Every year, thousands of Indian students aspire to enrol in universities abroad to pursue higher studies. English-language proficiency is one of the major factors that help students bag admission to their preferred college. To evaluate students on this aspect, Educational Testing Service (ETS) conducts the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
How TOEFL helped them
Abha Jeurkar, now a postgraduate student in the department of biomedical engineering at the University of California, not only cleared the TOEFL but also won a scholarship of US$ 5,000 in 2010 to pursue research in emerging interdisciplinary technologies.
“The scholarship has given me enough confidence to be able to interact with native American students with ease. However, I had to take two other English assessment exams (English as a second language programme and test of oral proficiency). I would advise others that the TOEFL should not just be treated as a prerequisite for the application procedure but should also be used later during the school year,” says Jeurkar.
Life at UCLA has been extremely rewarding and satisfying so far for Jeurkar. “UCLA is globally known with more than 60,000 students on campus. It’s fun being part of the student body that is diverse. The social, cultural and intellectual life on campus is simply great. Biomedical engineering being an interdepartmental programme, offers numerous research opportunities,” she says.
For Hyderabad boy Dinakar Ayalasomayajula, who is studying automotive engineering in at IFP in France, winning the 2011 TOEFL scholarship was a great boost. “TOEFL is a simple test that does not need much preparation. It assesses a person’s linguistic skills comprehensively. Thanks to the scholarship, my financial burden was also reduced. I could also study at my dream college,” says Ayalasomayajula, who quit the National Defence Academy and then the Czech Technical University in Prague to find a course that suited him at IFP.
Another Hyderabad student, Aliza Noor Khan, who is also the winner of the TOEFL scholarship this year, will be joining the University of Southern California and plans to pursue a dual major in economics and film and TV production. Her favourite subject is economics because it can be related to every field. “It is not a dry subject, as the common notion goes. It includes logic and critical thinking, making it one of the most fascinating subjects. I chose to study in the US because its higher education system offers amazing chances for research, while also giving us the flexibility to choose courses within a holistic structure,” says Khan.
All about the test
Currently, more than 8,500 colleges and universities in more than 130 countries, including the UK, the US, Australia, and Canada, accept TOEFL. Being the most widely-accepted English language assessment, the TOEFL provides more choices for non-native English speakers. It can be taken at more than 4,500 testing centres in more than 165 countries. Divided into four sections – reading, writing, listening and speaking, it is also more convenient for test takers as it can be completed in one day. TOEFL scores are also now available electronically in two weeks.
The TOEFL Scholarship 2013
The TOEFL Scholarship India is a competitive award granted to students currently living in India. It is meant for students planning to begin their undergraduate or postgraduate studies abroad in 2013. Twenty scholarships valued at US$ 3,000 and one scholarship valued at US$ 10,000 were awarded this year. This year’s winners represented states such as Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune. Students were evaluated based on their English communication skills, academic record, leadership skills and extra-curricular activities.