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Thread: For students wanting an international education

  1. #1
    Is getting a university degree your dream?

    Perhaps you didnít quite get the grades in high school to get into your chosen university. Perhaps you are concerned about your English language skills. You donít think you can get into university? There is another option.

    Pathways programs, sometimes known as foundation programs, are study programs that are designed to help students get into a university degree program.
    Pathways programs are run by universities or private colleges who have affiliations or agreements with universities so that some or all of the courses you take in the pathways program can be accredited towards entry into a university degree.

    Some programs offer a general grounding in skills that you will need in order to succeed at university. However, more and more programs are award courses in their own right, resulting in certificates or diplomas in business, information technology, hotel management and many other areas.

    The benefit of these programs is that you can work towards an award knowing that the successful completion will also get you entry into a corresponding university program.

    2nd year entry

    Many pathways programs can also take the place of the first year of a university degree, meaning that you may not lose any time by using an alternate route into university compared to a direct entry student.

    A number of pathways programs are located on university campuses so you can get used to the university environment before entry.

    Why do a pathways program?

    There are many reasons to do a pathways program:

    ∑ Your school results donít get you directly in and you want an alternate way to show you can succeed at university
    ∑ Some pathways programs are cheaper that a year at university
    ∑ Many pathways programs have much smaller classes than universities offering you more individual attention
    ∑ Pathways programs usually allow you to work on an award program (eg a diploma) whilst also working to get your English language skills to university level

    What should I look for in a pathways program?

    ∑ Affiliation or articulation agreements with universities. Ask for information on the programís university affiliations. Pathways providers will happily supply this to you. If they do not, they may not have official affiliation with a university and you should look for an alternative program.
    ∑ Entry process to university. Does the pathways provider allow for direct entry on successful completion or will you have to apply to the university? Is entry into 1st or 2nd year?
    ∑ Is there an award (eg diploma) for the pathways program. This ensures that even if you decide to not go on to university you will still receive a recognized award for your year of study.
    ∑ Size of the program. How many students are in the program? Are they on a university campus or in a private college? Smaller colleges can offer more personal attention, bigger colleges offer a more Ďuniversity campusí type environment?
    ∑ Cost. How much does the program cost.
    ∑ Services. Can the college assist with accommodation, banking, religious and other student needs.
    ∑ Success. Ask about the pathways programís past success in getting students into university. Although not a perfect indication of your own success, past performance shows how much the pathways program has helped students similar to you.

    Who runs pathways programs?

    ∑ Some universities run their own pathways/foundation programs
    ∑ Some universities have private colleges on their campuses
    ∑ Many private colleges offering certificates or diplomas have accreditation agreements with universities
    ∑ In Australia, Government run TAFE colleges have agreements with local universities, or run degree programs in conjunction with universities
    ∑ In USA, 2 year community colleges run many programs that can be articulated into a 4 year university degree
    On Independence Day Here's wising our dreams of a new tomorrow come true for us NOW AND ALWAYS!

  2. #2
    Take on the world

    Study abroad sometimes refers to a short program of study taken during an existing degree. The study is usually related to your course and can often earn credit towards the completion of your degree. Study abroad can also be a short program that you take just for the fun of it, for the pure intellectual challenge or because you are interested in the subject area and want an international experience thrown in.

    There's no better way to understand other culture's customs, people and language than living and studying in a foreign country. This understanding of the world will also be a skill valued by future employers.

    Choosing a study abroad program that is the "right fit" for you is the best way to achieve your personal and academic goals for study abroad, as well as assist you with your long-range career plans. Therefore, it is important to plan carefully. However, when selecting the program, you are likely to get the most from involved careful planning. Hundreds of opportunities exist, more than ever before. They differ in location, duration, curriculum, degrees of cultural immersion, language, cost, and many, many other ways. Because there is so much to consider, it's smart to begin planning a full year before you want to depart.

    Here's a checklist of questions you might want to ask yourself:

    What do you want to study?
    Do you need or want to earn credit towards your existing course while abroad?
    Are you fluent enough in a foreign language to take classes in it, or will it be necessary for you to take some or all of your course work in English?
    How much time can you afford to spend abroad, in terms of academic time and economic resources?
    Where do you want to go? Why?
    How structured or open a program are you looking for?
    Do you want to live with people from your own country, stay with a local family, or have some other housing option?
    How much money can you spend on tuition and fees? On housing and food? On international transportation?
    Will you need to apply for financial aid? Is it available?

