In the past six years, there has been an exponential rise in the number of Indian students wishing to study abroad. Also, there has also been an increase in the number of students scoring above 90%-95% in their undergraduate studies. Gaining admission to universities abroad is becoming increasingly competitive nowadays as thousands of applications keep on pouring in against a few hundreds of seats.
What makes each student unique is the profile they present in front of the University admission committee. The problem with most of the student profiles is that all of them look quite similar. To be unique amidst thousands of applications, it is very important to build your profile that grabs the attention of the committee members instantly.
Some of the most important points that you need to take care of while building your profile are as follows:
Figure Out Your Unique Selling Point
Many of the applicants can have a better academic record than you. You need to figure out your unique selling point and highlight it in front of the university admission committee. Begin with jotting down your strengths. Quote instances or cite examples that perfectly substantiate your academic and professional life. You need to give importance to strengths that will help you succeed in the program you wish to pursue.
One way you can validate your strengths is through a certification program. You need to categorize your strength into professional, academic, technical or communication prowess. Thus, you need to identify your USP that would help you gain a competitive edge over other applicants in the same domain.
Work on Your Resume
The University committee has to go through thousands of applications and select suitable candidates for a particular program. Create a powerful resume that highlights your strengths and weaknesses at the same time.
The resume should provide relevant and more information than what is included in your university application. The resume should enhance your application and provide you with another opportunity to let universities evaluate your candidature in a better manner.
Go for short sentences and be extra careful with the grammar. Your resume should be able to give you a clear idea of academic achievements. Your resume should be able to cover topics like academic achievements, work experience (if any) extracurricular activities, research publications, certifications, community services, and other relevant details.
Make your Statement of Purpose Engaging!
Your SOP gives you the opportunity to showcase your passion, skills, unique attributes and interest for the specialization you wish to pursue. You need to entirely focus on explaining the purpose of the program you aim to opt for. The SOP should comprise of a brief introduction of yourself, your academic background, career goals and also talk about the motivation factor that led you to pursue this program.
Talk about what made you choose the particular program from that specific university. The paragraph requires immense research on the program, the faculty and the curriculum that make the university your most preferred choice. You should also talk about the ways you can add value to the university and how you hope to be an asset to the university after completion of the program.
Recommendation: It is always advised to take the help of SOP experts and experienced counselors to increase your chances of admission at your dream university. If you are finding it difficult to work on certain points in your SOP or having a tough time in choosing the right school for overseas education, the SOP experts and experienced counselors at Azent are always there to help you out in increasing your chances of admission.
Letter of Recommendation is Equally Important!
You need to refer to the strengths that you have jotted down in your USP list and look for people who can recommend your candidature based on the skills. Letter of recommendation is based on skills like a good academic record, workplace achievements, creativity, motivation, communication skills, integrity, and other relevant skills.
You must take the help of professors to write a letter of recommendation as they are the people who truly qualify to assess your performance and also vouch for your academic credentials.
Pro Tip: A master’s degree requires a student to submit three different types of letters of recommendation – one professional and two academic letters of recommendation. This would help the university admission committee to evaluate your academic and professional capabilities better.
Connect With the University Alumni
Connecting with the university alumni where you wish to join will help you prepare yourself for higher studies in a methodical way. Valuable insights from alumni will help you to know what the admission committee usually looks for in a candidate and what would help in securing admission. You will be able to strengthen certain areas in your profile to increase your chances of admission.
Search the university page on Linkedin and look for the career insights page on the school page. Next, look for the top companies where the alumni are working and try to connect to as many numbers of alumni members as possible. You can make use of blurbs to connect with them. One such blurb example is –
You are an alumnus of my dream school – Monash University – and I sincerely hope to get some valuable insights from you. What does the university admission committee usually look for in an ideal candidate? What helped you secure admission? What should I work on to strengthen my chances of admission? Any professor whom I should connect with? It would be great if you help me out .. cheers!”
Connecting with the alma mater in this manner would help you to reach out to them in an easy manner and get to know the areas where you need to work on. Most of the students take the help of alumni to know a bit more about the university, the program curriculum and other attributes that are unique to that particular school.
