7 Question Sunday - On Visas, Scholarships & SOPs

1. What is the average processing time of a student visa?

The entire process can take up to 3 to 4 weeks. This processing time can vary based on the nature of your study and the courses you are taking. It is a good idea to make sure you gather all the documents you may need ahead of time. The sooner you start the process the better it will be for your prospects.

2. What should I know before studying abroad?

  1. Set a budget for your education

  2. Research study abroad programs

  3. Decide where to study

  4. Determine the right country and the right university

  5. Check work opportunities for students

  6. Understand what documentation & paperwork is needed.

  7. Have your application checked by an overseas consultancy (its free!)

3. Are there any scholarships for Indians to study abroad absolutely free?

There are several scholarships for Indian students who wish to study abroad! Although, not all scholarships are entirely free. It's important to know which type is best for you.

Types of Scholarships:

  1. Merit-based scholarships: Awarded to students who show a high level of achievement in areas such as academics, sports, arts, etc.

  2. A need-based scholarship: Awarded to students who need financial assistance to pursue their education.

  3. Student-specific scholarships are offered to students of a specific category, gender, class, race, medical ability, etc.

  4. International Scholarships are offered for studying higher education from abroad. Although these scholarships are highly competitive several studies abroad destinations offer attractive scholarships for Indians students for graduate and postgraduate studies.

  5. Subject-specific scholarships are offered by the colleges or academic institutions to students who are planning to pursue a specific subject or field of study.

There are other scholarships such as Sports scholarships, Talent-based scholarships, Government Scholarships and Scholarships offered by public/private universities.

Scholarships for Indian students to study in the UK:

  1. British Council GREAT scholarships for Indian Students

  2. University of Oxford Felix Scholarships for Indian Students

  3. Heriot-Watt Undergraduate Merit Award

  4. Ms Agatha Harrison Memorial Fellowship at St. Antony’s College

  5. LSE Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS)

Before applying for any scholarship, follow these three simple steps:

  • Make sure to check the official website of the college/ university/ institution; read and understand beforehand the educational requirements and scholarship rewards

  • Most international universities have a separate section for financial aid & scholarships for international students specifically, make sure you go through once

  • Please understand that scholarship rewards vary for different universities and for a different level of programs, you must prioritise your needs and requirements before finalizing.

4. On what basis can a UK student visa be denied?

It depends on which student visa you are talking about as there is the Tier 4 visa and the Short-term Student visa. The requirements vary for the two but both can receive refusal under the General Grounds for Refusal. Speak to the institution you plan to study at for advice on how to avoid a refusal.

5. Could I work in the UK while studying for a master’s?

Yes, in term time you are allowed to work part-time, up to a maximum of 20hrs per week.

While on a break from your studies, you can work full-time until you return to university

This only applies whilst you are a student and actively enrolled at a university.

Once you have finished your study and graduated, you will need to apply for a work visa to continue working.

6. How should an SOP (Statement of Purpose) be written for a master's program abroad?

  1. Plan your work in advance: Don't submit your first draft.

  2. Don’t use cliche phrases: Show why you are the best candidate for the course.

  3. Remember your target audience: Write your statement so that your reader will not lose interest while keeping it professional.

  4. Keep it concise: One or two pages is fine

  5. Proofread your work: Do not submit your SoP with any errors, make sure you edit and proofread it. Alternatively, have someone else look over it with a fresh set of eyes

7. For an international student, which country charges fewer fees for pursuing higher education, UK or Canada?

The UK charges fewer tuition fees for higher education courses from international students, no doubt.

Besides, the course duration is shorter in the UK than those are in Canada - therefore, you will pay tuition fees for less duration and spend less for living and other maintenance costs.

You will also gain on opportunity costs as you will be ready to accept your next opportunity, either further study or job quicker as you will be qualified earlier from the UK.