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High School

1.  Why are extracurricular activities important?

Engagement outside the classroom is an important aspect of the college application process. While universities look for good grades, they are also interested in well-rounded individuals. Most college applications ask about the activities that you are involved in during your free time, as it shows traits that grades alone are not able to demonstrate. For example, what are you passionate about? Are you a leader? What you do after school, during weekends and over summers tells the college admission team a lot about the kind of person you are.

For example, if you volunteered at a local NGO, it shows your dedication to helping people. If you interned at a bank, it shows you have an interest in finance and are passionate about getting more hands-on experience. If you are part of the debate team, it demonstrates your ability to think quickly on your feet, voice your opinions and that you are well-versed in current affairs.

2.  How do I decide on the right high school for me?

An increasing number of students are changing their high schools. For some the transition is due to the qualification offered (e.g. IB or A-Levels), and for others it is to provide a more conducive learning environment. As you start building out your high school list, there is a wide range of criteria you need to consider before deciding which school is the right fit for you:
1. Board / Curriculum
2. Learning Style
3. Activities Outside of the Classroom
4. Students & Alumni
5. Reputation
6. Size
7. Location
8. Cost
9. Placements
10. School Environment.

3.  How can I maximize my summer holidays?

Here is a list of options:
1) Volunteer
2) Get deeper into extracurricular activities/interests you pursue through the academic year
3) Learn a new skill
4) Talk to seasoned professionals in careers that you are considering
5) Get a summer internship
6) Travel
7) Get involved on a college campus
8) Join a summer abroad program
9) Study for the SATs or ACTs
10) Get better at writing
11) Read
12) Start thinking about your college application
The summer helps you explore as many different ideas as possible, and so if you are in the 9th or 10th grade, pick 3-4 different activities over each summer, feed your curiosity and find your passion. If you are in the 11th or 12th grade, hone in on the 1-2 activities you care about the most, assume leadership and responsibility roles, and maximize your impact.

4.  How can I maximize my academic year?

The school academic year can get very busy. There is a constant tug between excelling on the academic front, and delving into activities that could possibly tip acceptance to your dream college in your favor. Here are a few tips on how to maximize your high school experience:

1) Work towards the A’s.
2) Challenge yourself.
3) Ace the tests.
4) Get recognition.
5) Take part in competitions in subjects that you love.
6) Volunteer.
7) Get deeper into extra curricular activities/interests.
8) Learn new skills.
9) Shadow people.
10) Start thinking about your college application early.

As you begin your academic year, explore the numerous options your school and community provide. If you are in the 9th or 10th grade, pick a few different activities, feed your curiosity and find your passion. If you are in the 11th or 12th grade, hone in on the activities you care about the most, assume leadership and responsibility roles, and maximize your impact.

Undergraduate USA

1.  Can I apply to the US with a strong academic profile but minimal extra-curricular activities?

Yes you can apply but most US colleges value a holistic profile.  Strong academics are an important element, but schools also look at activities outside of the classroom. Ideally you should build your profile in a holistic manner.

2.  What is the procedure for predicted grades?

Your School Counselor can upload the grades in the common App, in the Optional Report Section. However also check application instructions for each school that you are applying to as some schools also have additional instructions with regards to predicted grades.

3.  What financial aid options does my university offer?

As each university has its own policies for international students, we strongly recommend that you:

• Speak to the right contact at the university – it might be the International Student Services Department or Financial Aid Office. It is important to be in contact with specific colleges of interest to determine whether each college has a sufficient pool of funds to provide aid to non-US citizens.

• Regularly check the financial aid and international students’ sections of college websites for specific information about the colleges that you are interested in.

• Like their page on social media (Facebook, Twitter) so that you are immediately aware of any updates or changes.

• Indicate interest in receiving financial aid in the application form (if applicable) and apply by the preferred deadline if you finally decide that you need to avail of financial aid.

4.  What is ‘need-blind’ financial aid?

A term that students often come across when exploring their various financial aid options is ‘need-blind’. This simply means that students are evaluated regardless of their ability to pay full-tuition costs or not. However, only five schools – Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Amherst, and MIT are need-blind regardless of the student’s country of origin. This means that if accepted, students obtain the necessary financial aid.

Most other schools don’t employ this need-blind policy. Instead they are ‘need-aware’ or ‘need-sensitive’, meaning if you indicate the need for financial aid, your application process will be looked at with that in mind.

So when asking for need-based aid at a university, remember most universities will be taking this into account, and your ability to pay may determine your admission.

5.  Where and how can I get funding?

1. Personal Funding – this is one of the most popular ways. it generally involves funding through family and relatives.
2. University Aid – This includes:
a) Merit-based scholarships, which are granted on the basis of special skills, talents, or abilities. Merit-based scholarships are usually very competitive.
b) Need-based scholarships, which are awarded based on financial need. You will be required to demonstrate need at a predetermined level to be eligible.
3. Bank Loans – you can inquire with your banks regarding what education loans they provide and what the rate of interest is.
4. External Agencies – There are a number of external agencies including community organizations, companies, foundations, and Government agencies that offer financial assistance to students.
5. Work-Study – These programs allow you to work on campus and opportunities include tutoring, research assistant, a desk job in the library or administrative office.

6.  How much will it cost to study in the US?

The itemized average costs at a top university for one academic year (2015/16) are:

Cost Item (in USD)
Tuition: 44,000
Room & Board: 11,500
Transportation: 1,200
Other (entertainment, insurance, books): 3,500
Total Per Year: 60,200
The numbers can significantly vary based on your chosen degree, location and personal lifestyle.

7.  How do I prepare for the admissions interview?

The interview is a critical final step in the application process. This is when you really have the chance to “wow” your interviewer. The interview will be conducted by either the admissions board or an alumnus of the school, depending on the interview process of each school. The interviews can take place on campus, in select cities, via Skype or over the phone. They usually last between 30 minutes to an hour. Here are the top 6 tips for a successful interview:

1. PREPARE. PREPARE. PREPARE
2. Follow the correct etiquette
3. Read and know your content
4. Answer the question clearly and concisely
5. Exhibit genuine enthusiasm
6. Know all details about your school and program

8.  Why are letters of recommendation important?

Your letters of recommendation can reveal a number of things about you to the admissions team, including your academic strengths, areas of interest, personal qualities and community service. They offer insights that indicate who you are and whether you are a right fit for the college that is reading them.

9.  Why are extracurricular activities important?

Engagement outside the classroom is an important aspect of the college application process. While universities look for good grades, they are more interested in well-rounded individuals. Most college applications ask about the activities that you are involved in during your free time, as it shows traits that grades alone are not able to demonstrate. For example, what are you passionate about? Are you a leader? What you do after school, during weekends and over summers tells the college admissions team a lot about the kind of person you are.

For example, if you volunteered at a local NGO, it shows your dedication to helping people. If you interned at a bank, it shows you have an interest in finance and are passionate about getting more hands-on experience. If you are part of the debate team, it demonstrates your ability to think quickly on your feet, voice your opinions and that you are well versed in current affairs.

10.  Why are essays important?

The admissions committees at top schools are looking for an impressive and multi-dimensional applicant who will be able to maximize what he/she gains from and contributes to the school. Through the application, you need to showcase that you have gathered informed opinions on a wide range of subjects, in addition to those within your area of immediate interest, and that you are comfortable wearing several different hats.

Essays provide you with the opportunity to bring out different dimensions of your personality – this not only includes your community involvement or success in a hobby such as art or dance, but also for example, what world events have disturbed you, which world leaders have inspired you, or what you feel is the greatest invention of all time. Schools can learn a lot about you from the way in which you choose your essay topics as well as the way that you answer each question.

11.  How do I write an effective resume?

The main objective of the résumé is to be able to provide a snapshot of your academic accomplishments, with regard to both personal and professional interests.

1. Organize your content chronologically
2. Quantify your achievements
3. Identify accomplishments and do not just list descriptions
4. Begin your statements with action words
5. Don’t make things up or exaggerate your successes
6. Edit, Edit, Edit and Edit again
7. Check your formatting

Remember – An excellent résumé is one of the cornerstones of a successful college application. It gives you the opportunity to provide a consolidated view of your accomplishments and showcase the extent to which you are a strong, well-rounded and suitable fit with the school.

12.  What are the TOEFL and IELTS?

The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) are two popular choices of English proficiency tests, and are accepted by most universities. Most colleges require international students to have completed one, with the grade requirements and preference (if any) clearly stated on the website, as part of the admissions process. Some colleges may waive this requirement if certain prerequisites are met.

• Both evaluate how well you can combine your listening, reading, writing and speaking skills.

• The TOEFL is a 4 hour-long test, whereas the IELTS is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

• One of the main differences is the speaking part of the test. For IELTS, you are required to take the exam face to face with an IELTS examiner. For TOEFL, the speaking test consists of six questions which you answer into a microphone. These are recorded and sent to an examiner to mark.

• The scoring systems are also different. IELTS rates you between 0 and 9, with halfway points in between. TOEFL provides a more numerical SAT-style grade, totaling your scores from all areas.

• Test results are valid for 2 years and you can retake the exam as many times as you like.

It is important that you check the university website before taking your English proficiency exam, not only to see if there is an exam preference or a minimal score requirement, but also if you are eligible for a waiver.

13.  What are the SAT II Subject Tests?

There are a number of colleges that require the SAT II (also known as SAT Subject Tests), in addition to the ACT or SAT. These tests are hour-long and content-based, and they allow you to showcase achievement in specific subject areas in which you excel. There are 20 SAT Subject Tests in five general subject areas: English, History, Languages, Mathematics and Science.

• You will want to take the tests that are required or recommended by the colleges that you’re interested in. For example, if you wish to study engineering, then Math may be required. Also consider subjects that you excel in or may want to major in, to showcase your strengths and interests.

• The score for subject tests range from 200 to 800, and yes, you can retake them. Colleges will usually look at your best score.

As you navigate the college search process, make sure you check your university or college website to first identify if (a) Subject Tests are required, (b) how many are required, and (c) if any particular subject is stipulated.

14.  When should I take the SAT or ACT?

It is strongly recommended that you take your chosen exams as early as possible, ideally in the 11th grade. This not only gives you a good indication of potential colleges on your radar, but also allows you to then focus your time and resources on other aspects of the intensive college preparation process. Also, should you need to retake any of the tests, you are not rushed at the last minute.

15.  What does ‘test-flexible’ and ‘test-optional’ mean?

An increasing number of colleges in the US are becoming ‘test-flexible’, or ‘test-optional’, or completely opting out of asking students for their SAT or ACT scores. For example:

• One university on its website states it is ‘test-flexible’, which means instead of the SAT or ACT, you can submit other results such as 3 separate SAT subject tests.

• Another university admissions process is ‘test-optional’, which means you can withhold your results if you feel they take away from your application strength.

• A third university states that it does not require standardized tests scores at all. Instead, they are evaluating other aspects of the candidate’s profile when making their admission decisions.

However, unless you are sure your college selection includes only test-flexible or test-optional institutions, we recommend you take the SAT or ACT to prevent limiting your choices.

16.  Should I take the SAT or ACT?

Before making the decision on which exam to take, it is strongly recommended that you browse through the study books of both, take a diagnostic test, and see which one is better for you. You may be naturally drawn to one test over the other. From an admissions standpoint, most universities accept both the SAT and the ACT. So your primary criterion for selection should be where you think you can score higher.

17.  What is the SAT?

The SAT is a globally recognized college admissions test that consists of two subject area tests – Math and Evidence-Based Writing and Reading. Each will be scored on a scale of 200 to 800 points. The essay is optional and will not be factored into your overall SAT score. The essay scores will be shown separately on the report. The exam will have 154 questions and is 3 hours long (plus 50 minutes if you are taking the essay).

You can retake the exam as many times as you like, however in general we have found scores do not significantly change after 3 attempts.

