Tag Archives: Abroad Career Guidance

The GRE Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section comprises two essay tasks: the Issue essay and the Argument essay. Test takers are allotted 30 minutes for each essay. The Issue essay asks you to respond to a statement or a claim that relates to politics, education, technology, or culture. Essentially, you have to take stance on the given claim and defend your stance. The Argument essay asks you to find the flaw in the logic behind an author’s position. The position is provided in a paragraph or “the argument” and thus requires a thorough reading of the given argument.

How are the essays scored?

Each essay receives a score by a human grader and an e-rater score on a scale of 0 to 6. If these scores differ by less than 0.5, the human score stands. If they differ by more than 0.5, a second human scores the essay, and the two human scores are averaged to get a final score. The e-rater score won’t supplant the human score(s).

What do the graders look for?

Your essay needs to be clear, coherent, and cogent.

You must express your stance and ideas in a clear manner. If you jumble your words or simply throw in unnecessary words or your ideas are ambiguous, you will get a low score. Your essay should have a set of ideas [ideally 3 arguments that will make up the 3 main body paragraphs] that logically connect to one another. That is when your essay is coherent.

Secondly, you should provide convincing evidence to back up your thesis/claim. You can throw in some vague, hypothetical example, but doing so won’t make your essay cogent. Give an example that is a verifiable fact or a relevant personal anecdote.

The other factors that the human grader assesses are:

Style – an essay, albeit with good arguments and examples, with broken or run-on sentences and unsophisticated vocabulary will be scored lower than an essay with proper syntax and GRE-level vocabulary. However, make sure you do not make ill-use of the diction. Use a word only if you are sure of its actual and/or contextual meaning.

Grammar & Spelling – Even though the graders won’t nit-pick at grammar, grave grammatical errors will cost you points. Incorrect subject-verb agreement, improper use of pronouns, and misspelled common words can negatively impact your score. However, one or two minor grammatical mistakes won’t stop an essay from getting a perfect score, as long as everything else about the essay is perfect.

Note that the graders take around 30 seconds to grade an essay. They scan to make sure that you have clearly organized your information and that your paragraphs begin with a topic sentence, explain your argument, and flow into examples that support your argument. The graders make sure you have written a conclusion that summarises and re-iterates what you’ve already stated.

How long do my essays have to be?

Believe it or not, of two essays that are identical, except for the length, the longer one will receive the higher score. That doesn’t mean you should scribble away, giving unnecessary, irrelevant information, hoping that a 1000 word essay will automatically give you a 6. Substance matters. Ideally, you should write a five-paragraph essay with an introduction para, three main body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The ideal word limit for Issue essays in between 550 and 650 words and for Argument essays is between 500 and 600 words.

Note that six short paragraphs of 4 sentences each do not mean a long essay. The length of the paragraph matters. Each paragraph should be of approximately 100 words, and each of those paragraphs has to flow logically and defend your thesis.

The E-rater

The e-rater evaluates how you write, not what you think. It will, primarily, asses and score you on the following criteria:

  1. Grammar (subject–verb agreement, etc.)
  2. Usage (then vs. than, etc.)
  3. Mechanics (spelling and capitalization, etc.)
  4. Style (redundancy and passive voice)
  5. Organization (thesis statement, main points, supporting details, examples, conclusions)
  6. Development (main points precede details and examples)
  7. The use of vocabulary

However, the e-rater doesn’t understand the meaning of your essay nor does it make a reasonable judgment about the essay’s overall quality. Hence, to get a higher score from an e-rater, make sure your grammar and diction are proper. For instance, in the Argument essay, instead of writing “The manager says that…”, write “The author of the argument concludes that…”. Use words such as author, conclusion, premise, reasoning, justification, assumption, insufficient evidence, etc. to boost your scores.

Now that you have taken admission to your desired program in a top university, it is time to decide on your accommodation before you fly off to study abroad. Student halls, living out and staying at home options abound and each one of these has their pros and cons.

Living on your own

You could play music as loudly as you want, keep your own hours, for you’ve left the chaperones and curfews back home with your overly protective parents. You would be forgiven for living it up king size for the first time until the novelty wears off. The first sign of independence becoming a drag are the realisations that – the dustbins do not empty themselves, drainage plugs do not self-unclog, and the fridge does not self-replicate delicious take-out food, which becomes obvious within the first month itself.

The state of affairs, with the rent being foremost

It’s true that many houses are let to students because they have clear flaws that would be intolerable to older tenants with jobs. These include, but not exclusively, leaking ceilings, running water that fluctuates in temperature, exposed wiring, nightmare neighbours and the list goes on. However, these houses should also mean that you get a better deal on rent and you must negotiate.

