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Undergraduate Applications – Frequently Asked Questions

Undergraduate Applications – Frequently Asked Questions

Starting the complex process of undergraduate applications for colleges abroad can be a daunting task. While you may have specific questions based on your unique situation, here are some answers to some commonly asked questions. Remember, these are general guidelines and could differ from country to country and even from college to college.

When should I start researching colleges in the UK?

If you are planning to pursue your undergraduate degree in the UK in 2020, we suggest that you start researching colleges by February of 2019. The UK has 106 colleges; of these, you can only apply to five. Looking into colleges early will give you enough time to find your best fit. One way to narrow down your options is to know your area of study. For UK applications, you need to apply for a specific course and meet its particular entry requirements, along with the institutions’ scores. Through your search, you can also find out the type of research conducted by the faculty, whether you prefer living on campus or in the city and your options should you wish to stay back in the UK, among other factors. Knowing where you would like to apply in advance enables you to focus on other aspects of your application.  A great resource to begin your search is https://www.ucas.com.

When should I start researching colleges in the US?

The US is home to approximately  4,300 universities and colleges, out of which some are two-year community colleges and technical institutes. Besides this, colleges are of different sizes, have different educational missions, cultivate a range of different intellectual cultures and represent excellence in different areas like research, teaching, experiential learning, residential communities and the like. As such, your search for your best-fit will require a lot of research. Ideally, you should start researching as early as the 11th grade. Before starting your search, try to develop a broad idea of what subject you’d like to major in, even though many colleges allow you to change majors or remain undecided until the third year. Colleges on your list should be categorized as dream, target and safety according to how your scores compare with published academic averages. The US application process involves somewhat more work than the UK, because each college requires separate essays. Creating a college list early enables you to estimate how much work you must complete over the coming months. One resource that will help you with your research is https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org.

Should I consider studying in Canada?

In recent years, there has been a lot of interest in Canadian universities. Canada offers quality education, with universities like the University of Toronto and McGill University featuring on prominent global ranking lists. Tuition fees are also cheaper in Canada as compared to the US. Apart from this, due to comparatively relaxed visa policies, you can stay back to work for two or three years after completing your course. During this time, you can apply for a Permanent Residency Visa and further live and work in Canada. This advantageous as it allows you to reap a faster return on your undergraduate studies’ investment. Additionally, with the right focus and motivation, it is possible to find a job, especially in the finance and IT sphere. Overall, the diverse people, climate and culture, all add to the Canadian undergraduate experience, making it a great destination to consider.  

How do I start preparing for SAT/ACT?

Most universities in the US require you to take the Scholastic Admissions Test (SAT) or the American College Testing (ACT). Both these scores are used in the admissions decisions and for awarding merit-based scholarships. The SAT consisting of reading, writing and mathematics, with an optional essay component, each scored out of 800 for a total of 1,600 points. The ACT, on the other hand, has English, mathematics, reading and science, with an optional writing section and has a scale from 1-36. Before you decide which test to take, do a practice test of both and compare the results. This is also a great way to know where you stand in the beginning and will enable you to know what you need to brush up on before giving either test. Since these tests happen only a few times a year, it is best to plan, prepare and write them in advance. You might also need to write the Subject SAT, based on what you plan to study at college. You can start your SAT prep here and ACT here.

I started my applications late. Is there any country that I can still apply to for study in 2019?

If you have missed US or UK deadlines and still wish to study abroad in 2019, then consider applying to The Netherlands, Japan or Australia. Besides having late deadlines, these three destinations are growing in popularity for international students because they offer quality education in English and don’t have many restrictions on visa policies.

The Netherlands is home to approximately 77 different higher education institutions that offer over 1,500 courses in English. Many of these programmes are created with international students in mind. There are also many scholarship opportunities like the Holland Scholarship and the World Citizen Talent Scholarship for International students, which are targeted at students who want to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in the Netherlands. Students are also allowed to work 10 hours a week during school terms and full-time in the summer vacations, giving them exposure to international work experience. With over 200 nationalities living in the Netherlands, it is a melting pot of culture, language and ideas from which you can explore and learn.

Recently, Japan has also started to attract a lot of international students. With 100 percent literacy, Japan is highly regarded in the international community for its teaching methodologies. With over 700 universities, you can study everything from economics, liberal arts and management to biomedical studies, engineering and technology. Most universities offer instruction in English and require IELTS / TOEFL exam to test English proficiency.

With one of the highest standards of living, Australia is a friendly, open-minded and diverse country. It also boasts of high-quality education, making it a popular international destination for education. You can look at specialising in anything from computer science and nursing to accounting and culinary arts here. Owing to their 43 universities, Australia offers international students both part-time work experience while in college and full-time opportunities in the summers. For students looking to settle abroad after studies, Australia offers the chance to obtain Permanent Residency Visa after graduation.

If you are planning on applying to the US next year, read about how to get a head start on your applications here. If you plan on studying in the UK, read about what not to write in your personal statement here. For more information, please get in touch with us.

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