FAQs on studying abroad

August 05, 2011
What are the exams needed to be cleared to study abroad?

Universities in the US need the GRE and TOEFL for admission to non-business programmes at the Master's level. At the Bachelor's level students need to appear for the SAT and SAT subject tests. UK universities require the IELTS / TOEFL for admissions. All leading business schools across the world need the GMAT for admissions (some of them will now accept the GRE as well). For more information on these exams refer to the 'Prep Talks' and 'Test Drives' sections on www.educationtimes.com

Do I need a 16th year of education to study abroad?

US and Canadian universities need students to have 16 years of undergraduate education for admission, although a few universities have waived this requirement now. It is better to pursue at least one year of a Master's degree course and fulfil this requirement before you apply (some schools may even need the 2nd year of the Master's degree). UK and European universities, on the other hand, follow the 15 years of undergraduate study pattern which is similar to the Indian system of education and hence don't need a 16th year.

What is the new GRE?

The new GRE promises to reduce the focus on vocabulary, eliminating antonyms and analogies completely. In the Verbal section, the focus will shift from vocabulary to reading comprehension, and quantitative reasoning will focus on data interpretation and real life scenarios. All in all, the new GRE will be like the GMAT in many ways. Give yourself minimum three months of preparation time for the GRE. I highly recommend that you refer to books such as 'The Official Guide to GRE' as well as 'Barons Guide to the new GRE'. Nonetheless, with effective preparation you should be fine taking the new GRE. More information on the new GRE is available at www.gre.org. Each section in the new GRE will be scored on a scale of 130-170, making 340 the high score and 260 the low score.

Can I work in the UK after I finish my education?

Remember, no one can ever guarantee you jobs after you graduate. If you network well, you may get a job after you graduate. However, job prospects are better if you graduate from a well known university. If you are looking to work in the UK after you finish your education, then you will have problems. With the new visa rules, do not count on getting a job in the UK.

What is OPT?

The US system offers Optional Practical Training (or OPT) which allows students to work for 12 to 29 months (depending on the course) in their field of study on completion of the course. The OPT is part of the student visa (F1) itself. During the OPT period if a company would like to retain a student for full-time work, they would sponsor his/her work (H1) visa which is generally for three years. The company can then extend the work visa for an additional three years. Thus, the chance of securing a job after graduation is better in the US as compared to other countries.

What does it cost to study abroad?

An average tuition fee of a US university is about US$ 30,000 per-year and average living expenses are about US$ 10,000 per-year. Average fees at UK universities is around 15,000 pounds per-year and average fees at Canadian universities is around CA$ 20,000 per year. Fees will vary from university to university and country to country, hence you must check with each university individually for their fee structure. Fees for MBA courses may be higher.

What loans and scholarships from India can I get to study abroad?

Students, who are financially weak but keen on studying abroad, can avail of funding resources such as need based grants from universities, grants from trusts, and bank loans. Remember, not every university gives financial aid and hence you should check the financial aid regulations before you apply to universities. Additionally, in India, you can consider approaching various trusts such as Lady Meherbai D. Tata Education Trust, Aga Khan Foundation, Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial trust scholarships and Nanabhoy Jejeebhoy Charity Trust which offer loan and grants to students seeking education abroad. Please contact these individual institutes for further details.

For loans, most Indian banks now provide up to 20 lakh education loan and some state banks will offer you a certain amount of the loan (generally 7.5 lakh) without any collateral or security and offer good interest rates as well. Please contact individual banks to get an idea. Having said this, it is best to plan your finances well, before you make any decision.

Do universities abroad offer scholarships?

Scholarships are competitive and awarded to the most deserving students. At the graduate level you can get funding in the form of graduate assistantships where you work or research with professors. In exchange you will get your entire tuition fees waived, and get a monthly stipend to cover your living expenses. Naturally, such awards are very competitive. Universities abroad consider various factors such as previous academics, entrance test scores, work experience, application documents and so on while assessing an application for admission and scholarships; hence, it is imperative to have a well-rounded outstanding profile before you apply. Such awards are available generally at the Master's level only.

Can I do an MBA without work experience?

