Choosing the Best Programme and University for You

Choosing the Best Programme and University for You

Choosing the Best Programme and University for You

With all the available Indian as well as study abroad programmes, and all the fun and exciting countries that you can attend university in, figuring out which one best suits your needs can be long and at times complicated. Dr. Karan Gupta, Education and Career Consultant, simplifies the process for you.

If you plan to study abroad, there are so many things that one needs to take into consideration, such as student visas, cost­s, distance from home, and the local culture, that making a decision can at times be completely overwhelming. Although it is beyond the scope of this article to cover every possible variable that should be considered, we will go over the most important aspects to focus on when deciding which university would be best for you.

When deciding on a university one of the first things that should to be considered is the cost. Choosing a university that is located in a destination that is financially viable to your current situation is absolutely essential if you intend to complete the programme. Costs can vary tremendously from country to country and university to university. An overly expensive programme can add unnecessary stress during the already stressful semesters that you’ll be spending abroad or for that matter, another city in India. The internet is loaded with valuable resources that can help you estimate the average daily expenditures of students in different countries; using these tools you can easily figure out which country would best fit your budget. There are several universities that provide need based as well as merit based scholarships and financial aid to students. The key to get funding from universities is to maintain good academic grades because funding is limited and generally offered to the most deserving students only. If, however, you are unable to get funding in the forms of financial aid and scholarships, you can avail loans from banks in India. Several state banks offer loans that can cover nearly your entire cost of education. Such loans have flexible repayment terms and competitive interest rates, so if funding is an issue, it is worth checking these loans out.

Once you have a list of countries that won’t break the bank, next it’s a good idea to look at universities and locations that have the most to offer for your particular major. Different universities are better suited for different majors, and depending on your area of study, one university can be a far better option than another. This can vary widely, for example, if you’re a science or engineering student, then Imperial College in London could be an excellent choice, but if you’re studying physics you may want to look into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. With a bit of research, it’s easy to narrow down which schools are ideal for any specific major. In India, bulk of the students prefer to look at Engineering options and for this one needs to study for entrance exams at least a year before the actual exam date. Other students who look at Medical studies have to do the same thing. Students who are unsure about what field to choose can opt for psychometric testing which will help them decide what majors and careers they are most suited for. For example, assessments such as the MBTI, Strong and Pearson DAT are tests that tell you about your natural ability, interests and actual abilities.

A third factor that should be considered is the universities’ distance away from home. While this is something that may be overlooked by some that are eager to explore a foreign land, your distance from home can play an important part in how much you enjoy your time abroad or home city in India. A closer proximity to your family and friends can help you to adjust more easily during your time at a university not far from home. Potentially spending years in a location that is restrictively far away from those you love, often for the first time in your life, can add be difficult for those who will be staying away for the first time. Allowing you and your family the ability to visit one another more regularly can be a big advantage, although this is not always an option. If other variables do end up forcing you to study further away than you’re comfortable with, you can at least find solace in the fact that in today’s world your loved ones are never more than a video chat away! The same applies if you plan to study in a city in India that is far away from your hometown. Remember, there will be many students like yourself who will be moving away from home to study and you will not be alone making a decision to move away from home.

If you’re planning to study abroad, then you may want to look into the student visa requirements for the countries that you’re considering. The requirements for obtaining a student visa vary from country to country, and they also have a tendency to change, sometimes drastically, over time. Getting these visas can be time consuming, require tons of paperwork, and potentially be costly. Being aware of the steps necessary to obtain a student visa in your desired country will greatly aid in this process, but it can still be rather complicated. The key is to start early and do your homework so you know exactly what the visa requirements are and can prepare well in advance.

When deciding your university, don’t forget to consider which locations that you think you would actually enjoy. While all the practical reasons for choosing a specific school shouldn’t be overlooked, it’s also important to consider locations that you think that you would like. You are going to be spending a good portion of life here after all, so your personal preferences shouldn’t be entirely set aside. One thing to consider is weather. Temperature, altitude and humidity can obviously vary widely. Culture is also important. For example, if you plan to study abroad does the country have a rich history and culture that you’d love to absorb yourself in, or is that just not that important to you? Whether you absolutely love or despise your time abroad can be greatly influenced by the destination you choose, so don’t ignore your personal preferences when making this important decision. In India, almost each city is like a different country with varying languages, food and culture and you should consider where you would most be comfortable.

Deciding which university to attend as well as to study in India or study abroad, can be one of the most impactful decisions of your life. There are countless variables to consider, and it can easily become overwhelming. Choosing a few well thought out parameters, combined with personal preference can help to make this difficult process go smoothly, landing you in your dream location!

The author is an alumnus of Harvard Business School



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