Check what amenities are paid for and the extras you need to shell out for

For those leaving home for the first time, halls can be a pleasant halfway house between full independence and the strict rules imposed by parents. Advantages include reliable broadband and kitchens that must comply with basic health-and-safety standards. If the apartment has a heater system that’s included in the rent, then weigh the slightly higher rent with compensation for a warm cosy nest to return to on wintry days, without the penury inducing bills. But if you do end up living out, it is crucial to keep an inviolable emergency fund, of at least three hundred dollars. Furnished or unfurnished, the laundry does not do itself so ensure that the complex has a laundromat on site or you would have to lug it to the nearest one either by car or walk. Also, be certain that there is a food place in walking distance so you can either make your own coffee or get take out. You don’t want to be stuck at home with no grounds and the nearest bistro charges 3 dollars for delivery. The caffeine goes a long way when deadlines loom.

Pick your neighbours carefully

Chances are that this will be the first time you get to choose who you live with. There are various things to bear in mind when choosing your housemates. Also, under no circumstances should you agree to live with anyone until the second term, or better still the second year. Shared habits and preferences are great where you have equally good standards in hygiene, but if both are untidy and unhygienic, it would be an unhealthy environment to live in. In other words, pick someone who you would relate to without ‘twinning’ on all parameters. Also, rooming with the roommate from Hell means picking up after him/her, while also shelling out his rent so it would be nice to ascertain gently their source of income (legal) so you know the deal squarely.

The distance between university and your home, with the nearest transit stop being a mile away

Running late on a class is a no for sure, imagine sprinting a mile like an athlete and then making it to Science 101 with a sweaty shirt and grimy face. Be certain that your apartment has easy access to all the transit stops. Find out the bus route of your university’s transit system and see if you could get a deal on an apartment in the area. Shelling out a couple of extra dollars is way better than losing out on a perfect 4 pointer, just cause you came late for the last minute extra credit quiz.

Keeping it legal, always.

Lastly, be sure to ink all agreements in the name of all roommates for equal deposits and rent liabilities, let the apartment manager know that they need to include all the utilities/amenities in the main body and list them out, fine-print won’t cut it. Also, just to be certain, ensure you have your seniors in college or the University Housing section give the rental agreement a once over and enquire whether it needs to be stamped, notarised or registered with the county office. Also, make sure that you clearly mention the due date for the rent and the absolute last date for utilities to be paid up. Few realise that delayed or non-payment of the same has an impact on the credit score, which is also reported to the university.

With this comprehensive check list in hand, you are empowered to finally explore your independence as a young varsity student.

Ireland has one of the highest educational involvement rates in the world with almost half (48 percent) of the Irish population having attained at least a college-level education, which is in sharp contrast with the less-than-40 percent level of the other developed countries such as the United Kingdom, United States, Spain, Belgium, and France. Eighty-one percent of Irish students complete secondary school and approximately 60 percent go on to higher education, scoring significantly higher than the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average in reading literacy and science, says an OECD report. Little wonder then that so many international companies ranging from computers to pharmaceuticals, from financial services to telemarketing consider Ireland, time and again when hiring graduates and making location decisions for entry into the European market.

Whether you want to explore the Irish plains, take advantage of its solid education system or find employment, you will need a visa to enter Ireland. If you wish to visit Ireland for a period of less than 3 months for a holiday or to pursue a short course of studies or on business, then you can apply for a short stay ‘C’ visa – either a single entry or multiple entry visas depending on the duration and frequency of your visit. On the other hand, if you would like to travel to Ireland for more than 3 months to pursue a course of study at an Irish accredited school or institution (above high school), for work or to settle permanently in Ireland with family members who are already resident in Ireland, then you can apply for a long stay ‘D’ visa for a single entry or a purpose appropriate visa, as explained below.

If you are a non-EEA (Eastern European Association) national coming to study in Ireland, you must be enrolled in a full-time course on the Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP). Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) regulations stipulate that students who are from a country outside the EEA, then you must apply for a student visa. A student visa application must include evidence of ready access to a minimum sum of EU 7,000, which is the sum computed for a year of study in Ireland. Apart from this, they must also have a valid admit letter from the Irish University, along with the requisite allied documents as well as proof of medical insurance, if provided by college. Since 1 June 2015, non-EEA nationals can enrol in an eligible course at High School Certificate/Level 6 or above on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). The maximum time they can study in Ireland at this level is 7 years. There are exceptions to this limit for students doing a Ph.D or a course such as medicine and in special circumstances, wherein the student is suffering from ill-health.