Reach Out to the Professors of Your Dream School
It is very important to connect with professors of your dream school to strengthen your chances of admission. Visit the website of your dream school. Once you find out the target major, you need to look for the faculty and connect with professors from your research area through emails.
This will help you get acquainted with the research that is happening in your domain and also introduce yourself to the professors by connecting with them over emails. One example of such an email is as follows-
“Dear Dr. Faruque,
I figured out that your research interest includes the Internet of Things, which is also my area of interest. Hence, I am reaching out to you for quick feedback on the same.
In my project, I used Raspberry Pi 3 to create a home automation system to connect home appliances such as your Smart TV. I was able to connect with a TCP/IP based network successfully. However, I faced a challenge in keeping connective alive so that I can ping the status of the appliance. I am pretty much sure that you might have faced such an issue while you worked on it. What is the best suitable network protocol that you would recommend? Any pointer would really be helpful.
By the way, I am also thinking of applying to Monash University to pursue my interest in IOT space. I will keep you posted on my progress.
This kind of email will always help you to interact with professors personally and thus increase your chances of admission at the university.
Relatable Work Experience in Reputed Organization Matters!
If you have worked with a company or done an internship related to the program you wish to pursue, it is a plus point for your profile. This would help the university committee members understand that you have always been an academic success and bagged a job in the same domain. Your work experience gives a clear idea that you have got hands-on experience in the same field which you wish to study further.
Work Towards Building a Well-rounded Personality
Universities do believe in taking students who have a holistic and well-rounded personality. If you are one of those individuals with an impressive academic record and professional experience, it is time you need to shape up towards developing an all-rounder personality. You can be a sports enthusiast, possess entrepreneurship skills or may join a social cause. Do not forget to highlight all these in your profile.
You can always build your leadership skills by organizing events, cultural festivals, technical fest at your college or workplace. Leading a group of team members to work together for the success of such events, arranging sponsorship and also successfully conducting such events in a timely manner will always give you an unparalleled opportunity to discover various characteristics of a leader.
Recommendation: You can go for some social services such as organizing blood donation camp, or teaching underprivileged children or helping with day-to-day activities at an old age home. You can also join some civic initiatives such as cleaning a lake, spreading awareness about healthy living or raising fund for some social cause.
Diversify Your Profile
Apart from the technical skills that you have acquired, if you have learned any other new skills through certification courses or have any sort of experience that can add value to your profile, then you need to mention it.
For example, if you have volunteered for any sort of special project or participated in any conferences or competition, you must highlight these points to bring it to the notice of the university admission committee. This is where your unique attributes will add more value to your profile thereby increasing your chances of admission.
Publish your Research Work
Published research work undoubtedly adds value to your profile in terms of research skills and also speaks volumes about your academic interests. A good publishing record is always a prominent indicator that you will be an asset to the research community in that university.
So, if you have written any research paper at your graduate school, you should mention it in your profile in order to highlight your research skills. This will help you gain an edge over other applicants applying for the same program in the same university.
Opt for Online Courses to Strengthen Your Profile
Online courses in a similar domain as your area of interest will help you gain some insight about the field you would wish to pursue. This would also add credibility to your claim for having an interest in that specific area of study. If you wish to stand out amongst the thousands of applications for one particular program, an online course in the same area of interest will give your profile a major boost.
Pro Tip: Sites like coursera.org or udemy.com are some of the most reliable websites to go for an online course from a university of your choice. An online course will strengthen your profile and help you gain a competitive edge over others in your domain.
Visit coursera.com and select the region. You will find a list of universities offering online programs in different areas. Locate your dream school and check the programs offered by your school. Check if any of these programs are from your area of interest.
Once you have selected the program, you need to enroll in the program and also complete the program on time. The program fee is usually quite low and you will have much more credibility in talking about it in your essays.
Following the above-written points will always help you to create a strong and unique profile that the university admission committee will review in a positive light. Working towards creating a strong and unique profile requires hard work, time and commitment.
If you want to secure admission at your chosen university, you must immediately plan meticulously and start working towards it in advance to create an exemplary profile and maximize your chances of securing admission.