Studying in America and Canada

2.1.3 Decision on qualifications and finances

If you have the qualifications and the finances, it is safe to conclude that you could study in America and Canada. The issue of whether you have the required academic qualification is objective and straightforward; either you have the qualifications or you do not. If you do not have the qualifications but you are still interested in studying in America or Canada, you can easily figure out what you must do. You know the rules now. Do not waste your time trying to find a way around the requirements – an easy short cut – because it won’t happen. Just as no college in India would waive the fundamental academic requirements, colleges in America and Canada won’t either.

Assessing whether you can afford to study in America or Canada is quite another story. It is a judgment call that you have to make. No level of performance can guarantee financial assistance, although the better your academic performance and performance on the required entrance exam the better are your chances. It is a game of chances – a probabilistic scenario – that we are considering. Schools do not reveal the threshold of performance for which they grant financial assistance; however, some historic information is available on the entrance exam scores for admission. We deal with the issue of how you can identify target schools in Chapter 3. You must note, however, that getting admission is easier than obtaining financial assistance. If you have good performance, you can target schools in such a way that you balance your desire to attend the best school with your need for financial assistance.

If you are in the top 10%-20% of your class, you have a chance of getting financial assistance, provided you do well on the required entrance exams. If you do not do well on the entrance exam – that is, you do not do significantly better than the average score for admission – you can take the entrance exam again and try to achieve a better score. You can take the entrance exam as many time as you like. If, on the other hand, your academic performance is not good, you must produce an extraordinary performance on the entrance exam to demonstrate that your knowledge and abilities are not truly reflected by your academic performance. You stand a chance of getting financial assistance if you have above-average academic performance and extraordinary entrance exams score – say in the top 10%. Whether you can pull it off is entirely your judgment. In addition, whether you can finance your studies through other means – such as family, relatives, and loans – is also something that only you can determine.

Your personal finances and your access to other sources for finances are something that can not be changed in a short time. The only thing you can control is your personal performance. Wallowing in self-pity about a lack of finances is not the right approach. Work hard, do well on the entrance exam, and decide whether you can afford to study in America or Canada.

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