Upon graduation, the students receive an extension of their permission to remain in Ireland under the Third Level Graduate Scheme. This scheme allows a non-citizen graduate of an Irish university to find employment and apply for a General Employment Permit or a Critical Skills Employment Permit, as the case may warrant. For example, graduates with a Bachelor’s qualification may get a 12-month extension to their residence permission; up to a maximum of 7 years of student permission overall. Graduates with postgraduate qualifications or above may get a 24-month extension (2 blocks of 12-months) to their permission up to a maximum of 8 years of student permission overall.

In recognition of the potential foreign revenue and generation of employment in local areas, the Irish government have taken strong steps in projecting Ireland as a much preferred educational destination! With its excellent infrastructure, eminent educational credentials and excellent employment opportunities, Ireland is most certainly a study option that students should consider.

You can find detailed information at:




The manifold increase in the price of a medical seat in India has made it difficult and unaffordable for students to pursue the MBBS degree. Similarly, it is prohibitively expensive to get admission for an M.D program, which is a must if you intend to become a specialist or teach medicine. The cost of the MBBS in India is anywhere from 80 lakhs to 1 crore, while the M.D program can cost you upwards of Rs.2 crores. Rather ironic for a rapidly multiplying population, which needs at least one doctor for every 600 persons and yet, the shortfall is phenomenal. Access to quality healthcare in rural areas remains a dream as the prices rise continuously for the much prized degree. In recent times, students have begun considering countries like Russia and Slovenia for pursuing higher studies in medicine.

An MBBS at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia will cost you 90,000 EU for a course period of six years. For admission to the Department of Medicine’s MBBS program, you need to have completed your 12th grade with a minimum score of 60 % or above with core competency in Physics, Chemistry and Biology.  The Slovak Medical University in Bratislava is the only university in Slovakia that provides monothematic education for healthcare professions in all three degrees of higher education, and at the same time, the only institution that has guaranteed complex education of healthcare workers in Slovakia under various names since 1953.(For more details on fees, course structure etc., please follow the link, http://www.uni-lj.si/study/bachelor/mf/.)

However, there is one important aspect to keep in mind for admission to Slovenian medical universities. They require that the High School Certificate equivalence be issued by the District Office in Bratislava, Section for Education, Tomášikova Street 46, Bratislava. Also, the prospective student must appear for a Slovenian medical entrance examination, similar to the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) to secure the admission. All the documents must be translated into the Slovenian language for submission to the university. It is also mandatory to submit the syllabus of completed courses or Course Information Sheets (ECTS) for the qualifying exam, 11th and 12th grade at the time of submitting the application to the university. The student must also furnish a medical fitness report to show that he/she is fully able to handle the rigors of medical school. After fulfilling all these conditions, the prospective student is ready to begin studying at Slovenia.

After the completion of the course, be it an MBBS or an MD, a medical professional would prefer to be licensed in his home country as well as country of naturalisation. For an Indian doctor, the Medical Council of India (MCI) is the licensing and governing authority for all medical professionals in the country. You must be certain that the university that you have chosen is on the approved list of equivalence degrees as authorised by MCI.  Pavol Jozef Safarik University Kosice is the university listed in Slovenia as approved by the MCI. Visit https://www.mciindia.org/CMS/information-desk/for-students-to-study-in-abroad for the comprehensive list.

Besides practising in India,, there are several other recognitions that form a gateway to practicing in other countries like the US. The link https://www.faimer.org/resources/world-directory.html shows that the Faculty of Medicine at University of Ljubljana as well as the University of Maribor are recognised by FAIMER and the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME). Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates Certification (ECFMG) is a mandatory certification for graduates seeking licensing in the United States. Since the two universities in Slovenia are listed in the WFME registry, their graduates may apply for the exam. The minimum requirements to qualify for writing the ECFMG exam are that applicants pass USMLE steps required for ECFMG Certification within a 7-year period. All international medical graduates (IMGs) should have had at least 4 credit years of medical curriculum at a medical school listed in the IMED.  Applicants for ECFMG Certification must document the completion of all requirements to receive the final medical diploma.

According to a recent article in Forbes, the US is facing a resource crisis with fewer physicians for its growing population so there would be great scope for foreign medical graduates to seek and receive employment in the United States under the J-I category. Please read the article carried by the NY Times https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/06/upshot/america-is-surprisingly-reliant-on-foreign-medical-graduates.html. This opens up several avenues of career opportunities for students who opt for the strenuous medical programs. The average pay for a medical graduate varies between USD 100,000 to USD 150,000 depending on his work profile. Similarly for a medical post graduate, the average pay varies between USD 180,000 to upwards of USD 250,000, depending on the specialty.

