Mr. Kohli added, “United States has over 4,800 accredited institutions and accounted for over 25% of the top 200 universities in the world as per the QS World University Rankings published in 2010.” With almost 20 million students enrolled in these educational institutions, United States accounts for one of the largest higher education systems in the world.
Swaraj Nandan, Co-founder and Director of KIC UnivAssist, who is based in New Jersey said, “Many U.S. institutions rank among the best in the world. For example Harvard, Stanford, MIT and Columbia universities are all recognized for providing the best academic environments for students to excel i.e. world class faculty, cutting edge coursework and infrastructure.”
The US also offers the most exciting career prospects to international students e.g. as per the 2009 TopMBA.com survey, average salary of a US. MBA graduate was over $90,000 as compared with $87,000 for an MBA graduate from Europe.
The US is welcoming talented students from around the world and wants them to be a catalyst in America’s growth. US President Barak Obama said in the state of union address last month “many students come here from abroad to study in our colleges and universities. But as soon as they obtain advanced degrees, we send them back home to compete against us. It makes no sense. Let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people who could be staffing our research labs or starting a new business, who could be further enriching this nation.”
The KIC UnivAssist study found that the decision to apply to universities is highly complex with students and parents considering a variety of factors in the choice. The primary factors that are considered are ranking of the university, quality of programs, cost of tuition and living, whether relatives live close by, etc. Usually a high school counselor plays a very important role in guiding the student and their parents regarding the options available. At times students also take the help of paid counselors who can help them in the choice of universities and also guide them regarding the application process.
In a survey conducted among students by KIC, almost 70% of the students felt it was important to interact personally with universities. Leveraging this learning, KIC UnivAssist has designed small group tours to provide one on one interaction between the students and the universities.
With 2011 application season to international universities in full swing, KIC UnivAssist began a 5-city tour in Mumbai hosting universities and institutions from USA with a simple objective – to connect them with the right fit Indian students. During this tour there are four quality educational institutions that are traveling with KIC including the Foothill and DeAnza community colleges from California, Savannah College of Art and Design, University of Cincinnati and University of Northern Iowa.
The mix provides an opportunity for students to get information about the programs these institutions offer, the diverse career choices and also scholarship opportunities available. Over the next 10 days the tour will visit high schools in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi showcasing the US institutions to students wishing to pursue their Bachelors degree in the US.
Mr. Kohli said, “The smaller group of institutions provides an opportunity for the students to hear from the visiting universities about their programs while also giving students enough time to get their questions answered making it a productive discussion. In-person interaction with University representatives is the best way for students and parents to get to know international educational institutions.” With a network of over 250 high schools and colleges, KIC has a hand on the pulse of the needs of the students and counselors.
India is at an exciting stage with annual economic growth forecasted at 8% for the next decade and with half its population under 25 years of age. Experts say India’s “youth bulge” could turn out to be its greatest asset or a significant challenge if the country fails to provide education and jobs for its burgeoning workforce. As India continues to work towards this massive goal, Indian students will continue to consider quality educational institutions internationally for higher studies. This is where KIC UnivAssist fills a strategic need to connect universities from North America with interested students in India. “Our interest is in finding the best fit for both the student and the university. By bringing them together we feel we are in our little way helping the cause of creating a better future for the student and for India” said Mr. Kohli.