Top 10 questions of study abroad aspirants
Top 10 questions of study abroad aspirants: When Stanly decided to pursue his Masters abroad, he faced a number of questions ranging from ‘where to study’ to ‘how to study’. Online research took him to a spate of topics related to international education like top universities, scholarships, examinations and so on, which left him more confused. “There is a lot of information but I did not understand from where to start,” he said.
Stanly is one among thousands of students vying for an admission in a foreign university, but has an unending list of questions. What are these questions that soon-to-be-international students have utmost in their minds?
Here, we talk about the top 10 questions being faced by study abroad aspirants:
Q: When do I start my application process?
A: The application process for international students starts a year prior to their first semester. There are three typical admission seasons across the world - Fall, Spring and Summer. Among them, Fall is the most popular time for international students as majority of the universities open their applications around that time only. Usually, applications open by the end of August for most universities in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and Singapore. While applications generally close by February end or June, international students, especially those vying for scholarships, are advised to apply by the end of November or in the first week of December.
International students can start applying from September itself. But the actual process of researching for universities and putting the application package in place should start at least 15–18 months prior to the start of the session. Here’s is a brief timeline for Fall admission:
June (previous year):
Research your options
Register for standardised test and take test
Prepare the application package and get your test scores.
Colleges start replying to applications
Prepare your finances, explore scholarships and apply for education loans.
Apply for the Students Visa
Q. What do universities require in my application package?
A. Listed among one of the top 10 questions of study abroad aspirants, the application package is the most important element of the study abroad admission process. The admission teams of top universities across the globe have very strict selection procedures that ensure only best students are admitted to their programmes. As such, international students vying for places in these universities have to build an attractive application package reflecting their achievements and reasons for pursuing the programme.
Here are the elements that should be part of your application package:
Academic transcripts: Academic transcripts include all qualifications to be listed in the application form. If you are going for a postgraduate programme, you have to submit your academic mark sheets up to your previous degree, which in most cases would be Bachelors.
Statement of Purpose (SOP): The Statement of Purpose is required by most universities for admission to undergraduate as well as Masters programmes. The SOP details the candidate’s reasons behind applying for the programme and also his goals in life. The university or department usually sets the word limit to the SOP, though usually it is around 500 words.
LOR (Letter of Recommendation): The LOR is an assessment of your potential by a third person, maybe a professor or an employer. Most universities require at least two to three recommendation or reference letters.
Resume: Some universities require you to submit a resume along with the application. It contains applicant's information like date of birth, academic qualifications and achievements.
Q. How to apply for scholarships to study abroad?
A. Most universities offer financial assistance to international students, either through scholarships or tuition waivers. These can be either need-based i.e., based on the applicant’s financial needs or merit-based i.e., on the basis of the applicant’s academic merit. While some universities demand separate application for scholarships, others may consider scholarship (usually tuition fee waiver) at the time of application. International students vying for scholarship have to do so by the first week of December as most of the scholarships close by the month-end.
Q. Which are the tests that I am required to take?
A. Most international students planning to study abroad are required to take standardised tests. In fact, queries related to examinations form one of the top 10 questions of study abroad aspirants. Here are some of the common tests:
IELTS: IELTS is an English proficiency test taken by international students from non-native English speaking countries. It is conducted by the British Council, IDP Australia and Cambridge English. Most UK and European universities ask for IELTS scores. It is measured on a band score of 0–9.
TOEFL: Like IELTS, TOEFL, too, is an English proficiency test taken by international students from non-native English speaking countries. Most US and Canadian universities ask for TOEFL scores. It is conducted by Educational Testing Service (ETS),
GRE: While universities across the globe accept GRE scores, it is generally required by the US and Canadian universities for admission to their Masters programmes. Some Australian, Singapore and German universities also accept GRE scores, especially for STEM (Science, Techonology, Engineering and Mathematics) programmes.
GMAT: GMAT scores are accepted by business schools across the world.The test scores candidates on a scale of 200–800.
SAT: SAT is taken for admission to undergraduate programmes. It is mostly accepted by almost all the foreign universities. SAT is measured on a scale of 200–800, per section.
Q. Can I work during studies?
A. This is one of the top questions of study abroad aspirants. And why not? Studying abroad being an expensive proposition, international students usually look for several avenues to fund their sundry expenses. Many countries offer students the opportunity to work during their studies, though the rules may vary among countries. Usually, most countries allow students to work for 20 hours a week during their study period and full-time during semester breaks. In most cases, international students take up opportunities as research assistants or work in university stores and cafeterias. They can also explore work opportunities outside campus with permission from university authorities.
Q. Which are the best MS specialisations?
A. MS students constitute one of the largest chunks of international students worldwide. It is hugely popular in countries like the USA, Canada and Germany. Some of the top MS specialisations among international students are:
MS in Data Science
MS in Computer Science
MS in Automobile Engineering
MS in Civil Engineering
MS in Energy Engineering
Q. What would be my cost of studying abroad?
A. This is again the foremost question among the aspirants' top 10 questions of study abroad. As mentioned above, studying abroad is an expensive proposition. However, it largely depends on the country of origin of the aspirant and where does he want to pursue studies. Among the countries, the USA, Australia and Singapore are considered to be most expensive for international students, both in terms of tuition fee and cost of living. An MBA degree from a top business school in the USA can cost you $60,000 only on tuition fee. However, the same degree in New Zealand is available for around $25,000. Besides, some European countries also compensate heavily on tuition fees. In fact, many public universities in Germany have an almost negligible fee structure.
Q. How do I fund my study?
A. Usually, there are three ways to fund for studies abroad: self-financing, education loan and scholarships. Most international students avail of all the three options. For example, a candidate can opt for self-financing while planning for tests and preparing application.Once the candidate has an offer letter, he/she can get scholarship from the concerned university. If not, then the student can apply for education loan. Some universities also offer semester–wise internals scholarships that students can apply during their studies. Apart from that, international students can also work part-time to fund their studies.
Q. Should I take TOEFL or IELTS?
A. This is another one of the top 10 questions of study abroad aspirants. However, the answer lies with the university. Most universities in Canada and the USA require students to submit TOEFL scores, while universities in UK and other countries across Europe ask for IELTS scores.
Q. Can I work after my studies?
A. As in the case of work during studies, international students can also explore work opportunities after the completion of their programmes. However, that depends on the immigration guidelines of the country where the student has pursued education. For example, Australia allows only those international students to stay back and work in the country who have completed two years of education. The USA has OPT and CPT programmes to accommodate international students willing to stay back and explore work opportunities. In most cases, international students have to apply for work permits separately after finishing their studies.
Where do you get answers to the top questions of study abroad aspirants?
While aspiring students can list down their queries and research on them independently, they also have the option to pitch in their queries to get customised responses. The Global Live application Platform (G-LAP) is a platform for international students to connect directly with university and embassy representatives across the world. GLAP allows students to chat live with admission representatives.
How to connect with admission representatives?
International students have to first register with GLAP and complete their profile before being able to chat with admission representatives and get answers to their top 10 questions.Completion of your profile ensures you are directed to the best country and its best universities. One is required the following details to complete GLAP profile.
Personal details: Name, email address, contact
Education details: Education information regarding degree, scores and year.
Work experience: Details of work experience, if any
Exam score: Standardised test scores, if already taken
Preference: Preferred countries, duration, programmes, specialisation, scholarship, budget, among others
Click here if you want to chat with country representatives and universities across the world.
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