MBA is a broader, practical-oriented degree covering all aspects of a business (marketing, finance, human resources, operations) and then, allowing you to specialise in your desired major. Leading business schools worldwide need the GMAT and TOEFL / IELTS for admission in addition to full-time work experience of at least three years. Hence, if you are keen on pursuing your MBA, try to gain good work-experience after your Bachelor's and strengthen your profile, which will boost your chances of admission in a good B-school. You should not attempt an MBA without having full-time work experience.

What are the SAT subject tests? How are they different from SAT?

Most top ranked US schools will require the SAT subject tests along with the SAT. The SAT has three sections - Math, Writing and Critical Reading; the total test score is 2400 points. The SAT II has various subject tests, the most common ones being Math IC, Math IIC, Physics, Chemistry and Biology (each one is out of 800 points). Students generally choose 2 or 3 SAT II subject tests. A score of 2000 and above is considered as a good score in SAT. You can get more information on the SAT I and SAT II on www.collegeboard.com
You can refer to the Official Study Guide for SAT Subject Tests and Real SAT II: Subject Tests to help you prepare for the exams.

What is the GRE Computer Science subject test?

Some top US universities will need students to appear for the GRE Subject test in Computer Science. This is a test which will test your Computer Science knowledge. For details on GRE Computer Science Test, please refer to the following link http://www.ets.org/gre/subject/about/content/computer_science

Where can I get information on studying in Germany?

For studying in Germany, refer to the website http://newdelhi.daad.de/ to get information on the universities offering your course. You can also contact the university directly and request them to put you in touch with international students currently studying with them, so that you can learn more from their experiences.

What books can I buy to study for the GRE, GMAT, SAT, TOEFL, IELTS?

For the GRE you can refer to the ETS GRE Revised Test, Barrons and Kaplan GRE books. For GMAT, you can refer to books such GMAT Official Guide and the Manhattan Study Guides. For SAT, you can refer to the Collegeboard Official Study Guide. For the TOEFL, you can refer to the Barrons and Kaplan books as well as www.toefl.org. For IELTS, you can collect your study material from the British Council. For more information on the IELTS you can refer to Sam Mc Carter and Judith Ash.

Is the IELTS and the TOEFL the same?

Both TOEFL and IELTS are English proficiency tests required to be taken by all international students. Both the exams have speaking, reading, writing and listening sections. However, US universities prefer the TOEFL whereas UK universities prefer IELTS. For more information on these exams refer to the 'Prep Talks' and 'Test Drives' sections on www.educationtimes.com

What does the admission committee look for while granting admissions?

Universities abroad consider various factors such as previous academics, entrance test scores, work experience, application documents and so on while assessing an application for admission and scholarships; hence, it is imperative to have a well rounded profile.

How do I apply for an undergraduate course for UK universities?

Undergraduate applications to UK universities are fairly simple. You will be required to fill out the UCAS form at www.ucas.com. UK universities generally do not require any supporting documents to be sent to them at the time of application. You will be required to enter your marks on the UCAS form itself as well as upload a letter of recommendation from a teacher and a personal statement. Once a university has accepted you, you may be required to forward the final transcripts and financial documents while accepting your offer of admission.

What is the difference between BBA and MBA?

The BBA stands for Bachelor's in Business Administration and the MBA stands for Master's in Business Administration. A student pursues the BBA after the 12th grade and the MBA after the Bachelor's degree.
Both degrees help students gain specialized knowledge in the business arena. However, an MBA is a degree at the post graduate level, whereas a BBA is an undergraduate degree.

How difficult is to get a visa to study abroad?

For the student visa, as long as you have an admission offer from an accredited university and are able to show sufficient funds to cover your education and living, it should not be a problem. Just be honest when you apply for your visa.

How much money does RBI allow for study abroad?

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) allows students to take up to US$ 100,000 for their education abroad. In some cases, the RBI may allow a higher limit if the course so demands it.

How do I pay my university fees?

You can make the payment of your tuition fees through wire transfer. For this, you will need your university bank account information. Alternatively, you can also make a demand draft of the amount and carry it with you. The wire transfer is the preferred method of paying fees.

Source: educationtimes.com