18.  What is the ACT?

The ACT is a national college admissions examination that consists of subject area tests in English, Mathematics, Reading and Science. The ACT with writing includes the four subject area tests plus a 40-minute writing test. Each subject area is given a scaled score between 1 and 36. Those area scores are then averaged into your composite score, which also ranges between 1 and 36.

The exam will have 215 multiple-choice questions and testing time is 2 hours and 55 minutes (add 40 minutes if you are taking the ACT with writing).

You can retake the exam as many times as you like, however in general we have found scores do not significantly change after 3 attempts.

19.  What are standardized tests?

Standardized tests are an important aspect of the application process. Formats primarily include the SAT or ACT, and SAT Subject Tests. Most 4-year colleges will ask that you take these tests, as it allows institutions to compare students from different high schools across the globe and make admissions decisions.

Many colleges post the average scores of their admitted students on their website. It is important to remember that while the scores will allow you to identify colleges that are within your range, this is not the only indicator for college selection. A college may be the right fit for you, even if the average score is higher or lower than yours.

The standardized test scores may also help you qualify for scholarships. Some colleges and educational organizations award scholarship money to students based, in part, on SAT scores.

20.  How do I submit my grades?

International applicants must provide official copies of academic records from all secondary or senior secondary schools, pre-university programs, and colleges and universities attended.

You should also:
• Have all academic records sent directly from the schools (whenever possible).
• Submit all academic records in your native language, accompanied by an English translation, if the native language is not English.
• Send external examination results or predicted results. Examples: predicted IB results, Indian board exam results, GCSE/IGCSE results, A-levels, Australian ATAR, etc.
• Submit any additional documents as requested by the Office of Admission.

Some universities may ask that you have your grades assessed by professional credential evaluators and will generally state their preferred evaluation service provider. Remember to check the university website for any specific instructions or details.

21.  Why do grades matter?

Regardless of which Board exam you are taking – IB, iGCSE, A-Levels, Indian Boards – grades do matter, and are a very important aspect of the application. The different types of grades universities require are:

a) Transcripts – Most colleges will require students to submit a transcript – a document listing your academic qualifications and grades – for the last four years of school. So remember, everything from 9th grade onwards counts!

b) School Report – most college applications will also include a supplemental form called the Secondary School Report. It is generally completed by one of the counselors at your school and is also known as the counselor recommendation.

c) Midyear & Final Reports – Colleges require a Final Report from your school. This is another application form that you will give to your school and they will complete and send directly to the college. The form requests your final grades in the 12th, as they were unavailable during application time. A college may also require a Mid-Year Report if you had still not taken your mid-semester exams in the 12th grade when sending your transcripts.

22.  What is the acceptance process?

When the letters and emails from colleges start pouring in, there are three potential outcomes:

1) You are Accepted – Congratulations. Once all your acceptance letters are in, review the offers carefully and take your time in deciding the best fit. Most colleges will give you until May 1st to make your decision.

2) You are Rejected – don’t be disheartened. Wait for all the colleges to reply before you start thinking of worst-case scenarios. If you are not accepted anywhere, you will need to reevaluate your situation but it’s not the end of the world.

3) Some students may discover that they have been waitlisted, meaning neither accepted nor rejected. The waitlist is the college’s safety net, meaning that if a number of accepted students do not attend, then the college can fill those spots with these students.

23.  How do I connect with schools?

Students & Alumni: Reach out to students and alumni of your target schools to get a deeper understanding of not only the various academic programs, but also life outside of the classroom.

Social Media: Like/Follow your target universities. This allows you to stay on top of any advancements, deadlines or changes the university or program is experiencing.

Webinars: Sign up for the online webinars. These will also give you more depth and insight into the programs and college life.

College Fairs / Information Sessions: Many of the universities fly down to India and hold presentations for prospective students and attend college fairs so that you can connect with them in person. Make sure you attend.
Learning more about your targeted colleges and courses not only gives you more insight for decision-making, but also provides more clarity for your essays or statements of purpose.

24.  Should I do campus visits?

Even though it’s not necessary, it does help with your decision-making process. Visiting the campus will give you a real sense of the atmosphere, the academic programs, fellow students, faculty, student life, the local area, and much more, and is therefore strongly recommended.

To plan your visit:
1) Start by doing your homework about the school and program.
2) Contact the universities to find out when official campus tours are offered.
3) Once on campus, make the most of your time there.
4) Remember to take notes and photos; write down your first impressions, what you liked and did not like, whom you met and anything distinct about the college or university that caught your attention.
5) Once you are home from your trip, don’t forget to send everyone thank you messages!

25.  What are Liberal Arts colleges?

Liberal Arts colleges offer a broad base of courses in the liberal arts, which includes areas such as literature, history, languages, mathematics and life sciences. They do not usually offer professional degrees like business or engineering programs.

26.  What are Ivy League universities?

Ivy League universities are a subset of eight private U.S. universities that enjoy a reputation for providing excellent education, and attracting top students.

The Universities are Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University.

27.  What are private universities?

Private Universities are funded by a combination of endowments, tuition fees, research grants, and gifts from their alumni. For instance, Anand Mahindra gave Harvard $10 million in 2010 to support a Humanities Center that was renamed the Mahindra Humanities Center in honor of his mother, Indira Mahindra. Tuition fees at private universities tend to be higher than public universities, but many private universities are more likely to offer financial aid as well.

28.  What are public or state universities?

Public or state universities were founded and subsidized by US state governments to provide low-cost education to residents of that state. International students may need to fulfill higher admission requirements than in-state residents. They usually have a large number of students in their student body, and are often, but not always, focused on sports.

29.  How do I find the right school for me?

You need to look at a number of factors. Don’t base your decision on rankings alone, this is only one point of reference. Some factors may play a larger role than others, so prioritize what’s important to you. Some examples of factors include:

• Facilities
• Location
• Size
• Campus or City University
• Cost
• Employment Opportunities

Make sure you can answer these questions: Why do I want to go to THIS University? Does it meet not only my academic needs, but also my personal strengths and preferences? Your college experience lays the foundation for your future, so it’s imperative you find an environment where you can thrive.

30.  How many schools should I apply to?

Even though there is no limit to the number of colleges that you can apply to, it is strongly recommended that through effective college selection, you narrow down your choices and apply to about 8-12 Universities. Furthermore, you should make sure that you have a range that includes Reach, Target and Safety Schools.

• A Reach School is one where your profile and credentials may fall below the school’s range for the average freshman.

• A Target or Match School is one in which your credentials and profile fall well within the school’s range for the average freshman.

• A Safety School includes any university where your credentials and profile fall above the school’s range for the average freshman.

31.  When do I submit my college application?

Universities offer a variety of deadlines to choose from to ensure flexibility for students:

Regular Decision – you apply with all the other students. The deadlines may vary depending on the university, but they tend to fall between November and March. You usually receive an admission decision in March or April, and do not have to commit to the college until May 1st.

Early Action – you apply early to several US universities (deadlines are usually Nov 1st), and receive admissions decisions well before the usual March decision date (usually mid-December). You have until the normal reply date of May 1st to make a decision on a university and are not required to attend the university that accepts you under Early Action.

Restrictive Early Action – also known as Single Choice Early Action. This allows you to apply to only one early action institution. It is non-binding, and it also stipulates that you cannot apply to any other private school’s early program except:
• A college outside of the US
• A non-binding rolling admissions program
• A public college or university whose admission is not binding

Like Early Action applicants, you will receive the admission decision around mid-December, and you have until May 1 to decide if you want to attend the college or university.

Early Decision – you apply early to one US university (usually, the deadline is Nov 1st) and receive the admissions decision well before the usual spring decision date (usually mid-December). Early Decision is legally binding, which means you must withdraw all other applications to US universities and commit to attend the university that offers you a place. The advantage of Early Decision is that you are competing with a smaller applicant pool and are more likely to be accepted if you have the required credentials. You are sending a very strong signal of interest to your college, by making it clear to the admissions committee that this your first choice.

Rolling Admissions – available only at a few schools, usually larger public universities, where applications are accepted, evaluated and decided upon as they are received. Applications are accepted until the college fills all of its spaces – there are no deadlines.

32.  What application submission platform should I use?

When applying to US colleges, there may be one or more application forms to complete as part of your application process. Your options include:

1. Common Application – The Common Application is an online application form accepted by more than 600 undergraduate institutions in the U.S. Once completed, it can be sent to any participating college.

2. Universal College Application – A college admissions application that allows students to apply to any of the 44 participating colleges.

3. Supplemental Form – Some universities, in order to distinguish one candidate from another, may have a supplemental form that asks for additional essays or information about you. This is in addition to the Common Application or the Universal College Application.

4. Regular Application – The universities and colleges that do not accept the Common Application will ask you to download their own application form from their website.

If colleges have provided options, then they don’t have a preference for one or the other – so it won’t matter which one you use. Research the university websites for specific instructions, and to ensure that you are using the right application submission platform.

33.  What do I need to apply?

Applying to the U.S. for an undergraduate degree is an extremely rigorous process, as a complete application has a number of components, including:
1) Application form(s)
2) Application Fees
3) Standardized Tests and Scores
4) English Proficiency Exams
5) Transcripts
6) Essays or Statements of Purpose
7) Letter(s) of Recommendation
8) Resume and / or Activities List
9) Additional requirements e.g. a portfolio
10) Financial Aid
11) Interview (if applicable)

34.  What is a holistic admissions process?

Universities don’t ONLY look at exam scores when making admission decisions; instead they look at a variety of different attributes when evaluating you. They take a holistic approach that extends beyond your grades to test scores, personal traits, extracurricular activities and academic interest.

There are no grade cut-offs – instead a college is looking for the right fit. This is the reason that numerous U.S. college websites either submit a range for the standardized test scores or don’t publish them at all. So remember, there is no ONE thing you can do to guarantee admission. Instead, pursue your passion, and maximize the opportunities and resources available to you.

35.  Why study in the US?

There are several benefits to studying in the US, ranging from enhancing employment prospects to developing diverse skill sets, to becoming independent. But let us focus on the top 3:

1) Academic Excellence – The US has some of the finest universities, with the best facilities, faculty & research in the world.

2) Multicultural Environment – On campus, you will be engaging with students from around the world. The diversity will teach you how to think outside the box and expose you to different ideas and points of view.

3) Flexible curriculum – One of the most important reasons that students choose the US is because of the flexibility that its curriculum provides. Universities allow you to create your own unique program of study so that you can explore your academic interests before deciding to specialize.

Undergraduate UK

1.  What is the procedure for predicted grades?

Include your predicted grades in the reference letter. If you are applying before you finish your school final examinations the referee should provide information about what grades or scores they expect you to achieve in your final exams.

2.  Can I apply to UK colleges if I am enrolled in a State Board?

Each college and course has different requirements and it’s imperative you check the websites of your targeted colleges before applying.  For example:

King’s College London is unable to consider the HSC board for entry onto their undergraduate degree programs. They currently are only able to consider CBSE or CISCE/ISC boards.

Cambridge states: “Applicants from India must normally either be potential affiliated students (i.e. applying to study for a second Bachelors degree) or studying for the IB or A Levels. Applications from students taking CBSE or ISC Class XII examinations will be considered but only for the following courses: Computer Science, Economics, Engineering, Mathematics, Natural Sciences. To be shortlisted for interview such applicants will need to have achieved a minimum CGPA of 9.8 and grade A1 in their Class X examinations in the relevant subjects. Any offers of admission made to such students will be conditional on performance in the IIT-JEE or, in the case of Economics or Mathematics, on performance in STEP Mathematics.”

3.  What financial aid options does my university offer?

As each university has its own policies for international students, we strongly recommend that you:

• Speak to the right contact at the university – it might be the International Student Services Department or Financial Aid Office. It is important to be in contact with specific colleges of interest to determine whether each college has a sufficient pool of funds to provide aid to non-US citizens.

