Hello Everyone !!
A lot of people have been contacting me to know more about going abroad. And many are clueless, have no idea where to begin from. So I am writing this from Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. I am doing my Masters here in Systems Engineering + Design (you haven’t heard of it and never will) in University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (#1 Public University, #10 in most Millionaires produced, #29 in Top Universities, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/university-of-michigan-9092/overall-rankings ).
So this is going to be your Cheat Sheet to getting abroad. I am going to try answer all queries possible. If I get wrong anywhere or if you have more doubts, feel free to correct and contact me.
Disclaimer: This is my view/opinion and need not be factually correct/true.
For those who don’t know me; my name is Dieon Roger: 2012-2016 Mechanical Graduate. I was the Best Outgoing Student from the College and the Mechanical Engineering Department, SAEINDIA Club of MACE Founder and Chairperson, Sanskriti 2016 Publicity Head, Microsoft Student Associate (I am not bragging; I just wish you know me better.)
Q 1: Why should I read this post?
- Are you unhappy with the Indian system of Engineering Education?
- With 56 exams to write but nothing getting into your brain?
- Unsatisfied with your salary package?
- Or looking for better prospects?
- Are you a nerd?
- Do you like to travel and meet new people and visit places?
- Do you want to get a Hot Wife/Rich Husband?
- Are you clueless about your career?
If your answer is YES to any of the above; WELCOME ABROAD
Q 2: Okay so how do we start with things?
A: First, you decide either a place or a country. If you have relatives abroad, you might be inclined to choose a nearby University. Or depending on job opportunities you might be particular about a country. So these are basically the popular places where students go for studying:
- United Stated of America: Over 3000 universities, great job opportunities, stay back of 3 years for STEM (Science Technology Engineering Management) courses, very very very good Americans, plenty of courses to choose from.
- Canada: 50 Universities but really good ones and same as above (I am not sure about stay back)
- UK: cheaper (like around 10 lakhs for a decent course) but no Stay Back. Those of you who just need a degree will find this a better option (like rich kids who don’t care about jobs).
- Italy: Automotive Design top
- Sweden: Product Design Top
- Germany: Automobile degree are very valuable but you have to learn German. You also have to write some exam to get employed or something. But very cheap.
- Australia: Again same prospects as USA.
- New Zealand for Culnary or Research
- Belgium for energy
I can help you get to know more about USA, since my course has many options here. It’s also the land of opportunities, that is if you have got talent, you will grow (unlike there in India where you have a better chance if you are to be fair (referring to racism in general [fair and lovely/handsome bullshit] [marriage matrimonial] in various stages in life in India), rich, having ‘contacts’, SC/ST, and in some cases being a woman.
If not a country, then you could choose a course.
Q 3: MBA or MS?
A: Depends on how much money you like. MS < MBA < MS+MBA. This is the order (I guess) of money offered here. Although you get paid well in certain engineering streams like Computer Science when stacked up with MBA.
For doing an MBA, you need to clear GMAT. Again, I am not an expert. If you are looking for MBA advice, I suggest you stop reading this post. Now if it is MS, studies just got very serious.
You need two things in
- USA : GRE + TOEFL
- GERMANY: GRE + IELTS
- UK: IELTS
- AUSTRALIA: IELTS
Depending on the university, requirements vary. Even the cutoffs you need depend on the course and university. Let’s select our courses now. Consider you are having dinner in an Intercontinental Buffet. No matter what you had for lunch, you will have lots of dishes to choose from. Similarly, whatever be your bachelors, you can do most different master courses out here. You can either specialize in a particular subject or you could shift your subject of interest (like from mechanical to computer science or finance or psychology).
There are a lot of websites to select your course; you don’t need a Consultancy for it, unless you are lazy to use Google.
Q 4: Things to look out while selecting a course?
A: In USA you can either do Masters of Science, which means you need to do some project/research and prepare a Thesis. Or you could do Masters in Engineering, no thesis but you will have to do an Internship, which is a great way to work in a company and also get employed there. Some universities offer ME for 1 year, some can be 2 years. I am doing a 16 month course.
Another thing to note is that a few courses will need you to have work experience. A few will need you to have the prerequisite knowledge of a particular subject. Be sure to go through all the course requirements before short-listing it.
But one major factor we look out for is definitely the tuition fee. Now let me get this clear. There are two kinds of Universities in USA: Public ones (which get funded by the state) and Private ones (no funding from state). Private ones are therefore expensive since money for research comes from student tuition fee. This doesn’t mean privates are bad or ripoffs. This means getting a scholarship is complicated. The good universities don’t offer many scholarships. The bottom bad ones offer a lot. Please don’t fall for a course just because scholarship is available. The money you spend is worth every penny.
