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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Over the years, Singapore has become a globally acclaimed destination for pursuing higher studies. Making its mark on the frontlines of the global economy, its impressive business and management programs compare with the top universities globally. Touted as one of the most lucrative educational destinations to pursue management programs, Singapore has provided a gateway into the Asia-Pacific markets; prompting top business schools to widen their overseas presence.

With scores of international students vying for an admission in Singaporean universities, the competition is tough, thereby allowing only the best and most eligible to be selected for the programs. The following pointers highlight the process of applying to a Singaporean university:

1. Selecting the course and university

Once you have made up your mind about pursuing higher studies from Singapore, select your preferred course; and, accordingly, look up the universities that offer the particular program. For instance, those interested in pursuing MBA can opt for universities including Singapore Management University, Nanyang Business School, NUS Business School and James Cook University, Singapore.

2. Research the admission criteria

Singaporean universities are on the lookout for candidates having a consistent and sound academic profile. While this is a primary consideration, you will need to check if your profile fulfils the pre-requisites of the program that you desire to pursue. This step will allow you to narrow down your universities to the ones that will be ideal for your candidature. Every university evaluates its prospective students individually. For MBA, a key requirement that universities look for in prospective students is relevant work experience. However, there are universities that do not have work experience as a criterion – these include James Cook University, East Asia Institute of Management (EASB), Dimensions International College, Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS) and Kaplan International College.

3. Application forms

Forms of many universities can be simply downloaded from their respective websites. You can also request for a form by sending a query letter to the university.

4. Documentations required

Universities will ask for additional documentation along with the application form. These documents will allow the admissions committee to evaluate your candidature and help them determine if you are an ideal applicant.

The following is the list of documents universities will ask for:

  • Application form
  • Resume
  • School/college transcripts
  • Score cards of GMAT/IELTS/TOEFL
  • Letters of reference/recommendation
  • Statements of purpose
  • Financial Documents

Students applying for an MBA will need a GPA of 3.3 and a minimum score of 600 in their GMAT exams. While it is not a criterion, those who have authored research/academic papers and hold relevant experience in research will have added advantage. Furthermore, to prove their proficiency in the English language, a minimum score of 550 for paper-based TOEFL, 90 for the Internet-based TOEFL or a band score of 6.5 in IELTS is required.

For technical programs, Singaporean universities accept a GRE minimum score of 320 (verbal and quantitative).

The universities will charge a processing fee of SGD15 to SGD20 for each application.

5. Application procedure

Most Singaporean universities allow students to upload their applications directly on their respective websites.

6. Admission offer

Once the university has evaluated your candidature and ensured that your profile fits the requirements of the university, they will send you an offer letter. Once you accept the offer, the university will release the official letter of admission.

7. Scholarships

For pursuing the MBA program, students can apply for two scholarships:

  • INSEAD-Syngenta MBA Scholarships for Developing Country Leaders:

INSEAD offers two business management scholarships for students who have exhibited outstanding performance in their academic endeavours. Additionally, the university also looks for characteristics like leadership potential, business and financial acumen, and commitment to contribute towards the development of one’s native country. The scholarships, which span the entire duration of the program, amount to Euro 22,500 a year.

  • NGS Scholarship

Offered by the National University of Singapore, students who have performed exceptionally well in their academics and possess an aptitude for research can apply for this scholarship. As part of the scholarship, those selected will be paid a monthly allowance of SGD3,000 for four years of PhD studies and subsidy for the complete tuition fee.

8. Student Pass

On receiving the offer letter from the university, you are required to apply for a Student Pass to be able to pursue studies in Singapore. The process takes about 10 days (with the volume of applications increasing between the months of July and August) and involves submitting the application to the Student’s Pass On-Line Application and Registration (SOLAR) system, which is the official registration system. For this, the university, which has offered you admission, should register with SOLAR; subsequently, you will need to submit eForm 16. Upon submission, you will submit a printout copy of the form to Student Pass unit – Immigration and Checkpoints Authority. Health insurance is mandatory for students pursuing studies in Singapore.

Avail our counseling services today and we will help you realize your dream of studying in Singapore.

Students are increasingly finding Canada to be an excellent destination for pursuing their higher studies. Securing an admission into a Canadian university can be a competitive challenge for most aspirants, but that should not discourage you from applying to some of the best universities that have a global ranking. Familiarising yourself with the application process, planning in accordance and following these steps would make the process of applying to a Canadian university extremely simple and efficient.

1. Choosing the program and university

The first step is to decide on the program you wish to pursue. Subsequently, make a tentative list of the preferred universities that offer your program of choice. For example, if you wish to apply for an MS in Computer Science, you can look at universities like University of British Columbia, University of Waterloo, McGill University and University of Alberta that offer various specializations in Computer Science.

