Studying in America and Canada  

3.5 Selecting Target Colleges

Selecting target colleges is perhaps the most challenging part. In theory, it is no different from how you would select colleges in India: You want to get into the best college possible for your needs, wants, and constraints. For example, you might want to attend the best college from which you could get financial aid, or you might want the college to have superb computing facilities. And you should understand that your chances of admission would be constrained by your entrance exam score. The theory is the easy part, but applying it to schools in America and Canada seems daunting. You probably feel knowledgeable about schools in India or at least feel that you know the information you need and probably know how to get it. You have various means at your disposal: the schools themselves, classmates, newspapers, magazines, family, friends, neighbors, or other contacts and means. All in all, you feel more informed about the schools in India, the education system, and the admissions process.

Sitting in India, the task of just finding out which schools exist in America and Canada seems challenging, let alone selecting a handful where you would like to be admitted. Donít despair; we will systematically walk you through the information and the process with all the relevant advice. Selecting the right college is a time consuming process, but it is not brain surgery.


3.5.1 Targeting criteria

Selecting colleges is a decision-making process that you can learn to do well. You start with some criteria for making the decisions. The decisions you make here are probabilistic and not deterministic; that is, you can only maximize your chances of success. You can not achieve guaranteed success, but if you manage your own expectations and play the game right, you can increase your probability of success a great deal.

The fundamental targeting criteria include:

  • College reputation and ranking
  • Cost of education
  • Your chance of getting admission
  • Your chances of getting financial aid

We recognize that there are other criteria - such as, quality of research, facilities, student to professor ratio, sports teams, extra-curricular activities, and so - but for you, a student sitting in India, the previously stated criteria are the most important. Of course you can adapt our criteria to include anything else you wish.

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