    Source: yahooindia
    On Independence Day Here's wising our dreams of a new tomorrow come true for us NOW AND ALWAYS!

  3. #3
    How to choose a foreign university?- By NS Sawaikar

    Applying for a foreign university can be painful. Here are some tips on how to go about doing it

    Applying for studies abroad can be complicated and time-consuming. The whole application process takes a year or more and you need to research your options carefully to make the best selection. This article looks at some of the things you need to look at and the resources available to help you.

    You need to start with a realistic assessment of your academic record and test scores and what kind of institution you are likely to be admitted to. Then, you should have a clear idea about the kind of courses you are interested in and how much financial aid you will need.

    After that, you need to narrow down your options to 40-50 universities before you start researching individual universities systematically. A good way to start is to look at countries that are attractive destinations for international study: the US, UK and Australia as well as other options like Canada and New Zealand. Each country has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, education in the US is more expensive than in Australia, but financial aid is also easier to get in the former. Since the September 11 attacks, itís become tougher to get a visa to the US, whereas New Zealand is relatively immigrant-friendly.

    Several countries have information facilities in India for students who want to study abroad. For example, the US has the United States Educational Foundation in India (USEFI) and the UK has the British Council. These organisations Ė and their web sites - provide detailed information about universities, help in preparing for standardised tests and information about visa procedures.

    Such facilities will help you narrow your options. Especially useful are the various university rankings in different disciplines, of which the best known is the US News and World Report ( rankings. You should be able to find copies at the USEFI as well as a limited version on the website. These rankings arenít infallible, but they provide a good initial filter before you do more detailed research.

    Once you have a preliminary list, you need to examine each university in detail. Check out the university website for information about the programme and department you would like to apply for. Some of the things you should look for are: the size of the faculty, their degrees and where they have obtained them from. If you are applying for a research-oriented programme, you should check out the faculty who share your research interests and see what kind of publication record they have in terms of the number of articles and the quality of the journals. Other things to look out for are details about admission requirements, financial aid and the kind of jobs that graduates have obtained.

    Larger universities with lots of international students generally have international offices that provide valuable help with things like visa formalities. Check the website to see if such an office exists and the kind of help it provides.
    Itís also important to research the town or city where the university is located. If you are financing your education on your own, you need to get a good idea of the cost of living, particularly rental costs, which vary a lot from place to place. There is a wealth of information available from websites like Others things that may be important to you and are easily researched online are the size of the Indian community in that particular location, the availability of Indian grocery stores and restaurants, places of worship and so on.

    The web provides many resources beyond the main university website. For instance, there are many discussion boards where you can find information about studying abroad and particular universities. Generally, these boards are open and free to new members and are a great way of getting some of your questions answered. A good way of finding specific information is through a message-board search engine like Boardreader.

    You may also want to contact other Indian students already studying at the university. University departments are generally happy to put you in touch with them, and they can be a great source of information about the university, living conditions and job prospects. If you do end up going to that university, itís useful to have made an initial contact early.

    How to Pick a University

    Make a realistic assessment of your strength as a candidate and apply to universities accordingly
    Donít ignore the smaller countries: Canada or New Zealand may have the right opportunity for you
    When picking a university, consider the town and city its part of as well
    Donít rely purely on official information and rankings. Use your personal contacts as well online information from various sources to assess a university

    Source: yahooindia
    On Independence Day Here's wising our dreams of a new tomorrow come true for us NOW AND ALWAYS!

  4. #4
    Show purpose on your SOP
    - By NS Sawaikar

    Most international universities require a statement of purpose as part of the application process. This is an important way for a student to put a personal touch to his or her application compared to impersonal factors like test scores and marks. If you are applying to a top university you will compete with other students with great scores and marks and the SOP may be a way of distinguishing yourself.

    The main purpose of the SOP is to link your past, present and future in the context of your academic goals. It should discuss your past achievements and the challenges you have overcome. That should fit in with your immediate goals and the courses you are applying for. You should also talk about your long-term plans and what you hope to do with your education. Finally your statement should provide some insight into the kind of person you are.

    Here are 8 tips on writing a good SOP:

    1. Carefully read what is required
    This is obvious but needs to be mentioned first. Different applications forms will have different instructions on the SOP. Read them carefully and write your statement accordingly. If there is a word limit, stick closely to it. If the application has a question-and-answer format, stick to answering the questions instead of going off on a tangent.

