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10 common study abroad mistakes you must avoid

Last updated on: February 13, 2012 07:32 IST

10 common study abroad mistakes you must AVOID

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Divya Nair

From incomplete application forms to choosing the wrong university, here are some common study abroad mistakes Indian students make and how to avoid them.

Every year a large number of Indian students pursue their dream of studying in an international university.

However, a good number of these applicants face rejection either at the admission stage or after the visa interview.

Not to mention how countless number of students return to the country either because they were unable to finish the course they started or they regretted taking a particular course in a given institute.

What is the cause of rejection and dissatisfaction among Indian students who study abroad?

Ignorance and lack of adequate information is a major reason for this.

We asked Tejash Thakkar, Director, Apex Consultants, Mumbai to list the 10 common study abroad mistakes that most Indian students make.

He not only tells us why students make these mistakes, but also offers advice on the right way to do things.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

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Mistake 1: 'I can submit my application if I have 90 percent of documents ready'

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Over 70 percent of Indian students face rejection from international universities and visa offices due to submission of incomplete application forms.

Students presume that if they meet 9 of the 10 criteria mentioned in the list, they can submit their application. This is not true.

You have to submit all the documents listed on the university website while sending your admission application. No matter how trivial it may seem to you, treat every document as mandatory and double check the list against the university website and other official sources.

Failure to attach even one single document could lead to rejection.

The same applies for student visas.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh


 




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Mistake 2: 'A transcript is equivalent to a mark sheet'

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Most international universities request for sealed transcripts as a mandatory requirement.

Unlike mark sheets issued by most Indian universities which carry only marks scored per subject and overall percentage, a transcript is a detailed statement of semester-wise marks of a student printed under the letterhead of the institute.

Most Indian students who study in state and central boards mistake transcripts for mark sheets, which unfortunately do not carry the number of hours and semester-wise performance of the candidate.

Failure to submit transcripts is a common reason why applications are rejected.




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Mistake 3: 'I can pay application fees after confirmation of admission'

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A very common mistake that most students make is they fail to pay application fees to the university.

Students often mistake application fee for admission fee.

Always remember that application fees have to be paid (mostly online) along with the submission of the filled application form.

Even though you may have submitted all the necessary documents to the university, if you do not pay this fee, your application will be rejected.

Application fee is different from admission fee, which is paid after confirmation of admission.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier




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Mistake 4: 'I need not produce bank statements if I am going on a scholarship'

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For instance, if you want to study in a US institution, you will have to submit a bank solvency letter.

Most Indian students mistake solvency letter for bank statement. They do not understand the purpose behind submitting a bank solvency letter.

This letter is mostly issued by the bank and validates the sufficiency of the liquid funds in your name.

Declaration of liquid funds is to ensure the concerned authorities that you can afford the living cost and allied expenses during your stay abroad. Bank solvency letter is equally important for students who travel abroad on a 100 percent scholarship.

Insufficient liquidity is a good enough reason for the university to reject your application.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh



Tags: Uttam Ghosh , Bank , US

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Mistake 5: 'I won't be rejected if my student visa is delayed'

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Obviously you cannot travel to a foreign nation without a valid visa.

Most universities conditionally confirm your admission in advance so that you can use the same to apply for a visa.

But consider this. Your international student visa arrived a week after your course started.

If your admission letter mentions a deadline to confirm your application, not only will you have to intimate the university about the status of your visa, but you will also have to request for a letter of conditional admission stating that they are aware of your pending visa status and yet willing to admit you as their incoming student.

Most students are unable to travel abroad because they fail to produce the conditional admission letter.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh





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Mistake 6: 'My aunt is a UK citizen, so I will be selected'

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Most students come to counsellors saying, 'My aunt/uncle stays in the country and hence my admission will be taken care of'.

Although it is good to have relatives in the country you are going to study, it doesn't merit your qualification of admission in a university. Nor does it advantage you while applying for a visa.

While such details may be relevant, students should not ignore the fact that admission to an international university is purely based on merit.

Also remember to study the conditions of student visa issued in various countries.

Emerging destinations like Canada do encourage you to stay back after your course and work in the country. However, countries like the US and UK would limit you from doing so.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh



Tags: Uttam Ghosh , UK , US , Canada

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Mistake 7: 'My college is in Alaska, but it's the best for MBA'

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A lot of students do not consider the location of the university or institute.

The university may be a top ranked institution for X reasons, but that doesn't explain how you will manage to survive without private accommodation for the next 2 years.

The location of an institution can make or break your career decision.

If the weather of the place is extremely cold or extremely hot, you will regret your decision to study there.

Most Indian students who travel to a new country end up falling sick because they are unable to cope with the extreme weather conditions.

Not to forget the fact that they often spend a fortune for travel, health and accommodation.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier




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Mistake 8: 'If it's good for Arts, it has to be good for Engineering'

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You may have grown up listening to names of prestigious universities like the Oxford, Harvard and MIT.

But how many of you have taken the trouble to find out what programmes they offer and the quality of these programmes?

A prestigious college may have recently launched a new programme and are offering scholarships just to promote admission.

Research thoroughly before you fall in such traps. When you choose a university, always ask: What is in it for me?

Illustration: Dominic Xavier




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Mistake 9: 'My education loan will take care of all my expenses'

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Most Indian parents who send their children abroad rely on education loan for funding.

While the loan may cover about 50-60 per cent of your education cost, one often neglects living costs like accommodation and travel, which can be expensive in countries like US, United Kingdom, Singapore and Japan as compared to Germany or Mexico.

Hence, it is important to be realistic about your choice of a university and the country you are going to travel to, given the affordability factor.

You certainly don't want your parents to sell off their only apartment in town just to meet your living costs.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh




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Mistake 10: 'I don't need to hire a consultant'

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Students love to believe that they can find all the information on the internet.

No doubt, there are online counsellors and experts who will guide you at all stages of the application process.

However, you may face ambiguity and miss the deadlines due to delayed response, poor connectivity, incomplete or outdated information.

By hiring an expert study abroad consultant, you not only do things the right way, you also don't have to worry about missing deadlines.

Most of the times besides helping you with the application process, consultants also help you make an informed career decision.

Unless you want to experience the drill, a consultant will help you relax through the process and travel in peace.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh




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