• Regularly check the financial aid and international students’ sections of college websites for specific information about the colleges that you are interested in

• Like their page on social media (Facebook, Twitter) so that you are immediately aware of any updates or changes.

• Indicate interest in receiving financial aid in the application form (if applicable) and apply by the preferred deadline if you finally decide that you need to avail of financial aid.

4.  Where and how can I get funding?

1. Personal Funding – This is one of the most popular ways. it generally involves funding through family and relatives.
2. University Aid – This includes:
a) Merit-based scholarships, which are granted on the basis of special skills, talents, or abilities. Merit-based scholarships are usually very competitive.
b) Need-based scholarships are awarded based on financial need. You will be required to demonstrate need at a predetermined level to be eligible.
3. Bank Loans – You can inquire with your banks regarding what education loans they provide and what the rate of interest is.
4. External Agencies – There are a number of external agencies including community organizations, companies, foundations, and Government agencies that offer financial assistance to students.
5. Work-Study – These programs allow you to work on campus and opportunities include tutoring, research assistant, a desk job in the library or administrative office.

5.  How much will it cost to study in the UK?

The itemized average costs at a top university for one academic year (2015/16) are:

Cost Item (in Pounds)
Tuition: 13,000
Room & Board: 9,000
Transportation: 1,700
Other (entertainment, insurance, books): 2,300
Total Per Year: 26,000
The numbers can significantly vary based on your chosen degree, location and personal lifestyle.

6.  How do I prepare for the admissions interview?

The interview is a critical final step in the application process. This is when you really have the chance to “wow” your interviewer. The interview will be conducted by either the admissions board or an alumnus of the school depending on the interview process of each school. The interviews can take place on campus, in select cities, via Skype or over the phone. They usually last between 30 minutes to an hour. Here are my top 6 tips to a successful interview:

1. PREPARE. PREPARE. PREPARE
2. Follow the correct etiquette
3. Read and know your content
4. Answer the question clearly and concisely
5. Exhibit genuine enthusiasm
6. Know all details about your school and program

7.  Why is the reference letter important when applying for a degree in the UK?

Your reference letter can reveal a number of things about you to the admissions office, including your academic strengths, areas of interest, personal qualities and community service. You only need 1 letter and it should offer insights into who you are, and indicate whether you are a right fit for the course and college that is reading them.

8.  Why are extracurricular activities important when applying for a degree in the UK?

Engagement outside of the classroom is an important aspect of the college application process. While UK universities’ first points of focus are grades and academic strength, extracurricular activities allow you to distinguish yourself from other applicants and reinforce your interest in your course area.

The Personal Statement and Employment sections of the UCAS form provides you with the opportunity to disclose the activities that you are involved in during your free time. You can showcase traits that grades alone are not able to demonstrate. For example, what are you passionate about? Are you a leader? What you do after school, during weekends and over summers gives the university admissions team clear insight into who you are presently, as well as into your future potential.

9.  What are the TOEFL and IELTS?

The TOEFL (Test of English as a foreign language) and the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) are two popular choices of English proficiency tests, and are accepted by most universities. Most colleges require international students to have completed one, with the grade requirements and preference (if any) clearly stated on the website, as part of the admission process. Some colleges may waive this requirement if certain prerequisites are met.

• Both evaluate how well you can combine your listening, reading, writing and speaking skills.

• The TOEFL is a 4 hour-long test, whereas the IELTS is 2 hours 45 minutes.

• One of the main differences is the speaking part of the test. For IELTS, you are required to take the exam face to face with an IELTS examiner. For TOEFL. the speaking test consists of six questions which you answer into a microphone. These are recorded and sent to an examiner to mark.

• The scoring system is also different. IELTS rates you between 0 and 9, with halfway points in between. TOEFL gives a more numerical SAT-style grade, totaling your scores from all areas.

• Test results are valid for 2 years and you can retake the exam as many times as you like.

It is important that you check the university website before taking your English proficiency exam, not only to see if there is an exam preference or a minimal score requirement, but also if you are eligible for a waiver.

10.  Where are predicted scores listed?

The reference letter in your application should provide more information about what grades or scores you are expected to achieve in your final exams.

11.  Do grades matter when applying to universities in the UK?

Do grades matter when applying to Universities in the UK? In one word, YES! UK Universities have entry requirements that you need to meet, which are usually in the form of grades. Some of the top academic universities (often belonging to the Russell Group of universities) will be asking for very high grades for most courses. Based on the boards you have selected for your 10th and 12th grade, there will be general as well as specific stipulations.

Additionally, your achieved grades will be documented in the Education section of the UCAS form. It is important that you provide as much information as possible including specific grades and overall results. If you are applying before you finish your final school examinations, you can select the “pending” option instead of providing an actual grade.

12.  What is UCAS Clearing?

UCAS Clearing is a way for universities to fill any spaces they have left for the new academic year and it allows you, students who do not hold an offer, another chance of finding a university place. It operates between July and September. You are only eligible if you have already applied through UCAS, and one of these situations is true for you:

• You have not received any offers.
• You have declined all your offers or not responded by the due date.
• Your offers have not been confirmed because you have not met the conditions
• You have declined a changed course, a changed date of entry and/or changed point of entry offer
• UCAS receives your application after 30th June 2016.

Your eligibility for Clearing will show up on your Track page, where you will find your Clearing Number (universities will need this so that they can access your application) and the ‘Add a Clearing Choice’ button.

The first step in the Clearing process is contacting the university(s) by phone or email – not applying. You can contact as many universities as you like to discuss the course, eligibility and consideration, and may receive offers from several. Don’t feel that you have to accept the first offer that you receive: make sure that the university or college and course are right for you before you accept a place.

You can only enter one choice, and you must have discussed your application with the university first. Once you’ve found a place(s) that you think are suitable, the first thing you should do is phone the university(s) and discuss it with them – remember, you shouldn’t apply for a place unless a university actually asks you to.

13.  What is UCAS Adjustment?

If you have received your final results and done better than expected – obviously that’s great news – but now you may not be happy with the firm offer you have accepted.

An option you can pursue is UCAS Adjustment, provided that you have exceeded the conditions required for your firm offer and paid the full UCAS application fee.

Adjustment opens when A-Level results come out and is open until 31st August. It provides you with the opportunity to secure another university or course in replacement of your original firm acceptance. However you will only be given 5 days to find your alternative option and you will need to register for Adjustment on the UCAS Track system. If you do not find alternative that you are happy with within your time period, then you will still have a place at your original firm choice.

14.  What is UCAS Extra?

If you applied for five courses on your UCAS application and didn’t manage to secure any offers, or rejected the ones you received, then UCAS Extra gives you a second chance to apply for a place. With Extra though, you can only apply for one course at a time, using the Track tool on the UCAS website. UCAS Extra begins at the end of February and runs until the end of June.

Once you have decided on the course you would like to apply for, you will enter the details into the Track system, and UCAS will send your application to the university. If you are offered a place through Extra and accept it, this means you are committed to that institution and you cannot apply anywhere else.

If you decide to turn the offer down, or the university/college turns you down, you can apply for a different course through UCAS Extra, if there is still enough time. If you do not receive any offers through UCAS Extra then you have another chance to apply for courses through Clearing after exam results are out.

15.  What if I don’t get in anywhere or don’t like my options?

You may be faced with situations where things don’t turn out as expected. For example, you were rejected by all the Universities, or you have had a change of mind in where or what you would like to study, or would like to decline the offers received. Perhaps your actual grades were much better or worse then expected. What do you do? Are you stuck with your original UCAS choices? Luckily, no. UCAS has options and alternatives you can utilize based on your particular situation. These include, Extra, Adjustment and Clearing.

16.  How do I respond to my acceptance letter? What is a ‘firm acceptance’ and ‘insurance acceptance’?

Once all your responses from the University are in, there are 3 types of replies you can make to your institutions:

1) Firm acceptance – this is your first choice. If it’s an unconditional offer, the seat is yours! So that college will expect you to attend. By accepting an unconditional offer you are committing to go to that institution. So you can’t make an insurance choice or be entered into clearing. If it’s conditional, the place is yours if you meet the offer conditions. So as a back up, you can pick a second offer, which is known as your insurance acceptance.

2) Insurance acceptance –what is your insurance choice? This is the backup choice to a conditional firm acceptance. You will attend this college ONLY if you do not meet the conditional offer of your firm acceptance but do meet the conditions of your insurance. We recommend that you select a university with a lower conditional offer as your insurance choice. If your final grades are lower then you expected, then hopefully you still met the insurance choice conditions and have a confirmed place at that University.

3) Decline – You will need to decline all other offers you have received

So, remember you can only accept one firm choice and one insurance choice (if you choose to have one). You must decline all other offers.

17.  What are the potential responses from universities? What does ‘unconditional offer’ and ‘conditional offer’ mean?

If you submitted your UCAS application by the 15th January deadline, your chosen universities and/or colleges should normally inform you about the application decision by 31st March at the latest. The final date for them to make their decisions is 5th May 2016. When the letters and emails from colleges start pouring in, there are three potential outcomes:

1) You are Accepted with an Unconditional Offer
This means that you’ve already met the entry requirements, so the place is yours if you want it! If you still have upcoming exams, your results will not affect your admission. As a precaution, do check the offer letter to see if there’s anything else you need to do and please don’t slack before your finals as your future employers will look at your 12th grade results.

2) You are accepted with a Conditional offer
Congratulations! This means that you have to meet the conditions stipulated in the offer letter to get your place at the university confirmed. Usually these stipulations are grade-related, which means that you will have to wait until your final exam results are out.

3) You are Rejected
Don’t be disheartened. Wait for all the colleges to reply before you start thinking of worst-case scenarios. If you are not accepted anywhere, you will need to reevaluate your situation, but it’s not the end of the world. You can still apply to universities through the Extra Choices or Clearing, or even consider a gap year.

18.  How do I apply to Oxford or Cambridge?

The application process involves 5 steps:

1) UCAS. You still need to send in a UCAS application, but remember the UCAS deadlines for Oxbridge are earlier than for the rest of the universities. For all courses at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, your UCAS application must reach UCAS by the 15th October, 6pm UK time. This includes your personal statement. The personal statement you write here will be the SAME one that goes to your other 4 UCAS choices at the later (Jan 15th) deadline, so once again the focus of your statement should be on your subject of interest and NOT the university.

2) Additional Forms. Cambridge asks applicants to complete an online Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) or Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA) after submission of their UCAS application.

3) Exams, Tests and Written Work. You may also need to take a written test as part of your application, or perhaps submit written work. Each subject has its own application process so please research thoroughly before applying.

4) Interview. If you are shortlisted, then you will be invited for an interview. The interview is extremely rigorous and preparation begins even before you submit your application, including your previous readings or relevant work done.

5) Finally, the decision: When can I expect to hear the outcome?
If you had your interview within the first 3 weeks of December, you’ll hear back from Cambridge in early January. If you had your interview at Oxford during the first 2 weeks of December, you should hear from your colleges by the middle of January.

Be sure to check the deadlines for each of the steps mentioned above – for when you need to complete the written tests, schedule the interview, or inform the University of your decision.

19.  What Is Oxbridge and should I apply?

Applying to Oxford or Cambridge, often referred to as Oxbridge, is a competitive process and differs in approach compared to your regular UCAS application. Before submitting the application, we first need to identify if Oxbridge is right for you. Answering this question involves the same process as you would with any other college. You need to ask yourself questions like:

1) Does it offer the courses I am looking for?
2) Will I enjoy the collegiate system Oxbridge has, where there isn’t a centralized system but one where each college within the University is self-governed and has independent resources, endowments and property?
3) Do I meet their expected entry requirements, and is my profile similar to what they are looking for? In other words, is there a good fit?

Also remember, you can only apply to one or the other. You cannot send an application to BOTH Oxford or Cambridge at an undergraduate level.