Few scholarships are offered to select course to creamy students. But you may not get it. PLEASE DON’T DISCARD A COURSE BECAUSE YOU DON’T HAVE SCHOLARSHIP. Like I said, study smart and you will make more than what is paid. There is no better investment than your education.
Q 5: GRE TOEFL IELTS….
A: I am helpless about GMAT, but I can be very helpful about above
GRE: Required only for USA and GERMANY. They basically want to know if you have basic English and Maths skills. GRE is 10th CBSE Maths + Tough English. Australia may ask for it but not Europe. Some US Universities don’t require GRE. Now you have to pay around 13000 rupees for GRE. You also have to register and book your slot at least a month or two in advance. GRE happens every week. (In Kochi, it is held in Sacred Hearts, Thevara). You need like 3 months of preparation (for an average smart hard working consistent English speaking guy). I know people who have prepared for a year, couple of years. I prepared for two weeks and scored 318/340. (I worked my @$$ off. Special Situation. No records or college work, only GRE, 15 mocks, morning to midnight).
Let me break down GRE. English and Maths, each 170 marks. Maths is 10th CBSE stuff. The only mistakes you make are the old school silly ones. Very easy stuff. Now English is where things get ugly. You need to learn a lot of new words and work hard for english. GRE is a strategy exam. There are strategies for every question. Which means, even if you dont know the answer, you still have tricks to arrive at your correct answer.
GRE does not define marks for each question. And the questions get tougher when we get the answers right. All these complications can be solved if you sit for 3 hours and attempt a mock gre exam. 95% of your doubts on GRE solved.
I took TOEFL. Most universities either take TOEFL or IELTS (all over the world). But both exams are prepared to know if you have the basic skills of understanding and conversing in English. Both have 4 sections: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking
Q6: How do I prepare?
A: Follow these steps
Prep Style A: Go to a GRE/TOEFL/IELTS coaching centre. Four kinds of people go here. Lazy. Rich. Creamy. Unsure. Lazy ones are just lazy to read the GRE prep book. GRE exams can be easily cracked by reading. Rich ones, I dont blame them. We need a cycle of monetary flow. The creamy ones who go there is much like those who go for Gate coaching. I know a friend who went for 2 years of GRE coaching and he scored 330+ which is too awesome. Coaching could cost you like 19000 rupees. But if you are unsure of your efforts and performance, then please go ahead for coaching. Coaching period with Consultancy groups will be like 3 months.
Prep Style B: Save 20000 rupees. WORK HARD. Material? Either download books from torrent or go buy them. There are many publishers that offer GRE Perp. I would suggest Barrons.
This book gets all strategies laid out in front of you. You have to read them. Apply. Read. Apply again. Repeat till you have them registered inside. Also download this
Make sure you have one stack of words (around 50) memorized EVERY DAY. Repeat. Memorize. Create tricks and stories to remember meanings. Now this part is very important since half of English in GRE depends on flashcard knowledge. Step 3, download free Mock GRE softwares. You get them free with books and also on websites. Download and install. 2 will be free, you will be asked to pay for the rest. Do the free ones. Do this for many publishers of GRE Prep Material. Make sure you do atleast 10 GRE MOCKS, with 2 free Mocks from ETS (company that “owns” GRE) done at the end (1 or 2 days before actual GRE). For the fourth step, explore the web and material. There are a lot of tutorials, free stuff, pirated pdfs. Work hard. Spend 4 hours on GRE everyday. Go through the GRE Prep Material I mentioned. Most material have the same strategies. Use them in mock questions. Practice and train yourself. The more you work the more you score.
You need to score above 300
- 300 equivalent to 85% in 10th CBSE (very easy)
- 310 90%
- 320 93% in 10th CBSE
- 330 97%
- 340 not impossible, also not needed
- 300 below Please dont go abroad.
Book you GRE in off season time like in June/July. Mine was on September 17th. Prepare for it during your semester break. While doing mocks the score you get may be lesser than what you would get for the actual GRE. So dont get disappointed.
For TOEFL, there is a video series called NoteFull. https://www.notefull.com/ The Best for TOEFL. Follow whatever they are saying and you will do great. I scored 114/120.
Make sure you have your GRE TOEFL IELTS score ready by October/November in your third year or before. Else you may waste money and 0.5 – 1 year of time.
Q7: Do I need to sign up with some Consultancy?
