Thinking about pursuing studies abroad? Wondering where to start? Study International Managing Director Dianne Siozon gives you a rundown of the factors to consider when thinking about going overseas for one’s education.
(This is a guest post from Study International.)
1. Make a realistic assessment of your academic capabilities
We would all like to study at the top universities – Ivy League, Oxbridge – because of the prestige that comes with it is priceless. However, if you feel you cannot cope with overwhelming academic pressure, don’t even apply to such institutions. You will run the risk of dropping out within the 1st semester, wasting all your time and MONEY!
Remember, these top-ranked schools do not offer academic support mechanisms, such as tutorials, to help you pass your classes. There are a million other students waiting to get accepted for every dropout. It’s always best to graduate with top honors from a university that you can cope with, rather than be a drop-out from a top university.
2. Know your budget
Applying to top-ranked schools also means that you may have to pay up to 10 times more than the average tuition fee. Quality and prestige comes with a price. Yes, there are scholarships but they aren’t that plentiful, especially for top schools. Only a few students get scholarships from the Ivy League schools, for instance.
3. Decide on your preferred course before you even start searching for schools
Knowing which program you want will make your research so much easier. You can then look at industry-strong universities which may not be top-ranked. You will find that there are mid-ranked institutions that do well in your chosen subject area, making them top-ranked in that field of study. You now have put yourself in an ideal situation if you are financially sensitive: affordable tuition fees and high employability opportunities upon graduation.
Knowing which course you want will also help you decide which country to apply to. For example, if you’re looking for a finance-related program, you may want to consider studying in one of the world’s top financial districts (London, New York, etc.) where the opportunity for a student internship may be possible.
4. Start with the end in mind
What are your long-term goals for studying abroad? Would you like to work in the new country, migrate, or have overseas internships? These are some of the questions you should ask yourself while preparing. Your future depends on the path you choose, and each decision you make should be working towards your desired future.
5. Location, location, location
If you have a certain country in mind, do some serious research first to find out if it is the place for you. You are going to spend 3-4 years of your life in that area, so at least make sure that you’ll like it there.
Weigh up how important the culture is versus the cost of living. As a rule of thumb, cities are 30% more expensive than the suburbs. Don’t forget to ask yourself: do you want to live in a campus near the excitement of a city, or perhaps one in a more quiet area away from all the hustle and bustle?
Stay tuned for the rest of the things to keep in mind when planning to study abroad!
Dianne has been active in student counseling and assistance for application to universities, colleges and schools abroad for 15 years now. She started her career working for the British Council as the Education Services Manager and IELTS Administrator for 4 years. Now she continues her advocacy as Counselor of Study International – a ONE-STOP-SHOP for studying abroad providing FREE education counseling and assistance for studies in UK, Australia and New Zealand, USA, Canada, Switzerland, Italy, Netherlands, China, Malaysia, and Singapore. She helps students make an INFORMED choice based on student’s aspiration, goals, and budget.
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