The world is opening up and a whole new way of life is waiting out there for you. Universities everywhere are welcoming more and more international students every year. No longer is college abroad only for a chosen few – the uber-rich or extraordinarily intelligent.
However, there is a downside, with greater choice comes greater confusion. How to choose a college from the thousands of universities and courses available? IEC Abroad has been counselling our students on this and we bring you the 7 best tips to choose your college abroad.
1. Do your homework
Everyone will have an opinion, some helpful and others contrary to each other. The best you can do in this situation is Research! Research! Research! Then speak to an expert consultant and finally reach a decision along with your parents. Your research must take you to university portals for official information. Forums are also a good place to connect with other students who have already been through the journey and can give you tips.
2. Decide on your purpose
Do you want to study abroad for the experience or for education? Often it is a little bit of both. Knowing what is your goal goes a long way on how to decide where to study abroad. For example, if you want to learn a new language, you might choose a country like Germany where you need not pay tuition fees. Maybe you want to experience the local culture, in which case, you might look for a university in a larger city or town. If the degree is most important, you will make your decision on the university ranking.
3. Are you going for undergrad, masters or PhD
There was a time not too long ago when international students went abroad to study only for their masters level and beyond. Today, many decide to go abroad to do their undergrad as well. If you plan to do your undergrad in a college abroad then know that many universities require you to complete pre-requisite courses before you can choose a major.
For those going to a college abroad for their masters or PhD then decide on your area of study. This will decide which country and university you will choose.
4. How will you pay for your college abroad
It is not just college tuition fees that you will need to pay for, you must also add the costs of accommodation, food, phone and commute costs. If your parents are willing to foot this entire cost, then you are one of the privileged ones. A few get part scholarships to cut down on the final tally. Most though will take out student loans and work while in school to cover other expenses. Your financial plan will finally decide on how to choose a college and country to study in.
5. Attend Education Fairs
University open days can give students a closer feel of what to expect if they get admission to a particular university. For international students who are still deciding on how to choose a college, education fairs in their city are the next best thing. Representatives of universities along with education agencies at these education fairs will provide you with the best opportunities to find out more about the courses and the qualifications needed. These education fairs are usually held at a hotel or convention centre and are advertised on social media and in colleges. Keep a lookout for the next education fair in your city.
6. Speak to an education counsellor
All the research you have done takes time and might still leave you unsure how to choose a college. The college application process can leave you even more in a daze. What if we told you that you can get all the help you need at no cost to you? Education counsellors have years of experience and a long line of students they have helped. Counselling is also free, cool, isn’t that? Use their knowledge and expertise to quickly narrow down the universities and countries you can apply successfully to.
7. Don’t miss the intake admission season
Most foreign universities have two admission intakes – one in spring and the other in fall. The Fall semester usually has more students applying and it begins in September. The spring semester starts in January. Your research and application must start early enough for the admission intake that you want to apply for.
Since the number of students is higher in the fall semester, this means the acceptance rate for international students will be higher. Of course, if you have a better than average profile then you can apply for the spring semester too with ease. You also need to keep in mind that not all universities have the spring semester so check if this applies for the university you wish to go to.
Once you have navigated the complicated process of how to choose a college it is time to prepare for qualifying exams like IELTS, TOEFL or GMAT. Your scores will also decide which colleges abroad you can apply to.
IEC Abroad is an organisation specialising in counselling students for overseas education for more than a decade. With offices across the globe and trusted educational advisors on board, IEC offers the best services in counselling, visa processing and other services related to your student journey from home to settling on a campus.