Make sure that the University you are selecting offers the specialization in your areas of research interest. There is no point in picking a MS course if it cannot offer you the specialization you are looking for.
Go through the list of faculty members and their areas of research specialization. This will help you choose your potential supervisors for your PhD.
While you are selecting the universities, keep in mind that you are not the only one with good credentials. We all know that even if you are 1 in a million, there are still over 7,000 more people like you. Choose universities wisely and apply to a mix of ambitious and safe ones to hedge your risks.
Don’t shortlist all your universities in one single favorite location or because you have a relative living in an area. This creates problems during the Visa process as the officers get suspicious as to why you have applied to just one location.
Always remember, universities abroad do not just consider your test scores for admissions. If you have a lower test score but prolific job experience, publications, extra-curricular, you can still make it to your dream university. So don’t get disappointed and eliminate your options in the first go!
So you know the CEO of the company or the Dean of the college….so what? The important question here is, do they know you too and do they know you well enough to write about you or your achievements? While choosing your recommenders choose people who know you and not whom you know.
Before approaching the recommender prepare a list of your accomplishments which he or she can vouchsafe.
Remember a LOR should not only be a list of adjectives- you need to supplement them with real-life incidents. Your recommender should be able to say yes to these incidents.
No one is perfect in this universe! So, the Universities are always looking for areas of improvements, weaknesses in you. Mostly, they want to know about them from your recommenders. Discuss issues like areas of improvements, constructive feedback with your recommender.
It’s a good idea to talk about your social skills.
Since most LORs today are to be submitted electronically (online) always have your recommender use the official company/university email ID to do so rather than a personal Gmail/hotmail/yahoo email.
Collect your thoughts on the frequently asked questions before the interview and have some mock sessions.
The admission committee is there to know more about you, not to judge you for personal choices.
Be clear about your research interests and know your resume. You may be asked questions directly on your research interests and things you have mentioned in your resume.
For international students, the interviews often take place over Skype or in person if the University is visiting your city. If the interview is on Skype, make sure you are in a quiet and comfortable room with no noise. The committee does not want to hear the noises of little children crying in the background.
The most common means of obtaining financial aid from the universities include Teaching assistantships, Research assistantships, Fellowships and Scholarships.
To obtain a Teaching assistantship, show interest in taking up teaching assignments at the University. Highlight prior experience in teaching/mentoring.
To qualify for a Research assistantship, apply to the department of your course. Highlight your publications, papers, and show interest in the ongoing research projects at the University.
To be considered for a Fellowship, research about works of professors at the University. Learn about them in detail and show your interest to contribute.
Scholarships are generally merit-based. The more diverse the portfolio, better are your chances of catching the admissions committee’s attention. While writing the scholarship essay, things like your personal traits, extra-curricular activities, your inclination towards the program and school, and how you intend to contribute to the University, etc., should be highlighted.
Please take your Visa form seriously and make sure all information is accurate. You cannot have the officers think you are trying to misrepresent any information.
When the visa officer asks you why you are going to the University you have got admission in, please don’t say ‘because it’s the best’ unless you are going to MIT or Harvard. Be subtle and say because it suits your credentials the best.
Always be well informed about the facts & figures like the location of your university, tuition fees, modules, course duration etc. as these questions might be asked in the Visa Interview.
Be prepared for questions like ‘What are your long term goals?’ and ‘Are you planning to come back to your home country?’
Have a fair idea about the income, savings, turnover and the method of financing your education.