Where to begin? How much would it cost to apply?
The first thing I will suggest to anyone is to check out these two free Initiatives which I found to be extremely useful.
Find your Wath
Find your Wath is an Initiative by Kashmiri Students in top US Universities(Caltech, Penn. state, etc). They have tons of extremely useful blog posts such as this(How do I build my profile? 9th-12th ). It is highly recommended that you check them all out. Also, these Youtube videos from them should be very informative: Wath US College List Workshop. They also have a discord community of aborad aspirants in which these Mentors also participate, you can join that from their linktree page.
IDP(https://www.idp.com/india/) has been operating for close to 50 years, creating a huge network of opportunities with offices in 30 countries. They have over 100 offices and 700 education counselors based around the world. IDP counselors walk you through the entire process of studying internationally. The sessions involve helping students find the right course and universities and the best part is – all their sessions are free![Source]. The only fee you have to pay is for courier services or document verification. However, If you are applying to a university that is not in their network you will have to pay for application fees and stuff. But don’t worry, they have a huge network across the world.
One of the first things I will suggest to someone is to contact the IDP. I have personally taken help from IDP right from the beginning with profile evaluation and to the endpoint of getting the offer letter, and I haven’t paid a penny anywhere all throughout the process, that ‘anywhere’ is inclusive of application too! Yeah, you read that right, there was zero application fee! Just so you know, a single application usually costs 5,000 INR, aspirants generally apply to 5-6 universities.
They first evaluate your profile and if they find it decent, they will provide you with insights about your application and your best choices. My profile too was evaluated and I got help applying to Australia. They are connected with many universities across the world, they’ll charge only if you are applying to a non-partnered university. I would highly recommend everyone contact them for your admission process.
Where can I get into and how?
My knowledge about Universities abroad is limited to those in the USA and Australia. So, I can comment only on them. For someone looking to apply to either of them, it is necessary to have an IELTS/TOFEL score. I’d recommend preparing well for these exams and scoring well. The minimum score varies between 4.5 to 7 in IELTS/60 to 100 for TOFEL for most places, be mindful of that.
United States of America
For a bachelor’s degree, the most sought-after place in the USA. It is the ideal place to apply to, given you have a good profile
Along with IDP, for the US specifically, I’d recommend you to take help from @findyourwath. They have been extremely helpful in my case and have taken 3 assessments. They help students with everything ranging from choosing universities to writing SOPs and getting LORs etc…
If you don’t happen to have much extracurricular work, the second Ideal place in my opinion is Australia because they do offer good scholarships even for those without much extracurriculars. The second reason for choosing Australia is the minimum wage of 20 Australian Dollars(~1100 INR) per hour, and the availability of part-time jobs for international students.
For more information you can refer to these YT channels, I personally have found them to be very useful. It is only through them did I get to know that one can afford their living expenses with a part-time job in Australia.
This person Navjot Singh has uploaded many videos on his channel NSJ Vlogs about the concerns of international students in Australia. Information For Students This playlist is particularly very useful. Also, I found these particular videos to be quite helpful as a beginner
Tushar has videos of student life in Australia. I found the following videos to be quite helpful as a beginner
I’d recommend you to go through this blog post about profile building by Wath fellowship people. These are the things I feel are a necessity when applying to the USA & Australia.
- Good grades
- Extra-Curricular & Social work
- Good scores in Indian & International competitive exams like Olympiads, JEE, etc…
- US-based exams like SAT & AP exams
They consider grades of the last three years of your academic grades. I’m not sure of different boards but I guess a percentage above 90 is considered good in most places. You can contact the @findyourwath people in this regard, they know better.
Extra-Curricular & Social work
You need to have some appealing achievements, projects, or social work in your profile to make it strong. A science project or an editing work you have done for a professor or if you are good at a sport and have played for a district or national level, they’ll make your profile stand out. If you are part of an NGO or any other social work initiatives they too will be a worthy mention in your profile.
Good scores in competitive exams
Having good scores in competitive exams will be another good addition to your profile. If you have a good rank in JEE, NEET, IAT, KVPY, or have cracked an Olympiad, they will be helpful. You can just mention that you have participated in an Olympiad.
SAT and AP exams
SAT was a requirement until 2020 but is not a requirement as of now in 2021 in most universities[more info here]. We suggest you do your research. Regardless of the requirement or lack thereof, a good score in SAT and AP exams will definitely add to your profile. SAT costs about 117 USD(approx 9000 INR). The AP exam costs around 126 USD(approx 10,000 INR). Both of these exams are not necessary as such, but a good score will definitely help.
You may check out the video of Harnoor Singh