If you are thinking of applying to study overseas, there are some skills you probably need to think about developing to succeed.
The first of these is around the whole purpose of education mindset. In India and many other countries, education is seen as something of a closed sum game in which the objective is to get high exam marks. You get these marks by drilling for the exam, because the only point to the process is the grade you achieve.
This is not the case in the top tier university countries. In these countries, the point of education is to train you to think. Your learning is all about acquiring the tools that help you make your own judgements and decisions about the right course of action in a given situation. In this system, there is no binary right/wrong systems thinking, but rather the much more complex, holistic thinking that embraces uncertainty, ambiguity, volatility and feedback loops.
In most subject matter domains, you will be asked to produce evidence of the way in which you think about a problem situation. If this requires formal use of let’s say engineering discipline logic, you will be required to evidence competent, confident use of that logic. But the whole focus of the marking scheme will be on the way in which you show you are able to think about the situation from a perspective which is your own and which may lead to unconventional insights in how to create system advantage or co-create innovation in ways which change the game.
Indeed, it is this ability to co-create new systems thinking that now has the highest value in the economy because everything we look at in terms of future innovation demands a completely fresh perspective on matters such as energy use, pollution, climate change and equitable use of resources to avoid potential future conflicts around access to food, water, energy, safety, health, livelihood and future human happiness.
So, the very first thing for you to consider is your ability to express your thoughts clearly on paper. This is called academic writing in the university context. Academic writing basically describes the way in which students evidence their thinking for assessment.
Good academic writing follows a set of conventions about the way in which you show your domain knowledge, your ability to reference academic expertise and research, and your ability to give expression to your own unique voice and way of saying things. To become proficient in academic writing takes training and practice.
So, to succeed in an overseas education system, you will probably need to enrol in an academic writing course so you acquire this skill early so you can use it to full advantage in every phase of your application process and education thereafter.
The application process is also something that you need to think about because the way in which you describe your reasons for wanting to study and your experience in learning to date, will all tell the university about your stage of maturity and your ability to cope with the learning load in the course you are applying for.
The first rule here is that your application needs to be authentic – it needs to talk about the real you, your passions and drivers. However, it needs to do this in a way which is coherent and purposeful. Everything you say about yourself should evidence your ability to learn and put your learning to practical use.
You need to show you are a full person with a wide range of interests that create enjoyment and satisfaction in your life. This is because everything shows that students with outside interests tend to cope better with the academic environment, not least because they understand instinctively about finding a meaningful work/life balance that gives them enjoyment and satisfaction in all that they do.
There is also increasing evidence that well-rounded students are better able to integrate knowledge, wisdom and insight from the different areas of their life in ways that create true innovation and breakthrough capability.
And, finally, it is fair to say that students with a broad range of interests are probably better able to talk and communicate with a range of diversely different people because they are used to dealing with others in a range of different contexts.
The world of study and work now is all about this ability to communicate with others and explain your thinking in ways that they can clearly understand. This is all about being able to think independently while being able to work well within a team.
To earn your place in most highly ranked overseas universities you will probably have to come through an interview process. Usually, this process is to check that you really are able to show in person everything you say about yourself in writing. Again, the best way to prepare for this is probably through a process of reflection on your career ambition, your current strengths and weaknesses and the options that make most sense to you as you think through all the potential pathways that are opening to you at this precise point in your life.
This coaching or mentoring process allows you to deepen your understanding of yourself in ways that carry conviction and certainty, all of which help you find what is right for you in ways that also impress others when you talk about what you want to achieve and why it matters.
So, this is all about ways in which you find yourself and are able to express yourself authentically to different audiences. The earlier you engage in this process, the more likely you are to find some hidden openings to a career future through overseas that truly excites you while actually deepening your mind and capacity to both avail and benefit of that education in full.
In a way, like the academic writing process described above, there is no binary right or wrong choice in this process, merely a recognition of the complexity you yourself bring to life and the way in which you can create unique advantage and satisfaction for yourself and all the stakeholders in your education and career by cutting through that complexity to give voice and honour to the deeper you.
Overseas education is not just about what you learn, it is about how you learn and how you see yourself through the various cultural lenses that will open up to you. The more you are aware of this, the higher value you create for yourself both in terms of your academic and future innovation and cocreation capability. The more you understand this, the more employers you will have keen to employ you because these skills are both the most in demand and the shortest in supply!
ScotsGrad is a pioneer in establishing the UK, especially Scotland, as a premier destination for higher education among students in India. They provide end to end advisory services including psychometric assessment, personalised interactions, university and visa application assistance, and career guidance. The personalised interactions with our members, former graduates of leading UK universities, ensure a holistic and systematic approach. They are also the only consultancy in India enabling “career success” for any student going to the UK.
To know more, get in touch with the team through any of their social media platforms:
All the Best!