Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Look Beyond University Rankings

Originally Published in Hindustan Times Education

A few weeks ago US News and World Report released their college rankings for 2014. Most of the media coverage of this dubious event has concluded that not much has changed, especially among the top 10 colleges. This is important to Indian students for whom US News is sometimes treated as a sacred text. Indian applicants focus is so narrowed on the top 10 (maybe 20) ranked colleges that its almost impossible to convince them to consider applying anywhere else. This is often blamed on a ‘status conscious’ or ‘brand obsessed’ perspective. While this tendency is exaggerated, I offer some reasons why even more supposed practical reasons for sticking with the top 20 are unfounded.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

What to do after 10th?

Previously Published in the Hindustan Times Education Supplement

I realize September is not normally the time students think about plans after class 10 exams, but if you are considering studying abroad either in 11th or after 12th, there are some things you may need to plan for now. Once your 10th exam results start to come in around next April, you will have a wide range of choices ahead of you. 

Extracurricular Activities

Previously Published in Hindustan Times Education Supplement

The application season is officially upon us. As students prepare – some late, some far ahead – most seem to worry about the extracurricular component of the application.

In my experience, extracurriculars are not something you can easily fabricate or embellish. And extracurriculars are not something that can overcome flaws in your academic or testing record. The only exception is if you are a recruitable athlete or musician, a rare situation for most Indian applicants. But even in the case of the amazing squash player who is recruited on an athletic scholarship to a top ranked college, his or her marks will also be very competitive.