September 06, 2017
On September 6, 2017, we had a one on one interaction with two of our alumni, Mr. Chirag Gude and Mr. Ambu Sreedharan. They were students of ICAS back in 2007, and since then, they've gone to strive towards great ventures. Chirag Gude was of the E&C branch, and Ambu Sreedharan was of the CSE branch, and they joined the course with dreams and aspirations of going abroad to a good college. And their dreams did come true when after 2 years, Chirag Gude went to Lancaster University, UK, while Ambu Sreedharan went to South Dakota State University, US.
They gave us several amazing tips and pieces of advice to help us, and reached out to everyone who met them that day to answer all their questions. Along with a brief explanation about what their current endeavors are, they shared some of their ICAS experiences, from choosing suitable universities to exploring various locations in and around Manipal.
There were several questions addressed pertaining to our applications, such as those about credit transfer and extracurricular activities.They also gave some important suggestions for prospective E&C and CSE students. There were even questions regarding life after college, and how we can accordingly plan a secure future for ourselves, while improvising on what we have already decided beforehand.
An interview was conducted by the Editorial Board in which, along with the topics covered during the open discussion, they elaborated more on the transfer prerequisites and what one can typically come across during their first time studying abroad, and how these two can vary country to country. Overall, the entire span of the meeting was very meaningful and broadened our perspectives of everything ICAS can offer.
Here are some of the questions which were asked, and their answers:
1. In the United Kingdom, there’s an integrated degree program called MEng, which some of ICAS’s partner universities pointed out they had. Would you recommend it?
A: We would recommend it, especially for ICAS students who want to become chartered engineers in the UK, as it is a mandatory prerequisite for them. In fact, it is one of the most common undergraduate Masters degrees which is done there. It’s an excellent path for those who are passionate about what they do as engineers and want to start training early as possible.
2. Why is it that most of the students would rather go to the US rather than the UK?
A: To be frank, now there’s a balance which has come about. You see, times have changed. Within the span of ten years, there has been a lot of exceptional developments in the “tech scene” of Europe, Australia, Canada, etc. Back when we were in ICAS, US was the most gone-after country, because it was known, at the time, that it had the largest tech industry in the world. Even though the United States has retained its global reputation as a world leader in technology, many other countries have been able to quickly catch up to that level on a long-scale, one of those countries being the United Kingdom.
3. Essentially, we’ll be applying as international transfers to universities. Over the course of ten years, do you guys feel like it’s become harder and harder to get accepted as international transfers?
A: From a statistical perspective, we can’t exactly confirm or deny anything, because we don’t have the current data. However, if there’s one thing that hasn’t changed from 2007 to 2017, it’s the appreciation level universities abroad have for diversity in their student bodies. They always promote diversity in their university, because it shows that they welcome students from all around the face of the globe as representatives of their university. Because you are applying from India, the universities you apply to would consider it as a chance to further raise the level of diversity.
4. Which extracurriculars would you recommend we do?
A: We can’t exactly give you a list of extracurriculars to participate in. That is totally relative to the student. There’s no set of extracurricular or co-curricular activities which are compulsory for you to do. If there’s anything you’re good at, do your best in that field, such that it’s easier for you to receive a form of accreditation, which you can show as solid evidence when you mention it in your applications. Try to do some projects and/or extracurriculars which pertain to the field you are a part of. Don’t get yourselves caught up in a frenzy of too many extracurricular activities, because you won’t be able to balance the time given to them and the time allocated to your academics. Universities want to see consistency, so even if it’s one club or activity, if you have been putting in your best and consistently showing progress, every chance you get in that field, that would-be a plus point. Just remember to plan well in advance
5. Are we expected to get an extremely high GPA to even consider applying to universities?
A: Definitely not! To be honest, we weren’t the class toppers at all. We were just two normal guys who were studying in ICAS, just like everyone else in our batch. We’re not asking you to fail, but try your best to keep a consistently fair GPA rather than a GPA which continuously changes by a long range, examination after examination. It would also be great if your GPA gradually increases through the course of two years, so it lets the universities know you’re someone who’s always trying to analyze accordingly and improve. The universities you apply to look at your GPA first, and they want to see consistency and stability in your scores, so it is important to give the firsthand priority to your academic performance.
6. After obtaining our degrees abroad, how can we ensure getting a good job?
A: Just like how you took the opportunity to showcase your potential in ICAS, you should continue to do so once you go abroad, and you’ll get many opportunities, so that’s not an issue. You can try for internships, or even get a paper published, during your 3rd and 4th year abroad. The location of your university also plays a big role in getting a good job. If you’re attending a good university, but it’s in a mediocre locality which is not very technologically developed, it may be slightly harder for you to reach out to companies and vice versa. However, if you’re an average student studying in an average university, but it’s located in a major “tech city”, it would boost your chances.
7. Is it difficult to cope with the differences in student life and the atmosphere when we study abroad?
A: It’s not as hard as it might seem to be. As we mentioned before, these universities are very welcoming to diversity in their student body, and you’re a part of that. It might be a little surreal at first, but once you get into the system of that university, it’s easier to adapt to it. The students who got into those universities as freshman may have already formed tight friend circles, so it will be a little difficult to fit in at first. Just remember to keep an open and optimistic mindset about it all. Once you adapt to the environment in the university, you’ll naturally start to gel well with students. Once you have got a good grip on your communication skills, you’ll be able to fit in easily. Overall, this entire process doesn’t take very long. Again, it’s all about you keeping an open mind. As for the classes you attend, just make sure to meet your professors in those universities and tell them about the curriculum you followed in ICAS, so that the professors will have a good idea and can help you out.
Manipal University has quite the diverse student body. So, try to make the most of it while you’re in Manipal, so that you can get a good grip on your communication skills once you go abroad.
8. There have recently been many concerns pertaining to receiving visas. Do you think it’s a big issue, and will it have an impact on us?
A: It’s not that big of an issue, to be frank. When we applied, we didn’t face issues regarding our visas. Even today, it’s not that much of a problem. If you complete the visa process diligently and on time, you shouldn’t face any obstacles. The visa process will not have any implication on your college applications; in fact, the visa process starts after you get the acceptance letters. When you’re applying, colleges will not consider whether you have a valid visa at that point of time. If you take the initiative to reach out to your universities and contact them beforehand, they will try their best to help you out.
9. How can we ensure that most of our credits get transferred to the university we finally decide on attending? Can we attend any sessions during our holidays to cover up for the low credits we might have?
A: Remember to get your research done in advance! Almost all the universities abroad have their own websites, in which they have a separate page for prospective transfer students. Take the initiative to thoroughly look over these pages for the universities you’re keen on attending. Every major has certain prerequisites you should have completed prior to your transfer, so be sure to note down these prerequisites, and accordingly, see how it compares to the course you’re following in ICAS. To ensure maximum credit transfer, just make sure that most of the courses and syllabus you follow in ICAS comply with the prerequisite courses required to transfer to that major of that university. Therefore, it easier to transfer to the partner universities of ICAS. On top of that, the partner universities offer you a good deal of financial aid, so that is something to shed light on.
If you want to get more credits, you can try attending summer school, but that would be best done after completion of your first year in ICAS. However, any projects you might do during this time will not be of any help in gaining credits, although they could be a great addition to your application.