The Importance of Educational Advice
EducationUSA helps debunk myths about studying in the United States and guides students to take informed decisions.
Many students aspiring to go to the United States for higher studies get confused by the whole application process. They can take the help of EducationUSA, the U.S. Department of State network of over 425 international student advising centers in more than 175 countries, including seven in India. It assists students and parents to clarify queries about studying in the United States.
Excerpts from an interview with Tanushka Bali, a senior EducationUSA adviser at the U.S.-India Educational Foundation in Mumbai, about the valuable service EducationUSA provides.
What are the services offered by EducationUSA advising centers?
EducationUSA advising centers provide accurate, current and comprehensive information on higher studies in the United States. Services include up-to-date reference libraries on U.S. higher education; group and one-on-one advising; and regular information sessions, in-person and virtual, on topics related to applying to U.S. universities. EducationUSA centers also conduct specialized information sessions, pre-departure orientations, U.S. university fairs, alumni fairs and webinars, among other activities. The information sessions are free and open to everyone. Students are welcome to contact their nearest EducationUSA center and speak to an adviser.
Please explain the importance of authentic advice for prospective students.
When it comes to U.S. higher education, students often don’t know where and how to start the process. Additionally, there are many online forums where students advise each other, often perpetuating myths related to studying in the United States. It is essential for students to get the right information so that they can take informed decisions and are successful in their applications.
Applying to U.S. universities can be overwhelming without the proper information and guidance. Prospective students should reach out to an EducationUSA center to understand the application process and use authentic resources to help them.
We also encourage students to take advantage of the free seminars we offer and equip themselves with accurate, current and comprehensive information.
How do you help students find the right institution to pursue a course of their choice?
EducationUSA advisers are trained to help students find the “right-fit university” based on their academic profile, budget and other requirements.
We follow a guided advising model, where the student is required to attend a seminar on how to short-list universities. The students are then required to do their own research and shortlist 15 to 20 colleges based on their intended major, budget and other priorities. We follow-up with an in-depth discussion with them about their priorities and their list, and help them finalize the list of universities they will apply to.
Do you also help students with aspects like understanding the application process, procuring finance and pre-departure requirements?
We provide guidance on all the steps involved in applying to U.S. higher education institutions. We have broken down the process into five steps—researching your options and short-listing universities, financing your studies, preparing your applications, applying for a visa and pre-departure orientation. We conduct regular, in-depth sessions on all these topics throughout the year. Students can reach out to us at any step for guidance.
The EducationUSA network has over 425 international student advising centers in more than 175 countries. Please tell us about the centers in India.
There are seven EducationUSA centers in India. The centers in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad are hosted by the U.S.-India Educational Foundation. The center in Bengaluru is hosted by the Yashna Trust and the one in Ahmedabad by the Indo American Education Society.
Do you encourage students to have one-to-one discussions at a dedicated EducationUSA center or is everything done online?
We leave it to the student. The student may visit our center, call or e-mail us. But we always encourage students to start by attending an information session, so that they are aware of the process.
How does this service benefit the higher education community in the United States?
EducationUSA helps U.S. higher education professionals connect with international students. The EducationUSA fairs provide an opportunity for accredited U.S. colleges and universities to connect with prospective students and recruit locally. We also share advice on developing regional and country-specific recruitment strategies, creating programs and products to connect with students, and obtaining information about application and admission issues.
Some EducationUSA centers may provide additional services like organizing school and university visits for representatives of higher educational institutions. EducationUSA advisers also use their expertise to help U.S. institutions develop relationships with local universities and schools for institutional partnerships.
Ranjita Biswas is a Kolkata-based journalist. She also translates fiction and writes short stories.