If you have not read the previous article for this, please read Lost Hope ? Apply to US Schools
How to proceed with your higher education journey ?
You have completed Class 12th and you are quite sure that IIT is a dream, a bad one where you end up not getting admission and nearly 1 Million are ahead of you in the medical college admissions list. Ask yourself, what do I want to do next? Now don’t say ‘engineering or medicine’ because that is a line your parents, friends and teachers have fed you. Think again – is there a field or area you would like to work in? Could be humanities, accounting, fine arts, graphics, media, acting, healthcare, aviation, broadcasting or many other fields. Many students have told me they want to get into engineering and when I ask them which branch, the answer is – whichever I can get into. It is so sad that a beginner student is unable to distinguish between electronics engineering from civil engineering. First step – decide what you want to do. Better yet, what you feel like doing.
USA can help you
The United States has a highly evolved system of education, it is as detailed as it is in India but it is application oriented so you know why you are studying what you are studying, what its real life application is. Look up your subject area of interest and schools that offer those subjects. Examine their admission criteria, every Institution is different, every fee structure is different, every education sub-culture is different. Write to them, make your interests very clear, tell them a little about yourself, all admission counselors love to hear from students from India.
Using Agents for US Schools Admission
Can agents be of help? Absolutely, yes. There are some really great agents and consultants around the globe who are the only gateway for aspiring students. US government sponsored groups such as USEFI lack the resources or information detail these agents have access to at any given time. US Universities have increasingly realized that once students exit a school or college system, their next stop is an agent that can help them. Most universities however seek a deeper more intellectually driven relationship with agents. This allows an agent to speak with knowledge and capacity about a University that a student is showing interest in. If this attention to detail is missed, it will appear that the agent is merely trying to push a sale. An agent is a career maker, not a salesman and this distinction is everything for aspiring students and anxious parents.
TOEFL, IELTS and other Tests
It is assumed these tests are mandatory. Not so. Many Institutions in the United States waive TOEFL requirement if your education up until Class 12th and even beyond was in English medium. Again, the University admission counselor is your best source for this information.
Arguing for your I-20 and F-1 visa – the Meritorious Argument
Yes, you can expect an argument, a small one though. I-20 is easily issued when you are accepted to a school. Problem starts when the local embassy starts asking the purpose of your further studies. Be clear – you want to study business administration because you want to help your father with his business back in India. You want to study engineering so you can come back and work for Kirloskar and Mahindra. The key words are ‘coming back’. Ultimately remember this – the US Embassy is merely a gatekeeper and they cannot keep genuine candidates from travelling. A small University will fight for your rights to study further by arguing your case, a large university will not interfere with these things.
You don’t have to be a Millionaire. BA degree costs per year at the University I am at is $5,700. MBA costs are similar. Of course you have to show cash availability in the bank for entire duration of program for visa purposes but you will start working part-time very soon paying for your own education.
A US degree is respected. You will make your own way in life and this education will go a long way in securing the journey. If you have just finished class 12th or graduation, consider studying further in the United States, it is the greatest gift you can give yourself.
Final word of advice
Numbers make Indians very anxious. We are used to crowds everywhere, in bus stops, at train stations, at airports, in restaurants. We feel what we are seeking will run out by the time we get to the front. This is not the case in the United States. There is plenty of space and opportunity for people who are focused and determined. I am an author known on this website thanks to Kumar and Saurabh. Who knows you will be my student soon or at least I can guide you on the best direction.
What are your thoughts ?
About the author
Dr. Sandeep Shankar has a Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D from University of Delhi, India. The advice he gives on this website is based on personal life experience and those he has helped in the past 10 years. Today, he teaches at Colorado Heights University in Denver, Colorado and also runs a non profit corporation (www.hopeforhumanityglobal.org) that helps unemployed individuals in Colorado find new skills and through that training, new hope for their families. If life after 12th or graduation is confusing you, write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org . You don’t have to be alone on this journey.
Image Credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lumaxart/2137729748/