Fact no. 1– Our Indian schools’ education system does this thing where students are given knowledge and information on a platter without really enabling them to understand the mechanics or the background of that piece of information.
Fact no. 2 – The trend of moving to a different country, especially Western countries, to pursue graduation / post-graduation has picked up over the last 10 years.
Fact no. 3 – Western countries are far more stringent and pedantic when it comes to enrolling foreign students and one of the main criteria they’re judged on are creative as well as critical thinking skills.
Considering the facts mentioned above, we can conclude that when an Indian student is looking to study abroad the competition is really, really tough. Sure, many Indian students pass the preliminary rounds based on their test scores because we are all so attuned to mugging up stuff. The ringer, however, are the facts that many of these colleges ask for college application forms that include an essay or a mission statement as to why one wants to pursue that certain field in that particular college and let’s not forget the fact that they look at more than just test scores. The overall personality of the student is evaluated by the college faculty. Barring the language barrier and the difference in culture that your essay might throw light on, many of our students lag behind because of their ability to analyse and evaluate along with the fact that Indian parents and even teachers to a large extent, are so focused on marks in History, Math and English that they forget about co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. You might think that India is always boasting about so many renowned Indians teaching at Harvard. However, compare the number of students who apply versus the number of those who actually get through, and you’ll see that the resulting percentage is miniscule. So here is a list of things that you can focus on that will boost your application as a whole.
- Start Early: One of the best things you can do is to begin your college search (and by that we mean a list of at least 10 so that the odds are in your favour) at least a year in advance. Get in touch with a consultant or someone who has insider’s knowledge about the application process and the kind of candidates that college usually prefers.
- More than Just Numbers: Your college application can reflect an active interest in a whole bunch of extra/co -curricular activities or it can reflect one or two of them in which you’ve excelled beyond expectations. Whatever the case may be, make sure that your application reflects your interest, aptitude and your well rounded growth. If these are supplemented with certificates, that’s even better.
- Recommendations: Extra/ co-curricular activities aren’t just about participating in school events. Think outside the box. Maybe you’ve volunteered at a Children’s Home. Use that and get a recommendation from your supervisor or get a recommendation from your Principal at school. Whoever it is you approach, make sure that they are directly related to your achievements and have credentials that back-up their vouching for you.
- Lead from the front: Volunteering to shoulder responsibilities is one of the foremost qualities that colleges look for in the applicants. Opt to lead as many operations as you get a chance to. Showing the ability to lead, on your application shows the faculty that you’re not afraid to face challenges
- Research financial aid: One of the first questions a foreign student is asked is how they’re going to manage the fees and the funding. Unless you’re a child prodigy, you can’t expect to naturally get in on a scholarship. Researching financial aid options not only helps you be prepared, but also shows the committee that you’re serious about studying with them.