2. Admission requirements

Your choice of university will often be dictated by your academic and work profile. The universities offering the desired program ask the student to fulfil a set of pre-requisites to qualify for the program. Hence it is important that you ensure you meet these requirements and can be considered as an ideal fit for the program. Looking up the program’s admission criteria will thereby, narrow down the list to the universities that match your profile. Each university in Canada has set its own admission requirements and evaluates each student individually. Nevertheless, secondary school graduation and a consistent academic proficiency are some of the baseline requirements that all universities have.

3. Requesting/Downloading application forms

Application forms for universities can be obtained either by requesting the universities by sending them query letters or alternatively, they can be downloaded from their respective websites.

4. Collecting supplementary documentation

Along with the application forms, you will be required to furnish additional documentation that includes transcripts from your school, relevant essays and resume. Documents written in languages other than English may need to be translated into the same.

The following is a list of transcripts each student needs to supply to the university:

  • Application form
  • Transcripts from school/college
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Resume (in case of MBA and other technical courses)
  • Score reports of GRE/GMAT/IELTS/TOEFL (some universities may not require a GRE; look up the supporting documents each university requires)
  • Financial documents

For instance, to apply for the MS in Computer Science program, you will need to submit Letters of Reference/Recommendation, resume, college/university transcripts, English language proficiency test scores, GRE (some universities ask for it) and a Statement of Purpose. A minimum GPA of 3.3 on a US 4.0 grading scale fulfils the requirement, whereas a GRE score of 310 is desired. Language proficiency score of minimum 7 for IELTS (with at least 6.5 in each band) and 90 for TOEFL is accepted by most universities for this program.

The application fee for each university ranges from $50 to $100. Therefore, to save time and money, it is essential to smartly choose the universities you wish to apply to.

5. Application process

Applications can be submitted by uploading relevant documents on the particular university’s website. However, for universities in Ontario, you will be required to apply through the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC); this will allow you to not only apply to multiple programs within a particular university, but will also allow you to apply to more than one university in Ontario.

The OUAC will supply the applications to the concerned universities. The university will then email you the list of subsequent steps to complete the process.

6. Receiving admission offer from universities

On assessing your application, if the university selects your candidature, it will make you an offer. Once you accept the offer, the university will send a final offer of acceptance.

7. Study permit

Subsequent to the acceptance of the offer, you will have to apply for and acquire a study permit to be able to pursue studies in Canada for a period of six months or more. In order to obtain the permit, other than your academic records, you will be required to show relevant financial documents that confirm you have adequate funds to pay your tuition fees and living expenses. Some universities also ask that you undergo a medical examination, while some require that you settle your health insurance (the coverage will depend on the province you’ll be travelling to).

Contact our counselors today for knowing more about the application process, university selection and career prospects in Canada.

A dramatic rise in the number of Indian students applying to Canadian Student Partnership Program (SPP) colleges in the last few years has led to increased processing time for university applications. Earlier, while the turnaround time for receiving an acceptance letter from the university was two weeks, it now takes about six to eight weeks for the same. The growth in the number of Indian students selecting Canada as their preferred educational destination is directly linked to the UK’s announcement on the exclusion of Indian students as beneficiaries of faster visa norms. On the rebound, Canada received as many as 83,410 student applications in 2017; an escalation of 58 per cent over the previous years.

Considering that Indian students now make up the largest class of international students receiving Canadian study permits, surpassing even China, which topped the list in 2016, they received 26 per cent of the total study permits in 2017. The trend rose further between the months of January 2018 and April 2018, with more than 29,000 Indian students receiving study permits; as opposed to China recording a count of 17,000 permits.

To accommodate this influx, Canada, which is regarded as a prestigious educational destination, announced on June 8 this year, about the Student Direct Stream (SDS) program, a fast track system for visa processing. As part of the process, visas of students from India, China and Vietnam will be processed in 45 days as opposed to the older SPP process that took 60 days.

Students applying for SDS will be required to submit proof of the requisite financial resources and language proficiency in order to avail this opportunity. They need to fulfil requirements that include securing admission in a post-secondary institute; a minimum score band of 6.0 in each section (Listening, Writing, Reading and Speaking) in IELTS, proof of tuition fee payment; and medical examination a week prior to the submission of the application. Aided by Scotiabank, a Canadian financial institution, the SDS also has a requirement of a $10,000 Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) offered by Scotiabank, which will cover the student’s living expenses for the first year.

While the SPP was introduced earlier to speed up the visa application process and reduce documentation, it could only be availed by students applying to 40 participating learning institutes. To overcome this drawback, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) devised SDS with an aim to broaden the limited scope of SPP. Students availing SDS can apply to any of the designated educational institutes.