The plethora of opportunities for medical graduates with lucrative benefits beckons you to pursue your studies in Slovenia. Apart from these benefits, Slovenia’s small size means that it’s perfectly possible to ski or hike in the mountains in the morning and sunbathe at the coast in the afternoon (or vice versa if you prefer!). Not only that, but you can also easily reach any of the four countries which have borders with Slovenia; Croatia, Austria, Italy and Hungary. Therefore, there are endless possibilities for travelling both within, and outside of, Slovenia, as a student, in the beautiful country.

So look no further to achieving your dreams of becoming a doctor or medical specialist. Visit our study abroad counseling centers for getting more information on pursuing your medical education at Slovenia.

Got a better admit after booking the visa date? Here’s what you can do.

After months of preparation, hard work, consulting mentors and contemplating for days together, you finally zero in on the best admit in your hand and book the visa interview. You inform your friends and relatives that you are going to X university and are in the last phase of negotiations for your apartment. You certainly feel apprehensive, yet you are uber-confident that you will breeze through the visa interview. After all, you have done everything right.

You wake up the next day to an email from another University (your dream University actually!) that you have been accepted.  While this is one of the most euphoric moments of your life, it can easily turn into apprehension filled days. What was just a waiting period could metamorphose into frenzied days of doing a lot of things all over again. Right from sending financial documents to the University and following up with them for the I20, to submitting the DS -160 and visa application, every step in the visa process needs to be reworked.

In order to ease your life, we decided to write this article so that we can systematically detail the process of changing your University after visa appointment booking. We have identified various scenarios so that you can take appropriate steps based on your situation.

Scenario 1 – You have paid the SEVIS and submitted the DS-160, but not yet made the Visa payment.

Step 1: Transfer SEVIS from University X to University Y.   The following is the procedure for the same:

I-901 Fee transfer requests can now be made directly from www.fmjfee.com. To request a fee transfer from the website, you will need to begin by checking your payment status. Once the information is entered, you will be taken to your I-901 records. If there is a valid fee payment on your record a request transfer button will appear next to the print confirmation button. Once you select this transfer option you will be prompted to enter your new SEVIS ID, School or program code and verify that your personal information is correct. After submitting your request, you will be sent an initial email informing you that your transfer request was received and then you will be sent another email either confirming the transfer with instructions to print your new payment confirmation or a denial email explaining why the transfer request could not be processed.

Requests for fee transfers can also be made by mail or e-mailing SEVP. SEVP will consider your request and determine if the fee can be transferred. See the section on the basic rules for transferring fees.

When emailing your request, please insert ‘Fee Transfer’ in the subject line of your request and provide the following details:

  1. Your name
  2. Date of birth
  3. The SEVIS ID number that you originally paid on
  4. The SEVIS ID number you want to transfer the payment to
  5. Explain why the fee needs to be transferred. It will help speed your request if you include a copy of your receipt number. Include information on how to contact you if there are any questions.

SEVP will review your request and determine if the fee can be transferred. If your request is approved, you will receive an email or letter indicating that you can now print your updated I-901 payment confirmation at www.fmjfee.com reflecting the SEVIS ID from your new Form I-20 or DS-2019.

When you apply for any benefit where the I-901 SEVIS Fee will be verified, you will need to provide a copy of the updated I-901 fee receipt.

(Source- https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/faq#_Toc81222153)

Step 2: Create another DS- 160 – Since you submitted the previous DS-160, you will not be able to retrieve and update it.  You can fill another DS-160 with the details of the new University. Make sure you carry the new DS- 160 confirmation page for the interview.

Scenario II – You have submitted the DS- 160, made the visa payment on CGI federal and also booked the date.

  1. Follow the steps in Scenario I
  2. Create another DS- 160 – Since you submitted the previous DS-160, you will not be able to retrieve and update it. You can fill another DS-160 with the details of the new University. Make sure you carry the new DS- 160 confirmation page for the interview.
  3. Update the profile on CGI Federal website- Update the new DS -160 confirmation number and SEVIS ID in your profile on the CGI federal Website. This can be done by logging in to your account on CGI. You don’t need to repay $160 as you have would not have taken the interview yet.  In case you are unable to do this for some reason, carry both the previous DS-160 confirmation page as well as the new one for the OFC interview.  You can report it to the consulate before the OFC and they can update the details before your interview.

Scenario III – You have appeared for the interview already and now you need to change the University.

  1. Fill in and submit a new DS-160 with details of new University and again make the payment of $160 on CGI federal website.
  2. Transfer SEVIS as detailed in Scenario Type 1.