20.  How do I connect with the school?

Students & Alumni: Reach out to students and alumni of your target schools to get a deeper understanding of not only the various academic programs, but also life outside of the classroom.

Social Media: Like/Follow your target universities. This allows you to stay on top of any advancements, deadlines or changes the university or program is experiencing.

Webinars: Sign up for the online webinars. These will also give you more depth and insight into the programs and college life.

College Fairs / Information Sessions: Many of the universities fly down to India and hold presentations for prospective students and attend college fairs so that you can connect with them in person. Make sure you attend.
Learning more about your targeted colleges and courses not only gives more insight for decision-making, but also provides more clarity for your essays or statement of purpose.

21.  Should I do campus visits?

Even though it’s not necessary, it does help with your decision-making process. Visiting the campus will give you a real sense of the atmosphere, the academic programs, fellow students, faculty, student life, the local area, and much more, and is therefore strongly recommended.

To plan your visit:
1) Start by doing your homework about the school and program.
2) Contact the universities to find out when official campus tours are offered.
3) Once on campus, make the most of your time there.
4) Remember to take notes and photos; write down your first impressions, what you liked and did not like, whom you met and anything distinct about the college or university that caught your attention.
5) Once you are home from your trip, don’t forget to send everyone thank you messages!

22.  What is the Russell Group?

The Russell Group consists of 24 world-class universities that are all research intensive. Each university, even though different in history and ethos, has a reputation for providing an outstanding teaching and learning experience. They boast strong networks with organizations both in the public and private sectors, and are renowned for their cutting-edge research.

As stated on the Russell Group website, “Between them (member universities), they produce more than two-thirds of the world-leading research produced in UK universities, support over 300,000 jobs across the country, and have a total economic output of more than £32 billion every year.”

Some of the Universities in the group include Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, Imperial and Warwick.

23.  How do I find the right college for me?

When deciding on which college is right for you, you need to look at a number of factors. Don’t base your decision on rankings alone; this is only one point of reference. You need to identify and evaluate other criteria too. Some may play a larger role than others, so prioritize what’s important to you. Some examples of factors include:
• Facilities and faculty
• Location
• Size
• Campus or city university
• Cost
• Employment opportunities
Make sure you can answer these questions: Why do I want to go to THIS University? Does it meet not only my academic needs, but also my personal strengths and preferences? Your college experience lays the foundation for your future, so it’s imperative you find an environment where you can thrive.

24.  How many colleges can I apply to?

In the UCAS form you are limited to applying to 5 courses. You can even apply to up to 5 different courses at one university. However we strongly recommend that you identify your subject of interest, and apply to 5 different colleges for a similar course. All the universities receive the same Personal Statement, and by keeping your options open you are diluting your message.

Furthermore, you should make sure that you have a range that includes Reach, Target and Safety Schools. A University does not have a standardized grade cut-off for all its courses. Applying to a range of schools will ensure that you set ambitious goals for yourself, but at the same time provide yourself with back-up options.

25.  What are my deadlines when applying for a degree in the UK?

Even though you are applying through a centralized system like UCAS, there are different deadlines for different courses. Here are the most important ones you need to be aware of:

• 15 October (18.00GMT) – this is the deadline for universities of Oxford or Cambridge, or any course in medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine/science

• 15 January (18.00 GMT) – for the majority of courses. Many universities and colleges will continue to accept applications from international students until later in the year, nearer the beginning of the course. However, acceptance may be more competitive and based on availability of spaces in relevant degree programs.

• 24 March – for some art and design courses – please check the university websites for your specific course.

26.  What do I need to apply for an undergraduate degree in the UK?

A complete UCAS form and application has a number of components. So let’s review all the different requirements:
1) UCAS Registration – you need to register with UCAS for your Apply account.
2) Personal Details – once your account is set up, fill in all your pertinent details.
3) Course Choices – next, list your programs. You can choose up to five courses. There’s no preference order and your universities/colleges won’t see where else you’ve applied. There are a few exceptions, including:
a) If you are applying to medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, or veterinary science courses, then you are limited to a maximum of four courses in any one of these subjects.
b) If you are applying to Oxford or Cambridge, them remember you can only apply to only one course at just one of these two universities.
4) Education Details – You must enter all your qualifications, regardless of whether you have the grades or you’re still awaiting exams and results.
5) Employment History – In this section, you can enter details for up to five paid jobs, full-time or part-time.
6) Personal Statement – This section provides you with the opportunity to show universities and colleges why you want to study the course and why you would be an ideal candidate.
7) Reference – this is a letter of recommendation from a teacher, adviser, or professional who knows you academically.
8) Application Fees – the last step before sending the application.
9) Additional Requirements – if you are applying to a program that requires additional materials or exams then research the university’s website to ensure that you have met all their specifications.

27.  How do I apply for a degree in the UK?

To apply to the UK for undergraduate studies there are three simple steps you need to follow:

1) Choose your course of study. There are over 35,000 courses at over 300 universities and colleges, so it’s very important to first identify what EXACTLY it is that you wish to pursue.

2) Find the right colleges. Once you finalize your course, you then need to identify the appropriate colleges. This topic is covered in greater detail in the College Selection videos.

3) Register and apply online with UCAS at www.ucas.com/apply. Universities in the UK receive applications via UCAS and do not consider applications made directly to the institution.

28.  What is UCAS?

UCAS – The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service – is a UK-based organization whose main role is to operate the application process for British universities. UCAS allows you to search for courses, make your application and subsequently track its progress. It also offers prospective students help on every step of the application process.

29.  How do I approach the process?

Universities don’t ONLY look at achieved and predicted grades when making admissions decisions. Instead, they look at a variety of different attributes when evaluating you. They take a holistic approach that extends beyond your grades, to your letters of recommendation, personal statement, personal traits, extra-curricular activities, academic interests and commitment to your subject(s) of study. So remember, there is no ONE thing you can do to guarantee admission. Instead, pursue your passion and maximize the opportunities and resources available to you.

30.  Why study in the UK?

There are several benefits to studying in the UK, ranging from enhancing employment prospects to developing diverse skill sets, to becoming independent. Here are the top 4:

1) Duration – The Bachelors degree is typically only 3 years long versus 4 years at other top geographical locations.

2) Diversity – On campus, you will be engaging with students from around the world. The multi-cultural environment will teach you how to think outside the box and expose you to different ideas and points of view.

3) Academic Excellence – The UK has some of the world’s oldest and finest universities, with the best facilities, faculty & research in the world.

4) Focused Curriculum – You specialize in your subject of interest from the very first day. It is very professionally oriented and ideal for students who have a clear focus area of study.

Undergraduate Canada

1.  How much will it cost to study in Canada?

The itemized average costs at a top university in Canada for the 2015 academic year were:

Cost Item ( In USD )
Tuition: 17,000
Living Costs: 10,700
Average Total Cost (Per Year): 27,700
The numbers can significantly vary based on your chosen degree, location and personal lifestyle.

2.  Why is the statement of purpose important?

The statement of purpose, if required, provides you with the opportunity to share with the admissions team insight into who you are as a person, and demonstrate that your skills and qualities strongly align with the vision and philosophy of their particular institution. It provides a comprehensive overview of who you are as a person and your accomplishments.

3.  What financial aid options does my university offer?

As each university has its own policies for international students, we strongly recommend that you:

• Speak to the right contact at the university – it might be the International Student Services Department or the Financial Aid Office. It is important to be in contact with specific colleges of interest to determine whether each college has a sufficient pool of funds to provide aid to non-US citizens.

• Regularly check the financial aid and international students’ sections of college websites for specific information about the colleges that you are interested in

• Like their page on social media (Facebook, Twitter) so that you are immediately aware of any updates or changes.

• Indicate interest in receiving financial aid in the application form (if applicable) and apply by the preferred deadline if you finally decide that you need to avail of financial aid.

4.  Where and how can I get funding?

1. Personal Funding – this is one of the most popular ways. It generally involves funding through family and relatives.
2. University Aid – this includes:
a) Merit-based scholarships, which are granted on the basis of special skills, talents, or abilities.
b) Need-based scholarships, which are awarded based on financial need. You will be required to demonstrate need at a predetermined level to be eligible.
3. External Agencies – there are a number of external agencies including community organizations, companies, foundations, and government agencies that offer financial assistance to students.
4. Bank Loans – you can inquire with your banks regarding what education loans they provide and what the rate of interest is.
5. Work-Study – these programs allow you to work on campus and opportunities, and include tutoring, research assistant, a desk job in the library or administrative office.

5.  How much will it cost to study in Canada?

The itemized average costs at a top university in Canada for the 2015 academic year were:

Cost Item ( In USD )
Tuition: 17,000
Living Costs: 10,700
Average Total Cost (Per Year): 27,700
The numbers can significantly vary based on your chosen degree, location and personal lifestyle.

6.  How do I prepare for the admissions interview?

The interview is a critical final step in the application process. This is when you really have the chance to “wow” your interviewer. The interview will be conducted by either the admissions board or an alumnus of the school depending on the interview process of each school. The interviews can take place on campus, in select cities, via Skype or over the phone. They usually last between 30 minutes to an hour. Here are my top 6 tips to a successful interview:

1. PREPARE. PREPARE. PREPARE
2. Follow the correct etiquette
3. Read and know your content
4. Answer the question clearly and concisely
5. Exhibit genuine enthusiasm
6. Know all details about your school and program

7.  Why are letters of recommendation important?

Your reference letter or letters can reveal a number of things about you to the admissions committee, including your academic strengths, leadership skills, areas of interest, personal qualities and community service. It offer insights into who you are, your potential, and indicates whether you are a right fit for the course and college that is reading them.

8.  Why are essays important?

The admissions committees at top schools are looking for an impressive and multi-dimensional applicant who will be able to maximize what he/she gains from and contributes to the school. Through the application, you need to showcase that you have gathered informed opinions on a wide range of subjects, in addition to those within your area of immediate interest and that you are comfortable wearing several different hats.

Essays provide you with the opportunity to bring out different dimensions of your personality – this not only includes your community involvement or success in a hobby such as art or dance, but also for example, what world events have disturbed you, which world leaders have inspired you, or what you feel is the greatest invention of all time. Schools can learn a lot about you from the way in which you choose your essay topics as well as the way that you answer each question.

9.  How do I write an effective resume?

The main objective of the résumé is to be able to provide a snapshot of your academic accomplishments, with regard to both personal and professional interests.

1. Organize your content chronologically
2. Quantify your achievements
3. Identify accomplishments and do not just list descriptions
4. Begin your statements with action words
5. Don’t make things up or exaggerate your successes
6. Edit, Edit, Edit and Edit again
7. Check your formatting

Remember – An excellent résumé is one of the cornerstones of a successful college application. It gives you the opportunity to provide a consolidated view of your accomplishments and showcase the extent to which you are a strong, well-rounded and suitable fit with the school.

10.  Why are extracurriuclar activities important?

Engagement outside of the classroom is an important aspect of the college application process. While the universities’ first points of focus are grades and academic strength, extra-curricular activities allow you to distinguish yourself from other applicants and reinforce your skills and interests.

You can showcase traits that grades alone are not able to demonstrate. For example, what are you passionate about? Are you a leader? What you do after school hours, during weekends and over holidays relays a message about you to the university admissions team – not only about what interests you, but your growth and commitment to the activity.

11.  What are the TOEFL And IELTS?

The TOEFL (Test of English as a foreign language) and the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) are two popular choices of English proficiency tests, and are accepted by most universities. Most colleges require international students to have completed one, with the grade requirements and preference (if any) clearly stated on the website, as part of the admission process. Some colleges may waive this requirement if certain prerequisites are met.

• Both evaluate how well you can combine your listening, reading, writing and speaking skills.

• The TOEFL is a 4 hour-long test, whereas the IELTS is 2 hours 45 minutes.

• One of the main differences is the speaking part of the test. For IELTS, you are required to take the exam face to face with an IELTS examiner. For TOEFL, the speaking test consists of six questions which you answer into a microphone. These are recorded and sent to an examiner to mark.

