If you've just appeared for your high school exams or completed your graduation, you are likely twiddling your thumbs waiting for the results. A great way to beat the tension is to do the things you love.
An even better way to spend this time is to find out what you would love to do with your life.
Increasingly, getting into the best colleges in India has become a game of the marks scored in exams. Enter stiff competition. Does this mean you have to give up on your dream subject or on pursuing a career of your choice?
We're here to tell you that it is possible to step out of the rat race and open new doors for yourself.
One of the best ways you can do this is by considering studying abroad. Why? Because a real education is that which lets you explore yourself and get exposure to much more than just theory and knowledge.
Doubtless, studying abroad will enrich you with new experiences, an understanding of different cultures, meeting people from different nationalities, etc. and it will help you discover a new found independence in yourself.
But how can you actually go about it and what do you need to bear in mind? We'll tell you everything you need to tick off from the checklist.
1. ZERO IN ON THE COURSE OF YOUR CHOICE
A lot of you might have been caught in the trap of scoring the best marks and finding the most lucrative career option. This would dictate what you study. However, it is actually the reverse that will hold you in good stead.
The first step is to know your attitude, aptitude and interest so that you can zero in on what you would like to study. Another reason this approach works is that there are a plethora of universities abroad.
Just the number of locations and options can throw you into a tizzy unless you have a definite starting point. Therefore, we recommend identifying the course of your choice before selecting a university.
2. THE BEST UNIVERSITIES -- MAKE A REALISTIC LIST
Once you've zeroed in on the right course for you, identifying the right universities becomes easier. This is as simple as doing a thorough research on Google to know which colleges offer the programme best suited to you or speaking to friends and seniors who might be pursuing said stream.
When applying to universities, there are three things to bear in mind --
1) pay attention to the course curriculum and ensure it is to your liking; 2) look at the admission time and the application process in detail while keeping in mind relevant deadlines; and 3) don't restrict yourself to one or two universities -- widen your horizon and apply to multiple universities so that you up your chances of getting through.
3. BUT WHAT ABOUT FINANCES?
When it comes to studying abroad, the expenses involved are really the only deterrent once you've gotten past the stage of identifying the right course and universities.
However, this doesn't have to be the case at all. There are a plethora of education loan options available in the market today.
But choose with care. Don't get locked into an education loan that has a high interest burden. It's important to go for the right loan facility because interest rates might run as high as 13.5 per cent (in some cases even with collateral).
Go for one that offers a reasonable rate. For instance, Bank of Baroda's Baroda Scholar (for study abroad) comes at competitive interest rates starting at 9.65 per cent -- one of the lowest in the market.
The other advantage is that it comes with no processing charges and a free debit card. What's more, you can know your EMI outflow using their online EMI calculator and also apply for the loan online in easy steps.
4. ASCERTAIN PLACEMENT OPPORTUNITIES
One of the best advantages of applying for an education loan is the freedom it gives you to study at a university of your choice and chase your dreams.
Needless to say, it makes you independent and responsible. But what you must assess is the placement opportunities available to you upon course completion. This is what will make the loan repayment a breeze. So do a thorough research of work and visa opportunities in advance.
5. SEE IF YOU CAN GET A SCHOLARSHIP
Lots of universities offer scholarships to students based on their previous achievements and a well-drafted statement of purpose (SOP). This will help widen your choice without the worry of expenses and make it that much easier to repay the loan.
In fact, you may even want to explore a research opportunity which will earn you an additional stipend and reduce the financial pressure further.
6. YOUR SOP IS THE KEY
Whether it is about getting into the right university, the right course or getting a scholarship, the key lies in a well-drafted statement of purpose and strong recommendations from your professors or colleagues.
Your statement of purpose will stand out and shine when you are really clear about what you want to study and why. This circle back to the very first point we highlighted. Identify what your interest and aptitude are and you will be able to envision a path that can be verbalized effectively in your SOP.
7. LOOK FOR A CITY/COUNTRY THAT HAS A STUDENT-FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT
This is a small detail but can go a long way in making your student years more rewarding and enjoyable. Try and identify a university that has not just a healthy student community but also a student-friendly city that makes your stay fun.
This may let you rent an apartment with like-minded people, avail of public transport facilities with student's discounts, etc. Not only will you have a robust community to exchange ideas with, you may also be able to explore nearby cities and countries to learn more about the world.
As they say, getting an education in a field you are passionate about is the best way to discover yourself and grow as an individual.
With the many foreign universities offering various courses and with the aid of an education loan, you can open doors for yourself you never knew existed. So good luck for an enriching experience!
At Aliff Overseas Consultant we offer a full suite of study abroad counselling services: