When it comes to studying abroad, one nagging question that bothers students is how to choose the right study abroad course or college? There is no fixed or simple answer to this question. The right course or college for different students would vary as per their priorities and needs. However, in general, students planning to take up higher education courses abroad can consider the following factors to shortlist the right college and course:
The International English Language Testing System is probably the most popular test among the students who are planning to pursue their studies abroad. It is an English proficiency test for Indian students planning to take up higher education in a foreign (English-speaking) country. The IELTS test is designed to evaluate the key language skills of the students i.e., listening, reading, speaking, and writing. The universities and educational institutions in leading education hubs for Indian students like the US, UK, New Zealand and Canada, accept IELTS scores to admit students to higher education programmes.
TOFEL or the Test of English Language as a Foreign Language is an English proficiency test that is conducted to evaluate the English speaking ability and understanding of a candidate. Over 9,000+ colleges, foreign universities and institutes accept TOFEL score as a valid measure of proof of English proficiency. Nearly 130 are the active participants of TOFEL where the test score is accepted to admit international students. The test is conducted by the Educational Test Service (ETS) which is an American non-profit organization.
Graduate Record Examination, popularly known as the GRE Test in the common parlance; is a standardized entrance test accepted by several popular and reputed B-schools, universities and educational institutes across the globe. The GRE Test is administered and conducted by Educational Testing Service (ETS) and helps educational institutions compare academic profiles and efficiency of different students for admission process.
GMAT which stands for Graduate Management Admission Test; is a globally accepted MBA entrance examination through which MBA aspirants are screened, shortlisted and selected for admission. Conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC); GMAT is a computer adaptive test that tests quantitative, analytical, writing and verbal as well as reading skills of an MBA aspirant.
Scholastic Assessment Test is a standardized test for students planning to take up higher education overseas. Initially, SAT was developed as a common entrance test for students intending to join colleges / universities for higher education in the US. Currently conducted by the College Board, SAT exam is a mandatory requirement for seeking admission to undergraduate programmes offered at foreign universities. Apart from the general SAT tests, candidates can also take up respective SAT Subject tests in order to support their candidature for a particular subject course / programme.
The American College Test is a standardized test that measures the academic readiness of the students applying for admission to American colleges. The ACT standardized test is aimed at high-school students who are seeking entry to undergraduate level academic college programmes in the US.
Offered by the University of Cambridge ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages); the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Test is a standardized English proficiency test that assesses all language skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. The CAE test has been developed by experts at Cambridge to evaluate the English language communication skills of students required for complex academic and professional duties in foreign countries.
Law School Admission Test is a very important standardized test for students planning to pursue law education in the USA, Canada and many other countries. The test is managed and administered by Law school admission council (LSAC) and acts as a uniform measurement tool of knowledge and intelligence for all law school applicants. A good LSAT score will go a long way in supporting your candidature to reputed law schools in any major English-speaking education hub for Indian students.
9. Pearson Test of English
Pearson Test of English Academic or the PTE Academic Test is a language proficient test for students keen to pursue their higher education in a foreign country. PTE is a computerized test conducted by Pearson which evaluates the English language proficiency of non-native English speakers or people whose mother tongue is not English. The PTE test results are widely accepted by universities, colleges and other educational institutions across the world in almost all major English speaking countries which are educational hubs for Indian students including USA, UK, Canada and Australia.
Every year, the number of Indian students applying to foreign universities for admission has been increasing steadily, be it at graduation or post-graduation level. While many term this as ‘brain drain’, many others also see the bright side of opting to study abroad at the top colleges and universities. Let us look at the key advantages of studying abroad.
1. Ease of Admission
Admission to India’s top higher education institutes is highly competitive in nature, be it IITs for engineering or IIMs for MBA. On the contrary, students with strong academic background and stable financial backing are welcomed at foreign universities. Although, the admission process for premier foreign colleges or universities is equally difficult, the competition is not as fierce as found in India.
2. Options Galore
The second reason that attracts Indian students to foreign shores for higher education is the availability of a variety of courses and career options. Apart from the main-stream popular options (STEM courses - Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), the courses available at premier higher education institutes in India is limited. This often forces students to look at foreign universities, who offer quality education programmes in niche or less popular courses (in India) as well.
3. Quality of Education
Quality of education, even at the best of the best colleges in India is often not at par with that being followed at the international level. Although, the quality of higher education institutes is improving gradually, there is a vast gap between conceptual knowledge and its practical application. On the other hand, foreign universities and colleges adopt a more interactive and participative teaching pedagogy through case studies and experiential learning which is makes it more interesting for the students.
4. Better Research Opportunities
When it comes to research opportunities, Indian higher education institutes are way behind their foreign counterparts. There is serious crunch of financial support and resources for doctoral programmes in India. Compared to this, foreign universities receive and invest a major amount in the development of research facilities and retaining students who can contribute to research in a diverse array of fields.
5. Jobs & Career Prospects
An academic degree from a foreign college or a university, especially from a well reputed one, adds much more weight to one’s Resume as compared to the one from an Indian higher education institute. Simply put, Indian students who have a foreign degree to their name are offered more job opportunities and higher pay packages.
Emigration is also one of the motivating factors for Indian students to opt for Study Abroad option and join a foreign college or university. Especially, graduate level students who opt to study at foreign universities often have this reason at the top of their list. Many countries such as the US and Canada have favourable immigration policies for students who have studied there to seek employment upon the completion of the studies.
As more and more students from India look at the foreign shores for higher studies the list of most preferred study abroad destination for Indian students has also undergone some severe changes. While traditionally countries like USA, UK and Australia use to top this list in the last decade many new countries have also joined this list.
The United States of America or the USA tops the list of study abroad destinations for international students in general and the case is no different for Indian students who want to pursue higher education overseas. With Ivy League colleges and universities such as Harvard, Stanford, Princeton and MIT attracting international talent, the US is surely the most preferred study abroad destination.
Top Study Abroad Courses in USA
Canada is one of the more recent entrants to this list and has emerged as the second most favoured study abroad destination for Indians. Quality of education, affordable cost and safe and multicultural environment are the key factors that contribute significantly to the popularity of Canada as an overseas education hub for the Indian students.
Top Study Abroad Courses in Canada
Traditionally, United Kingdom or the UK use to wear the crown of the most preferred study abroad destination in Europe, but in the recent past, Germany has dethroned it. Backed by quality and affordable education, Germany has steadily risen to the top of the list of most preferred overseas destinations for the Indian students. The majority of German Universities charge nominal or no tuition fee that coupled with the fact that degrees awarded by them are recognized internationally makes it one of the best study abroad destinations for Indians.
Top Study Abroad Courses in Germany
Australia has also been a favourite among the international Indian students who choose the country for pursuing higher education courses. The country is recognized globally for a strong higher education system that offers University backed academic courses as well as a number of vocational programmes. Australia is also the preferred study destination for Indian researchers as it offers the necessary infrastructure and guidance to the doctoral students.
Top Study Abroad Courses in Australia
Singapore has emerged as the go-to study abroad destination for Indian students as far as Southeast Asia is concerned. The country is home to some of the highly ranked universities and higher education institutes offering Indian students the right mix of quality education at affordable cost. The emergence of Singapore as a major business centre for MNCs and global businesses has also contributed significantly to its status as a preferred overseas study destination for the Indian students.
Top Study Abroad Courses in Singapore
6. New Zealand
It is hard to believe but the small island nation next to Australia is also preferred by the Indian students for higher studies. In the last five years, the New Zealand has emerged as a favoured study destination for Indian students. With 8 universities listed in the top 500 universities in the world by QS making, the country has proven that it offers quality education that is in sync with the needs of the global business market. In addition to regular universities, New Zealand also has 20 institutes of technology and polytechnics and many private training establishments (PTE) which offers technical and vocational training to the students.
Top Study Abroad Courses in New Zealand
Traditionally, the United Kingdom was the most preferred overseas study destination for the Indian students in Europe, but thanks to the strict student visa laws and the increasing cost of higher education, the country has fallen in the list of most preferred overseas destinations for the Indian students. With names such as Oxford and Cambridge as part of the list of universities, the UK has been a traditional favourite among the Indian students. The education system followed in the UK is also quite similar to the one in India making it more convenient for Indian students to take up higher education courses there. Availability of international study scholarships also aids Indian students in pursuing higher education courses in the UK.
Top Study Abroad Courses in New Zealand
Have you been savouring dreams of joining Harvard or Princeton to pursue your higher education or wondering what would it be like to study at Oxford University? Well, you can stop wondering and start exploring different study abroad opportunities that awaits you as an Overseas Indian student. Many bright students in India miss out on getting admission to premier higher education institutes in India, thanks to the fierce competition. However, just because you missed the IIT-JEE cutoff or didn’t crack the CAT entrance test doesn’t mean your dream to study at the top colleges has to end.
You have one more avenue to explore i.e. Overseas Education or the Study Abroad option. Don’t get me wrong, it is not that getting admission to Ivy League Colleges in the USA or the best universities in Australia is an easy task. But, it is definitely worth a try, as top colleges across the world have realized the potential that Indian students bring and opened their campuses for them. So, let’s explore different Study Abroad options that Indian students have and how they can translate their dream to study in the best colleges of the world into a reality.