A few decades ago, attending a university in the US from Bangladesh was something unimaginable. But now that has changed: Acquiring certain requirements including good CGPA and high scores in language proficiency and aptitude tests may open the door of studying there.
However, the number of Bangladeshi students studying in the US is quite low in comparison to our South Asian peers India and Nepal. Proper guidance and counseling can reverse it.
A student from Bangladesh who is now pursuing PhD in accounting at Trulaske College of Business, University of Missouri, Columbia, explained from what bars a student from studying a university in the US to how to get the chance there.
Information gap and lack of ‘the perception that one needs to be extraordinary to get a scholarship’ are two key reasons students from Bangladesh do not get the chance to study in the US as many as those from India and Nepal do, said Sajid Kamal.
The good news is that things are now improving, he said.
Mr Kamal, also the founder of Jahangirnagar University Higher Study Club, has offered some guidance for the students aspiring to study in the US so that they do not find themselves in a labyrinth on the way:
Being clear about the goals and area of interest
Students should be clear about their goals and area of interest. If they be so, they can find it easy to convince professors to grant them scholarships.
Language proficiency and aptitude tests
Most American universities require International English Language Testing System (IELTS), while some prefer Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Again, most American universities give importance to those who have taken Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) for a Masters’ or PhD, degree, and for a college admission, to those who have sat for Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). For an MBA programme, one may have to sit for Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). GRE, SAT and GMAT are basically aptitude testing exams which comprise mathematical and analytical ability, critical reasoning and verbal reasoning.
GRE score is a scale to measure students at a particular standard which gives a professor enough confidence to hire them as a research/ teaching assistant.
Statement of Purpose (SOP)
Sometimes it is also referred to as a motivation letter in many countries. For an undergraduate level, this term is known as an admission essay. It is an important part of the admission procedure where a candidate basically describes his/her reason for choosing a specific course.
SOP lets students say why they are interested in a particular topic, how they have come so far, struggled through life and what their next plan is to actually know what their personality is.
Letter of Recommendation (LOR)
Candidates need to manage at least 2-3 recommendations from their academic instructors recognising their skills and competencies. Strong recommendations promote a candidate better as, LOR is the testimony of a student from the academic instructors.
Publications or prior experience in research
Although it is not mandatory, a student needs to know the basics of conducting research. Having a publication, especially for a Masters’ and PhD degree, is always a plus point. With this, professors can have an idea about the student’s knowledge.
To know more, students may go to educationusa.state.gov. Moreover, EMK centre is there at the US embassy in Bangladesh where free counseling sessions are offered, which may help students too.
Shafin Saif is currently studying international relations at Jahangirnagar University. Email: [email protected]