This is second article in this series. See the previous article on GRE here.
2. Shortlisting schools for your applications
We are going to discuss the most important topic of your applications today i.e. which schools should you be applying to. It is a very strategic decision that can determine:
- Whether you get admitted or not
- Even if you get admitted, whether you get scholarship or not
- What will be your job prospects upon graduating
As you can see, all of these are critical factors for your future.
Job hunt is a bigger topic that won’t fit here but the bottomline is that there are two ways you are going to land a job interview when studying in US – on campus recruitment or applying on your own. There are some companies that will come on campus and you can apply through your school’s career office. Obviously, this is easier than hunting companies and applying on their websites because an employer is going to devote more attention to students in person. So, higher the number of employers that come on campus in a school, better the job prospects will be for you. Therefore, one of your criteria should be to find schools that have more employers coming for placements on campus. And you also don’t want to end up in huge debt while studying. So you want schools that are more likely to offer at least some kind of scholarship.
In our online counseling package, we offer our proprietary triangulation technique for your profile that helps in shortlisting schools that maximizes your career prospects later on. Of course, if you are looking to start your own company instead of joining a job, you should take that into account instead of maximizing job prospects. If you want to learn more about how we do it, check out our counseling packages and contact us.
Additionally, you might have some other personal factors while considering schools (for e.g. I have to study in Tristate area (NY, NJ, CT) because my aunt lives there). We advise not to restrict yourself and try to get into the best school you can because studying abroad is big investment both of money and time. So, you should try to get the maximum return and not restrain yourself. It’s fine if your brother lives in Iowa, studying from San Francisco is still going to be better for you.
Often local counselors make you apply to 2-3 safe schools where you are most likely to get admitted. It is fine as long as the schools are legit and will not compromise on your career prospects but sometimes, they have tie ups with not so legit schools. Most of the times, your visa will be rejected for such schools. But at times, some unfortunate students end up going to these schools only to discover later that there are zero job prospects or worse, the degree itself is not recognized. This is terrible and the only option left at that point is to come back to India with a hefty education loan and a not so worthy degree. A student should be smart enough to not fall into these traps and make sure that you are taking counseling with someone who knows about this domain and is providing genuine guidance. A good counselor will tell you where NOT to go.
Secondly, most counselors have set universities that they make all students apply to irrespective of their profiles. Have a say in school selection process and try to use your own due diligence to determine if it is worth applying to a school or not.
Sometimes, its better to take a job in India and wait another year before applying instead of going to a worthless school.
Remember that school selection is the MOST critical part of your application and if done carelessly, can ruin all other efforts you put in GRE and application documents. Schools can largely determine your job and scholarship prospects, so it makes sense to spend enough time researching on which schools suit your financial and career needs. In our online counseling program, we use a proprietary triangulation technique for this which takes multiple criteria that have direct bearing upon your career prospect into account.
In next post, we will discuss the components of an individual application.