• The scoring system is also different. IELTS rates you between 0 and 9, with halfway points in between. TOEFL gives a more numerical SAT-style grade, totaling your scores from all areas.

• Test results are valid for 2 years and you can retake the exam as many times as you like.

It is important that you check the University website before taking your English proficiency exam, not only to see if there is an exam preference or a minimal score requirement but also if you are eligible for a waiver.

12.  Why do grades matter?

Regardless of which Board exam you are taking – IB, iGCSE, A-Levels, Indian Boards – grades do matter and are a very important aspect of the application.

a) Transcripts – Most colleges will require students to submit a transcript – a document listing your academic qualifications and grades – for the last four years of school, so remember, everything from 9th grade onwards counts!

b) School Report – most college applications will also include a supplemental form called the Secondary School Report. It is generally completed by one of the counselors at your school and is also known as the counselor recommendation.

c) Midyear & Final Reports – Colleges require a Final Report from your school. This is another application form that you will give to your school and they will complete and send directly to the college. The form requests your final grades in the 12th, as they were unavailable during application time. A college may also require a Mid-Year Report if you had still not taken your mid-semester exams in the 12th grade when sending your transcripts.

13.  What is the acceptance process?

When the letters and emails from colleges start pouring in, there are three potential outcomes:

1) You are Accepted – Congratulations. Once all your acceptance letters are in, review the offers carefully and take your time in deciding the best fit. Most colleges will give you until May 1st to make your decision.

2) You are Rejected – don’t be disheartened. Wait for all the colleges to reply before you start thinking of worst-case scenarios. If you are not accepted anywhere, you will need to reevaluate your situation but it’s not the end of the world.

3) Some students may discover that they have been waitlisted, meaning neither accepted nor rejected. The waitlist is the college’s safety net, meaning that if a number of accepted students do not attend, then the college can fill those spots with these students.

14.  How do I connect with the schools?

Students & Alumni: Reach out to students and alumni of your target schools to get a deeper understanding of not only the various academic programs, but also life outside of the classroom.

Social Media: Like/Follow your target universities. This allows you to stay on top of any advancement, deadlines or changes the university or program is experiencing.

Webinars: Sign up for the online webinars. These will also give you more depth and insight into the programs and college life.

College Fairs / Information Sessions: Many of the universities fly down to India and hold presentations for prospective students. Attend these information sessions and college fairs so that you can connect with them in person. Review universities’ websites to check their travel schedule for when they will be in your city.

15.  Should I do campus visits?

Even though it’s not necessary, it does help with your decision process. Visiting the campus will give you a real sense of the atmosphere, the academic programs, fellow students, faculty, student life, the local area, and much more. I would strongly recommend it.

To plan your visits:
1) Start by doing your homework about the school and program.
2) Contact the universities to find out when official campus tours are offered.
3) Once on campus, make the most of your time there.
4) Remember to take notes and photos; write down your first impressions, what you liked and did not like, whom you met and anything distinct about the college or university that caught your attention.
5) Once you are home from your trip, don’t forget to send everyone thank you messages!

16.  How do I find the right college for me?

When deciding on which college is right for you, you need to look at a number of factors. Don’t base your decision on rankings alone, this is only one point of reference. You need to identify and evaluate other criteria too. Some may play a larger role then others, so prioritize what’s important to you. Some examples of factors include:

• Facilities
• Location
• Size
• Campus or City University
• Cost
• Employment Opportunities

Make sure you can answer these questions: Why do I want to go to THIS university? Does it meet not only my academic needs, but also my personal strengths and preferences?

17.  How many schools should I apply to?

Even though there is no limit to the number of colleges that you can apply to, we strongly recommend that through effective college selection you narrow down your choices and apply to about 8-12 Universities. Furthermore, you should make sure that you have a range that includes Reach, Target and Safety Schools.

• A Reach School is one where your profile and credentials may fall below the school’s range for the average freshman.

• A Target or Match School is one in which your credentials and profile fall well within the school’s range for the average freshman.

• A Safety School includes any university where your credentials and profile fall above the school’s range for the average freshman.

18.  What do I need to apply?

A complete application has a number of components that vary from university to university. For example, some institutions may ask for the application form, fees and transcripts, whilst others may also require a letter of recommendation or essay. Here is a list of ALL the potential documents you may need prior to college deadlines, but remember to check the university website directly to identify what is required for you:
1) Application form(s)
2) Application Fees
3) English Proficiency Exams
4) Grades
5) Essays or Statements of Purpose
6) Letter(s) of Recommendation
7) Resume and / or Extra-Curriculars List
8) Additional requirements e.g. a portfolio
9) Financial Aid

19.  What is the application process to undergraduate institutes in Canada?

There is no standardized application process to undergraduate institutes in Canada. Here is a basic outline of what a typical process will look like, but please visit the targeted universities’ websites directly for specific instructions and details.

1) The first step is to choose your course of study. It’s very important to first identify what EXACTLY it is that you wish to pursue – for example, are you looking to study Anthropology, Economics, Business Management or Mechanical Engineering?

2) Find the right colleges. Once you finalize your course, you then need to identify the appropriate colleges. This includes checking the application requirements for each school.

3) Register and apply. When applying to universities in Canada, generally you will be applying to each institution individually. There are exceptions though, such as the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC), where you can apply to multiple universities on one single application. There are other provinces that have variations of the OUAC system, but for the most part you will be applying to universities directly.

4) Submit application and documents by deadlines provided.

20.  Why study in Canada?

There are several benefits to studying in Canada ranging from developing diverse skill sets, to becoming independent. But let me focus on my top 3:
1) Diversity – On campus, you will be engaging with students from around the world. The multi-cultural environment will teach you how to think outside the box and expose you to different ideas and points of view.
2) ROI – Canada offers a more affordable education compared to other popular destinations even though it hosts some premier institutions with excellent facilities and faculty.
3) Job opportunities – Canadian universities allow international students means to support themselves. Through the study permit, you can work part-time on or off campus during the academic year, and full time during academic breaks. And when you graduate, you can apply for a work permit that allows you to stay and work in the country for some years.

Undergraduate Singapore

1.  What financial aid options does my university offer?

As each university has its own policies for international students, we strongly recommend that you:

• Speak to the right contact at the university – it might be the International Student Services Department or Financial Aid Office. It is important to be in contact with specific colleges of interest to determine whether each college has a sufficient pool of funds to provide aid to non-US citizens.

• Regularly check the financial aid and international students’ sections of college websites for specific information about the colleges that you are interested in.

• Like their page on social media (Facebook, Twitter) so that you are immediately aware of any updates or changes.

• Indicate interest in receiving financial aid in the application form (if applicable) and apply by the preferred deadline if you finally decide that you need to avail of financial aid.

2.  Where and how can I get funding?

1. Personal Funding – this is one of the most popular ways. It generally involves funding through family and relatives.
2. University Aid – This includes:
a) Merit-based scholarships, which are granted on the basis of special skills, talents, or abilities.
b) Need-based scholarships, which are awarded based on financial need. You will be required to demonstrate need at a predetermined level to be eligible.
3. External Agencies – There are a number of external agencies including community organizations, companies, foundations, and government agencies that offer financial assistance to students.
4. Bank Loans – you can inquire with your banks regarding what education loans they provide and what the rate of interest is.
5. Work-Study – These programs allow you to work on campus and opportunities include tutoring, research assistant, a desk job in the library or administrative office.

3.  How much will it cost to study in Singapore?

The itemized average costs at a top university in Singapore for the 2015 academic year are:

Cost Item ( In USD )
Tuition: 12,000
Room & Board: 10,600
Transportation: 600
Other (entertainment, insurance, books): 3,400
Average Total Cost (Per Year): 26,600
The numbers can significantly vary based on your chosen degree, location and personal lifestyle.

4.  How do I prepare for the admissions interview?

The interview is a critical final step in the application process. This is when you really have the chance to “wow” your interviewer. The interview will be conducted by either the admissions board or an alumnus of the school depending on the interview process of each school. The interviews can take place on campus, in select cities, via Skype or over the phone. They usually last between 30 minutes to an hour. Here are my top 6 tips to a successful interview:

1. PREPARE. PREPARE. PREPARE
2. Follow the correct etiquette
3. Read and know your content
4. Answer the question clearly and concisely
5. Exhibit genuine enthusiasm
6. Know all details about your school and program

5.  Why are letters of recommendation important?

Your reference letter or letters can reveal a number of things about you to the admissions office, including your academic strengths, leadership skills, areas of interest, personal qualities and community service. It offer insights into who you are, your potential, and indicates whether you are a right fit for the course and college that is reading them.

6.  Why is the statement of purpose important?

The statement of purpose, if required, provides you with the opportunity to share with the admissions team insight into who you are as a person, and demonstrate that your skills and qualities strongly align with the vision and philosophy of their particular institution. It provides a comprehensive overview of who you are as a person and your accomplishments.

7.  Why are essays important?

The admissions committees at top schools are looking for an impressive and multi-dimensional applicant who will be able to maximize what he/she gains from and contributes to the school. Through the application, you need to showcase that you have gathered informed opinions on a wide range of subjects, in addition to those within your area of immediate interest and that you are comfortable wearing several different hats.

Essays provide you with the opportunity to bring out different dimensions of your personality – this not only includes your community involvement or success in a hobby such as art or dance, but also for example, what world events have disturbed you, which world leaders have inspired you, or what you feel is the greatest invention of all time. Schools can learn a lot about you from the way in which you choose your essay topics as well as the way that you answer each question.

8.  How do I write an effective resume?

The main objective of the résumé is to be able to provide a snapshot of your academic accomplishments, with regard to both personal and professional interests.

1. Organize your content chronologically
2. Quantify your achievements
3. Identify accomplishments and do not just list descriptions
4. Begin your statements with action words
5. Don’t make things up or exaggerate your successes
6. Edit, Edit, Edit and Edit again
7. Check your formatting

Remember – An excellent résumé is one of the cornerstones of a successful college application. It gives you the opportunity to provide a consolidated view of your accomplishments and showcase the extent to which you are a strong, well-rounded and suitable fit with the school.

9.  Why are extracurricular activities important?

Engagement outside of the classroom is an important aspect of the college application process. While the universities’ first points of focus are grades and academic strength, extracurricular activities allow you to distinguish yourself from other applicants and reinforce your skills and interests.

You can showcase traits that grades alone are not able to demonstrate. For example, what are you passionate about? Are you a leader? What you do after school hours, during weekends and over holidays relays a message about you to the university admissions team – not only about what interests you, but your growth and commitment to the activity.

10.  What are the TOEFL And IELTS?

The TOEFL (Test of English as a foreign language) and the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) are two popular choices of English proficiency tests, and are accepted by most universities. Most colleges require international students to have completed one, with the grade requirements and preference (if any) clearly stated on the website, as part of the admission process. Some colleges may waive this requirement if certain prerequisites are met.

• Both evaluate how well you can combine your listening, reading, writing and speaking skills.

• The TOEFL is a 4 hour-long test, whereas the IELTS is 2 hours 45 minutes.

• One of the main differences is the speaking part of the test. For IELTS, you are required to take the exam face to face with an IELTS examiner. For TOEFL, the speaking test consists of six questions which you answer into a microphone. These are recorded and sent to an examiner to mark.

• The scoring system is also different. IELTS rates you between 0 and 9, with halfway points in between. TOEFL gives a more numerical SAT-style grade, totaling your scores from all areas.

• Test results are valid for 2 years and you can retake the exam as many times as you like.

It is important that you check the university website before taking your English proficiency exam, not only to see if there is an exam preference or a minimal score requirement, but also if you are eligible for a waiver.

11.  Do grades matter when applying to universities in Singapore?

Do grades matter when applying to universities in Singapore? In one word, YES! Regardless of which Board exam you are taking – IB, A-Levels, Indian Boards – grades do matter and are a very important aspect of the application. In general, the more competitive the program, the higher the number of high-achieving students applying with top scores.

