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How to select right college / university for study abroad

Looking for study abroad? Choices are innumerable. Every university / college is distinct in its own sense. Some has good labs, other has good library. Some are known for boxing champs and scuba. Studying abroad is a costly investment. Before you get that ticket and set in a abroad campus for couple of years here are some tips to chose college / university. Remember, right selection of institution makes decisive role in your future and career.

Find University Network

To which university are you going? Look for its network. A university tells you many unknown facts. Are you going to University of Sydney? Look for Group of Eight. Its member institutions are world known for academic achievement and research. Also look for International university network. An international association allows for student exchange program. You will be benefited throughout the program if your university connections are deep rooted and broad. Some of the popular International university networks are International Alliance of Research Universities, Association of Pacific Rim and Laurete International Universities etc.

Key Areas

Universities offer different programs. All programs are not equally good. Check for two things 1. Curriculum and 2. Past batches records (How many students have took one such program and if they have found a decent job).

When I was planning to go to United States at the age of 16 my counselor told scholarships for undergraduate is difficult specially if you  are from lesser affluent family and extremely difficult if you are going to pursue a program that is offered in home country. Heck, I am son of a former and was interested in Physics and Computing. I gave up the idea. Being 16 year old I was doubtful if I get a job after pursuing an alien program and if I can get a scholarship.

Look for Universities’ record in the subject areas that you are interested to pursue. A bigger name not always means your degree should be surely worth. Check for program reputation before joining. Glassdoor.com is one such website where you can scan for if one such program is in demand. Also you can scan through sites like Monster.Com or Naukri.Com, Indeed.com etc to know if course in question has industry requirements.

Industry Tie-ups

Why IITs and IIMs in India are so popular? One reason is, there link to the industry. Many students are hired during first / second year of coursework. Check if the institute in question has industry association. If yes, you may get easy Internship opportunities and job options.

If your institute has not industry tie up then you must have to make your own arrangement for pursuing internship and getting your first job after graduation. Institute-Industry tie up does not give a job guarantee but surely gives you an added advantage.

Once I appeared for counseling session of a well known institute in India. Money was my problem. Course was costly. Parents said no for collateral, Banks said no for scholarships in the absence of collateral. I was keen to make my own arrangements but as soon as I heard program is not AICTE approved I gave up the idea. Because though institute is well known, selection process is rigorous, course curriculum is as difficult as in any top rated college in the world but technically speaking value of degree in official paper was only a degree and not a technical qualification. I was well aware, in India this institute has value enough but taking a degree from here means at least I have to complete a Ph.D else all efforts should be waste. Heck, who do not want to do a Ph.D? But what if I can’t as I need to pursue a course plus do work to make both ends meet. I gave up the idea. 

Campus Community

Looks for journals, periodicals, university brochures, social media page of the institute in question. Scan through its website. Find out popularity of your institute before joining. A popular university / college will be helpful in getting new job, references and help throughout life. An institute may have small connection / big once but reputation of connections matters a lot. Check if these connections will be helpful in your career. 

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