    2. Adapt your statement for each university
    Donít send the same SOP to each university. Do a little research about the institution and the department where you will be studying and try to think of concrete ways in which you would be a good fit. Most colleges and universities will have extensive websites and itís easy to learn about their history, the research interests of the faculty and so on.

    3. Plan your statement carefully
    Before writing your statement you should decide what your main theme is and structure your essay around that. The individual paragraphs should support that theme and flow logically from one to another. You statement should be more than a bunch of random sentences about your accomplishments and goals.

    4. Be specific
    Avoid clichťs and vague generalizations. If you are talking about your strengths provide examples of achievements where you have demonstrated such strengths. At the same time donít just a reel off a string of accomplishments. Itís better to focus on a couple of successes which you think are really important and write about them in detail, explaining how you overcame challenges and what you learnt from the experience.

    5. Get advice from different people
    Pass around your statement to your friends and professors for advice and tips. Listen carefully to their advice but at the end of the day you are the person who understands best what it is you are trying to communicate. You should trust your own judgement.

    6. Revise your statement several times
    Like any piece of serious writing, the first draft is only the beginning of the process. You need to constantly examine your draft, sentence by sentence, looking to improve it and incorporate some of the suggestions you have received. It helps to read your work out loud to see how it flows.

    7. Check your grammar and spelling
    A spelling mistake or grammatical error can undo much of the good impression of the rest of your statement. Donít rely on your word processorís spelling and grammar checks. If necessary ask someone whose language skills you trust to examine your statement.

    8. Be honest
    Remember the people who read your statement are experienced faculty and staff who have read thousands of statements. If you make false or exaggerated statements they will likely smell something fishy and nothing could hurt your application more.

    To sum up, the statement of purpose is important and deserves a serious amount of time and work. Other parts of your application like your test scores and academic results take months or years of effort; you shouldnít dash off an SOP in a few hours. Spend a few weeks going through all the main steps: planning, writing, getting advice and revising your SOP. That is the kind of effort needed to write something that is genuinely distinctive and impressive.

    Source: yahooindia
    On Independence Day Here's wising our dreams of a new tomorrow come true for us NOW AND ALWAYS!

  5. #5
    Want to study abroad? Then be prepared to take these standardised tests.

    Standardised tests are an important part of applying to universities in the US. Here is a brief description of the most important tests that you may have to take. Since most Indian students planning to study abroad apply for post-graduate programmes the focus will be on the tests required for those.

    Graduate Record Examination (GRE):
    The GRE is the main test for applying to post-graduate programs in the US (aside from business schools which require the GMAT). There are two types of GRE tests: the General Test and the Subject Test.

    The General Test is more often required and consists of three sections: quantitative, verbal and analytical writing assessment.

    The quantitative section consists of 28 multiple choices questions to be answered in 45 minutes. You may not use a calculator. The questions are based on basic algebra, arithmetic, geometry and data analysis as well as your ability to use quantitative reasoning. You get a score from 200 to 800 with both the quantitative and verbal sections.

    The verbal section has 30 multiple choice questions which you answer in 30 minutes. There are four types of questions: antonyms (words with opposite meanings), analogies, sentence completion and comprehension.

    The analytical section is graded on a scale of 0-6 and consists of two tasks. The first one involves writing an essay on a particular topic. The second involves evaluating an argument and finding its flaws. The essays are graded by two reviewers who look for logical flow and well-supported arguments as well as grammar and good vocabulary.

    The Subject Test is relatively advanced and generally tests college-level material. It is offered for 8 subjects: Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology. Not all universities require the Subject Test so you should check with the concerned department whether you need it GRE: Graduate Record Examinations Information

    Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL):
    This is a test of your basic English language skills and is required for non-native speakers of English by most universities and colleges in the US. Your TOEFL test scores are valid only for two years. Recently a new Internet-based test (iBT) has been introduced with four sections designed to test your reading, listening, speaking and writing skills. Some of the questions involve tasks where you combine more than one skill just as you might in a real classroom situation.

    In the reading section the questions are based on passages and test your understanding of the content, underlying ideas, intentions of the writer and so on. You may also be asked to complete a summary of the passage and choose the correct paraphrase of the passage.

    Similarly the listening section tests your understanding of lectures and spoken conversations with multiple speakers. You may also be asked questions about the attitude of the speakers.

    The speaking section, which is new to the iBT, tests your ability to express ideas and opinions through speech. It consists of several tasks which combines different skills. For instance you may be asked to read a passage and comment on it or listen to a conversation and respond to it. You are evaluated for your delivery, the correct use of language and also the ability to present topics logically.

