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Don't be trapped in the next Tri-Valley!

Last updated on: November 9, 2011 14:21 IST

Don't be trapped in the next Tri-Valley!

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Horror stories like Tri Valley University and University of Northern Virginia, where students were enrolled in unaccredited institutions which violated visa norms, are still fresh in the minds of many. Don't fall prey to these traps, warns Rahul Choudaha, Director of Development & Innovation at WES, New York.

More than two lakh Indian students are enrolled in institutions abroad and each year many more aspire but do not make it. And even among those who get a chance to travel, a rude shock may be waiting when they arrive on campus and their expectations need not match with reality.

Despite an abundance of information available, trusted resources for students are still very limited.

Horror stories such as Tri Valley University and University of Northern Virginia, where students were enrolled in unaccredited institutions which were violating visa norms, are still fresh in the minds of many. Falling prey to any of these traps can cause a student to waste his or her time and money.



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Go beyond traditional favourites

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Rankings may provide a good starting point but a student may improve his or her chance of acceptance by considering institutions outside traditional favourites.

Students should look for institutions which better fits their needs. In the US, the number of offers by institutions outside the top-100 increased by 12 percent, according a report. So look at them as well.



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Think beyond rankings

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Students should remember that there is a wide spectrum of institution quality, ranging from Harvard University to Tri Valley University.

Students should research when determining the right institution as accreditation is extremely important.

Students coming to the US should make sure the institution at which they plan to study is listed on the Department of Education's website and they can find additional student information at studyinthestates.dhs.gov



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Do not be misled by the city's halo-effect

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Students can be swayed by the name and excitement of big cities such as Chicago or Boston while institutions in lesser-known cities such as Denver or Albany may not be worth their time.

Even though location plays an important role when networking or finding jobs, students should not let that be their only deciding factor.

Students should give more importance to quality of institution rather than the perception of the city where it is located.



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Showcase your academics

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In the last five years, Indian higher education system has grown at a high rate -- engineering institutions alone have doubled to 3,000 in five years.

In addition, there are many recognised and unrecognised institutions throughout India, which makes it even more difficult for admissions officers to comprehend the credibility and academic performance of an applicant.

In the US, independent credential evaluation organisations such as World Education Services assess the equivalency of foreign degrees and assist students in communicating the value of his or her credential to admissions officers.



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Leverage communities of current students and alumni through social media

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Students should research the institution they plan to attend through social media and online forums.

Since it is not possible for most students to visit the institution before joining, these discussions provide authentic experiences from students and alumni about campus life and academic experiences. They can also serves as a cross-check for any over-promises made by agents or institutions.

International education provides ample learning and advancement opportunities; however, it is also an expensive and perhaps a risky investment.

Students are encouraged to undertake extensive research from several formal and informal sources, and be sure to treat any short-cuts promised by study abroad agents or institutions with ample caution.

Studying abroad is a dream for many and every effort should be made to ensure that it does not turn into a nightmare as it did for students from Tri Valley University.



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