Let's hear it from 'em: NITROAA on Higher Education

Let's hear it from 'em: NITROAA on Higher Education

Saumya Sinha Naman Agrawal | Mar 23, 2020

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"Let us never be betrayed into saying we have finished our education; because that would mean we had stopped growing."

-Julia H. Gulliver


Narrowing the streams and involving more into what you love the most, is what higher education awards an individual. Apart from the specialization, higher education lets an individual traverse a new culture, become more stable, establish a network of friends from all over the world, undergo a different education style, enhance linguistic skills, etc.

During the four years of engineering, a student goes through several mind shifts and eventually lands into something or the other which might be sitting for placements, or going for higher education. The fundamental choice of whether to continue learning, to the choice of what to do and where to go, everything needs to be addressed. Students need to make well-informed decisions if they are to maximize the value of the increasingly expensive higher education. Hence, this time we have brought you the most frequently grown doubts, students develop while setting up their minds toward higher education. Expanding our doors to NIT Rourkela Overseas Alumni Association(NITROAA), we have gathered replies to those doubts hoping them to be one of the best pieces of advice one could get.

Prior advancing to FAQs, let's have a glance at the Requisites during your journey to abroad 

(The answers were collected and compiled from Mr. Satish Kumar Tumulu (Student  Representative of NITROAA) on behalf of NITROAA.

Is it indispensable to step outside the country for studies while we have so much at our place? Spending time overseas may teach an individual a lot beyond their syllabus but maybe over a high cost. Referring to what one must go for and why this is what NITROAA had to say,  

Recently the Prime Minister's Research Fellowship is one of its kind program, which offers good scholarship one might not get on going abroad. But the concern should be the facility to learn. Several IITs and IISC have good labs and world-class opportunities to proceed with higher studies. But again, everyone has their dream and plan to execute, some wish for best possible learning facility, some wish to go and settle abroad etc. As per the plans/ situations, we must go for the best viable option. 

It is sure that when one goes abroad for higher studies, there is a vast exposure and experience, but that does not mean we go for any university/ college abroad. Sometimes students don't get funding and have to take loans; if we take a loan and go for any college not better than available in India, then it does not make any sense. 


Students firmly believe that having a good CGPA could automatically provide them with what they want. There has always been this one puzzle in everyone's subconscious, whether preparing for a job or higher studies. 

So, is CGPA the only gateway, let's hear it in the words of our alumni,


The overall profile matters, only CGPA must not be the interest, but it does matter. A minimum of having 8 to 8.5 CGPA is safe side, few people with low GPA also have  applied for PhD (they had better research profile with publications and references). So, when one goes for a research-based course when a professor selects him/her, the probability of getting an admit increases.

For high ranking universities, along with a good GPA, good scores in GRE and TOEFL/ IELTS has better chances as seen from the analysis/trend of accepted applications.


When shall we? Another big question. Preparing for GATE, GRE, or TOEFL take time but how much time would prove to be sufficient remains unanswered. This is what our alumni have to say on this

For scoring well in GATE, start preparation in the sixth semester which can be done well with planning. For GRE, TOEFL: let's say one wishes to join higher studies as soon as he/she finishes B.Tech., i.e. seeking September admission (Fall). For fall admissions, the deadlines for application starts from November mid to January end or very few will be there in February or after. So, it would help if one has the scores before this. So, August or September will be the best time to appear the exam, if one wishes to have an option for reappearing then this should be planned accordingly. 

Preparation period varies from person to person, and the time/effort one puts every day; for it can be one month for few to three months for some.



Elaboration on the procedure for pursuing a PhD at a reputed foreign university with a stipend and on the various tests that have to be given for the same are much needed and have been provided by NITROAA as:

Ph.D. is generally funded but there are cases where they are not funded and the professor asks you to come and maybe later he can arrange some funds for you, but there is a risk factor there, for that reason,  go for masters rather than this choice because there is no guarantee of funds coming to your professor. Now, there are no such tests apart from GRE and TOEFL which one needs to give to pursue Ph.D. (talking from US's perspective, others might just need TOEFL or IELTS). The point is that these are just qualifying examinations, they are just a part of it and not wholly dependent on it.

Some universities have requirements of minimum funding to be provided for the admission. Although the funding situation is not the same in all cases, here is one example:      Usually, people who receive admits come along with funding like TA (Teaching Assistantship) and then maybe later they get RA after a semester. When you are coming as a Ph.D. applicant, you are still not a Ph.D. candidate as you have to sit for the qualifying examination(also referred as candidacy examination) which is mandatory for you to be a Ph.D. candidate and from that moment the department starts funding you and in the interim period the funding that comes to you is from the professor’s help. That’s the reason professors do not give you admits when they are lacking funds. Or if you go for an industry collaborated project, you are completely secured from the beginning.


