The interest in overseas education remains at a steady high despite sporadic disruptions caused by the pandemic. But with the decision to study abroad comes a wide range of issues like how to select your college and how to write your statement of purpose (SOP). Planning in advance can save you a lot of time and trouble in figuring out these essential things.
Edugraph caught up with Piyush Bhartiya, the co-founder and CEO of the edtech platform AdmitKard, to discuss how Indian students could efficiently handle such issues to prepare themselves for a better future.
Can overseas education become an alternative to the limited capacity in quality institutes in India?
Piyush Bhartiya: There is currently a significant gap between the demand and supply of quality institutes that provide quality education, a great environment, motivated peers, excellent faculty and modern curricula. For instance, more than 2,00,000 students write the IIT entrance exams, but only around 20,000 get the chance to study in those institutes. What happens to those who don’t get admission to IITs? This is where overseas education comes in — top universities around the world welcome international students and evaluate them on the basis of their holistic profiles rather than just a single exam. In this respect, I believe that overseas education can help students bridge the current gap in the education scenario in India.
Is the cost of studying abroad much higher than it is in India? What are the benefits of doing a course from a foreign university?
Piyush Bhartiya: Earlier, the cost of studying abroad was very high compared to that in India. But the education scenario has changed dramatically over the years. Now you’d have to cough up more than Rs 30 lakh for an MBA degree from IIMs. You can get the same degree from a reputed college in the UK by paying the same amount. You can also choose to spend the same amount of money to get your degree from Australia and Canada where more high-paying jobs are available after you finish your education.
You’ll get a great set of peers from around the world at foreign universities who can help you reach excellence through ambition and competition. Moreover, overseas education will give you access to a global alumni network that continues to help you after campus. By combining these two roles, you get to look up to other people and motivate yourself to realise your own dream.
How important is it to write good SOPs and other essays while applying to a foreign university?
Piyush Bhartiya: Let’s take a look at how foreign universities evaluate students. They screen profiles on the basis of several factors. As much as 30% of their assessment is based on your academic performance and curriculum, 30% is based on your performance in standardised tests like SAT — the importance of these tests is, however, decreasing in the pandemic situation — and 30-50% is based on how you present your profile to the university, which includes writing SOPs, resumes and application essays.
You must begin working on curricular and extracurricular activities as something very unique on those fronts will give your profile a facelift. While doing that you must consider what distinguishes you from others in contention. Excellent communication and writing skills displayed in SOPS and application essays can really set you apart from the pack. You must explain in detail why you are the best fit for the course and state your future plans after the course.
You must begin working on curricular and extracurricular activities as something very unique on those fronts will give your profile a facelift. While doing that you must consider what distinguishes you from others in contention.- Piyush Bhartiya
How did you come up with a platform which provides a complete solution in overseas education?
Piyush Bhartiya: Most graduates coming out of Indian universities are clueless about their careers. But students of foreign universities have a more rounded approach to their careers. This made me realise that our career objectives are moulded by the opportunities that lie in front of us. I also realised that Indian students going abroad have a greater chance of establishing themselves with proper guidance. That inspired me to come up with AdmitKard, a tech platform, to help those students with the help of data and social networks.
In which aspect do Indian students need assistance during the admission process?
Piyush Bhartiya: Indian students need help with the selection of college and clarity of mind while writing SOPs. Everyone wants to attend top institutes like Harvard University in the US. But when you’re fixated on a single university, you’re less likely to conduct research on other universities and that may prove to be catastrophic.
The most important thing is to spot the best opportunities subject to your preferences, profile and constraints. Similarly, it is impossible to write a good SOP or essay if you’re not thinking logically.
Once you're clear on these two points, I believe the rest will be relatively simple.
Admitkard provides personalised career counselling and mentorship. How does it actually work?
Piyush Bhartiya: These mentors are primarily Indian students studying at foreign universities. They communicate with students willing to study abroad and clear their doubts. A student can get a detailed view of his/her doubts by connecting with multiple mentors who belong to the community of Indian students already studying overseas. These mentors help them think logically when it comes to writing SOPs on their post-education plans and goals.
What’s the situation of the overseas education sector as the pandemic is still raging across the globe?
Piyush Bhartiya: Things have been looking up for quite a while now. The overseas education market is expanding rapidly after the initial disappointment of lockdowns due to the pandemic. Most countries have opened their borders for international students. Nearly one million Indian students went abroad to study in 2021. More than one lakh students will travel to the UK this year compared to only 30,000 two years ago.