Study abroad: What universities expect and how students can stay ahead in race
Between remote learning options and adaptive curriculums, university admissions across the globe have certainly changed after 2020. But what do universities expect from students and how can Indian students stay ahead of the race?
After the initial months of COVID-19, top universities across the globe rapidly updated their teaching methods and admission processes. Legacy institutions such Harvard, Yale, ISB, IIM Ahmedabad are still looking at factors like perfect academics, excellent student profiles, test scores, and lastly great Letter of Intents. But, which other out-of-the-box factors can you consider to boost your chances? Here are 5 such factors:
You Test Score are no longer important
Due to the limitation of resources during COVID-19, many universities are now waiving off test scores and other admission requirements. Even top institutions like University of Oxford, California Institute of Technology, University of Illinois, etc. are waiving off prominent tests like the GRE exam for their Masters programs. Since those qualifying criteria are gone, students who present their profiles in the best possible manner with impressive Statements of Purpose will be preferred.
Perfect your profile
Just like the admission requirements, universities are also offering waivers for certain documentation and extending the application deadlines for students. If you have your letters of recommendation, work experience certificates, and other prominent documents in order, it gives more credence to your profile. Not only that but, study abroad experts state that with the excess of applications pouring in, universities are also likely to pay more attention to the initial applications. Remember, the early bird gets the worm.
Knowing your university can increase your chances
One of the lesser known methods of gaining benefit is to network with the right university officials using social media platforms such as LinkedIn. It can increase students’ chances of admission. With university education going digital, professors and officials are more active on these social media platforms than ever. When institutions go through all the applications, students who have focused on outreach stand out more than ever. Not only that but institutions such as the University of North Carolina, USA have created virtual apps such as GEAR UP VR that allow students to get campus tours and connect with the university.
Adapt to the flexible study options
It’s important to demonstrate your ability to adapt to the new changes universities are undergoing. Universities across the globe have made changes in their curriculums to help students adapt to the new normal. While many would hesitate to apply for these changed curriculums, other students have the chance to take advantage of these unique changes and indicate your ability to adapt. This list of universities not only includes universities overseas but also top Indian institutions like the Indian School of Business. ISB implemented new modules into their Post Graduation Programs(PGP) through the use of blended learning. They declared that this new format will be a 52-week format and will include many new value-added elements and projects. Sounds like a golden opportunity for all students.
In most countries, only 20-30% companies have their employees coming into the offices physically. All other industries have gone digital and employees are working from home. This in turn indicates that those who show their proficiency in the several digital skills, would automatically have an edge over the other applicants.
Apart from these skills, more than 73% of university admissions officials have said they look for evidence of a students’ ability to work well in groups, soft skills as well as the Higher Education landscape may be changing but it's important that students stay ahead of the game and improve their own chances of admission.
(Author Ashish Fernando is Founder and CEO - iSchoolConnect. Views expressed here are personal.)