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Should I Prepare For IIT Or Consider Top Universities Abroad?

Shalini Gupta, Director at, has mentored hundreds of students in taking important career decisions

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When it comes to higher education, there are not too many high-quality options available in India. Suppose you dread the prospects of not getting into an IIT or not getting the course of your choice at an IIT. In that case, you should seriously consider the option of studying abroad.

Shalini Gupta, Director at, has mentored hundreds of students in taking important career decisions like this. Here are her views on studying abroad vs IIT so that you can make an informed decision about your future.

Consider these challenges while preparing for IITs

a) IITs are notoriously competitive. To get into an IIT, you must score high marks on the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). This exam is extremely difficult, and many students spend years preparing for it. If you are not academically inclined or do not want to put in the work required to prepare for the JEE, then an IIT may not be the right choice for you.

b) Entry into the IITs is based entirely on one exam. If you don't do well in that exam, you face the prospects of a gap year or compromising on your college choice.

c) Admission rate in IITs is less than 1 percent, so the competition is very high. There is a lot of pressure to succeed in getting into an IIT. If you do not perform well, you are often looked down upon by your peers and family.

d) If you are preparing for entry into IITs, your entire focus is on cracking the JEE. There is no focus on personality development in classes IX to XII, as schools and parents only want students to focus on clearing the entrance exam, leading to a very lop-sided development.

e) Even if you clear the IIT entrance exam, there is no guarantee that you will get the course of your choice. Nowadays, every student wants to do Computer science, but IITs offer very few seats for this course. Invariably, students take courses they have no interest in, wasting four precious years of their life.

Advantages of studying in top universities abroad

While IITs are considered the best in India, their global ranking is between 170 to 360 (QS rankings). A poor QS ranking means they are not comparable to top-tier universities like MIT, Harvard, Stanford, etc., largely due to lack of research, high student-faculty ratio, and academic reputation.

Here are some advantages of studying at top universities abroad:

a) You will have access to a world-class education. Universities in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom are consistently ranked among the best in the world.

b) Admission to top universities abroad is not based on one exam but various factors, including your grades, extra-curricular activities, and essays. This means that even if you don't do well on one exam, you still have a chance of getting into a good university.

c) There are 30 great universities and more than 100 good colleges abroad like Yale, Harvard, Oxford, and Cambridge, which are ranked way higher than IITs. Top ranks in QS ranking means they set the benchmark when evaluated on international standards.

d) Admission rates in the top universities abroad range between 5-20 percent, so while competition is still high, it is not as cutthroat as in India.

e) Many universities abroad offer scholarships and financial aid, so you may not have to take out loans to pay for your education.

f) One of the biggest advantages of studying abroad is the flexibility of deciding your major after admission. You can study the subjects of your choice and decide on your major later. In India, many students are forced to study a subject they dislike because their rank in the entrance exam decides their major.

g) Studying abroad leads to holistic development as you meet people from all over the world and get out of your comfort zone. You learn to be independent and responsible for yourself. When you leave home to study in another country, you must learn to care for yourself. This can be a daunting task, but it is also an incredibly rewarding experience. One of the best things about studying abroad is that you will meet people worldwide. You will learn about different cultures and lifestyles. This is an invaluable experience you can't get if you study in India, where you are already familiar with the local culture.

h) Finally, after you graduate from a top university abroad, many job opportunities open up for you in top companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Goldman Sachs, etc. The average salaries offered to graduates from MIT, Harvard, etc., is generally 4-5 times that offered in the best colleges in India.


So, which option is right for you? Only you can decide! Studying abroad is the way to go if you're looking for world-class education and willing to pay for it. You'll have access to some of the best universities in the world, and you'll be able to experience a new culture simultaneously.

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