Author Ms. Bakhtawat Krishnan is the Founder, Director at Inspirus Education. She brings with her 30 years of diverse experience, both at the national and international levels, in different roles across industries. She recently bagged the award for Femina World Women Leadership Congress Award 2018.
The last few years have witnessed a remarkable churn in the higher education environment, globally. Besides established countries like the US and UK holding ground firmly, a host of universities that meet and surpass standards of academic excellence, are creating footprints across nations of the world. From Australia and Singapore in the East to other European nations like Germany and Canada in the North-West, one could say today’s student is spoilt for choices on a Global Campus.
Indeed, there has been a murmur of disillusionment from the Indian student community to Donald Trump’s International policies and UK’s BREXIT movement, but largely I’d say, the ground reality isn’t as demotivating as is being reported.
The US remains one of the most preferred university option for the Indian student base. With its edge in research, technology and innovation oriented programmes across streams of the sciences, liberal arts and business, US universities are the number 1. choice of over 50% students opting for international campuses.
US – A GLOBAL BENCHMARK IN HIGHER EDUCATION
The world’s largest number of top ranking universities are housed on US soil. 70% of the top 10 and 43% of the top 100 universities are a part of the American campuses. Offering a wide variety of academic programmes, these institutes present students with both freedom and flexibility to plan their subject mixes or opt for effective dual degree programmes designed to be industry aligned and future centric.
Recognized globally for their progressive pedagogy; research facilities; infrastructural might; technology, innovation and placement bent, the American Institutes have literally created the footprint that other nations follow, across faculties.
Students of American universities remain a prized possession in the global job market. Moreover, US is the home-ground to maximum Fortune 500 companies. From Apple to Amazon, 6 of the top 10 global tech- majors are American by inception. Empowering graduates of US universities to vie for a place amongst the crème on the corporate corridor.
Leaders in the space of higher education, most colleges in the US offer a robust placement programme that includes student mentoring via effective industry linkages strengthened by experienced counselor support and advisory panels, well entrenched within the corporate sector. Moreover, well placed alumni networks from most of these universities have created successful precedence for all fresh graduates, at the work place.
As a nation, US has always recorded some of the world’s lowest unemployment figures, even when the markets are facing a challenging environment, world over.
CHANGING LAWS, UNCHANGED OPPORTUNITIES
While the hullabaloo on changing laws under the Trump raj has opened a window of opportunity for universities across other nations to woo the Indian student, it is important to understand its impact on Indian students vs.-a-vs. the American campuses. Trump’s policies are not so much anti-India (as projected) as they are pro-America.
International students continue to enjoy the opportunity of working for 12 months post completion of their degree under the standard OPT law. A one- time extension of 24 months is also available to certain STEM degree holders. Making it a cumulative period of 36 months for those eligible. And giving them an edge in their application for an H1B visa, on completion.
With the current government crack-down on IT giants abusing the H1B window to source a cheap workforce from across the world, international students stand to gain a better opportunity, as more number of legally acceptable H1B’s will be up for grabs. Trump administration is in fact in favor of giving preference to students educated in the US over the original computerized lottery system. Moreover, the allocation of 20% of H1Bs exclusively for start-ups puts yet another ball in the student court.
ADOPT THE EARLY BIRD STRAT
Quite obviously your decision to join an international university cannot be an over night one. Whether you are aiming for an undergrad programme (post grade 12) or master’s and beyond, your application process, university selection etc. must start at least 18 months in advance. The challenge with most universities abroad is that there are no clear cut offs. These institutes look at the student holistically and then take their decisions. Which can be a huge positive if you plan and work towards securing you place well in time. As student counselors, working in the space of International education I will tell you, great academic and SAT/GRE scores are not enough to assure you of an admit in a top-notch university. Besides your scores, the universities will be keen to get an insight into your thought process via essays, past projects, references, work experience/internships, extra-curricular activities and any other information you may provide. In certain cases, community work may also get you an edge over others. All in all, these universities are looking for well rounded personalities than mere bookworms.
Explore University options along with a well-informed education counselor. Carefully study the academic programmes offered; campus life; cost impact and admission criteria. Choose your student counselor with prudence and be sure that you and your parents are ready to embark on this promising journey with success. It may seem cumbersome at times, but the process leaves you armed with life skills that will be your partners for life and add the edge that makes each international student a valuable resource, world over.