Many students from India prefer to go to consultants than do their own research in selecting universities for pursuing higher studies. Its not a recommendable approach. Selecting universities is a painstaking and time consuming process and many chose to rely on consultancies for this task than doing on their own. These consultancies usually try to send people to universities for which they get huge commission.
So how to select universities..heres my approach
First of all you need to check the following
- Tuition fee
- Chances of getting a scholarship (R.A/T.A./G.A)
- Suitable program
- Part time jobs and jobs after M.S.
So after checking these factors..come up with a tentative list.
If you are puzzled where to start then talk to your seniors, friends,professors and relatives. Ask them about the universities they know.
Do not rely on rankings, rankings are based upon surveys and consider a lot of factors which might be useless for us to consider. So make a tentative list including your dream schools, schools where your friends are studying and schools suggested by your seniors and professors.
So after coming up with a tentative list, you need to inquire more about those universities to make sure whether you should apply to it or not. First check out the tuition fee of the university, you would be surprised to see many applicants do not care even to check the tuition fee of the university. Be prepared for the worst case, go forward only if you have two years of tuition fee in your budget..Do not have ideas like “I can get aid after first semester so having the first semester fees will suffice”..these are the typical words of consultancies to mislead people.
Now you have enough tuition fee in your budget so whats next ? You need to check if your required program is available or not, check out the department website and program website, most probably it will contain all the information you need.
The next step is to know about part time jobs and chances of funding. Make best use of online resources like edulix, facebook. Post your profile in edulix and get evaluated it by seniors. Checkout the university specific threads in edulix…they contain hell lot of information so make best use of it. Also make a unisearch profile in edulix. Search your universities there and see the profiles of students who got admit and reject there.Compare with your profile and see where you stand. This will give you a rough idea.
Most of the universities have Indian Student Associations (ISA’s) and in most ISA’s website there will be FAQs answering almost all your doubts about funding and part-time jobs. For example check out ISA’s of University of Utah and Arizona state university.
You will have to look about climate too, you can get accustomed easily but you will have to take care of that if you have any specific needs.
Location also plays a role in selecting university. If the university is located in a big city then there are more chances of getting an internship and job after M.S. but the cost of living will be high, if the university is situated in a small town then the cost of living will be low but chances of getting internships will be a bit difficult compared to the universities located in cities.
Be careful when you post your profile for evaluation in fall groups, most of them are amateurs, so don’t take their words seriously and get misleaded. Do not go to universities which make you feel “why I came here!”. Its not worth of your money and time. See this guy’s experience who felt depressed and cheated after all his dreams were shattered. Also listen to what this fella says about the nature of consultancies . Don’t forget to check another student’s painful experience with these consultancies. Be sure to check and recheck before taking any decisions as this crazy decision gonna change your life either in a good or bad way.
Most of the people feel that getting good GRE score is enough for getting admission in top universities. Trust me GRE isn’t useless but its just one factor, they will consider your total profile like your academics, papers published, certifications etc. Getting 340/340 doesn’t guarantee your admission to Harvard or other ivy league university. On the other hand, if you have good academics, research papers and overall a good profile you can get into ivy league with ordinary GRE scores.
Selecting universities for US is no easy task, it can be overwhelming in the beginning but its your life and you are investing huge amount of money. Do you want to leave all of that to an unknown stranger who is profit oriented and a business minded person ?