A college loan covers cost of tuition, living costs and insurance, flight costs, and other incidentals. Given the wide variety of choices available today, by putting in some effort, it is possible to find the best deal for your needs. Taking an education loan is also a smart move as you don’t need to break your savings and you get hefty tax benefits.
Here’s another blog from one of our Academy’s stars, Adheesh Gokhale, who scored a superb 338. What makes his performance even more creditable is that he was a working student. So, his is another inspiring story to let you know that getting a great score is possible.
Finally, with apologies for my procrastination (you can look up the meaning of the word here; I won’t tell you! :)) here’s my blog. Now, let’s get down to business.
By Aditya Kulkarni, ENTS Major, Class of 2014
Aditya, an alumnus of Dilip Oak’s Academy shares his insights on the University of Maryland:
University of Maryland: An Overview
The University of Maryland (UMD), located at College Park, just north of Washington DC is a Public University and is the state’s flagship educational institution. Its suburban campus is spread over 1,250 acres (5.1 sq. km.) and has roughly 38,000 students (2012-13 stats), with a teacher-student ratio of nearly 1: 10.
A crucial question for engineers who are applying to an American university is: “What should I major in?” “Which stream is better, Computer Science, or Electrical?” This seemingly basic and straightforward question however, has no straightforward answer: there are a number of factors that you have to consider when choosing a major.
How to choose your Major?
- Identify your CORE strength – it should be something that you have both an aptitude and a passion for.
- Some careers have a higher entry-level qualification, such as a PhD, which is at least a four-year program. Find out if you want to study that long. If not consider what your other options are if you just have a Master’s degree.
- Where do you see yourself in five years, in ten, in fifteen? Do you have a long-term vision and do you feel that your current decisions will lead you to it.
- What are your fall-back options with this major? For example, a Computer Science major can usually switch from a role in System Development to Testing.
- Finally, what kind of life do you want for yourself? Is a high paying job the only thing you are interested in, or are there other things in life that you are interested in as well?
Most American Universities regard a score of 80 (out of 120) in TOEFL, as an acceptable minimum score for admission. However, students applying to high-ranking colleges generally need a minimum score of 100 on TOEFL or, a score of band 7 (out of 9) on the IELTS. What happens if you get a lower score than you require? Does that mean that admission is not possible?
What if I have Less than the Minimum Score Required?
For students, a low score does not necessarily mean an application reject. University admissions committees assess English proficiency based on other application criteria, apart from test scores. In case your score is less than the minimum required you may need to take an English Language course in the University, followed by a test. This course will have to be taken along with the regular curriculum and you will be required to pay an additional fee for it. The best thing to do is to retake the TOEFL and improve your score before joining the University. That way you can get an exemption from the remedial English course.
Overall, as tests of language IELTS or TOEFL are equally easy, since both test English language skills at a very basic level. Both also contain four sections – listening, reading, speaking and writing (the essay section). Grammar is not tested in a separate section in either test; rather, it is tested as part of the other sections. But there are some differences.
The main difference between the two is the format of the test. TOEFL is internet-based (iBT), IELTS is paper-based. Further, all sections of TOEFL are tested on the same day, while the speaking portion of IELTS, which needs a scheduled appointment for a one-on-one interview, may fall on another day. There are also a few other variations in terms of testing time and in the type and number of questions asked. For example, the TOEFL, unlike the IELTS, contains integrated questions in which you may be asked to listen to a conversation, read a passage and then speak or write out a response.
Purpose and Importance of the Tests
If you want to study abroad in countries like the US, UK, Australia and Canada, and if your first language is NOT English, you will have to take a test to prove that you can speak, read, write in English and understand spoken English. Two major standardized assessment tests allow you to do this: TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System).
These tests allow foreign universities to see whether students have at least the basic language skills required to complete their courses. That is why it is mandatory to take one of these tests if you are applying to graduate or undergraduate study programs abroad. In fact the TOEFL and IELTS have become the gold standard of English proficiency for educational purposes and also for immigration and work. But which of these exams should you take?
Today, the dream of getting a US degree is no longer something that only the “rich” can dream of. Now many students from middle class backgrounds can also get higher education in the US, without putting a huge financial burden on their parents. This is evident from the recent trends:
- Overall, the number of Indian students going abroad for education increased 256% in 2000-2009
- An estimated 21 million students will be admitted into American universities in Fall 2013
The facts also show that America is the most popular educational destination especially for engineering and business:
- The top three destinations for Indian students going abroad are: #1 America, #2 Europe, #3 Australia
- America dominates, with a lion’s share of over 50% of the students
- The top two streams at American grad schools are Engineering & Business
There is great demand for higher education in the US.
Starting this week, we are introducing a new feature that will help all you students who are struggling to prepare for the GRE test – posts that will help you learn the GRE test words using roots. Though the technical meaning of ‘roots’ is a little different, here it is useful to think of them as the original Latin and Greek words that the English words came from.
Learning words through their roots is useful in two ways – firstly, knowing the root and meaning of a word can help you understand why the word means what it means. Secondly, since there are often many words which come from the same Greek or Latin root, this helps you to learn several words at one time. It becomes easier because, as you will seen in today’s post, words from the same root look similar and also share a common set of meanings. The two lists below, which cover 32 words totally, will illustrate how this is so.
Here’s what some grad school admission officers have to say about these common questions relating to applications.
Q: What do you feel about receiving emails from “prospects”?
Ans: I’d rather only hear from you if you have something to tell me that will increase your file quality.
Q: Do you look at applicant’s Facebook / MySpace accounts?
Ans: No, I don’t care
Q: What do you look for in an applicant?
Ans: The main things in order of priority are: