The application process for studying abroad is time consuming and requires applicants to start preparing well in advance of their anticipated start date. It is very important to begin the admission process early because in many cases application deadlines are far in advance of the start of the semester (sometimes as many as ten months). You also need to allow time for scheduling any standardized tests needed for admission and then having the results of these tests sent to schools. There is no uniform world-wide application system. Each college or university establishes its own unique policies.
The 6 basic steps for applying abroad are:
- Identifying country, universities and the course of your interest
- Request universities for Application forms
- Taking various required tests
- Arranging and preparing Essays and recommendation letters
- Completing and Sending Application forms along with required documents
- Reporting various test scores to the universities
Selecting universities is a very time consuming and important process not only from the admission point of view but also because applying to universities is very expensive by Indian standards. Hence it has to be restricted to around 6 or 8 universities which are best matched for your requirements.
The best university for you may not be the famous ones, but those that offer you your field of study as well as meet the other criteria important to you.
Requesting Application Forms:
There are two ways to get application forms:
1. Requesting Application Forms via email : You can request application forms from the universities website. Most universities have a form on their website which can be completed online to request application material.
2. Downloading from the university website : Many universities have a downloadable and ready to print versions of their application forms on the net. These can be used for applying just as regular forms.
Once you start receiving application forms and material, go through the material in detail and check the application deadline, minimum scores required in the standardized tests, recommendation letters needed and other such information.
Tabulate all these requirements and compare them with your objectives and group the universities under three categories :
1. Schools that seem to match your requirements
2. Schools that are not suited to your needs
3. Schools that do not completely fit in any of the above two categories
Many universities have their own format and questions that have to be answered by the person who is giving the letter of recommendation on your behalf. Letters, which do not give enough information, can jeopardize a candidate’s chances of selection.
School records/Academic transcript:
The transcripts of your academic record are absolutely essential to the evaluation of your academic abilities. Your official transcript or academic record is the objective part of your application. Academic records greatly vary from one education system to the other. Systems of evaluation or grading and the formats used to present this information also differ widely.
Undergraduate : Students who are applying for a Bachelor program or any other undergraduate course would be required to submit a secondary school report and transcripts (report cards) of the final exams. The report form should be filled out by a school official like the principal, counselor or headmaster. This form should introduce you in the context of your whole school experience in relationship to the other students in your class. Admission committees will be interested in learning how you have performed in your own educational system. The school report should talk about your accomplishments and provide a statement of your chances for success in university-level studies.
Graduate : Students applying for Graduate courses (MBA, MS etc) are required to submit an official transcript from each college or university that they have attended after secondary school with complete details of the subjects, credits involved and other details like correspondence courses, diplomas etc. Most universities ask for the transcript to be sealed in an envelope and signed and attested across the seal by the registrar. This procedure is to be done for each and every college that you have attended. Some universities may ask for more than one transcripts but most require only one.