Hey everyone!

A month ago I wrote an article on how to prepare for competitive exams for post-graduation and laid stress on MS in particular. I hope it didn’t come across as neglect of those who wish to pursue a master’s in India – the opportunities abroad are far more varied in terms of subjects, infrastructure, exposure etc and so I focused on MS more. Don’t take the stress I laid on it otherwise! 🙂

So hopefully many of you are in full preparation swing for Master’s – GRE, TOEFL, IELTS..if you are yet to take the test, here’s wishing you all the best! I hope you kick it out of the park! 😀 Regardless of whether you’ve taken the test or not, I think it’s time to also begin perusing the net for the next step: application to universities. And I bet you, this step is a biggie. To decide which college you’re going to join, you need to have some basic requirements in hand; you should have a fair idea of the following:

  • University ranking
  • Affordability
  • Infrastructure and financial resources of the university
  • College location
  • Student-faculty ratio
  • Prospects of studying in the college
Some of the other things that people give importance to are:
  • Male to female student ratio
  • Diversity in student population
  • Accommodation/Hostel/Dorm help
  • Thesis/Non-thesis degree offered
  • Weather conditions

Let’s take this in an order. The college ranking is obviously an important factor in college selection. The better the ranking, the more worthwhile the investment. However, there are mixed views on how much a university’s ranking is directly associated with how much return you get- there are exceptions where the university ranking isn’t very high but the two year investment in the university is truly worthwhile. You can check out a more detailed explanation at this link:   http://bit.ly/1JvpWrE

So when you look at a potential choice of university, be sure to not judge it straight off from its ranking. Take time and go through some reviews as well so you’ll get a better idea about the university.

Affordability is something that you will be better equipped to take a decision on, with help of family and friends! So we’ll leave the convenient blank here. 🙂

The college ranking is facilitated by the infrastructure provided to students also. So make sure you give a good look to how much money goes into research and infrastructure. Why research? Because better research facilities in the college not only means that you will have an application oriented training, but you can also avail opportunities as a research assistant or apprentice. This is a good way to earn a monthly stipend. More details on this can be found on your college website, because this sort of opportunity isn’t available in all universities and colleges.

As a student like you all, I sometimes dream about how awesome it will be when I do my Master’s..you know what I mean. The outings now and then, the eventual stuff like chilling on a beach (even if there isn’t a beach around) or going for a tour of the city. (And if you’re thinking ‘Hey, I don’t dream of that stuff’? Good try. We all do! :p) Though it shouldn’t be the base criteria, try to choose a college whose location has nice living standards, affordable luxuries and moderate weather conditions. You don’t want to freeze before you graduate from Master’s, you know.

The student faculty ratio, along with male to female ratio and student diversity indicates the environment you’ll be in on campus. The lower the student faculty ratio, the better the chances for you to get individual attention. How much help that is will show only once you go for your Master’s. The other ratio and the student diversity changes from college to college. They speak for themselves- take a look at them as well.

One of the most important things to consider is the job opportunities and other prospects after graduation. Some colleges give opportunities for employment within the campus. So keep a keen eye out for this information on the college’s website and reviews.

Some of the last things I mentioned to consider were accommodation and thesis options. Information on accommodation will be clearly elucidated on the college website. Whether you get a dorm on campus or an apartment off campus, you should be fine as long as you can make Maggi and some soup. (or whatever noodle stuff you find there. No offence to anyone’s cooking skills here.)

Also, whether you should choose a thesis program or not is something purely for you to decide- it depends on you want to do after your two-year feat.  Here’s a more detailed explanation:  http://bit.ly/1Qk8bAf

The admission procedure, again, varies by country. In the US, you have to reach out to professors in the campus and maybe include them in your SOP. If your SOP is approved then other formalities come into picture. It is different in, say, Germany. So don’t skim through the admissions section on the college site- give a thorough reading to it and try not to overlook fine print.

I guess that’s that! Choosing a college is more of a self research kind of thing than something that you can learn out of a book or an article. Hopefully some of what I’ve mentioned will strike you when the times comes to make the right decision! Good luck to everyone! 😀

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