, so that you are able to gel with the academic culture of the UK, where students are expected to work independently on their projects. “If you can’t research on the colleges you might like to study in, how do you expect to adapt yourself to the academic rigour of UK education?” asks Moneesha of the British Council.

Research to study abroad

Being run by the UK government, the British Council (www.britishcouncil.org.in) provides you official information about education in the UK.

Students interested in studying in the UK can attend briefing sessions of the British Council every Wednesday (Delhi). It is a 45-70 minute session, inclusive of question/answer sessions, is free of cost, and open to parents too.

For the US, there is US-India Educational Foundation or USIEF (www.usief.org.in). USIEF also hosts briefings every Thursday (Delhi). A toll-free number 1-800-103-1231 is available Monday-Friday between 2-5 p.m with services in Hindi and English to answer queries about education in the US.

The British Council frequently hosts delegates coming in from various institutions in the UK. 

Use a consultant to top up your own research and get some additional information, viewpoint that could be important in making the final decision 

Students should know how to make best use of an education fair. Don’t go unprepared, and end up chatting with any representative of any institution. “Come with your research, have specific questions, the answers of which you have not found on the net,” advises Moneesha. “And do carry photocopies of your education certificates and other relevant documents.”

The British Council (BC) has lists of agents or channel partners on their website, but the British government  does not endorse them. The licensed partners are mandated to provide only correct information to students.

Check out the list of UK- approved education providers on www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk. For the US, check www.educationusa.state.gov and www.chea org

Regional accredited colleges are better than national accredited colleges as the latter are mostly faith-based colleges, says Renuka Raja Rao, country coordinator, USIEF.

“If an agent claims that he has contacts to get you US VISA, he is totally misleading you. Administrative officers have an X-ray vision, says Renuka. They can tell the genuine applicants from fraudulent ones. Renuka cautions further, “Once you are denied VISA, it is very difficult to obtain one next time,” says the author of a popular book, ‘Study in America’.

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