Earlier this month, India Today magazine’s print supplement Aspire – The Guide to Education and Careers – published an article which is important for Indian students seeking admission to colleges and universities in the United States. In the article, titled Passport To The World, Sonali Acharjee speaks to Lisa Jain, country representative, India at the College Board.
On their website, the New York, United States-based College Board describes itself as “a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity.
Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education.
Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT and the Advanced Placement Program. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools.”
Although the first part of the article which explains the PSAT/NMSQT – i.e. the Preliminary SAT and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test – is also important for Indian students, it’s the second part of the article, Tips for students, that is most valuable and acts as a mini-counselling guide for Indian students. I’ve reproduced these tips verbatim from India Today Aspire’s online format:
“Start early – Many students who aspire to study abroad believe they need to start planning for it only in Class XII. What they don’t realise, is how much time, thought, and effort it requires. One should begin the ground work as early as Class X, to gain a clear understanding of what the college application process entails, and to be prepared to deal with the pressures later on. For example, if students need to take their SAT, they shouldn’t delay it till Class XII. They should do it in Class XI itself, and leave more time to focus on other parts of the application in Class XII, or give themselves the window to retake the SAT in Class XII, if a second attempt is needed.
Look beyond college rankings – There are several companies that publish rankings for universities. Some are specific to one country, while others release global rankings. It is important to understand that every ranking is based on a certain set of parameters to determine a university’s standing on a wider scale. The question that students needs to ask themselves is – does the ranking give weightage to the factors that are important to me? Very often, the answer to this question might be no. And that’s when students need to tread with caution. This is because the information captured in the rankings might not necessarily help you find a college that is ‘best fit’ for you. Another important thing to remember when looking at rankings, is just because a university is ranked high overall, doesn’t mean that they rank high in the course you want to pursue. So, if you must look at rankings, focus on those that are course-specific.”
[Citation: Passport To The World, Sonali Acharjee, India Today Aspire, 10 September 2014.]