Published: 10th April 2019
Want to apply to study abroad without using a consultant? Here's everything you need to know
Usha Jesudasan talks about how questions that students asked her years ago led to her book on how to apply for courses abroad
Over 20 lakh Indian students apply to foreign universities every year, but very few get admitted. While not having the necessary qualifications may be a deterrent for many, there are many others who have all the necessary requirements and skills, and yet find it difficult to get admitted to these universities just because they are unable to communicate effectively.
That's why Satyajit Ghosh and Usha Jesudasan decided to write a step-by-step guide to help students with the whole process of applying to foreign universities. The duo recently co-authored a book titled 'A Primer on How To Prepare for Overseas Postgraduate Admissions in Engineering', hoping to answer a lot of common questions applicants might have.
Usha, an education consultant and columnist used to own a little restaurant opposite Vellore Institute of Technology where she often had students come in and ask her, 'Aunty, can you help me with my SOP?'. She would look at it and wonder about the poor quality of writing. Meanwhile, Dr Ghosh, a professor at VIT was also one of her customers and he would also help students with the same.
Right guide: Dr Ghosh and Usha decided to go ahead with the book because they realised that there was a lack of proper communication skills in applicants
When they realised that it was a very common problem among students, they decided to help them out in some way. Usha says, "These children were excellent at their projects, but they lacked the basic communication skills to get them anywhere. Several of them go to agencies that charge around Rs 50,000 to a lakh to get an SOP written. Many of the universities abroad now have software that detects plagiarism, so the minute they see the same kind of SOPs, the applications get rejected instantly."
When Usha and Ghosh started the process of writing, there were a lot of students who managed to get admission in top universities abroad who were willing to share their experiences and help other students. So the book just grew. "Dr Ghosh also has connections with universities like Leeds, Cambridge and Manchester. So feedback from these universities also gave us what was expected from the other end," says Usha. She adds, "A large number of Indian students apply to foreign universities and only a few get in. This book is intended to help every student have the chance to do their applications the right way. There are a lot of students here who are amazingly talented and their ideas can definitely benefit humankind in the next 15-20 years. They just need a chance."
The book answers some basic questions like 'Do I actually need to study abroad, how do I write my final-year thesis, Statement of Purpose, what to say in an interview and how to highlight the best in you. "This book is based on addressing doubts and fears of students applying now. So all the research was done in consultation with Dr Ghosh's students," concludes Usha.