9 Things You Need To Do If You Want To Study Abroad In 2021

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10 min read

Going out of India to pursue higher education has always been a goal for many, but the steps involved may stump the potential candidates. It is time we demystify the idea of studying abroad. 

Many might be wondering if studying abroad is still worth it, considering the worldwide pandemic going on.  

One of the most interesting aspects of higher education is that it runs in the opposite direction of the economy. When there is a recession or an economic slowdown, the demand for higher education rises, as the recent under-graduates find it difficult to get quality jobs and the unemployed decide to go back to school to improve their job prospects. 

As seen after the 2008 great recession, students who enrolled into higher education increased by 16%.

Hence, now, more than ever investing in studying abroad is absolutely worth it. Once the global economy recovers from the effects of the pandemic, the number of job opportunities across sectors will be on the rise and you would have just graduated from university. 

There are a host of things you need to do to secure a seat in a college overseas next year. Here is a short checklist you should keep with yourself to make sure you get to go to the college of your dreams. 

Know What You Want And When You Want It 

The most important factor you need to keep in mind while making the decision to study abroad is where you are in your career. If you are growing professionally in a dynamic organization, you have the option of delaying your education plan decision.

If you still want to study overseas in 2021, it is advisable to consider the subject areas you would like to study. 

Universities have relaxed competitive examination requirements like the GMAT and GRE during the pandemic. This allows students to apply to a wider range of colleges and courses. 

Take Some Time To Look Up Countries And Colleges 

Your area of study usually depends on your career aspirations. Once you have decided your preferred subject area, think of which country would be the best fit. Countries in Europe usually offer one-year master’s programs and MBA programs, whereas the US offers 2-year programs.

Though all courses are taught in English, European countries like France, Germany, and Spain will need you to know the local language.

If you aim to stay back in the US, the possibilities to do that are higher if you do a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) based program. 

The UK has reinstated the post-study work right for 2 years, allowing students to find a job in those regions. Countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland have similar rules and policies for students. You should review these before making a decision to go study in that geographical area.

Take Stock Of Your Finances And Look Up Visa Policies 

Higher education, especially abroad, is not about what happens inside a classroom. It hinges mostly on the activities you indulge in outside the classes. 

Most top colleges have very high but similar standards of teaching. 

You should make your decision to study abroad on the basis of a few important things:

  • Costs
  • Student Visa Policies
  • Post Study Work Rights
  • Language Barriers
  • Ease Of Doing Business 

You should also take stock of the other aspects that match your career goals. If you are aiming to stay in the country for a longer duration after your education, check out the post-study work-right policies and visa restrictions of the countries in question.

If you want to be on top of your game while applying for universities abroad, make sure you watch Sharang Dhaimade’s session on ‘Guide To Studying Abroad’ in our resources section! Watch Here.

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Look For The Perfect College/ University

The higher education industry for prospective students has a lot of information dissemination. An overdose of social media advertisements, referrals from friends etc. can confuse you. 

There are many universities that want you rather than you wanting them. 

Hence, University selection shouldn’t be an impulse purchase decision.

Meet A Counsellor

Oftentimes, students visit counsellors who help with applications, essays, letters of recommendation, and interview preparations. Make sure your counsellors don’t have tie-ups with foreign universities but give you genuine and helpful tips instead! 

Look For A Course 

The best way to short-list universities is by finding a great course or program that you want to apply for. Take into account all aspects of a program like admission criteria, average test scores, average salaries, quality of students and faculties, etc. Rankings are a good starting point for choosing the perfect college but don’t solely depend on rankings. 

Reach Out To Alumni 

After shortlisting programs, countries, and universities, you should reach out to alumni (via LinkedIn or other social media platforms). Ask about their experiences, job scenarios, and other relevant information. 

Finally, the best university for you would be the one with the best ranking, good feedback from alumni, great policies, and most importantly, the university that seems like it promises a good experience.

Make A Solid Academic Resume 

The most crucial part of writing a resume, be it for an educational institution or for a job, is the thought of it not being just a document that showcases your education, work-life, and skills. It is a marketing tool that helps you sell yourself to the audience you are seeking. 

The difference between writing a resume for a job and for a university isn’t very different. 

While writing resumes for higher education, you should take some time to go through the university websites. This will help you understand how you can be the ideal student! 

Universities are built on core values–once you know what they are, you can put it on your resume!

If you tailor your resume to the requirements of every university you apply to, it will stand out from the rest of the pile!

Keep Up To Date + Be Organised 

Universities abroad often work on a timetable that we are not familiar with. It is extremely crucial to be organized about application deadlines for your target schools. It is ideal to apply as early as possible in the cycle. 

The earlier an application is submitted, the larger the number of seats available for you to fight for. 

The scholarship pool is also larger during the first deadline. Remember that the second and third deadline (for schools having five or six deadlines) isn’t too late for applications. However, starting early and being organized is extremely crucial!

Ease Your Financial Burden And Look For Scholarships 

Studying abroad can be a huge monetary undertaking. Not only do we have to think of the education fee, but we also have to keep in mind living costs and more. 

The good thing is that almost all Universities provide scholarship opportunities. There are different types of scholarships that you could apply for as well. Remember that the earlier you apply, the larger portion of the scholarship pool you will have. 

Most top universities have special scholarships for women.

Make sure you find the relevant information about these scholarships on the website or ask the admissions officer. Apart from scholarships provided by the universities themselves, there are some scholarships provided by governments. Businesses and consortiums also offer scholarships across various countries, courses, and programs. The first thing you have to do is a LOT of research!

Make A Portfolio  

Keeping physical portfolios is a thing of the past now. We have all shifted to a digital world. In these tumultuous times, don’t forget about your portfolios. Having upskilled through the pandemic promises a few brownie points!

One question interviewers are sure to ask is how you spent your time during the lockdown. 

Make sure you update your portfolios. Showcase your certifications and add value to your profile by including information about the different activities you did during the lockdown. Nothing is better than a student who promises to exceed expectations!

Go To University/ College Fairs Online 

There are many college fairs taking place online. Some of the upcoming ones are organized by QS in India.

You can register for them right now! 

Masters Programs: Click Here.

MBA Programs: Click Here.

If you want to be on top of your game while applying for universities abroad, make sure you watch Sharang Dhaimade’s session on ‘Guide To Studying Abroad’ in our resources section! Watch Here.

Come, be a part of our women-only career community where you can network, ask questions, share your opinions, and collaborate on projects & opportunities. Join now.

Sharang Dhaimade is an MBA graduate from SP Jain School of Global Management, and has seven years of higher education experience. Sharang is the founder of Seed Global Education that aims to help students, universities, and partners reach their higher education goals. He started off his career as an Executive Assistant to the president at SP Jain School of Global Management and following his MBA, headed Sales for a Data Company based out of Singapore. His last stint was as an Associate Director and Country Manager for India at one of Europe’s top Universities – IE University, Spain. Sharang is also a Career Coach and a certified resume reviewer.

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