It’s an open fact that most colleges abroad market themselves as the best study destinations to attract international students who are their biggest money spinners. With the recent scams that happened in the US study abroad market and that, it’s become even more important for Indian students to carefully study the choices open to them before narrowing down on the college of their choice.
Once you have decided which is your area of interest (here, interest means the specialisation within the discipline) and the country you want to head out to, there are a few important factors you need to consider before applying. Ten of the most important factors are:
- Accreditation. Nearly all universities recruiting international students will have accreditations but look out for the names of accreditation, and if the course of your choice has accreditation.
- Reputation. Apart from the rankings of the University or college, ensure the department is also considered to be good in the area of your interest and whether you like the research being carried out there, or whether it coincides with your interest.
- Reputation. (Once again!) It is also important that the university is well-known for the degrees it awards in the area of your interest.
- Ranking. It’s advisable to apply to a college or university that is listed in the top 100 within that country in the area of your discipline like engineering, medicine etc. You can refer QS World University Rankings, THE World Reputation Rankings 2013 for the rankings of universities in the US, UK and other top study abroad destinations.
- Job prospects. Sometimes this plays a bigger role while deciding on the college. For example universities like San Jose State University in the US, which is located in the bay area aka Silicon Valley is better known for its placement record than educational quality. Also, most companies try to recruit candidates from a university in their neighbouring and surrounding areas to avoid employee relocation charges.
- Safety. This should actually come first for Indian students going abroad to study in view of the recent spate of attacks on them. Always try to understand how safe the University and the surrounding area is; check if the University has sufficient safety measures in place to provide international students a secure atmosphere.
- On-campus jobs and funding. Both of these are always in high demand but are of great help if you can get them. Most universities offer good funding to international students so it’s worth checking out what scholarships are available to Indian students before applying. On campus jobs are definitely the safest compared to off-campus jobs and if your college has plenty of these available, nothing the better!
- Location. Whether it’s centrally located or in the outskirts of the State, what’s important is the connectivity in terms of train and bus facilities.
- Campus life. A college that encourages the sport you like to play or one with a vibrant cultural atmosphere with lots of clubs and fun activities to participate in will be ideal. These not only provide a healthy diversion but a wholesome experience of studying abroad.
- Climate. Pick a college located in a state or city with moderate climate- not too harsh winters and mild summers. This way you will enjoy your study abroad experience even better.
The way you prioritise these factors will change depending on your financial status, academic performance and student profile (area of interest, GRE and TOEFL scores, etc.) But all the factors listed above do need to be considered by Indian students going abroad to study.