Career counseling is fast emerging as a popular choice among students. In an interview with stoodnt.com, Bakhtawar Krishnan, Managing Director, Inspirus Education, shares her insights on some very pertinent points regarding career counselling.
Right age for students to go for career counseling
Ideally, the right time for students to start shortlisting their career options is in class 9. However, as we all know at that point in time, students are very distracted and are curious to explore various possibilities. So, getting them to start thinking and planning can be quite cumbersome. We also need to understand that students’ perceptions, likes and dislikes change quite drastically at that stage in life. This often leads to confusion and frustration among parents. Very often, we hear parents complaining that their child is not serious about their future. Some of the familiar statements we hear include “Yesterday my child wanted to study astrophysics and today it is to be healthcare professional. My child is weird!!”
Our advice would be: Don’t panic!
A good counselor would pave the way for the student to understand his/her own strengths and weaknesses and will allow the student to explore without being biased or judgmental.
Courses are in demand in the study abroad space
At the undergrad level, the most preferred course is engineering and computer science. However, things are changing. Recently, we had a student pursued a 4year undergrad course in Photography in the US.Business Studies as an area has also picked up considerably.
Key points to remember while seeking admission in colleges abroad
Other than the fact that finance is a major concern area, I think the most important factor to keep in mind is your own child’s “adjustability factor”
Going abroad for studies does sound very exciting and most students see it through rose colored glasses, the reality is quite different. Students must be emotionally strong to face life and a lot of things which they would otherwise take for granted if they were studying in their own country.
Adjusting to a new culture, new study methodology and new friends can be quite taxing for a lot of students.
Food also makes a difference and one of the most neglected facets like the weather can play an important role in the well-being of the child. We, as Indians are accustomed to seeing bright sunlight on most days of the year. I have seen far too many students going into depression because the weather outside their room is gloomy, cold and dreary. So be careful while choosing your university and its geographical location.
Importance of extracurricular for admission in colleges abroad
Extra-curricular activities are important and necessary for every student, whether they are applying in India or abroad. They help develop the student’s overall tenacity and soft skills like team play, leadership skills, learning to cope with situations, listening to authority etc.
Most US universities do not look only at academics for granting admissions. They look at the students’ profile in a holistic manner. They give extracurricular activities as much importance as your academic profile.Hence, working on your extra-curricula becomes almost mandatory when you are applying to universities abroad.
Top myths about studying abroad
These are the most common myths that students have. However, studying abroad involves hard work, tenacity, discipline and focus.
Studying abroad is a lot of fun.
It’s easy to study abroad
I will have a blast when I am there
Financial supports available for Indian students studying abroad
There are several scholarships available for students wanting to study abroad both in India and abroad. There are scholarships for women in engineering, scholarships for scholars etc. Scholarships vary from student to student and university to university. However, please note that scholarships are free money and hence difficult to get.Students will have to be determined, detail focused and organized when they apply for scholarships.
Loans are easy to avail of but do keep in mind the rate of interest as also the tenure of the loan and repayment/pre-payment schedule. There are several service providers in India who lend to students (masters) without any collateral upto an amount of INR 50 lacs.
Suggestions for students who will apply to colleges abroad this year
Please do not lose your focus. Remember you are there to study so do not allow distractions to come in the way of your studies. This is not to say that you should not party. Infact, it is important to go out and socialize, but within limits.
Also, one of the advantages of studying abroad is you are exposed to a diverse group of students from across the globe. Make the most of it. Please do not stick to people from your own country (though that is the easiest thing to do). Come out of your comfort zone and make that effort to meet new people, new language etc.
Please do take up summer jobs and use the money that you have earned to explore the country. It will be rare for you to come back (once your studies are done) and explore.Respect the local culture.