Saturday, 2 February 2019

Study Abroad: 7 Things to do Before Searching Universities



After having decided for sure that you want to break your comfort zone and move far away from family and friends in pursuit of higher education, the next crucial step is to select the best university suitable for you.

Whether you are pursuing graduation or post-graduation, studying abroad is an investment of time, energy and money.

The number of options available can be overwhelming and confusing but with proper research and clear focus, you can take one of the most crucial decision in your life quite correctly.

Here are the 7 points which will help you to understand which course in which university is most suitable for you:

  1. Select Desired Course Program - You might already know about the subject area you are looking for. In this case, you just need to check out the course curriculum and credit points before making the application. But if you are still confused, it is a good idea to attend the university webinars which usually take place before and during the application periods. A number of questions are raised by prospective students which are answered either by the teaching and admission staff or current students. Platforms like LinkedIn are also effective in seeking out and engaging with the alumni about their experience and advice. Try answering a few questions to understand what do you exactly want. For example, which subject do you enjoy the most and can make a career out of it? Do you want to try an old but reputed course program or try a new but emerging subject? Will the specific course program help you to get your desired job?
  2. Check the International University Ranking - An easy way to make a shortlist of prospective universities with suitable programs for you is to research by their international rankings based on different KPIs. Now, the ranking system is a data-driven annual measurement mainly taking into account several aspects of a university's performance, such as, teaching focus, research output, nurturing, employability and internationalization. The three most-widely read university rankings are QS World University Rankings, Academic Ranking of World Universities and Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Besides the overall ranking of universities, the universities are also ranked subject-wise. A combination of the two can help you to position the target universities appropriately for your own custom list.
  3. Factor in the Tuition Fees - Except a few Scandinavian countries where states support exists in abundance, higher education costs a huge amount. It is better to keep in mind from start to determine whether a university fits into your purse or not. Also, find out the number of installments allowed for fee payment.
  4. Find Out Living Expense of Different Cities - One has to think of accommodation, travel and food expenses while living in a foreign land. You can find out costs of living in different cities from https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/comparison.jsp or https://unicurve.com/compare-student-living-costs-country or the individual university webpages. When calculating your finance budget, consider all aspects of student life.
  5. Research on Scholarship Availability - When you think finance, it is the main hindrance for you to get into your dream program. Therefore, try to find scholarship opportunities in the university itself. These are available to apply right after the application period. Additionally, inquire about scholarship options in your home country. These can be available directly from the government or any trust.
  6. Check Requirement of Application Documents - Application is a thorough process where you will be asked to provide transcripts and different documents of your previous qualifications. Make a list of the required documents and check whether you can provide everything. Incompletely filled application forms risk a huge chance of rejection at an early assessment stage. So, start researching early so that you can have the understanding of requirements of different universities, such as, language expertise (i.e. qualifying levels in TOEFL/IELTS/TOEIC/CAE etc. exams for proficiency in English language) and/or GMAT/GRE/SAT scores.
  7. Check Visa Requirement - Do check the list of countries your passport allows you to live and study freely without requiring a visa. But if you are one of the unlucky ones whose passport doesn't allow stay in any other country, try and find the student visa regulations of the country as soon as possible.
Choosing and finalizing a course program in a university abroad can be daunting task. The above 7 points helped me to decide which course I wanted to pursue the most and which university was most suitable for me. Hopefully, you will also benefit from them if you start early!!

Click to read the previous step - 7 Reasons to Study Abroad

Sohini Nandi
Hello, from the Land of Santa Claus!
Professionally I am a Conservation Architect. That means I spend most of my time snooping around dilapidated and haunted buildings. I love the smell of old damp lime washed walls. Sorry to put you off with all the unpleasant details.
Now for the fun facts. I have been living in this extremely cold socialist country (its Finland, for people who are still guessing!) for a few years now. But I was also in London doing my second post-graduation (University College London) and working on a few projects for the last 1.5 years.
Being a culture enthusiast, I have travelled far and wide in Europe learning the culture and trying the unique cuisines. Yes, I am a foodie too.
In SpicesnSecrets I will be sharing some of my experiences for similar lost souls in an alien country.
Cheers to life.

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