Most colleges in Singapore will ONLY make admission decisions once they have your 12th grade final results. If you submit your application prior to your final exams, then you will need to provide the University with your results as soon as they are declared – usually within a 3-day timeframe.

12.  What is the acceptance process?

When the letters and emails from colleges start pouring in, there are three potential outcomes:

1) You are Accepted – Congratulations. Once all your acceptance letters are in, review the offers carefully and take your time in deciding the best fit.

2) You are Rejected – don’t be disheartened. Wait for all the colleges to reply before you start thinking of worst-case scenarios. If you are not accepted anywhere, you will need to reevaluate your situation but it’s not the end of the world.

3) Some students may discover that they have been waitlisted, meaning neither accepted nor rejected. The waitlist is the college’s safety net, meaning that if a number of accepted students do not attend, then the college can fill those spots with these students.

13.  How do I connect with the schools?

Students & Alumni: Reach out to students and alumni of your target schools to get a deeper understanding of not only the various academic programs, but also life outside of the classroom.

Social Media: Like/Follow your target universities. This allows you to stay on top of any advancement, deadlines or changes the university or program is experiencing.

Webinars: Sign up for the online webinars. These will also give you more depth and insight into the programs and college life.

College Fairs /Information Sessions: Many of the universities fly down to India and hold presentations for prospective students. Attend these information sessions and college fairs so that you can connect with them in person. Review universities’ websites to get insight into their travel schedules and when they will be in your city.

14.  Should I do campus visits?

Even though it’s not necessary, it does help with your decision process. Visiting the campus will give you a real sense of the atmosphere, the academic programs, fellow students, faculty, student life, the local area, and much more, and is therefore strongly recommended.

To plan your visit:
1) Start by doing your homework about the school and program.
2) Contact the universities to find out when official campus tours are offered.
3) Once on campus, make the most of your time there.
4) Remember to take notes and photos; write down your first impressions, what you liked and did not like, whom you met and anything distinct about the college or university that caught your attention.
5) Once you are home from your trip, don’t forget to send everyone thank you messages.

15.  How do I find the right school for me?

When deciding on which college is right for you, you need to look at a number of factors. Don’t base your decision on rankings alone; this is only one point of reference. You need to identify and evaluate other criteria too. Some may play a larger role than others, so prioritize what’s important to you. Some examples of factors include:
• Facilities
• Location
• Cost
• Employment Opportunities
Make sure you can answer these questions: Why do I want to go to THIS University? Does it meet not only my academic needs, but also my personal strengths and preferences? Your college experience lays the foundation for your future, so it’s imperative you find an environment where you can thrive.

16.  How many schools should I apply to in Singapore?

There is no limit to the number of colleges that you can apply to. For some students, studying at a university in Singapore is their first and only choice, for others it is one geographical location selected out of many.

As Singapore only has a handful of colleges you can apply to, we strongly recommend that through effective college selection you narrow down your choices and make sure that you have a range that includes Reach, Target and Safety Schools. Ensure that you check the acceptance statistics on the school’s website and remember that international students compete for fewer seats and usually have to meet a higher bar.

17.  What do I need to apply?

A complete application has a number of components that vary from university to university. For example, some institutions may ask for a statement of purpose, whereas another may have essays. Here is a list of all the potential documents you may need prior to college deadlines:
1) Application form(s)
2) Application Fees
3) Standardized Tests and Scores
4) English Proficiency Exams
5) Grades
6) Essays or Statements of Purpose
7) Letter(s) of Recommendation
8) Resume and / or Extra-Curricular Activities List
9) Additional requirements e.g. a portfolio
10) Financial Aid
11) Interview

18.  How do I apply for an undergraduate degree in Singapore?

To apply to Singapore for undergraduate studies, there are three simple steps you need to follow:

1) Choose your course of study. It’s very important to first identify what EXACTLY it is that you wish to pursue – for example, are you looking to study Anthropology, Economics, or Business Management or Mechanical Engineering?

2) Find the right colleges. Once you finalize your course, you then need to identify the appropriate colleges.

3) Register and apply directly to the universities by their stipulated deadline. There is no centralized application process.

19.  How do I approach the process when applying for a degree in Singapore?

Universities don’t only look at grades when making admission decisions. Instead, they look at a variety of different attributes when evaluating you that could include awards or recognition, your letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, extra-curricular activities, academic interests and commitment to your subject(s) of study. In Singapore, the weightage they place on these additional attributes varies from institution to institution – so it’s important you thoroughly research the university guidelines to understand what they are looking for.

20.  Why study in Singapore?

There are several benefits to studying in Singapore, ranging from enhancing employment prospects to developing a diverse skill set, to becoming independent. The top 3 reasons are:

1) Academic Excellence – Singapore has grown to become the educational hub for Asia. It hosts some premier institutions, and its programs offer a degree of flexibility, bringing the best of the UK and US systems.
2) ROI – Singapore offers a more affordable education compared to other popular destinations. Job prospects post-graduation are also higher if you are a top student on campus.
3) Close to Home – for some students or parents, it may be hard to make the leap from Asia to another continent like North America or Europe.

Singapore has a great blend of the East and the West. It is clean, has great roads, transportation, airports, and a cosmopolitan life. Yet the basic eastern values and culture are also evident in their lifestyle. It affords you the opportunity to study at top academic institutions and experience a world-class education.

MBA

1.  What is the difference between a resume and CV?

For academic purposes the two words are interchangeable and used based on which part of the world you are in. They both should provide a complete snapshot of your academic, professional and other relevant activities unless the school provides you with specific instructions/requirements.

2.  What financial aid options does my university offer?

As each university has its own policies for international students, we strongly recommend that you:

• Speak to the right contact at the University – it might be the International Student Services Department or the Financial Aid Office. It is important to be in contact with specific colleges of interest to determine whether each college has a sufficient pool of funds to provide aid to non-citizens.

• Regularly check the financial aid and international students’ sections of college websites for specific information about the colleges that you are interested in.

• Like their page on social media (Facebook, Twitter) so that you are immediately aware of any updates or changes.

• Indicate interest in receiving financial aid in the application form (if applicable), and apply by the preferred deadline if you finally decide that you need to avail of financial aid.

3.  Where and how can I get funding?

1. Personal Funding – This is one of the most popular ways. It generally involves funding through family, relatives or your own savings.

2. Company Sponsorship – Some organizations may fully or partly sponsor individuals for their postgraduate education.

3. University Aid – This includes:
a) Merit-based scholarships, which are granted on the basis of special skills, talents, or abilities.
b) Need-based scholarships are awarded based on financial need. You will be required to demonstrate need at a predetermined level to be eligible.

4. Bank Loans – you can inquire with your banks regarding what education loans they provide and what the rate of interest is.

5. External Agencies – There are a number of external agencies including community organizations, companies, foundations, and government agencies that offer financial assistance to students.

6. Work-Study – These programs allow you to work on campus and opportunities include tutoring, research assistant, a desk job in the library or administrative office.

4.  How much will an MBA cost?

The average cost at a top university for the 2015 academic year is: US$75,500 /year.

A number of factors influence this number, including:

• Tuition fees, which vary depending on the program duration (1 year, 2 year) location (campus/city) and type of institution (public/private).

• Living costs including rent, transportation, insurance, etc.

• Personal lifestyle. For example, if you are a student who will be traveling during all holidays, then you will have a very different cost structure to a student who works and stays on campus all year round.

5.  How do I prepare for the admissions interview?

The interview is a critical final step in the application process. This is when you really have the chance to “wow” your interviewer. The interview will be conducted by either the admissions board or an alumnus of the school depending on the interview process of each school. The interviews can take place on campus, in select cities, via Skype or over the phone. They usually last between 30 minutes to an hour. Here are my top 6 tips to a successful interview:

1. PREPARE. PREPARE. PREPARE
2. Follow the correct etiquette
3. Read and know your content
4. Answer the question clearly and concisely
5. Exhibit genuine enthusiasm
6. Know all details about your school and program

6.  Whom should I ask for a letter of recommendation?

In general, your letters of recommendation should come from your primary supervisor at your current and previous place of work. However, review the application instructions thoroughly to determine the specific requirements.

7.  How many letters of recommendation do I need?

In general, most universities ask for two letters of recommendation. However, there are a few that ask for either 1 or 3. Make sure that you check the college website to determine exactly how many are required.

8.  Why are letters of recommendation important?

Your letters of recommendation can reveal a number of things about you to the admissions office, including your success at work, leadership skills, academic strengths, areas of interest, personal qualities, emotional intelligence and community service. They offer insights that indicate who you are, your potential, and whether you are a right fit for the college that is reading them. They also provide an external point of view and validation for the content you have included in your application.

9.  Why are essays important?

The admissions committees at top schools are looking for an impressive and multi-dimensional applicant who will be able to maximize what he/she gains from and contributes to the school.

Essays help you vividly express your story arc – they provide you with the opportunity to showcase who you are and how you think. By articulating your achievements (and sometimes your failures), and what you learned or gained from them, you are able to successfully bring out different dimensions of your personality. Universities will also gauge what have you been able to take away – what is the depth of your insights from your learning experiences? Essays also encompass your community involvement or success in creative outlets such as art or dance, and what you wish to accomplish professionally and why.

The more clearly and specifically you can articulate what you can offer to the college, and why there is a fit, the stronger your application. If your essays don’t work, you may not gain admission.

10.  What should my resume include?

Here’s a suggested breakup:
• Header – Name, Address, Phone Number, Email address
• Education & Academic Work
• Professional Experience (or internships)
• Leadership Experience
• Skills and Interests
Finally there may be a heading for Certifications or Publications. It will really depend on your personal background.

Remember, the MBA resume can generally only be 1 page long but please check if any other specific instructions are provided by the university with regard to length or content.

11.  Why do I need to submit a resume?

The college application résumé gives you the opportunity to provide a consolidated list of accomplishments and indicate your level of fit with a school.

The career-oriented résumé that you are used to developing through your professional career or internships does not work here, as you need to have space on it for academic prowess and leadership in community/cultural/sports involvement, more so than you would for a professional résumé.

12.  What types of extracurricular activities can I engage in?

There is a vast range of extracurricular activities that you can engage in. Some options include:
• Academic Activities. Examples include: Six Sigma, CA, CFA, or publishing a research paper.
• Sports Activities. Examples include: football, cricket, golf, or running, where you take active part in competitions or events.
• Community Service.Examples include: Habitat for Humanity and community-building through professional clubs like Rotary or TiE.
• Creative outlets such as photography, music and playing for a rock band.

Graduate schools place great emphasis on well-rounded applicants. Thus, it is imperative that you try to involve yourself in clubs and activities that you are passionate about and which highlight your skills and strengths in your area of expertise.

13.  Why are extracurricular activities important?

Engagement outside of work is an important aspect of the college application process. Extracurricular activities allow you to distinguish yourself from other applicants and reinforce your skills and interests. Your essays and resume provide you with the opportunity to share what you are involved in during your free time. You can showcase traits that work alone will not demonstrate.

For example, what are you passionate about? Do you care about your community? Do you teach marketing at a local community college? Are you working on becoming a CFA? Are you an avid golfer or president of your Rotary Club? What you do after work hours, during weekends and over holidays relays a message about you to the university admissions team – not only about what interests you, but your growth and commitment to the activity.

14.  What are the TOEFL and IELTS?

The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) are two popular choices of English proficiency tests, and are accepted by most universities. Most colleges require international students to have completed one, with the grade requirements and preference (if any) clearly stated on the website, as part of the admission process. Some colleges may waive this requirement if certain prerequisites are met. Test results are valid for 2 years and you can retake the exam as many times as you like.
It is important that you check the university website before taking your English proficiency exam, not only to see if there is an exam preference or a minimal score requirement, but also if you are eligible for a waiver.

