Monday, May 12, 2014

Planning to go abroad for higher education, write a Paper!!

Students in Asia, more particularly in the Indian Sub Continent have a huge misconception about admissions abroad. They will spend 80% of their time and effort in preparing for GRE/GMAT/SAT not realizing that this is nowhere close to the importance given by universities in their application process. This mentality is possibly the result of entrance exams in India (like the IIT JEE) where complete focus is on the entrance exam and not the overall package that the student is. It would not matter if you played the violin or led the choir at your church; you just have to be in the top 1% of the exam takers to crack the exam.

The authors of this blog do not condemn the Indian system of admissions as it is possibly the only way to screen a potential 300,000 applicants into 3000 odd seats, but people must be aware that this approach will badly backfire when you are looking at pursuing a degree abroad.

Whenever we try and shortlist institutions to study abroad, the one thing we unfailingly notice is its ranking. Nobody ever bothers to check how the rankings are derived in the first place!!

Check out this link that shows how Universities are ranked:

You would notice that 90% of weight in the rankings goes to.... you guessed it RESEARCH!!

The reason research is given such high importance is because an institution can produce good quality research if and only if all other requirements of a good institution were already in place.

This is clearly shown in the application forms of different universities this year, most applicants just leave it blank which adversely affects their chances. You can see for yourself screenshots of different university application forms:

New York University Poly
 University of Southern California

This is the Recommendation Format for the University of Texas at Arlington:


San Jose State University

Universities also offer tution fee waivers in the form of Teaching and Research assistant ships. These are of great value in reducing the financial burden on the student. Imagine having the cake and eating it too!!

Logical Implication: If you show a good aptitude in Research, the institution will be after you!!

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