Studying in America and Canada

Chapter 2 helps you decide - through a systematic decision-making process - whether you could or should study in America or Canada. It outlines the basic academic qualifications for various degree programs, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The relevant aspects of financial needs and financial assistance are included to help you make your decision about whether you could pursue higher education in America or Canada. If you could, the next obvious question is whether you should. Relevant information on the quality of education and your potential for future earnings are discussed to help you decide.

Having decided that you could and should study in America or Canada, you face questions such as what it will take, how to do it, and when to do it. Chapter 3 presents requirements for undergraduate and graduate programs in all disciplines. A systematic process for applying for admission and financial assistance is outlined, with insights, advice, and recommendations on such critical issues as: how to select colleges, how many to select, and how to improve your chances of success.

Entrance exams play a critical part in obtaining admission and securing financial aid. Chapter 4 describes the structure and content of entrance exams. It also includes advice and recommendations on how to prepare for these exams and when to take them.

Chapter 5 addresses the important issue of financial assistance. Most students from India can not afford to study in America or Canada unless the entire cost of their education was underwritten by someone else. This chapter includes such topics as: the types of financial assistance, availability of financial assistance, and constraints on employment. You will also find here practical advice on how to pursue financial assistance aggressively.

If you are a lucky one, with admission and finances in your pocket, ready to go to America or Canada, you must obtain a visa. You will be considered an international or foreign student. An international student or foreign student, used interchangeably through this book, is someone who is authorized to stay in a country for the sole purpose of pursuing education. Obtaining an international student visa - often simply referred to as a student visa - is fairly straightforward, provided you meet the explicitly-stated rules & requirements of the respective country. Chapter 6 outlines the information on this process, which is sometimes frustrating, and always bureaucratic and time-consuming.

With a student visa in your pocket, it is time to get ready for the trip of your life. It will certainly be a memorable trip. Chapter 7 offers you information and guidance on issues such as: how to prepare, what to do when you land, and how to enroll at your new college in a new country.

The system of education in India is quite different from that in America or Canada. Some differences exist between the American and Canadian systems and, in fact, different systems exits within Canada. A good understanding of the system will help you navigate through your program of studies. Chapter 8 offers a detailed description of systems of education both in America and Canada. The discussion ranges from mundane topics such as the semester and quarter systems to extremely important topics such as how to do well in your studies.

Some years after starting your education, you will graduate with the degree for which you worked so hard. Whatís next? This all-important question is one that you should start addressing well before you graduate. You will have choices and your decisions matter a great deal. You will have to decide your path forward, carefully and deliberately. The quality of your education matters, but what matters more is what you do with it. You could not assess the value of your education unless you could articulate its potential benefits. This is precisely the reason why we decided to include this chapter in the book. In Chapter 9, we discuss some of your choices and offer you a decision-making framework.

We conclude the book in Chapter 10 with our parting thoughts.

We recognize that the terminology in India is different from that in America and Canada. Therefore, we have included a Glossary of Terms. We do, however, wish to note some items of terminology here.

  • Undergraduate Degree: The Bachelorís degree, commonly referred to as the graduate degree in India
  • Graduate Degree: The Masterís or Doctoral (PhD) degree, commonly referred to as the post-graduate degree in India
  • School, College or University: An educational institution, with these terms being used interchangeably. In the context of book, all these 3 words - school, college and university - refer to an institution of higher education

Now letís decide whether studying in America or Canada is indeed for you.

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