15.  Should I take the GMAT or GRE?

Before making the decision on which exam to take, it is strongly recommended that you browse through the study books of both, take a diagnostic test, and see which one is better for you. You may be naturally drawn to one test over the other.

From an admissions standpoint, more and more universities are starting to accept both exams. So, you first need to identify which colleges you are applying to, and if there is a preference for either one. If the MBA program has not stated a specific preference, then your criteria for selection should be based on where you think you can score higher.

16.  What is the GMAT and GRE?

The GMAT or GRE are an integral part of the college admissions process and a requirement for most graduate programs. So let’s learn a little bit more about each of these exams:

The GMAT – the Graduate Management Admission Test – is a globally recognized college admission test that is required for admission to most business schools. The overall, or composite, GMAT score ranges from 200 to 800 in 10-point increments.

The GRE – the Graduate Record Examination – is a test required for admission to most graduate colleges and an increasing number of business schools. The Verbal and Quantitative scores range from 130 to 170 and increase in 1-point increments.

Both exams have a validity of 5 years.

You can retake the GRE or GMAT as many times as you like, however in general we have found scores do not significantly change after 3 attempts.

17.  How can I change my MBA waitlist status to accepted?

Below are a set of key next steps to consider, which will need to be tailored and prioritized based on your profile:

1) Ask yourself “Why”?
2) Understand the type of waitlist status you are on.
3) Follow the rules.
4) Stay in touch with your waitlist manager.
5) Write a letter with updates.
6) Get a new recommendation and/or letters of support
7) Visit the campus.
8) Have a backup plan.

There are many students that get admitted from the waitlist, so based on your profile, get the right waitlist strategy in place and build a strong backup plan.

18.  What are the potential admissions responses from colleges?

When the letters and emails from colleges begin pouring in, there are three potential outcomes:

1) You are Accepted. Once all your acceptance letters are in, review the offers carefully and take your time to decide the best fit.

2) You are Rejected. Wait for all the colleges to reply before you start thinking of worst-case scenarios. If you are not accepted anywhere, you will need to reevaluate your situation but it’s not the end of the world.

3) Some students may discover that they have been waitlisted, meaning neither accepted nor rejected. The waitlist is the college’s safety net, meaning that if a number of accepted students do not attend, then the college can fill those spots with these students.

19.  Do my undergraduate grades matter?

The answer is YES. They are an integral component of your application. However, remember the evaluation process is holistic so a weak performance is not necessarily a deal breaker.

20.  How do I connect with the schools?

How can you learn more about the universities you wish to apply to? Here are a few suggestions:
Students & Alumni: Reach out to students and alumni of your target schools to get a deeper understanding of not only the various academic programs, but also life outside the classroom.
Social Media: Like/Follow your target universities. This allows you to stay on top of any advancement, deadlines or changes the university or program is experiencing.
Webinars: Sign up for the online webinars. These will also give you more depth and insight into the programs and college life.
College Fairs / Information Sessions: Many of the universities fly down to India and hold presentations for prospective students and attend college fairs so that you can connect with them in person. Make sure you attend.
Learning more about your targeted colleges and courses not only gives you more insight for decision- making, but also provides more clarity for your essays or statement of purpose.

21.  Should I do campus visits?

Even though it’s not necessary, it does help with your decision process. Visiting the campus will give you a real sense of the atmosphere, the academic programs, fellow students, faculty, student life, the local area, and much more, and is therefore strongly recommended.

To plan your visit:
1) Start by doing your homework about the school and program.
2) Contact the universities to find out when official campus tours are offered.
3) Once on campus, make the most of your time there.
4) Remember to take notes and photos; write down your first impressions, what you liked and did not like, whom you met and anything distinct about the college or university that caught your attention.
5) Once you are home from your trip, don’t forget to send everyone thank you messages!

22.  How do I find the right college for me?

When deciding on which college is right for you, you need to look at a number of factors. Don’t base your decision on rankings alone; this is only one point of reference. You need to identify and evaluate other criteria too. Some may play a larger role than others, so prioritize what’s important to you. Some examples of factors include:
• Teaching style
• Curriculum
• Facilities & faculty
• Years of work experience
• Proximity to family
• Size
• Campus or city university
• Cost
• Employment opportunities
• Location
Make sure you can answer “Why do I want to go to THIS University?” Does it provide me with the platform to meet my long and short-term goals and aspirations? Is the school known for my area of interest and does it have the right faculty and facilities to support me? It is vital you do your homework and evaluate which MBA program provides the best fit.

23.  How many colleges can I apply to?

Even though there is no limit to the number of colleges that you can apply to, we strongly recommend that through effective college selection you narrow down your choices and apply to about 6-10 Universities. Furthermore, you should make sure that you have a range that includes Reach, Target and Safety Schools.

• A Reach School is one where your profile and credentials may fall below the school’s range for the average student.

• A Target or Match School is one in which your credentials and profile fall well within the school’s range for the average student. There are no guarantees, but it’s not unreasonable to be accepted to several of these.

• A Safety School includes any university where your credentials and profile fall above the school’s range for the average student. You should be reasonably certain that you would be admitted to your safety schools. Like the rest of your list, they should also be colleges that you’d be happy to attend.

Applying to a range of schools will ensure that you set ambitious goals for yourself, but at the same time it provides you with backup options.

24.  When should I apply?

You should apply as early as you are ready. It is advantageous to apply in the earlier rounds as not only do you get your decision sooner, but the admission committees are also inclined to admit well-qualified applicants early in the process.

However, do not rush things. If delaying by a round provides you the opportunity to present a stronger application, then it is prudent to wait.

25.  What are the different application deadlines?

Universities offer a variety of deadlines to choose from to ensure flexibility for students.

When students are discussing rounds, like Round 1 or Round 3 deadlines, this represents a distinct period in which you may apply. You may apply in one round only, and just one time in an application year.

A few schools also have a Rolling Admissions process where applications are accepted, evaluated and decided upon as they are received. Applications are accepted until the college fills all of its spaces – there are no deadlines.

Regardless of the round in which your application has been submitted, the admissions committee will give full and fair consideration to your candidacy. Also, no matter what your deadline, we strongly recommend completing your application 2-4 weeks prior to the due date to avoid last minute issues and panic.

26.  What do I need to apply?

Applying for a postgraduate degree is an extremely rigorous process, as a complete application has a number of components. There is no centralized application system; instead you apply directly to the institution. So let’s review all the documents you need:
1) Application form(s)
2) Application Fees
3) Standardized Tests and Scores e.g. GMAT or GRE
4) English Proficiency Exams e.g. TOEFL or IELTS
5) Grades
6) Essays or Statements of Purpose
7) Resume
8) Letter(s) of Recommendation
9) Additional requirements: e.g. a minimum of 2 years of work experience or a minimum GMAT score of 600 or an undergraduate degree in a particular subject.
10) Interview

27.  What is a holistic admissions process?

Universities don’t ONLY look at your GRE or GMAT scores when making admission decisions. Instead, they look at a variety of different attributes when evaluating you. They take a holistic approach that extends beyond your test scores, to your professional experience, personal traits, extracurricular activities and academic interest. There are no grade cut-offs – instead, a college is looking for the right fit.

So remember, there is no ONE thing you can do to guarantee admission. Instead, pursue your passion both inside and outside your work place, and maximize the opportunities and resources available to you.

28.  Why pursue an MBA?

There are several benefits of pursuing an MBA, but here are the top 5:

1. Develop skill sets. The MBA is a broad-based degree that educates you in a wide range of areas including marketing, finance, operations, strategy, and leadership. You learn about the latest management techniques, how to problem solve, and think outside the box.

2. Enhanced job prospects. An MBA degree can significantly boost your career prospects and accelerate your climb up the corporate ladder.

3. Enhanced salary. An MBA for many is an investment in themselves, the yeast that helps the dough rise.

4. Opportunity to switch careers. The degree provides a platform for you to not only learn the relevant skill sets but also gain hands on experience.

5. Opportunity to network. Business schools provide an incredible platform for you to network with not only your classmates, but also professors, other students on campus and alumni.

When it’s a right fit, it can provide you with the relevant skill sets and advancement you need to take your career to the next level.

Masters

1.  What is the difference between a resume and CV?

For academic purposes the two words are interchangeable and used based on which part of the world you are in. They both should provide a complete snapshot of your academic, professional and other relevant activities unless the school provides you with specific instructions/requirements.

2.  What financial aid options does my university offer?

As each university has its own policies for international students, it is strongly recommended that you:

• Speak to the right contact at the university – it might be the International Student Services Department or Financial Aid Office. It is important to be in contact with specific colleges of interest to determine whether each college has a sufficient pool of funds to provide aid to non-citizens.

• Regularly check the financial aid and international students’ sections of college websites for specific information about the colleges that you are interested in

• Like their page on social media (Facebook, Twitter) so that you are immediately aware of any updates or changes.

• Indicate interest in receiving financial aid in the application form (if applicable) and apply by the preferred deadline if you finally decide that you need to avail of financial aid.

3.  Where and how can I get funding?

1. Personal Funding – This is one of the most popular ways. It generally involves funding through family, relatives or your own savings.

2. Company Sponsorship – Some organizations may fully or partly sponsor individuals for their postgraduate education.

3. University Aid – This includes:
a) Merit-based scholarships, which are granted on the basis of special skills, talents, or abilities.
b) Need-based scholarships, which are awarded based on financial need. You will be required to demonstrate need at a predetermined level to be eligible.

4. Bank Loans – you can inquire with your banks regarding what education loans they provide and what the rate of interest is.

5. External Agencies – There are a number of external agencies including community organizations, companies, foundations, and government agencies that offer financial assistance to students.

6. Work-Study – These programs allow you to work on campus and opportunities include tutoring, research assistant, a desk job in the library or administrative office.

4.  How much will a Masters degree cost?

The average cost at a top university for a Master’s degree in the 2015 academic year was: US$60,500 /year.

A number of factors influence this number, including:

• Tuition fees, which vary depending on the program duration (1 year vs 2 year), location (campus vs city) and type of institution (public vs private).

• Living costs, including rent, transportation, insurance, etc.

• Personal lifestyle. For example, if you are a student who will be traveling during all holidays, then you will have a very different cost structure to a student who works and stays on campus all year round.

5.  How do I prepare for the admissions interview?

The interview is a critical final step in the application process. This is when you really have the chance to “wow” your interviewer. The interview will be conducted by either the admissions board or an alumnus of the school, depending on the interview process of each school. The interviews can take place on campus, in select cities, via Skype or over the phone. They usually last between 30 minutes to an hour. Here are top 6 tips to a successful interview:

1. PREPARE. PREPARE. PREPARE
2. Follow the correct etiquette
3. Read and know your content
4. Answer the question clearly and concisely
5. Exhibit genuine enthusiasm
6. Know all details about your school and program

6.  Whom should I ask for a letter of recommendation?

The program of study will determine whom you should ask for your letter of recommendation (LOR). For example, if you are applying for a Masters degree that does not require any professional experience, then the program may stipulate all your LORs come from academic sources. If you are applying to a program that strongly advocates some work experience prior to application, then they make ask for only professional LORs. Other programs may leave it to your discretion or ask for some combination of both. Check the university website for any specific prompts or information they have regarding your choice of recommenders.

7.  How many letters of recommendation do I need?

In general, most universities ask for two letters of recommendation, however there are a few that ask for either 1 or 3. Make sure that you check the college website to determine exactly how many are required.

8.  Why are letters of recommendation important?

Your letters of recommendation can reveal a number of things about you to the admissions office, including your success at work, leadership skills, academic strengths, areas of interest, personal qualities, emotional intelligence and community service. They offer insights that indicate who you are, your potential and whether you are a right fit for the department at the school that is reading them. They also provide an external point of view, and validation for the content you have included in your application.

