Now that the board results are out, most of you young adults are in phase 2 of your lives. The College Life! With toppers touching a perfect hundred, the DU cut-offs are soaring high. However, there may be plenty of you out there who are exploring other options for higher education like studying abroad. So, we got in touch with Mrinal K Singh, the Executive Director of Prem N. Kapur Associates Pvt Ltd, overseas educational consultants, to answer all the queries you may have about studying abroad!
So Mrinal, firstly tell us a little about yourself and your company.
Well, my company Prem N. Kapur Associates Pvt Ltd has been helping students study overseas since 1981. We provide personalised counselling, guidance and career counselling to students of all ages and economic backgrounds. I joined the family business 25 years ago and have helped place hundreds of students to countries such as UK, USA, Canada, Singapore & Europe. The distinguishing factor of our company is that we can help with placements to art & design universities as well as Ivy League ones. Each student receives personalised attention as per their needs and requirements. We also conduct workshops and talks at schools and colleges to help students prepare for further education.
Alright, so when would you suggest is an ideal time for students to start the process of applying to universities outside of India?
Ideally, they should start by identifying the course they want to study and then the country. Each course requires different qualities to be showcased in the application. For eg: creative courses require an art portfolio, a US undergraduate application requires tests such as SAT or ACT whereas an MBA application requires substantial work experience. Fulfilling these requirements can take a couple of years. Generally speaking, UG students should start by class 10 or 11, and a PG applicant should start by the 2nd year of their Bachelor’s degree.
And what about the students who have now decided that they want to study abroad rather than in India? How can they go about the application process?
Again this depends on the course and the country. The UK has different requirements and the US & Canada have different ones. They should first decide the course they want, then the country and then take professional advice and guidance to proceed further.
Okay, and which countries would you suggest are best for Indian students to go for higher education?
Each country has its pros & cons. One size doesn’t fit all, so I prefer to explain the academic structure, the cultural environment and working conditions to students along with analysing their personalities before suggesting possible country choices. Normally my first session with students and their parents would be to understand the student and to explain the above before they decide on which country they wish to study in.
Could you tell us some of the best universities for students who want to pursue the arts?
In the creative world, there are excellent universities in every country; Singapore has LASALLE College of the Arts, the UK has Goldsmiths, Arts University Bournemouth, Leeds Arts University, Kingston, Westminster and many others, USA has SVA, Parsons, SCAD, PRATT & RISD. Again the best fit would depend on the personality of the student and what they wish to pursue.
Could you do the same for students who want to pursue business studies?
The same applies for Business Management – the UK has Bath, Durham, Loughborough, St. Andrews, York amongst the leaders. USA has NYU, Wharton, Babson and many other great universities. Canada is emerging as an ideal destination for Business Management as well with institutions such as UBC, Toronto, Western & McGill leading.
And what about students who want to pursue medicine?
For Indian students the best country to pursue medicine would be the UK as the courses are recognised by the MCI. However, they are very competitive and thus difficult to get into. Other countries offer cheaper courses but they are not always recognised by MCI. And thus, the student cannot practice in India thereafter.
Now that the board results are out, what are the options available to students who may not have done well or probably won’t meet admission criteria for universities abroad?
There are universities available for all types of academic students. As I often say, it’s better to graduate on top of the class from a lower ranked university than to be at the bottom of the class of a highly ranked university. Also, foreign degrees are far more practical and application based. So students who don’t fare well in the Indian system, do much better in that environment. Many universities also offer foundation degrees to students who have not met their entry requirements. This gives them additional time to bring up their academic standards to meet the entry levels for the institution of their choice.
What are your views on taking a gap year? Is it beneficial in any way and would you recommend it?
A gap year needs to be thought of very carefully. If it’s not structured properly, it can be detrimental to one’s application. However, if it’s planned properly and involves learning at different levels, it can add a lot of value to the application.
Lastly, how does studying abroad shape the future of these young adults? Is it in any way different from studying in India itself?
Foreign education makes students think for themselves rather than just mugging up theoretical information. The education abroad is based on actual learning, application of theories and the growth of the mind. Hence, it is a huge asset to any individual. They learn to question and find answers for themselves rather than just learn what others have written in textbooks. As my father, Prem Kapur, always says, we send them as children & they return as adults. Adults, who are ready to take on any situation in their professional or personal life.
So, people, we hope you took away some great tips from our conversation with Mrinal.
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