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Let's plan your career, class 12 students!

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Studying abroad is significantly different from studying in your homeland. A new geography, culture, people and above all, the academic climate together make for an exhilarating experience. It takes time to settle down and come to terms with the newness of it all, unless you have been working at it for a long time. So, if you aspire to study abroad post class 12, start early with your planning and preparation. Here’s how you can plan your career after 12th to purse an overseas education

Focus on academic grades:
Excellent academic performance is not a choice, but a pre-requisite for study abroad. Though not the only criterion for being selected, your grades (from class 9 onwards in some geographies) will invariably play a significant part at the screening rounds. Remember, there are no shortcuts to good grades, hence, be focused and consistent in your efforts.

Build a stellar profile:
Top universities abroad handpick candidates with exceptional calibre and versatility. What do they look for? Outstanding academic performance teamed with talent beyond academics in more than one field namely sports, music and art, leadership etc. is th ideal profile for a prospective student. So, if you have only been concentrating on academics, take a breather and revive your hobbies or passion for music or dance for example, that unique field of lifestyle photography. If you love interacting with people, go ahead and join a volunteering club. It will add incredible value to your profile.

Understand your strengths and interest: This can be a challenging task, as there are many factors that influence our understanding, like peer pressure, parents’ expectation, marks etc. You may have been performing well in a subject, but it does not necessarily mean you are interested in having a career in a similar field. You can only excel in your future endeavours and carve a successful career in a certain domain if your interest and aptitude meet. Understand which subject excites you to go beyond textbooks, your inherent talent and capabilities for the same. Study abroad offers a wide range of options that might appear tempting in terms of career opportunities. Be guided by discretion and reflect on your potential, prior knowledge and determination before making your final decision.

Fix your career goal:
One of the best ways to stay on track is by fixing your target. It is obviously not as decisive as “Okay, I want to become…”, but an idea about your career aspiration. If you love language studies and always had a penchant for the written word, you may consider going into publishing or editing. Don’t worry if you have not yet visualised anything concrete – some geographies like the USA allow you to take your time in deciding on your major as late as in the second year of your graduation. However, it is good to be focused, have a set goal and work towards it. You’ll be more confident and motivated. Here are a few things that you can do to narrow down your choices and set your goal:

  • Go for an internship in an area that interests you and see if that’s what you want to do. You’ll get hands-on experience and learn immensely from other professionals.
  • Shadow industry experts and check out their career graph. Can you relate to their journey? Know what they have to say about the current situation and future possibilities in that sector.
  • Connect with professionals of your field of interest, current students who are pursuing courses in a similar line to probe into the various aspects, requirements and scope of growth.

Research on institutions and courses: Your due diligence for study abroad consists of a thorough investigation of schools abroad that are offering courses in your chosen stream. Make a list of the top 8 or 10 colleges that are well-known for the specific field of study that you are looking into. Learn as much as you can about the curriculum, subject combinations, internship programs, faculty, departmental accomplishments, research facilities etc. Above all, gather information about career guidance and placement facilities, and the job status of the pass-outs. The aim of your research is to get a comprehensive idea about your study abroad experience and eventual career prospects.

Learn about the pre-requisites of study abroad: You must be crystal clear about the study abroad technicalities. That’s part of your basic home-work. Here’s the list:

  • Application form,
  • Application Fees, 
  • Letter(s) of Recommendation(s),
  • Essay(s) or Statement of Purpose, 
  • Resume, 
  • Standardized Test Scores, 
  • Transcripts,
  • Financial Aid/Proof of Funds (if required)
  • Interview Appointment (if required)
  • Portfolio (if required)

Start with a short study abroad course: Enrolling for an undergraduate program means a long-term commitment. You have to prepare yourself for a lot of changes like staying on your own, a different lifestyle, unfamiliar place, unknown people and most importantly a new academic landscape. The best way to make things easier for your longer tenure is by opting for a short study abroad program in your target college. This test drive will serve two major purposes – a) your college visit and gaining insight about every aspect of studying there, b) a test of your tenacity to cope with the academic rigour and getting a smack of living alone. So, jump onboard a short study stint abroad and learn the ropes.

Studying abroad is an enriching journey that you’ll cherish forever. To savour of all its rewards and exciting opportunities, prepare well, plan early and be confident. Good luck!

(This is written by Vibha Kagzi, Founder and Chief Education Officer)

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