It is most important that the move to the UK is planned properly to achieve optimum results.
How to achieve the best return on Investment’ on this life-changing experience of studying abroad?
Many students have a dream to go to the UK for higher studies. While this may be a very good idea, however, students should make sure that they maximise the return on their investment on fees, manage living expenses, other related expenses and most importantly 1 or 2 years of precious time.
The current generation of students is highly motivated and aware of what they want and where they want to see themselves in terms of their careers. It is also a fact that ambitious students work very hard to get high grades in Secondary/ Higher Secondary exams to get admission into Medicine or Engineering or Finance/ Business Management.
However, studying in the UK for a postgraduate degree is very different and if their migration is not planned properly, they may regret the decision for the rest of their life as they may suffer an irrecoverable loss of money and precious years.
Therefore, the first step is to plan everything properly.
When should the planning process start?
“When you put your dream on paper and divide it into small steps, it becomes a plan. Else, it remains a daydream.” It is very important to start planning right from the time one starts dreaming about studying in the UK.
Most students lose enthusiasm once they are in their second year or third year in a university. But they will need the same fire and motivation that they had when they were in class 10, 11 and 12.
While the higher studies in the UK can help to:
· widen the horizons,
· build a network with other international students,
· find how UK businesses run their businesses,
· find how UK businesses recruit the staff and,
· help in career progression on a global level.
It is most important that the move to the UK is planned properly to achieve optimum results by including the following planning stages:
Why do students want to study in the UK?
Consider this basic question more seriously. Some students may be thinking of going to the UK for higher studies just because their friends have gone/ are going to the UK. Some parents may also be thinking to send their kids abroad because their colleagues have sent their kids abroad for studies. But is this a good reason to spend huge sums on a degree that may not be useful going forward? Each individual is unique and has a unique set of requirements, so it is important not to follow what someone else is doing.
Priority should be to find the course which will help in finding a better career going forward – a career that will help recover the investment of time and money in higher studies in the shortest possible time.
Does one want to study in the UK and return back or want to continue living in the UK?
This is a vital question. If the family or parents have an established business in India and if the studies are expected to gain knowledge and experience in the UK and help family succession, then it will be a good idea to find a course that will meet these needs.
However, if the plan is to complete studies in the UK and find employment in the UK, then it would make sense to find a course that will help to find a job in the sectors that are in demand in the UK. It would be helpful to do some research to find a course which has a good demand in the UK. London is a global hub for Finance and IT Services and there is a huge demand for healthcare workers like Doctors and Nurses, therefore these may be the sectors under consideration. UK Government also supports start-ups, innovators and creative businesses, therefore there is a wide spectrum to select from.
Searching for Right University and Right Course
Once the answer to ‘Why’ is found the next step should be the answer to ‘Where’ and ‘What’ i.e. what course and in which university?
The UK offers world-class, internationally accepted and respected qualifications that may open up outstanding career prospects.
Searching for the right course well in advance is very crucial as there is a huge demand for seats in top-end universities like Oxford, Cambridge etc. and the fees is also very high.
Financial Planning – including finding Scholarships and Grants.
Once the best degree program is selected/ shortlisted, the next step is to think about the financial outlay and how the requirements will be met.
To give an idea, annual university fees range from £10,000 to £50,000 depending upon the course. On top of this, living expenses, visa fees and other expenses would come to another £15,000 to £20,000.
The first step should be to discuss the idea and expenses involved with parents. While most parents wish that their child gets the best international education, not all parents may be able to support this financially. It will not be a good idea to expect parents to invest their life savings in kids’ studies.
There are various options of scholarships, grants and education loans to consider but these options should be considered in relation to the ‘pay-back’ period or ROI on investment.
Can a Mentor give good advice?
It would be a very good idea to find a Mentor who can help with the process because a good mentor can help in finding answers to the questions about studying abroad.
A good mentor can help define academic, professional, and personal goals, which can help plan studies in the UK with confidence.
A great mentor has probably walked the walk and understands the end-to-end process well. A mentor will help to avoid the costly mistakes that most students make. A good mentor removes the need to reinvent the wheel.
How to avoid the refusal of student visa applications for the UK?
UK’s new visa rules have made it easier and more attractive for international students to study in the UK.
However, to make a successful student visa application following are mandatory requirements:
· CAS – Certificate of Acceptance for Studies i.e., Sponsorship,
· Financial requirements – first year’s full fee and living expenses,
· Knowledge of English as required,
· TB test certificate,
· Latest educational certificates and transcripts, and
· Visa fee and Immigration Health Surcharge
UKVI does not refund the application fees and processing time can be up to 8 weeks so if a visa is refused there may be delays and a possibility of waiting for the next intake.
Working in the UK while under the student visa
As a part of student visa conditions, UKVI may allow 10 or 20 hours of work per week. This is limited during term-time, but off-term students can work full time.
Many students do not plan this permission to work to obtain paid/ unpaid internship or training in their field of interest and accept any job that they can find first. This is not the right strategy.
Invest allowed working time as per visa conditions wisely.
Students should try to work in industries where there is a high demand or where they wish to pursue their careers.
It has been observed that students who perform well during 1-2 weeks of work get further chances from the employers and get better part-time work opportunities.
Based on the performance there will be better chances to get full-time employment and even otherwise this experience helps in finding how UK employers find, recruit and retain the best talent. It is very important to use all these opportunities to learn something new and as taken as steppingstones. Make sure these shorter assignments should also be included in the CV.
The UK now offers up to 3 years of unsponsored extension in Graduate Visa once studies are completed successfully in the UK.
As mentioned above, migrating to the UK for higher education can be a very rewarding journey if proper planning is done and strategy is created.
Listed below are some of the benefits Indian students have as international students in the UK:
· Globally accepted degrees
· Experiencing a new culture
· Integrating and networking with international and UK students
· Learning British work-ethos
· Add global perspective to knowledge
· Career enhancement