Published: 01st September 2020
This Columbia grad's book makes applying to universities abroad and bagging a scholarship a tad easier
Consider Admitted: The Missing Guide to Craft a Winning Application & Study Abroad, as your friend, philosopher and guide that will help you through every hurdle that comes in the way of application
Dreams of pursuing a higher education abroad are not easily crushed, pandemic notwithstanding. So if those dreams continue to give you sleepless nights, we suggest you grab Admitted: The Missing Guide to Craft a Winning Application & Study Abroad, which was launched last week. It's a book written by Columbia University alumna Soundarya Balasubramani who pursued her Master's in Management Science and Engineering from there and bagged a dozen scholarships including Cargill Global Scholarship and DAAD scholarship even before she went to the US. And take it from us, this book is different. And the 24-year-old elucidates just how.
Having already written several articles on education, when Soundarya sat down to compile them all in December 2019 and by July 2020, she ended up writing this 368-pager book. "There are people who surrender to consulting firms and for those who do it independently, the task can be overwhelming. The book makes the feat of applying abroad achievable," says Soundarya who spent the first 13 years of her life in Pattaravakkam, near Chennai.
From the book | (Pic: Soundarya Balasubramani)
This dreamy tool
Some of the important topics Soundarya, who is a gold medalist from NIT Tiruchy, covers are choosing the right university, crafting your résumé, writing an SOP and a lot more which, let's admit, you can find in other books and the internet as well. But what sets this book apart are a few unique features. One is a reference document that comes with over 500 external links that provide supplementary guidance; a list of 30 scholarships and resources to find more and our most favourite, the Dream Tracker. This is specially designed by the youngster and will prove to be a blessing for all those lazy potatoes and absent-minded folks who have a hard time keeping track of things. "It is a bunch of excel sheets which will infuse order into the chaos that is applying to multiple universities," she shares. It lists all that you need to get done, like getting letters of recommendation, transcripts and such, and allows you to fill in the deadlines so that you can keep track of everything. It also has little 'READ ME' notes that scream for your attention and draw focus to smaller points. Then there are the degree of design elements and illustrations, that makes for an interesting read and an all the more attractive guide.
Then we jump right to the main question, how does one select the right university? "I propose a four-quadrant approach in the book. Firstly, see if you fit the requirement and yet, always apply for those 'dream universities' too because you never know. Then, look at the two biggest buckets which are academia and research. Check if the courses and projects being worked on by the department align with your goal. Then come the ranking and location," explains Soundarya, who is currently based out of California. Even the SOP-writing process has been broken down into five straightforward questions.
Read up | (Pic: Soundarya Balasubramani)
Still want to go abroad?
But, would it still be wise to apply abroad, given the pandemic and the shift to virtual classes? And what about the volatile Trump and suspension of the H1B visa? "The truth is that universities in the US need foreign students because they bring in revenue," says Soundarya matter-of-factly. She would still strongly suggest students apply to US universities, though it's not a bad idea to look at other countries as well. Talking about the suspension of H1B, the Associate Product Manager at Salesforce opines, "It has been suspended till the end of the year but hasn't become a law. It is highly unlikely that it will be prolonged."
After dedicating about eight months to the book, Soundarya is a satisfied soul. Especially after she and her team of seven who helped her work on the book unanimously decided that all the proceeds from the book will go into helping those who aspire to study further. "I wanted to create a win-win-win model for all. We win by publishing the book and learning more about the process, readers get everything they need to know about applying abroad via one source and the community wins because we will be donating everything we get from the book," she shares and signs off.
For more on the book, check out admittedthebook.com