Selecting universities is perhaps the most time consuming and important process.IMP DON’T: There is often a difference between popular perception and reality, so going by what most people say is good for someone else may not be so for youThe best university for you may not be the famous ones, but those that offer you your field of study as well as meet the other criteria important to you. The range of academic options as well as available universities are so wide that it is not possible to select the best in one go and it may take some time.The basic steps involved in the process of selecting universities are:

  1. Deciding on the field of education in line with your interests and past academic background
  2. Assessing your financial capacity and budget
  3. Selecting universities based on the following criterion:
    • Program Offerings
    • Research programs
    • University Rankings
    • Program Length
    • Cost Tuition, living expenses etc
    • Availability of Financial Assistance to International Students
    • Entrance Requirements
    • Tests (SAT,GRE,GMAT, TOEFL etc and minimum scores)
    • Accreditation status (Professional accreditation for some programs)
    • Student Profile
    • Enrollment Total available seats and the size of the school
    • Location (climate, semi-rural, metropolitan city etc)
    • Facilities Library, housing, student associations etc.
    • Type of Institution Public or Private


These are the usual criteria. You could prioritize your criteria out of this list and shortlist the number of universities on that basis to about 10. You could further shortlist your choice on basis of specific issues like tuition fees, availability of financial etc.

Your past academic record is one of the most important deciding factors in getting admission to a college abroad. Most schools require you to have a reasonably good academic record especially for technology programs and courses. Each university has its own minimum requirement for its programs, which are flexible depending on the candidate’s overall profile. It is advisable not to convert your marks to the American Grade Point Average system or any other system since the conversion may not be accurate. Unless you get your credentials evaluated from an approved evaluation agency. You may attach an explanatory note from your college to indicate your rank in your class and/or university. The letter may also indicate your place as compared to the class and the university average and the number of students in the class and the number of colleges and students in the university. You may also provide any other information or documents that you feel may help you in the admission process.

Usually universities DO NOT have a cut off when it comes to standardized scores and usually publish an average score for specific programs, so depending on the strength of your other credentials the university accords a varying degree of flexibility as to the acceptable test score

It is important to understand that most universities offer financial assistance to international students based primarily on merit and rarely on need. The amount, and type of assistance offered varies based on the university, department and level of study.  Also funds are more likely to be available in fields like Engineering, Physical Sciences and Biological sciences.