During this time I also got a chance to network with a variety of people associated with this field. I met some professors from foreign universities and came to know about opportunities at their universities. I met some students and came to know about communities like Rad@Home (A citizen-science programme). Eventually, my network grew, I became part of different types of groups and became more aware of the variety of opportunities available.
After the end of my seventh semester, I started looking for Masters opportunities outside India. I had not given any of GREs and did not know of any reference where I can see colleges where I met eligibility criteria. I also needed their funding (stipend/scholarship), another hard constraint. I started doing my own research using QS world rankings and eventually got some universities where I could apply. I still had to give an English proficiency exam (like IELTS, TOEFL, etc.) and by the time I got my IELTS score, I missed a couple of important deadlines. Practically, I could apply to only 3 universities: the University of Alberta, Canada (where I missed priority deadline because of IELTS), University of Western Ontario, Canada and National Central University, Taiwan (about which I came to know through a Professor there whom I met in ARIES). I also applied to the Autonomous University of Madrid but the application got stuck because I needed to get some formalities done in Spanish equivalent. I tried to apply at the University of Geneva too but they required some hard copies of original documents and I did not have enough time left to mail them those.
4. Things I did right
- Research. The research projects in my CV was my biggest selling point.
- Gained knowledge about my domain especially through online courses. This helped me directly, I was eligible to apply for the University of Geneva after they checked the course certificates and indirectly, I was able to do better research and include more points in my SOP/CV.
- Networking. I would not have known about the opportunity at NCU Taiwan if I did not have talked to the Professor. I still feel that I should have started doing this earlier. Good thing you are already here.
5. Things I did wrong
- Not giving GREs. Needless to say, I was not able to apply to a lot of universities. I would especially recommend giving GRE Physics.
- Not being enough prepared for applications. If I would have kept a better record of opportunities, deadlines and requirements, I would have been able to try my luck at better places.
- Not pushing my CPI. Although I had a CPI of 8 (which seemed decent enough for me), my application got rejected in the University of Western Ontario because it was low compared to rival applications.