9.  Why do I need a statement of purpose?

The statement of purpose provides you with the opportunity to share with the admissions team insight into who you are as a person, and demonstrate that your skills and qualities strongly align with the vision and philosophy of that particular institution. It provides a comprehensive overview of who you are as a person and your accomplishments. Look at the websites of your target universities. Some may state the characteristics, skills or qualities that are important to them, and most have an established mission statement. Make sure you incorporate the elements that resonate with you the most into your statement of purpose.

10.  Why are essays important?

The admissions committees at top schools are looking for an impressive and multi-dimensional applicant who will be able to maximize what he/she gains from and contributes to the school.

Essays provide you with the opportunity to showcase who you are and how you think. By articulating your achievements (and sometimes your failures), and what you learned or gained from them, you can successfully bring out different dimensions of your personality. Universities will also gauge what you have been able to take away – what is the depth of your insights from your learning experiences? Essays also encompass your community involvement or success in creative outlets such as art or dance, and also what you wish to accomplish and why.

The more clearly and specifically you can articulate what you can offer to the college, and why there is a fit, the stronger your application. If your essays don’t work, you may not gain admission.

11.  What should my resume include?

Here’s a suggested breakup:
• Header – Name, Address, Phone Number, Email address
• Education & Academic Work
• Professional Experience (or internships)
• Leadership Experiences
• Skills and Interests
Finally, there may be a heading for Certifications or Publications. It will really depend on your personal background.

Remember, for a masters program, specifications can vary significantly from university to university, so please check if there are any specific instructions provided by the institution with regard to length or content of the resume.

12.  Why do I need to submit a resume?

The college application résumé gives you the opportunity to provide a consolidated list of accomplishments and indicate your level of fit with a school.

The career-oriented résumé that you are used to developing through your professional career or internships does not work here, as you need to have space on it for academic prowess and leadership in community/cultural/sports involvement, more so than you would for a professional résumé.

13.  What types of extracurricular activities can I engage in?

There is a vast range of extracurricular activities that you can engage in. Some options include:
• Academic Activities. Examples include: Six Sigma, CA, CFA, or publishing a research paper.
• Sports Activities. Examples include: football, cricket, golf, running where you take active part in competitions or event.
• Community Service. Examples include: Habitat for Humanity, and community-building through professional clubs like Rotary or TiE.
• Creative outlets such as photography, music and playing for a rock band.

Graduate schools place great emphasis on well-rounded applicants. Thus, it is imperative that you try to involve yourself in clubs and activities that you are passionate about, and which highlight your skills and strengths in your area of expertise.

14.  Why are extracurricular activities important?

Engagement outside of work or the classroom is an important aspect of the college application process. Extracurricular activities allow you to distinguish yourself from other applicants and reinforce your skills and interests.

Your essays and resume provide you with the opportunity to share what activities you are involved in during your free time. You can showcase traits that work, or that classroom studies alone will not demonstrate. What are you passionate about? Do you care about your community? Do you volunteer at the local clinic or hospital? What you do after work or college hours, during weekends and over holidays relays a message about you to the university admissions team. For example, if you founded an NGO catering to women’s rights, it shows your dedication to helping people. If you held a leadership position in your industry forum or college club it shows your passion and dedication to the field. If you were part of Toastmasters, it demonstrates your ability to think quickly on your feet, voice your opinions, and that you are well-versed in current affairs.

15.  What are the TOEFL And IELTS?

The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) are two popular choices of English proficiency tests, and are accepted by most universities. Most colleges require international students to have completed one, with the grade requirements and preference (if any) clearly stated on the website, as part of the admission process. Some colleges may waive this requirement if certain prerequisites are met. Test results are valid for 2 years, and you can retake the exam as many times as you like.
It is important that you check the university website before taking your English proficiency exam, not only to see if there is an exam preference or a minimal score requirement, but also if you are eligible for a waiver.

16.  Should I take the GMAT or GRE?

Before making the decision on which exam to take, I strongly recommend that you browse through the study books of both, take a diagnostic test, and see which one is better for you. You may be naturally drawn to one test over the other.

From an admissions standpoint, more and more universities are starting to accept both exams. So, you first need to identify which colleges you are applying to, and if there is a preference for either one. If the university does not state a specific preference, then your criteria for selection should be where you think you can score higher.

17.  What is the GMAT and GRE?

The GMAT or GRE are an integral part of the college admissions process and a requirement for most universities. So let’s learn a little bit more about each of these exams:

The GMAT – the Graduate Management Admission Test – is a globally recognized college admission test that is required for admission to most business schools. The overall, or composite, GMAT score ranges from 200 to 800 and increase in 10-point increments.

The GRE – the Graduate Record Examination – is a test required for admission to most graduate colleges and an increasing number of business schools. The Verbal and Quantitative scores range from 130 to 170 and increase in 1-point increments.

Both exams have a validity of 5 years.

You can retake the GRE or GMAT as many times as you like, however in general we have found scores do not significantly change after 3 attempts.

18.  How Can I Change My Waitlist Status To Accepted?

“Below are a set of key next steps to consider, which will need to be tailored and prioritized based on your profile.

1) Ask yourself “Why”?
2) Understand the type of waitlist status you are on.
3) Follow the rules.
4) Stay in touch with your waitlist manager.
5) Write a letter with updates.
6) Get a new recommendation and/or letters of support
7) Visit the campus.
8) Have a backup plan.

There are many students that get admitted from the waitlist, so based on your profile, get the right waitlist strategy in place and build a strong backup plan. ”

19.  What are the potential admissions responses from colleges?

When the letters and emails from colleges begin pouring in, there are three potential outcomes:

1) You are Accepted. Once all your acceptance letters are in, review the offers carefully and take your time to decide the best fit.

2) You are Rejected. Wait for all the colleges to reply before you start thinking of worst-case scenarios. If you are not accepted anywhere, you will need to reevaluate your situation but it’s not the end of the world.

3) Some students may discover that they have been waitlisted, meaning neither accepted nor rejected. The waitlist is the college’s safety net, meaning that if a number of accepted students do not attend, then the college can fill those spots with these students.

20.  Do my undergraduate grades matter?

The answer is YES. They are an integral component of your application. However, remember the evaluation process is holistic so a weak performance is not necessarily a deal breaker.

21.  How do I connect with the schools?

How can you learn more about the universities you wish to apply to? Here are a few suggestions:
Students & Alumni: Reach out to students and alumni of your target schools to get a deeper understanding of not only the various academic programs, but also life outside of the classroom.
Social Media: Like/Follow your target universities. This allows you to stay on top of any advancements, deadlines or changes the university or program is experiencing.
Webinars: Sign up for the online webinars. These will also give you more depth and insight into the programs and college life.
College Fairs / Information Sessions: Many of the universities fly down to India and hold presentations for prospective students and attend college fairs so that you can connect with them in person. Make sure you attend.

Learning more about your targeted colleges and courses not only gives you more insight for decision- making, but also provides more clarity for your essays or statement of purpose.

22.  Should I do campus visits?

Even though it’s not necessary, it does help with your decision process. Visiting the campus will give you a real sense of the atmosphere, the academic programs, fellow students, faculty, student life, the local area, and much more, and is therefore strongly recommended.

To plan your visit:
1) Start by doing your homework.
2) Contact the universities to find out when official campus tours are offered.
3) Once on campus, make the most of your time there.
4) Remember to take notes and photos; write down your first impressions, what you liked and did not like, whom you met and anything distinct about the college or university that caught your attention.
5) Once you are home from your trip, don’t forget to send everyone thank you messages!

23.  How Do I Find The Right College For Me?

When deciding on which college is right for you, you need to look at a number of factors. Don’t base your decision on rankings alone; this is only one point of reference. You need to identify and evaluate other criteria too. Some may play a larger role than others, so prioritize what’s important to you. Some examples of factors include:
• Teaching style
• Curriculum
• Facilities & faculty
• Years of work experience
• Proximity to family
• Size
• Campus or city university
• Cost
• Employment opportunities
• Location
Make sure you can answer “Why do I want to go to THIS University?” Does it provide me with the platform to meet my long and short-term goals and aspirations? Is the school known for my area of interest and does it have the right faculty and facilities to support me? It is vital you do your homework and evaluate which university, degree and program provide the best fit.

24.  How many schools should I apply to?

Even though there is no limit to the number of colleges that you can apply to, we strongly recommend that through effective college selection, you narrow down your choices and apply to about 6-10 universities. Furthermore, you should make sure that you have a range that includes Reach, Target and Safety Schools.

• A Reach School is one where your profile and credentials may fall below the school’s range for the average student.

• A Target or Match School is one in which your credentials and profile fall well within the school’s range for the average student. There are no guarantees, but it’s not unreasonable to be accepted to several of these.

• A Safety School includes any university where your credentials and profile fall above the school’s range for the average student. You should be reasonably certain that you would be admitted to your safety schools. Like the rest of your list, they should also be colleges that you’d be happy to attend.

Applying to a range of schools will ensure that you set ambitious goals for yourself, but at the same time provides you with back-up options.

25.  When should I apply?

It is advantageous to apply in the earlier rounds or early in the application process, as not only do you get your decision sooner, but admission committees are also inclined to admit well-qualified applicants early in the process. However, do not rush things. If delaying by a round or a month or two provides you the opportunity to present a stronger application, then it is prudent to wait. Regardless of when your application has been submitted, the admissions committee will give full and fair consideration to your candidacy. Also, no matter what your deadline, it is strongly recommended that you complete your application 2-4 weeks prior to the due date to avoid last minute issues and panic.

26.  What are the different application deadlines?

Some Masters programs offer a variety of deadlines to choose from to ensure flexibility for students, whereas others provide only 1 or 2. Additionally, some stipulate no deadline and allow applications until the program is full. Research the university’s website for specific information on deadlines.

• When students are discussing rounds, like Round 1 or Round 3 deadlines, this represents a distinct period in which you may apply. You may apply in one round only, and just one time in an application year.

• A few schools also have a Rolling Admissions process- where applications are accepted, evaluated and decided upon as they are received. Applications are accepted until the college fills all of its spaces – there are no deadlines.

27.  What do I need to apply?

Applying for a postgraduate degree is an extremely rigorous process, as a complete application has a number of components. There is no centralized application system; instead you apply directly to the institution. So let’s review all the documents you need:
1) Application form(s)
2) Application Fees
3) Standardized Tests and Scores e.g. GMAT or GRE
4) English Proficiency Exams e.g. TOEFL or IELTS
5) Grades
6) Essays or Statements of Purpose
7) Resume
8) Letter(s) of Recommendation
9) Additional requirements: e.g. a minimum of 2 years of work experience or a minimum GMAT score of 600 or an undergraduate degree in a particular subject.
10) Interview (if applicable)

28.  What is a holistic admissions process?

Universities don’t ONLY look at your GRE or GMAT scores when making admission decisions. Instead, they look at a variety of different attributes when evaluating you. They take a holistic approach that extends beyond your test scores to your internships or work experience, personal traits, extracurricular activities and academic interests. There are no grade cut-offs – instead a college is looking for the right fit.

So remember, there is no ONE thing you can do to guarantee admission. Instead, pursue your passion both inside and outside your work place or college, and maximize the opportunities and resources available to you.

29.  Why pursue a Masters degree?

There are several benefits of pursuing a Masters degree, but lets focus on these top 4:

1. Develop Skills Sets.  The Masters degree prepares you for graduate study at the Doctoral level, or expands your knowledge in your field, or allows you to acquire skills in new and recently developed technologies and methods.

2. Enhance Future Prospects. It opens doors to a wide arena including academia, and across the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

3. Enhanced Salary. A Masters degree for many is an investment in itself.

4. Opportunity To Network. Universities provide an incredible platform for you to network with not only your classmates, but also professors, other students on campus and alumni.

When it’s a right fit, a Masters can provide you with the relevant skill sets and advancement you need to take your career and subject interest to the next level.

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