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Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


23 May 2018 11K Book icon 6 mins Share

What questions you must ask an advisor who can help you study abroad?

Do you want to meet a study abroad counsellor who can guide you with the process of applications and study visas for abroad education? But what would you ask him or her when you meet them?

23 May 2018 11K Book icon 6 mins Share
Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


Share this article
Questions to ask a study abroad counsellor

There are many reasons why people look for advisors to guide them with their overseas education search. But when you meet a study abroad counsellor, what’s the first thing that you ask?

Do you know what to ask – do you keep all your questions ready before you meet an overseas education counsellor? Or do you wait to frame questions till you meet them?

Hotcourses India being a virtual [online] overseas education consultancy makes it possible for students to connect to dedicated counsellors, regardless of where the student is from, through the online services available on its website.

Students can get their queries answered over calls and chats, and get counselled from their own comfort zone. They can shortlist and apply at universities as well as get their study visas granted – all within an easy reach and in a lesser time.

When you come prepared with questions, knowing what to ask your education counsellor, it helps to not only speed-up the process but also shows the clarity that you have about your future plans.

A few primary questions that you must ask your study abroad advisor when you speak to them to discuss your study options overseas:

When should I start planning to apply at universities abroad?

If you want to study in the next fall at a university or college abroad, then it’s always advisable that you start planning one year in advance. Though there are institutes that have rolling admissions on offer, it’s better to plan well ahead of any deadlines. Starting early will help you manage your finances, organise your time better and also prepare for the standardised tests.

Make sure when you speak to a counsellor, you ask about the application deadlines of different institutes abroad so that you can make your plans in an easier way.

What kind of colleges and universities can I apply through the counsellor?

What kind of colleges and universities abroad can I apply at? Depends on which course you are looking for, and what prospect it holds. To know what kind of colleges or universities will suit your academic requirements, you must download a prospectus that holds adequate information about the academics and student life in a country abroad.   

Can you put me in touch with some of the students who have already been counselled and sent abroad?

Most of the counsellors can put you in touch with students who have earlier studied abroad or are on the verge of studying abroad. If you feel by connecting with those students, you’ll gain a better perspective about education abroad, then go ahead!

What documents do I need to study abroad?

When you speak to your counsellors, you must ask what documents are required from you to apply at your chosen university or college abroad. If you can get all important documents ready well ahead of time, it will fasten your admissions process and also prevent any last-minute requests.

Usually, documents that are required from students include transcripts, recommendation letters, essays, financial documents and visa application forms.

What’s the reputation of the university?

Have you checked the rankings of the university or college you have applied at? Because rankings do matter to many students. When looking up for more information on a university website or prospectus, you must check for the academic rankings held by your chosen institution.

How do I decide on a country to study?

You may have a dream to study in the USA, but while assessing your profile the counsellor might feel you are more suited to study in any European countries.

There is no ideal country per se for you to study, which means your academic requirements and financial circumstances might open up other opportunities.

Say, you are looking for engineering courses with research work in the UK. But when you nail down all options, you find that the course is expensive and the job opportunities are quite less in the country after your studies. The same course could have better opportunities in Canada or Australia with relatively more work options available.

How much should I save to study abroad?

When you plan your tuition and living cost, you must also include additional costs that will help you deal with emergencies during your stay abroad. So you need to save as much as it’s required by you.

The current inflation rate all over the world is 3.31%; thus keeping this in mind you can plan your basic savings and expenses.

Which's the best intake to study abroad?

Some universities and colleges might have more courses available for the fall intake whereas some might have equal number of courses available for both fall and spring intake. Though there is no such thing called 'best' intake, you can always speak to the counsellor and explain what are your priorities and likes. 

What’s the cheapest way to study abroad?

To make your education overseas affordable, you must find ways to sponsor or fund your education. Often there are many ways to sponsor your education – university scholarships, government scholarships, grants, fellowships, education loan and part-time work options.

What qualifications are required to study abroad?

Any student who has passed his or her 12th grade can study abroad. Or any student who meets the minimum academic requirements as asked by universities can study abroad. Normally, students with GPA ranging between 2.5 and 4 can apply at certain institutes, but some institutes may have a higher academic requirement.

Other qualifications include writing an effective essay, holding a work experience (varies from programme to programme) and getting through the study visa interview.

What type of tests should I take to study abroad?

There are two types of tests: language tests and standardised tests that you have to go through when looking to study abroad. Some universities might ask for IELTS scores whereas others might ask for both IELTS and TOEFL scores. At some universities, GRE is a basic eligibility for admissions while at some universities GRE is not needed.  

What type of candidates are universities abroad looking for?

The admissions team often looks for an applicant who has a genuine interest in receiving education from a university abroad, and who is not just looking for options to settle in the country. They want students who are passionate and dedicated towards their academics, and who can also articulate themselves clearly.

Universities select candidates based on not only their academic merits, but also on an all-round quality and achievements of students.

What should I do next after sending over the applications?

I won’t ask you to relax! You can keep following up with your counsellor till you get a response from the university admissions team. But if you have received a notification asking you wait till the admissions team confirms you an offer, then you must wait. Meanwhile, you can use the time in hand and do some more work – reading about the accommodation options, student life, cultural and social life, on-campus work opportunities and more.

What’s the importance of SOP and LOR?

A statement of purpose (SOP) reflects your purpose behind getting a degree abroad and why you want to study in a different country. An SOP is carefully studied by most university admissions team since that serves as a gateway to know your personality. So it’s quite important to write your SOP in the best way possible because the admissions team will evaluate you based on what you put in your writing.

Similarly, a letter of recommendation (LOR) is highly important when applying to study abroad because certain universities need someone else to validate your academic merits and professional skills, which helps them in two ways: identify genuine students with a strong passion towards academics or research and select well-deserved candidates. 

What if I get rejected?

Facing a rejection letter shouldn’t make you feel dejected. If you get rejected by the university that you have chosen for your studies, you can apply to some other university, which offers programmes that are a close match to your choices.

How to manage your finances?

There is no rule book to teach you how to manage your finances well. You eventually learn how to! You can avail scholarships and fellowships to manage your tuition and living costs.

Besides, you can make a checklist of things you really need and things you can do away with. For example, while making a choice between buying your groceries and going out on a weekend trip with your friends, which one would you prioritise (considering you have less budget)?

Can studying abroad be expensive?

Studying abroad is expensive if you are looking for a destination that doesn’t fit your budget. However, studying abroad could be affordable if planned well. If you apply for scholarships or education loans at the right time, then you can save yourself from making your education a burden on you.

What types of challenges should I be ready to face?

Students going abroad might find it difficult to adjust to new surroundings. Initially, almost everyone struggles to get accustomed to the new environment, but with time it gets easier.

Some students might consider the following as struggles: culture shock, loneliness and homesickness. And some students might say these aren’t struggles because these are all part of growing up.  

What type of accommodation can I look for?

Every university abroad has a team to support its international students. You can write to them and check for suitable stay options, either on or off campus. In addition, there are plenty of housing and apartment options available. Students can choose to stay in residence halls and dorms or stay with a family at a homestay-type accommodation.

Will I get a job after completing my studies?

What happens after your studies depends on what you do during your studies. If you start networking early with potential employers outside the campus or if you intern somewhere to gain added skills, it might help you in finding a job later.

This isn’t a comprehensive list – just a few questions that we feel should be asked by every student to a study abroad counsellor. Let us know if you have a different question on your mind. You can speak to a counsellor and directly ask your questions and doubts.

Want to study abroad?

Sonia Gumber Sonia Gumber,
IDP Expert
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