Ashish Fernando, Founder and CEO, iSchoolConnect

Ashish started his career as a Software Engineer with Thomson Reuters Inc., building their flagship investment research solution – Thomson One. He then went on to take multiple executive roles in Program Management and AI before managing the Data Science and Engineering business in the Insurance vertical. Ashish is a university gold medalist in Biotechnology and later went on to study Bentley University’s flagship MBA in 2014 with a 100% scholarship.

Ashish founded iSchoolConnect in 2017 to solve the pain point of many parents and children: getting unbiased, hassle-free admission in foreign colleges. After going through the same trouble of finding a college to study that fit his needs, Ashish launched iSchoolConnect with a vision to democratize the global admissions market for graduate and undergraduate programs. Through the effective use of artificial intelligence, iSchoolConnect aims at being the most cost-effective and advanced solution for connecting students and schools worldwide.

Between remote learning options and adaptive curriculums, university admissions across the globe have certainly changed after 2020. But what do universities expect from students and how can Indian students stay ahead of the race?

After the initial months of COVID-19, top universities across the globe rapidly updated their teaching methods and admission processes. Legacy institutions such Harvard, Yale, ISB, IIM Ahmedabad are still looking at factors like perfect academics, excellent student profiles, test scores, and lastly great Letter of Intents. But, which other out-of-the-box factors can you consider to boost your chances? Here are 5 such factors:

Your Test Score are no longer important

Due to the limitation of resources during COVID-19, many universities are now waiving off test scores and other admission requirements. Even top institutions like the University of Oxford, California Institute of Technology, University of Illinois, etc. are waiving off prominent tests like the GRE exam for their Master’s programs. Since those qualifying criteria are gone, students who present their profiles in the best possible manner with impressive Statements of Purpose will be preferred.

Perfect your profile

Just like the admission requirements, universities are also offering waivers for certain documentation and extending the application deadlines for students. If you have your letters of recommendation, work experience certificates, and other prominent documents in order, it gives more credence to your profile. Not only that but, study abroad experts state that with the excess of applications pouring in, universities are also likely to pay more attention to the initial applications. Remember, the early bird gets the worm.

Knowing your university can increase your chances

One of the lesser-known methods of gaining benefit is to network with the right university officials using social media platforms such as LinkedIn. It can increase students’ chances of admission. With university education going digital, professors and officials are more active on these social media platforms than ever. When institutions go through all the applications, students who have focused on outreach stand out more than ever. Not only that but institutions such as the University of North Carolina, USA have created virtual apps such as GEAR UP VR that allow students to get campus tours and connect with the university.

Adapt to the flexible study options

It’s important to demonstrate your ability to adapt to the new changes universities are undergoing. Universities across the globe have made changes in their curriculums to help students adapt to the new normal. While many would hesitate to apply for these changed curriculums, other students have the chance to take advantage of these unique changes and indicate their ability to adapt. This list of universities not only includes universities overseas but also top Indian institutions like the Indian School of Business. ISB implemented new modules into their Post Graduation Programs(PGP) through the use of blended learning. They declared that this new format will be a 52-week format and will include many new value-added elements and projects. Sounds like a golden opportunity for all students.

Upskill technically

In most countries, only 20-30% of companies have their employees coming into the offices physically. All other industries have gone digital and employees are working from home. This, in turn, indicates that those who show their proficiency in several digital skills would automatically have an edge over the other applicants.

Apart from these skills, more than 73% of university admissions officials have said they look for evidence of a students’ ability to work well in groups, soft skills as well as the Higher Education landscape may be changing but students must stay ahead of the game and improve their own chances of admission.

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