Studying in America and Canada  
3.7 The Outcome

Since you have applied to multiple colleges, you will have multiple responses. There are three possible outcomes:

  1. No acceptances
  2. Only acceptance(s), but no offer of financial aid
  3. Acceptance(s) and offer(s) of financial aid

The challenge is to understand what your choices are and how you will make your decisions.

3.7.1 No acceptances

No one can feel your disappointment more than you can. Setbacks are an integral part of life. The challenge is not what has happened, the challenge is what you will do now. You can always continue your life - whether pursuing further education or career - in India as if this never happened.

If pursuing education in America or Canada still interests you, the systems of education in America and Canada do have a positive aspect. Age is not a strong factor in the decision-making for admission. Nor do the schools view negatively a break in your education. You do not hurt your chances of admission by working for a few years. In other words, you can apply again, should you so desire.

You have to ask yourself if you aimed too high given your performance on the admission criteria detailed in Section 3.2. If so, you can adjust your expectation downwards and target the schools accordingly next time.

The more fundamental questions that you must ask yourself, however, are:

  1. Is your academic performance so low that no matter where you apply and how many times you apply, you are not likely to receive any offers?
  2. Is your performance on entrance exams so poor that no matter where you apply and how many times you apply, you are not likely to receive any offers?

An answer in the affirmative for Question 1 is a tall order. You can not change your academic performance from the past - it is what it is. The only way out is to pursue another degree in India and demonstrate superior performance before applying to colleges in America and Canada. This may or may not be a viable or acceptable option for you.

A yes to Question 2 has a shorter duration remedy. You can take the entrance exams again and work much harder this time. Unless you can change your score substantially, you chances for admission in America and Canada are not likely to change much.

3.7.2 Only acceptance(s), but no offer of financial aid

This is a heart breaker - so close, yet so far away! Unless you can muster the required financial resources, you are pretty much out of luck, at least for the current admission cycle. The discussion in the preceding section on how you can improve your chances of success the next time around is quite applicable to you as well; that is, only if you want to have another go at it.

One action we would strongly advise you against, and that is to end up in America or Canada without adequate finances. There is a mythical belief in India among some circles that all you have to do is to "get there" and the money issue will resolve itself. It happens occasionally that one finds financing upon arrival, but it is extremely rare. The money issue will not resolve itself. It is a wrong-headed and dangerous thinking to hope that the issue will resolve itself on arrival. The probability of your finding financing is too low and the risks are too great.

3.7.3 Acceptance(s) and offer(s) of financial aid

There is more than one scenario for this situation. Your personal situation may be one or more of the following:

  • Acceptance(s) only, and no financial aid offer(s), from college(s) that you really want to attend: Your situation is similar to that discussed in Section 3.7.2. Your choices are also outlined in that section.
  • Acceptance(s) and offer(s) of partial aid only: Your choices are limited to those discussed in Section 3.2.
  • Acceptance(s) and offer(s) of financial aid: You have a good problem. Since you have alternatives, you need some criteria to make decisions. Effectively you want to eliminate alternatives to end up with the one best alternative. If you must have full financial aid to be able to afford education in North America, the first step is to eliminate the acceptances for which you have not been offered full aid. Your remaining alternatives are all viable for you. The single most important criterion for selection is the quality of your education. You want to select the most prestigious and reputable school. You should spend some time researching your alternatives. You can at least assess the rankings assigned to your alternatives by various sources, as outlined in Section 3.5.2. You can certainly expand the decision-criteria yourself to include elements that are important to you, such as being in a particular geographic location, or the weather, or being with your friends, and so on.

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