Selecting a particular university is not an easy process. It requires time, careful planning and a significant degree of commitment on the part of students who wish to study abroad. As a set rule, if a student wishes to enter a university in the Fall semester (August/September) then he/she should commence the applications process in June/July of the previous year. Students also need to start preparing for the required standardized tests at least a year in advance. This helps them to obtain the necessary scores well within the time of the application.
The application process generally entails the following steps.
Students who wish to study abroad need to first gather information about the universities they are interested in. They should identify the universities which offer the course of their choice.
Once you have identified the ‘right’ universities, you need to short-list them. Take into account various factors like your budget, preference of location, course offered, infrastructure and so on. By identifying a few universities correctly, students can save a considerable amount of money in the form of application fees, standardized test score fees etc.
Students from all over the world seek admission to foreign universities. Therefore, to facilitate the process of evaluating these students for admission, several standardized tests have been developed. The tests you need to take depend upon the level of study (graduate, undergraduate etc.), course and country.
SAT (students applying for a Bachelor’s degree in USA)
GMAT (for students applying for MBA)
GRE (Graduate Record Examination)
LSAT (Law School Admission Test)
MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)
TOEFL/IELTS (English proficiency tests)
While SAT and GRE are required only while applying to USA, GMAT is generally preferred by all the leading schools of the world. It is mandatory for pursuing MBA in USA. IELTS is required if you are applying to UK/Australia/New Zealand/Singapore and so on. TOEFL should be taken if you are applying to USA.
Students must prepare all the necessary documents that need to be submitted to the university along with the application form. Students need to provide:
Transcripts from all universities/colleges attended
Letters of recommendation
Essays/Statement of Purpose
Financial capability certificates/Bank Statements
Final Application form, including application fees
Financial aid forms
Test results (if applying to more than four universities)
Students may be required to submit a separate form for Graduate Assistantships. Some universities also require students to complete an immunization form. All this information is available on the university website. Students are therefore required to thoroughly check the requirements of every university they are applying to as it may differ from one university to another.
Most post-graduates get a teaching or a research assistantship which may include a tuition waiver in addition to a small stipend for services rendered (i.e. teaching/researching).