We hope this information is helpful.  For any further clarification regarding this, you can post your queries in the visa application module chatbox and the counselors will guide you within 24 hrs. We wish you all a fabulous visa experience this year!

The education in Russia has been focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), with its spectacular feats of sending the first man, first dog to the Moon. There cannot be better proof of the merits and efficacy of the education system in the country. The charm of Russia with its unique history and political narrative is one that has taken centre stage internationally. From the stark weather in Siberia to the warm hospitality of historic townships of Leningrad and Moscow, Russia has a wealth of experience as being a beacon of progress, leadership and innovation, since the period of the industrial revolution.

Having maintained their reputation for being technologically advanced, Russian universities offer preparatory programmes (training for enrolment on Bachelor’s, Master’s and Specialist Degree courses), short courses (summer university, a single term in Russia, summer schools), Russian as a foreign language courses, professional development and additional vocational training. There are 896 universities in the 85 regions of the country, from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok where 657 subjects in Bachelor’s, Master’s, Specialist and Postgraduate Programmes (medical traineeships, postgraduate military courses), and internships and assistantships are offered to national as well as international students.

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Saint Petersburg State University, Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Novosibirsk State University among others are a few which find place of pride among the QS, THE and ARWU rankings, which is a testament to their commitment to excellence. Also, the universities are renowned for being the most reasonable when it comes to tuition, medical expense, living expenses etc. when compared to education in Singapore or even, China. Not surprisingly, there are more than 210,000 international students from about 200 countries of the world, currently studying at the Russian State Universities, whose degrees are internationally recognised.

For admission to any of these universities, it is imperative that applicants send the documents certifying their previous education (a diploma or a certificate), a cover letter, and they confirm their level of English with either an IELTS or a TOEFL certificate. At some institutions you need to submit a CV, a portfolio, references from teachers, and complete an interview in English (by phone or Skype). For further details, please visit https://studyinrussia.ru/en/why-russia/world-university-rankings/.

While most of the courses are taught in Russian, there are certain courses like MBBS, MD, Masters in International Relations etc. that are taught in English in order to attract foreign students. For admission to the Bachelors of Medicine/Dentistry degree, the minimum eligibility is 50% aggregate in Physics, Chemistry, Biology at the Class 12 Higher Secondary Level plus the other requirements stated above. The university fees for the course per year ranges from 1.8 lakhs to 3 lakhs, depending on the university. Similarly, for Engineering, the fees range from 1.8 to 2.5 lakhs per annum.

The fees are subsidised by the Russian government by almost 80% and thus, these benefits also pass on to students from foreign countries through Russian government sponsored scholarships, in your home country. Allocation of quotas is carried out by Rossotrudnichestvo (The Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation) through its international network of offices, as well as through embassies of Russia abroad.  However, the government quota for admission is only applicable to Russian nationals and citizens of Russian declared fellow countries.

Once the university offer is received, the student must apply for a visa at the nearest Russian consulate. Initially, a student visa is issued for three months. After this period you should apply to the local division of the General Administration for Migration Issues of the Interior Ministry of Russia for a visa extension. For the required documents for the issue of a student visa, please visit https://studyinrussia.ru/en/life-in-russia/arriving-in-russia/visa/. Furthermore, there are mandated medical tests that must be completed for the visa process.

The economy in Russia has been slowly advancing and the current government welcomes foreign investment which has led to the privatisation of sectors, bringing an influx of expats and foreign companies. However, your stay in Russia is limited to your study period and if you wish to extend your stay and work, you would need to apply for a work visa permit. Read more about the particulars of the work visa requirements at https://studyinrussia.ru/en/actual/faq/get-job-after-completing-studies/. The greatest demand for workers is in the following: sales managers, sales executives, skilled employees and engineers.

The medical and pharmaceutical sector faces a deficit of skilled labour, while marketing specialists, lawyers, and advertising professionals are far too many. The most competitive jobs in Russia for English speakers are in governmental institutions, publishing and mass media. The average pay for a graduate would be roughly three times greater in Moscow than in Leningrad or St. Petersburg. Moscow also enjoys the lowest unemployment ratio in the country. For more information on the various placement agencies and websites to search for jobs, please visit https://www.expatica.com/ru/employment/Jobs-in-Russia_509599.html.

With the cosmopolitan environment and famed Russian hospitality, it is certain that students who choose to study in Russia enjoy their brush with history and the rich cultural heritage that Russia has come to exemplify. As a prospective student, you have the chance to see first-hand the seat of the former superpower, the U.S.S.R and to experience the wonderful education that has earned Russia a place of pride on the world map.

Subscribe Now
Join our newsletter and get 30% off your next purchase
Get 30% OFF