GRE, financial aid and future plans

GRE, financial aid and future plans

GRE, financial aid and future plans

Raja Reddy

Dear Sir,

I have completed a degree in Electronics & Communication. I took a year’s gap to work but ended up only doing a short-term course in Electronics. I plan to give the GRE  this year. Will my gap year influence my scores and admission into a university abroad?


Dear Manav,

It is good that you have one year of practical exposure by doing a short-term course in Electronics. This will help you to focus on your area of interest when you take up the Master’s course abroad. In general, any additional course — particularly related to the field of study already followed — helps. So, you need not regret the one year that you have spent in doing an additional course. Since you have not mentioned what your academic performance in your engineering course has been, I presume you have done well. Now focus on attaining a high score in GRE and TOEFL/ IELTS. Your admission to a good university abroad depends on your academic performance and your scores in the entrance tests. Universities in countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany do not require GRE scores. However, a high GRE score helps you to gain admission into a good college/ university in other countries.

Dear Sir,

I will be leaving for the US in September to study Archaeology in Texas. What are the chances of getting an assistantship at the university or finding work on campus? What is the procedure to be followed? How well do these jobs pay? Will it cover accommodation and living costs?

Arjun S

Dear Arjun,

When you say that you are going in September, I presume that you have already been admitted into any one the universities in Texas and have received the necessary I-20 form. In the new economy,   where an increasing number of Indian students are going abroad for higher studies,  it is difficult to get any kind of scholarship or assistantship. But subjects like archaeology and marine biology are exceptions. The chances of securing an assistantship in these subjects are far higher compared to popular subjects such as IT and technology. Should the professor concerned, in the university where you have been offered a place to study, have enough grants for the research work being carried out by him/ her, then you have a chance of getting some kind of financial assistance.  It also depends on your academic performance here and in the entrance tests. There is intense competition for financial assistance and only the top performers stand a chance. Apply for aid to the university well in advance. It can be done from here soon after your admission is cleared. Often the possibility of obtaining financial aid is high once you are present in the university and your academic records are properly scrutinised. Should the scholarship or assistantship that is offered cover your tuition fees, then what you  earn by utilising the legally allowed 20 hours of work, whether in campus or outside, would be enough to manage your living costs.

Dear Sir,

I’m in the third year of a degree in Microbiology in Bangalore University. I want to specialise in stem cell technology as it is believed to be an area with a lot of potential in the future. I am also considering the option of studying abroad (specialising in biotechnology). What are my options after microbiology?


Dear Kamal,

Staying focused on what you want to specialise in always helps. Having done a three-year basic degree you are eligible to seek admission in universities in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Many universities offer an intensive, one-year MS degree in various fields of stem cell technology.

You also have the option of specialising in many domains of microbiology such as pure science or in biotechnology.  

Most universities prefer high performers as there are no other entrance requirements other than IELTS for English language proficiency.

Be aware of the financial expenditure involved. It roughly adds up to Rs 8 lakh for tuition fees a year, and other costs are between Rs 6 lakh and Rs 8 lakh, including food, accommodation, travel etc.