Studying abroad can provide much-needed global exposure to students. A global financial company recently reported that India has the world’s highest proportion of parents—about 88%—who want to send their children abroad for higher studies. While there are arguments for and against studying outside the country, one thing is clear that the appeal of studying in a different culture attracts many. However, there are several academic and financial elements that need to be addressed. Like any decision, choosing to study abroad requires careful planning, research and execution.
One, it is important to research your university based on accreditation, global ranking, reputation, courses, infrastructure, facilities, campus, quality of education, future job opportunities, etc. Accreditation is vital if a student wants to avail education financing.
Two, foreign universities look at many factors while deciding admission of students, such as exams, letter of intent, past scores, student’s credibility, recommendation letters and financial background. English language proficiency exams such as TOEFL or IELTS are critical for admission, at most universities. Other mandatory entrance exams are SAT for UG courses and GMAT for management. Entrance exams play a pivotal role for education financing companies to derive at the individual’s eligibility.
Three, every part of an application is important, including your entrance scores, essays, etc. You have to check that everything is filled before submitting. Application deadlines vary across universities. One of the easiest ways to apply to multiple universities is through a service such as Universal College Application, Coalition Application or Common Application. While accepting offer letters from the university of your choice, opt for instruction credit. Do inquire about the on-training advance before seeking an offer letter from a college.
Four, in Asian countries such as India and China, paying for their child’s education is the most important financial commitment for parents/guardians. However, studying abroad costs have been increasing at an average rate of 15% per annum.
Five, getting into your dream university increases the overall costs, right from tuition fees, study material, extracurricular and cultural experiences, accommodation, exam and other miscellaneous daily living expenses. An education loan can help bridge the gap between the shortfall and the required finances.
Six, it is wise to apply for scholarships and grants to balance some part of your education expenses, but it may not necessarily be enough to cover everything. Scholarships are granted to high-performing students based on their past ranks, GPAs or standardised test scores.
Seven, visa guidelines for studying abroad differ from country to country.
Eight, students studying abroad are generally encouraged to work part time for about 20 hours a week (depending on the country) and may be allowed to work full time for 40 hours a week during vacations. Students, with some time management, can make use of such opportunities to gain experience and earn some money.
High cost may be one of the barriers for students to pursue higher education abroad, but with increased access to education financing and digital information, things are getting easier.
Amit Gainda is CEO, Avanse Financial Services. Views are personal