Planning to Study Abroad? 6 Points You Should Know
Studying abroad is a dream many of us have. Nowadays many go right after school, some after graduation and still others for post-graduation. Many also go to work overseas. Since we know so little about the ground reality of applying to study or work abroad, we should learn from the hurdles others faced.
1. Qualifications Needed
Firstly, you should know what qualifications are required to apply to the college of your choice. I remember I met this guy, Sajjad, on the train. He was visiting home from abroad. He’d gone to study there, but he didn’t know they required 16 years of education- we only have 15 (12+3).
12 years of school and 3 years of college if you’re not an engineer, is not enough. He actually had to work abroad while he studied for another year, before he could apply! Save yourself the struggle. Many of my friends did a correspondence course from Annamalai University to make up that additional year you need to apply to study abroad.
2. A Foreign Language Helps
Another had studied Spanish, so it was easy for her to get a scholarship for an MBA in Spain. Use Nash equilibrium- if everyone is applying to study to a famous college, realistically evaluate your chances. You might have a better shot at getting in a less famous but good college in a less popular country. Make an extra effort- learn a foreign language like German, which will give you an advantage over other applicants.
3. Keep a Backup
Always have a Plan A, B, C…you get the idea. Apply to multiple colleges, so that you can keep your options open. Getting downcast when the college of your dreams doesn’t accept you and wasting a year is of no use. I have a friend who applied one place and didn’t make it by just 2.5 marks. The next year, he lost out by half a mark. He then settled for a lesser known college.
Having said that, have a minimum bar. When I was applying to b-school, my parents wanted me to take up the first b-school I got through. Since I was an English major, they thought I wouldn’t make it to a better b-school. I nearly went along with them, but then I watched Legally Blonde. That movie inspired me to stick to my guns and I did make it to a better b-school.
4. Tap a Community
Reach out to online and offline communities of fellow applicants. If you have a friend applying, you can pore over brochures together. Education fairs are helpful to see which college is the right fit for you.
5. Do the Math
See whether you can afford to go abroad, as it is an expensive undertaking. Explore the possibility of student loans. That’s better than taking a handout from your parents. Even if you do take money from your parents, pay them back. Start working while you’re studying. Economize wherever possible.
If you get a scholarship, see what is included. I know someone who thought he was getting a full scholarship, but actually when he arrived in the US, he discovered he has to pay a lot more that he had budgeted for. He spoke with the authorities and managed to sort things out, but it was a close shave.
6. Tests You Need to Take
There are many tests you have to pass to go study abroad. One of them is an English language test, to demonstrate your comfort in English, as that is the native language in the USA, UK, Australia. Only if you can comprehend what’s being said and communicate what you want, can you hope to survive abroad in a college there.
The Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) is a good option for an English test.
You’ll get your test results in 5 days, which is half the time taken by IELTS or TOEFL IBT. Mock tests in the PTE Preparation Course will help you prepare and reduce the chances of you blanking out on the big day.
It’s accepted across all Australian and New Zealand universities, and many in UK, Singapore, Europe, Canada and the USA. You can send your score to as many universities as you like, without paying anything extra, unlike IELTS or TOEFL IBT. #DefinitelyPTE is the better option.
You can book an appointment with even 24 hours of notice, if you’re a last minuter. PTE Academic Test Centers are in more than 50 countries, so there’s sure to be one near you. Stanford University, Harvard, London Business School are just a few educational institutions which accept PTE Academic scores. #DefinitelyPTE is the way to go.
Pick a college near a hub, so that it’s easy to get a job. Going abroad when you don’t know anyone can be lonely. Keep an open mind, be friendly and willing to work hard so that you can make the most of it. It will change you and your life, expanding your mind and opening doors you didn’t know existed.