Beginning with the global adventure for seeking the best for yourself, getting stuck at places where you have to decide where to apply and how to get the much-needed scholarships is common. Here are a few tips and guidelines you may follow as directed by our alumni.

We can see, depending on the department, the top university list changes. One can go for QS University ranking, where we can refer to department wise, and year wise ranking of universities. 

Several universities have some general scholarships, for which when we apply, we can get granted. Alongside several specific scholarships exist, for which one needs to apply separately. For that, one needs to go through the website of the university, department. 

Who doesn't want to play safe, but when there are restrictions where does one go? Speaking of the process, once you have cleared the examinations, the next step is to apply to different universities. Universities charge huge application fees leaving International students with prominent financial strains; hence, to let you be prepared for this time, here are few tips as to how to shortlist universities.

For the selection of universities, evaluation starts with the making of profile and hence must be the first step. By profile, it means the resume, GRE, TOEFL score and SOP. It is advised to apply for one or two ambitious, two moderate and three safe universities. We would say applying to five to six universities is secure, and selection should be made as mentioned. 

We strongly recommend not to go for agencies for the selection of universities and applications; there are very few, which are good, and others usually are not trustable.

Universities from several countries provide top-notch quality higher education, far better facilities and most importantly focus more on research than Indian universities. But which countries are a top destination to study abroad for aspiring undergraduates?

Choosing a country can be a uphill task as the fact that so many countries having varied things to offer but the choice of destination is  fully determined by the interest of student and is quite relative.  Starting with Asia, there are some top-rated universities like NUS Singapore who are doing some amazing research in the field of engineering and at the same time, if we look at Canada’s perspective on Machine Learning and Deep Learning, it has been quite impressive too while, Europe has KTH Sweden, TU delft with some amazing research going on. And we have not even started talking about the USA. So, it is all relative in those aspects but the factors that decide these top destinations depend on what way you want to build your career in, like the industry-wise, USA would be good but the academic wise, Europe and Canada have a great potential and a lot of good opportunities. In the end, depending on your department, research area and your interests the top destination can be decided.

A good profile can quickly attract the eyes of university admission officials. But what one needs to do to build a great profile? Let’s hear it from our alumni.

To build an impressive profile, there is no one definitive answer or formula that works but instead, multiple factors come into existence. Suppose you are writing a 10 marks question paper and each point has its own weight. Similarly applying for masters has its own points and each point carries equal weight which leads you to build a good profile. Countries outside India always look at your profile holistically, rather they look at your consistent performance and maybe take the weighted mean of it. For example: If you are scoring 340/340 in GRE, it does not guarantee a seat for you at MIT but at the same time, it does not mean that your chances of getting into MIT are not improved. So, as they are checking your profile holistically, it absolutely adds as a plus point.

Some factors that can help you in building an impressive profile are:-

  1. Good Academic profile (If you can’t score a decent CGPA, at least make sure you score well on the subjects that you want to pursue your graduate studies. This factor is going to help you in channelizing your SOP very well).

  2. Publications in good journals. 

  3. Research internships

  4. Good B.Tech. project (i.e. Your B.Tech. thesis)

  5. Work experience in any field ( It’s a plus point for you if you have got hands on experience in the same field which you wish to study further).

  6. A bit of curricular activity

Is the Gate Score Valid in Foreign Universities?


All GATE aspirants are always keen to get admission into the best college for pursuing a Master's or PhD. The IISc, the IITs, the NITs and more such reputed universities of India always grow up in your mind while you are preparing for GATE examination But, did you know that there are some decent foreign universities as well which accept GATE score to admit applicants for different courses. Two countries - Singapore and Germany have some institutes - National University of Singapore, National Technological University, Singapore, RWTH Aachen and TU Munich which are in fact, known to accept GATE score for the intake of students in their PG programs with certain selection criteria. GATE score has crossed the boundaries and now you can even apply in the above international universities with it. The best part is that they even stand at some good spots in the World University Rankings.

tumulusatish@gmail.com: email ID of Satish Kumar Tumulu (Student Representative of NITROAA)


The above link will redirect you to the google form where you can fill in your queries. NITROAA will follow up on your queries and get them answered as soon as possible.

Monday Morning thanks NITROAA for their prompt response to our queries and appreciate the information that they have provided us with and wishes luck to all aspiring undergraduates out there who desire to study abroad.

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