Clearing the Imbroglio: Higher Education Abroad

The alumni association is the most important part of an educational institution. Part of the reputation of an institution rests on its Alma Mater. Though the mantle of taking up the responsibility of setting up a proper alumni network has taken a setback over the few year, the newly formed Student Alumni-Liaison Committee took things upon themselves to improve the present scenario of our institute. On 11th January, 2015, the committee organised a seminar on the “Prospects of Higher Education”, where the speaker was one of our alumnus presently pursuing his PhD. in University of Minnesota, USA, Mr. Biswaranjan Mohanty, a 2009 pass-out from the Department of Mechanical Engineering. This initiative can be very well put out as a perfect prelude to the NITR Alumni Reunion which is set to be held later this month.

Excerpts from the seminar:

The qualifications vary from country to country and even the duration as well. For example, there is no time limit for a student to complete his/her PhD. in USA (generally it stretches to 4-6 years) while the same has to be completed by one within 3 years if he is in European countries or in Japan. Generally a B.Tech student from India has two options: i) to go for an MS or ME ii) to go for a PhD. The former is for those who have a job-centric mentality while the latter is for the people who are enthusiastic about doing research or go forward with higher education. Apart from these, GRE and Toefl are other important examinations that are necessary for the aspirants to abroad. The following table will give you a better idea about the examinations one needs to crack for going in various countries for higher education.

CourseEducationalQualification Other Examinations
  US Europe US Europe
MS B.Tech B.Tech GRE, TOEFL TOEFL
PhD. B.Tech MS GRE, TOEFL TOEFL

Examinations, CGPAs, GRE scores, TOEFL are not the things of sole importance. However, equally important are the CV, SOP (Statement of Purpose), Research Experience and Publications. While writing CVs, one should keep in mind to write it in the templates provided by the various institutes. Recommendation letters are really important as it is very much valued by the professors. It should be noted that research experiences are required to fetch opportunities to study abroad while internships are for those who would like to get into jobs.

I would like to put research as solving a problem statement where one has a lot of freedom rather than a process where one gets the opportunity to study more.

Now-a-days, the concept of projects for a particular department has withered away and interdisciplinary projects have started to arise. I believe getting into research gives one an in depth knowledge of the subject and broadens one’s horizon.

NITR does not have that much good a culture of research environment. It’s better to get a summer internship in IITs or in places like BARC or IISRO.

 

In India, studies are more of theoretical than practical. For example, to do a project in Mechanical Engineering, I needed matrix and probability and programming languages like Matlab. It is at these points of times where one needs to show one’s skills. In India, these are of less prominence.

In the following points, I would like to give a rough idea about the cost of studying in a graduate school:

->Tuition fee: $13,500 per semester

->Health Insurance: $1000-2000 per semester

->Living expenditure: $600 housing and foods per month

There may be fellowship for one semester or one year. One needs to be careful of that, the fellowship may not be provided for the entire tenure. There are options for funding as well other than fellowships, like teaching assistance or research assistance. On an average, one can work for about 20 hours per week. The stipend will be provided at a rate of $24 per hour.

Now comes one of the most important aspect, how to choose a university? The three basic hacks are:

->Finding out the department rankings of the universities. (www.usnews.com)

->Identifying your research interest.

->One can apply in any department depending upon your interest.

 As mentioned earlier, SOPs are of huge importance, it would give one an added edge if one can mention the names of the professors and about their research works on which one is interested in.

The Student Alumni Liaison Committee has done a great job by bringing in Mr. Mohanty to deliver a speech. Though the crowd was pretty less, the ones who were present were enlightened on the prerequisites for going abroad. As the organisers would like to say, all credits must be given to Prof. Bidyadhar Subudhi for arranging the proceedings. Team MM wishes them all the very best for their future endeavours.

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