August 29, 2015

7 Things International Students Must Do Before Picking a University or College of Choice

Written by a Guest Contributor

Every year universities / colleges launch a marketing blitzkrieg to attract international students to their campuses. Representatives of the colleges make their way to different countries, hosting open forums to attract students and at the same time answering any questions these students might have about the college and its degree courses.

The number of international students in colleges in countries like U.S is growing, which underlines the fact that a growing number of students want to study abroad.

Students who plan to study abroad need to be very careful about picking a college; they need to make doubly sure that a particular course offered by a college is worth their investment in terms of time and money. After all, studying abroad calls for major financial investment(s) and you don’t want to be going wrong with the choice of the college.

Things International Students Must Do Before Picking Their University or College of Choice

Here are a few tips to keep in mind before you decide to study at a college you believe fits your needs and requirements perfectly.

7 Things To Do Before Picking Your University or College of Choice

1). Talk to the Student Counselors

Most colleges, who accept international students, have a department that handles queries from them. So, get in touch with this department and talk to the student counselors.

Ask them as many questions as you can think about the university, the academic program, the reputation of this program, student support services, and also the student life.

You need to be very clear about what you are getting into before you make the trip to a foreign country to enroll for a study program.

2). Understand the Courses Inside and Out

Some students make the cardinal sin of not going through the various study modules that a course covers before they enroll for it. The best colleges have put up the course modules in detail on their website, so it makes sense to go through them.

If you have any doubts about the course and what it will cover, shoot an email to the college or talk directly to the counselor or even the program in charge. Do not have any doubts about the course; get them cleared before you enroll for it.

Must read: 13 Things That A Student Studying Abroad Should Definitely Do

3). Talk to Current Students

In a world where social media is simplifying interpersonal connections, it’s not difficult to get in touch with students who are part of the same college/university where you’re planning to study. You will also be able to find students who have enrolled in or are planning to enroll for the same course that you’re thinking about enrolling for.

Connect with them over the social network and ask them pointed questions about the program and student life. What’s more, make sure you stay in touch with them.

What this also does is that it helps you establish contact with people who’re in a position to help you in your student life, especially when you’re taking first steps in a university in a foreign land.

4). Calculate Costs

Can you afford to enroll for a particular degree from a particular college? What is the amount of scholarship you can expect? What is the cost of living on-campus/off-campus? What are the accommodations, how much do they cost?

Calculate each and every aspect of the costs you will incur, apart from the tuition fees. Each cost, however minuscule, must be factored into your considerations. You could even figure in the cost with relation to the yearly inflation. The total cost calculations of the degree is an exhaustive and time consuming process, but something that needs to be done to ensure you can afford a particular degree.

Do the cost comparison of a few degrees to zero in on a degree that fits your budget.

5). Assess Job Opportunities at the Destination

Many international students want to stay and work in the same country after they finish their programs. These students need to make sure the degree will lead to a job that allows them to live and earn in the foreign country. For example, if you want to enroll for a particular degree offered by an English university, you need to ensure that upon completion of the degree, you’ll get a satisfactory job that’ll allow you stay and work in England.

Different countries have different rules of employment for foreign nationals and these must be understood. Some countries have a specific timeframe within which a student must get a permanent job, if they don’t they’ll have to leave the country. This is why it’s important to know whether a particular degree will lead to employment opportunities in the foreign country.

6). Avoid Misplaced Priorities

Here’s the harsh truth – for some students a degree from some foreign college is just a means of finding an employment foothold in that country. This is a misplaced priority.

The focus must be on choosing the right degree from the right college, the kind of degree that helps meet your knowledge and career goals.

Employment opportunities will follow if you have the right knowledge and skill sets. You actually might end up choosing the wrong college and end up making a wrong career choice if you’ve misplaced priorities.

Must read: How to Know You Are Pursuing a Wrong Career

7). Trust Your Instincts

Sometimes, in spite of your best efforts, you still might not be sure whether a particular degree is the right pick for you. In such cases, it’s important you trust your gut feel about a degree. It’s important to understand that you might have to make certain compromises as well. For e.g. a degree that is your first choice, might not fit your budget, and you will have to choose the next best option. Here, your instinct comes into play. You need to do what’s right for you and your life as a whole. If you think, a particular college suits your profile, interests and preferences go for it, even if it doesn’t meet a few of your parameters.

It’s important you have a clear and logical thought process behind college selection, especially when you’re planning to study abroad. Otherwise, it won’t deliver returns on investments as per your expectations. Picking the right college is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your life, so you don’t want it to go wrong.

Related: Tuition Free Universities in Norway for International Students

Author Bio:
Sneha Lambat is a Web Community Manager at Rank Junction, which is a a unique online mock testing platform in India. Rank Junction enables candidates of entrance exams (for law, accountancy, medicine and other fields) to come together at a prescheduled time, take a mock test and get their rankings in advance. You can catch Sneha on Google+.

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