    Finally the writing section also combines different skills with a task where you have to read a passage and listen to a lecture and write about the relationship between the two. The other task involves writing on a particular topic. TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language

    Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT):
    This is the test you need to take in order to apply post-graduate courses at business schools (for example the MBA). The test consists of an analytical writing assessment and quantitative and verbal sections. The writing assessment has two tasks: analysing an issue and analysing an argument. The quantitative section has 37 multiple-choice questions of two types: problem solving and data sufficiency . The verbal section has 41 multiple choice questions involving comprehension, critical reasoning and sentence correction. Take the GMAT

    Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT):
    This is required for admission to undergraduate programmes in the US. It consists of three sections: Mathematics, Critical Reading and Writing each of which is scored from 200-800 points.

    Taking standardized tests
    Make sure you thoroughly understand the format and the type of questions asked in each test
    The best way of preparing is to practice as many mock tests as possible
    Take the tests relatively early in your application process
    During the test, don?t panic and waste time if you see a few questions you can?t answer.
    If you are not satisfied with your results, take the test again. It?s a worthwhile investment

    Source: yahooindia
    On Independence Day Here's wising our dreams of a new tomorrow come true for us NOW AND ALWAYS!

  6. #6
    Funding Your Education Abroad- By NS Sawaikar

    Studying abroad is an expensive proposition and funding your education will be one of the biggest challenges you face. Fortunately there are a number of options that can make it possible. This article takes at some of those options but first let?s list the main expenses that you will incur.

    The application process involves paying for your test fees for, say, the GRE and TOEFL and the application fees for universities. The tests cost around 5,000-6,000 each and application fees are typically around 3,000-4,000 so the total may come to about 40,000 rupees depending on the number of universities you apply to. Your travel expenses might come to around 30,000 for one-way airfare to North America.

    Tuition fees vary from university to university and are lower in countries like Australia but typically might be around 10-15 lakhs per year in good US universities. Living expenses depend on where you stay and how frugally you live but a typical figure is around 4 lakhs per year. Obviously all this amounts to a significant amount of money. So what are your options for funding it apart from self-finance?

    Financial Aid:
    Financial aid is obviously the ideal method but isn?t always available. The amount of financial aid varies from university to university and the type of programme you are applying for. You should consult the university?s website where they will provide specific information about their aid policies.

    Generally it?s easier to obtain financial aid in research oriented degrees like the PhD. The natural sciences also usually provide better funding. So it should be relatively easy to get full financial aid for a PhD in Biology but very difficult to get aid for an MBA programme.

    There are several types of financial aid:

    1) Tuition waiver: This involves reduction of your tuition bill. It may be a full tuition waiver or a partial waiver.
    2) Teaching Assistantship: You receive financial aid in return for performing certain duties for the department which may involve teaching, correcting exams and so on. Typically you get a full tuition waiver as well as a stipend which is sufficient for your living expenses.
    3) Research Assistantship: Similar to a teaching assistantship except that your work involves research. Both tuition and research assistantships are generally awarded only to post-graduate students.
    4) Fellowship: Financial aid without any work requirement. Obviously this is ideal but also difficult to obtain.

    Sometimes you are not initially awarded aid but receive aid later if you join and do well. Also any aid offer is contingent on satisfactory performance and is only available for a limited number of years.

    In addition to financial aid from universities, there are numerous scholarships set up by corporates, foundations and governments, both Indian and international. Some of them will pay for your full expenses. The British Council is a great resource for scholarships to the UK and this website has a large list of scholarships for Indians to many countries around the world. There are many small scholarships at the local level as well which are worth digging out. Some of them may only pay a few thousand rupees but if you win a dozen of them, the money adds up quickly. Talk to your professors and other students and constantly be on the alert for newspaper ads about such scholarships.

    There are generally restrictions on how much you can work as a student though they vary from country to country. For example in the US, you are allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours a week on campus. During the summer and between semesters you are allowed to work up to 40 hours a week on campus and post-graduate students will often find relatively well-paying work like teaching a summer course.

    Financing Documents:
    If you intend to apply for a student loan keep your documentation ready. The student needs to provide:

    Marksheet of last qualifying exam
    Proof of admission
    Schedule of expenses for your course

    The co-borrower will need to provide:

    Bank statement
    Income tax returns for last two years
    Statement of liabilities and assets
    Proof of income

    Source: yahooindia
    On Independence Day Here's wising our dreams of a new tomorrow come true for us NOW AND ALWAYS!

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