Most Indian students who wish to pursue higher education abroad, dream of joining a university which has been ranked in the Top 15 list. So deep-rooted is this obsession, that anything ranked below the Top 15 is considered a waste of time and money for both students and their parents. 90% of the students who wish to go abroad explicitly state this as their main priority, without taking into consideration certain critical factors. In such a scenario, there is a need for deep and thorough introspection, so that a realistic choice of university for higher education is made well before applying.
Before even beginning the process of selecting universities, a student has to realistically evaluate his/her academic achievements, test scores, financial capacities, short-term and long-term career objectives and the competition they are likely to face from other prospective students on a global platform. Admission to the topmost universities is almost 'unthinkable' if even one of the aforementioned factors is not sound, as the crème de la crème from the student community, globally, apply to the limited seats in these prestigious universities.
In the last few years, it has been noticed that students from top Indian colleges such as IIT's, who apply for the MS/PhD programs have been regularly facing the trauma of being rejected; whereas 8 to 10 years back, students from similar academic backgrounds easily sailed through and got admitted into these premier universities. This is primarily due to the high level of global competition, as the number of students applying is growing constantly.
The most important point is that students have to be realistic while selecting the universities they wish to attend. There are so many students who get dejected because they may not have been selected to any of the universities they had applied to. The reason for this scenario is a complete mismatch between their profiles and their choice of university. In other words, they did not consider applying to universities where they realistically had the maximum chance of admission. There have been many instances where students try to apply to other universities after being rejected by their original choices.
It is indeed a nerve-racking and tumultuous phase for both students and their parents, as dreams and careers hang in the balance. These students have invested so much time and effort in planning and applying, that in most cases, they don't even have a job in hand, to fall back on, if the admission doesn't come through. This results in a tragic loss of confidence and depression as well as a setback of potentially bright and prosperous careers.
Therefore, a realistic and painstaking approach is definitely required while selecting the potential universities. Family members, friends, neighbours or seniors studying abroad can help in giving valuable advice and feedback which should be welcomed, but in the end 'it is your university list, it is your application, it is your career and it is your choice'. So be rational and reasonable in your short-listing process.
The author of this article, Binita Parekh, leads a team of dedicated and highly qualified counsellors and staff at Beyond Boundaries Education Consulting Services which offers advice and guidance to students for successful applications to prestigious academic institutions, enabling them to achieve and bring their dreams to fruition.