Further, SDS allows a more streamlined visa application process for all participating institutions or universities, by reducing documentation, and speeding up the visa processing time to 45 days. If, upon submission, a student’s application is complete, the immigration department can begin reviewing it right away. Nevertheless, if the student fails to meet the SDS requirements, but fulfils the regular study permit requirements, their application will be considered as a regulation permit; and, therefore, will not receive the benefits of SDS.

Students applying to Canadian universities have a clear advantage in the newly introduced SDS program. To learn more about the Canadian Visa process and resolve any visa related issues, contact our experienced counselors, who have a 100 per cent success rate in student visa counselling.

F1 Student Visa applicants are increasingly becoming apprehensive about the Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, especially in keeping with the strict immigration policies introduced by the Donald Trump administration. But rest assured that it can be easily overcome if the required shortfall or documentation is fulfilled.

At the outset, let us understand about section 221 (g) and why it is issued to an applicant. Upon scrutiny of your visa application documents, the applicant is sometimes informed that a final decision cannot be made on his visa application immediately. In such a case, the consular officer raises the Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and informs the applicant that the case will be withheld till the applicant’s eligibility for the visa can be proved. The increasing number of such cases needed processing “time-out”.

Most often, the 221(g) cases for the F1 visa are related to the security aspect or alternatively to establish the genuine eligibility of candidate for study, wherein the consular officer requires additional time, information, or documentation before making a final visa decision. In connection to security, it has been observed that students who apply for programs pertaining to fields that fall under the Technology Alert List are subjected to the section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The reason for invoking this act is that the US does not want to collaborate on sensitive technologies with the wrong individuals, who may misuse knowledge to harm people or damage property. In such cases, the applicant is requested to provide a resume, list of publications in the relevant field, and a description of the program and career plan of the applicant. Very often, these clearances are a mere formality, which makes time for running the application through various security checks.

On the other hand, eligibility related issues may include investigations or verifications in India or requests for information or documentation related to the qualifications of the applicant for a visa like education, work experience, paper publication, past or current research, Statement of Purpose, funding, itinerary and co-travellers. A consular officer may seek to investigate or verify issues such as:

  • Employment of an applicant
  • Tax filings or information pension fund payments; authenticity of an education document
  • Intentions or existence of a sponsor in the US.
  • Authenticity of a statutory document, such as a marriage, birth, or divorce certificate.
  • Legitimacy of a marriage

Sometimes you are asked to furnish additional documents, which may include:

  • A police verification certificate that confirms the residence of the applicant after the age of 16;
  • Certified copies of court dispositions (arrests, convictions); confirmation of the date of a past departure from the US (e.g. visa overstay);
  • If working professional, then employer tax documentation; additional affidavit of support (e.g., if consular officer does not accept the submitted affidavit of support);
  • Financial documents to sponsor the education of applicant in a US university;
  • Additional information about the program to be studied in the US.

Sometimes, even though all your documentation and information is correct, you may end up with the section 221(g) letter. In such a scenario, the investigations that were carried out may have been inaccurate. For example, a consular officer may mistakenly believe that an applicant has a background in a technology that is on the Technology Alert List; a consular investigator may visit the wrong office address; a secretary who picks up the phone at the applicant’s place of employment may tell the consular caller that no such person works there when in fact the applicant does work there; a consular officer may be attempting to re-adjudicate a previously-approved employment petition by requiring additional documentation or sending it back to USCIS.

Therefore, being proactive in dealing with a 221(g) decision by a consular officer will benefit you by resolving the issue at the earliest. It is advocated that applicants should not only cooperate with reasonable consular requests but should also seek to aggressively challenge unreasonable requests or demands and extended delays in processing.

To provide the required information or documentations, you should submit the same at the nearest CGI document pickup location within one year from the date you received the 221(g) letter. Failing this, you will be required to submit a fresh visa application and pay all associated fees in order to continue with your visa application process.

Submission of 221(g) documents:

  1. Print a Document Submission Letter and complete the checklist manually.
  2. Visit the nearest Common Gateway Interface (CGI) document pickup location. Carry your 221(g) submission slip, the 221(g) letter given to you at the Embassy or Consulate, and all documents requested in your 221(g) letter.
  3. Submit your documents and the 221(g) submission slip at the CGI document collection office. CGI will acknowledge the 221(g) submission slip for you to keep for your records.
  4. CGI delivers your documents to the Embassy or Consulate.
  5. CGI returns your documents and your passport to you at your chosen document delivery pickup location. If the visa is issued, your passport will contain your visa or alternatively, you may also receive a new 221(g) letter.

Now that you have understood about Section 221(g), dealing with it would not be a major challenge. Meet our expert counsellors today, who have a 100% success rate on conversion of the observation under section 221(g) to an F1 visa holder. Visit our centers for abroad career counseling today and we will help resolve any issues on your visa applications and 221(g) status.

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