A: Well, you find a lot of negative incidents with Consultancy but the answer is twisted. First of all, you have a lot of options to choose from like
- Princeton Review
- Santa Monica
- and many others in and around Kochi
Now signing up with a consultancy has to be under the following conditions
- You are totally clueless about going abroad.
- You have disposable funds for it (costs like 35k or more).
- You need better help to select universities.
- You have a lot of options (courses and universities)
- Not responsible to do anything on your own.
This is what a Consultancy does:
- They first give you a free talk. They have beautiful women for this first step.
- They make it complicated and friendly so that you will end up with one of them. (which turned out to be good for me)
- You join and revive from the shock of paying a huge sum (of which you actually get a service worth 10k rupees).
- GRE TOEFL IELTS
- Selecting country – university – course based on your profile (rank, marks, cgpa, sgpa)
- Shortlisting based on climate, tuition fee, probability of getting in.
- Categorizing universities into SAFE (you will get in these universities), MODERATE (you have 60 70 percent chance of getting in. Good ones), DREAM (very less chance of getting in; I got into DREAM :-D).
- Getting Transcript from University to Apply
- Apply before deadline like at Jan 15.
- Get acceptance in March. Game Over
I signed up with Chopras. It was expensive but I cant complain because I got in here because of them although they havent done any 35k stuff. So I have warned you…..
Q8: If not consultancy, then how do I apply?”
A: Well, first you can give me half of that money, since I helped you save the other half. Then you can go visit the course website where there will be an “APPLY NOW”. Click on it but before that be ready with the following
- Passport Size photo scanned, clear but small size like 100 KB.
- All MG University GPA sheets scanned (which you have till date)
- Transcript from the University. Transcript basically has all your semester marks in a long paper with University seal. To get transcript, get a letter from principal, take it to Kottayam, opposite photostat shops will tell you what all to do. If the consultancy asks you to get 5 transcripts to apply at 5 universities; DO NOT DO IT. Get only one transcript (each costs 1000 rupees or more). So get one transcript and make copies from it. Take these photocopies to the office and get principle signature, seal, college seal and put it in an envelope and have the college seal on that part where you close the envelope. These envelopes are for sending transcripts to universities if they demand hardcopies.
- Resume / CV (2 – 3 pages stating your school activities/achievements and college activities/achievements)
- Statement of Purpose: Two page description on how awesome you are. Refer to http://www.statementofpurpose.com/
- Passport Front and back pages scanned.
- 3 Letters of Recommendation. Can be Principal, HOD, Group Tutor or a Professor. Sad state; we have to write our own LOR and show it to respective professors and get them signed. Control the amount of fake content and Scan them too.
- Membership details. Its always good to be members in SAEINDIA, ASME, IEEE……. Foreign universities do look for these.
- Project, Seminar, Paper details.
- 99% UNIVERSITIES NEED ONLY SCANNED COPIES of all above documents. Hardcopies are sent in rare cases but be prepared. I HAVE WARNED YOU!!
Q 9: Is work experience needed?
A: Some courses are very particular about selecting students with work experience. But there are good courses which accept fresh students with caliber. You can always email the professors or authorities if they accept fresh students. If you are really good, you will get in. Having work experience will also get you a job easily in USA, but I am here without any experience but confident in myself, so if you are brave enough, fly out after graduation.
You can also do Distance Education or the same program but Online or Co-op (work and go to classes). So there is flexibility and options to choose from. But the first two are pretty boring (for me since I like travelling and spending Dad’s Cash).
Q 10: I dont have money. Will this be worth?
Well, its worth taking the risk. Students who go abroad to study are not all rich but ambitious (not for all cases). Dont take students loan (interest in 14%), take house loan having 9% interest. Ask your cousins and generous neighbours for interim financial support. Because once you get a decent job in US, you will be paid like around half a crore a year. If you are talented, income climbs upwards. So its worth all the risks and hardships you face. You just have to convince your parents and get out.
Going abroad is not an Ultimate Solution to get a Career Leap; it is just one of them. India has the best Design Schools in Asia (NID Ahmedabad, IIT Bombay, DSK Pune) and in management (IIMs, which are unfortunately tougher). Our country is the third best in the world to support Startups and we are also one the most intelligent , aspiring, hardworking and self helping species. It is true because the last three qualities rhyme. In Ann Arbor there are more Chinese than Americans. Our country needs more engineers to create solutions to existing problems in many levels, starting from pollution to corruption.
So go ahead, LEARN, EARN, Come Back, DISRUPT. May the force be with you!
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