Passage to the future

P Gopakumar


The announcement of the higher secondary results will be accompanied by a thundering applause for some and for others, a shattering of hope. Educators and experts in the field caution that results should be seen as numbers and not a measure of self worth because there have been many who have achieved success irrespective of their academic record. There have been numerous examples where students, who have not done well academically, even failed examinations, prove their worth in jobs and businesses. Thousands of students will throng the corridors of different campuses in the days ahead in what they hope is a passport to a bright future. There will be a mad scramble for medical college admission. Getting into professional courses like medicine and engineering have been difficult because the competition is high and the numbers of seats limited.

Those who have done foreign language courses after class 12 exams have traditionally found work in translation, interpretation and working in the tourism industry. Better career preparations, greater course variety and flexibility and international exposure are the prime reasons that propel Nepali students to go abroad. Most Nepali students go to the three main destinations, United Kingdom, United States and Australia. The minimum academic requirements for entry to degree courses in all the three countries vary from institution to institution and from one course to the other. One of the basic requirements is a good level of written and spoken English.

While students need to take the TOEFL exam for the US, they can take the international English language testing service (IELTS) exam for UK and Australia. American universities require that students should appear in a compulsory Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). People applying for technical subjects may have to appear for SAT 11. But this varies in different universities. As opposed to postgraduate study, there are no full scholarships at the undergraduate level in these countries. And months of preparation and endless counselling sessions are over. Exams taken, scores declared and admissions secured. Then all you need is that visa application, to realise dreams of studying abroad.

The five minute interview with the visa officer is going to make all the difference. Visa officers have to be convinced of the academic bonfides of the student. In other words they have to be convinced you are interested in the course of study and not just in reaching the US. This is verified by the choice of university and how the choice was made. Another thing to be kept in mind is the financial security. For the first year, at lest, the student has to show liquid cash security to prove that he can support himself/herself in the US. Only in the second year can other assets be considered. Lastly, the visa officer has to be convinced of your intentions to come back. Students are always welcome, provided they are genuine. Financial paper work is also a priority with Canada, as Canada is not interested in non-tax paying sponsors.