US varsities taking holistic view of Asian students’ applications

Saturday, February 5, 2011

NEW DELHI - The focus is shifting from the entrance test scores to a holistic assessment of the profiles of Indian and Asian students aspiring to pursue higher education in the US and Canada, officials said Saturday.

IDP Education India, one of the largest education placement companies in the world, is currently hosting global education fairs showcasing US and Canadian universities across the country for aspiring students.

The universities are paying attention to other things than just test scores lately to judge aspiring Asian students seeking admission to American universities. They are trying not to penalise the profiles of students if they fail to log high scores in SAT, GMAT and GRE entrance tests, Luna Das, IDP Education’s national manager for training and client relationship (North America), said at a press briefing here Saturday.

Citing a recent instance, she said: An Indian student who scored 580 in GMAT (Graduate Management Test Examination) applied to study master of business administration at the Stanford University.

Usually, one cannot expect a student with a GMAT score of 580 to make it to Stanford University. But the university took into account the student’s exceptional credentials, professional experience, insightful essays, social work and contacts in the industry to decide that his presence would add value to the classroom.

She said the IDP expected to send nearly 250 Indian students to the US in 2011 fall term. The firm partners with 80 US universities and counsels students applying to 200 universities in America.

According to Mirjana Radulovic, international marketing and recruitment specialist at the University of Waterloo in Canada, more and more universities in North America were adopting a holistic approach to admission than just relying on the entrance test scores.

Her university, which works with the IDP Education, was no exception.

Many universities in Canada do not require entrance test scores. We assess students on their bachelors programme and high school scores, Radulovic said.

A tentative break-up of GMAT scores for outstation students for the year 2011 and the corresponding ranking of universities shows that non-American aspirants with an average score of 700 and above are eligible for US universities like Harvard University, Stanford University, U-PENN (Wharton), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT-Sloan), Northwestern (Kellogg), Columbia University , Berkeley, University of California, Yale and New York, says Learn Hub, a campus listing group.

A tentative trend of the average Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for 2010-2011 shows that top US universities like the MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, Georgia Tech, Cal Tech, Harvard and Cornell require a aggregate of 1,200 and above.

Pointing out changing trends in technical education, Jeffery W. Grundy, director, office of international students and faculty of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, said: Students from India were more inclined to newer streams of technology like bio-informatics, bio-medical technology, electrical technology, pharma-tech and communication technology.

Nearly 99 per cent of Indian students wanted to have work experience in the US, he said.

The New Jersey Institute of Technology has 670 Indian students in its fraternity of 1,250 students.

IDP has a network of 17 offices in 16 cities of India. We are planning to set more centres in northeastern India and in Ranchi and Patna, a spokesperson said, adding that the “next two years would see at least 30,000 to 32,000 Indian students applying to foreign universities after a period of low following incidents of racial violence”.

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