Undergrad Studies In India Or Abroad? How To Decide What Suits Your Child

For many parents with the means to consider it, this is a puzzling time - Undergrad studies in India or abroad? Here are a few pointers.

With admission season on, the question in many parent’s minds is whether their children should do their undergraduate degree from India or abroad. In this article I’ve tried to answer this question of “undergrad India or abroad?”, with my point of view.

Firstly look at your finances

Assuming no aid or scholarship, an USA undergraduate degree can cost 3 to 3.5 Crores, even higher for some leading colleges like the Ivy league ones. UK, Asia, Europe would cost 1.5 to 2 Crores. Are you able to afford this without taking loans, and without touching your retirement fund?

In my view, loans should be taken for undergraduate only if the course is a professional course which offers great job opportunities. For non-professional undergraduate degrees, one will then need Masters too, so better to take a loan for Masters.

The assumption being that the child will make part or full payments for the loans later. But don’t depend fully on the child, as job opportunities are getting increasingly difficult in most countries.

Secondly look at your child – are they abroad-ready?

Is your child very keen on going abroad and dreaming of it for long? Are they prepared for the rigour, climate, to sustain themselves alone, handle emergencies, mental health concerns etc. being away from family and initial loneliness?

Not all 18 yr old kids are abroad-ready. A parent must judge their child correctly if they can survive alone abroad at that young age. I have known many cases where kids couldn’t adjust and came back after an year.

Also don’t read too much into the idea that abroad is necessary for undergrad because it will teach kids independence and responsibility, etc. All kids will reach there at their own pace, even if they study in India.

Thirdly look at the college and course

Is it something which the child will not get in some decent college in India? Or the course combination is such that India doesn’t offer it? Is the college a well reputed, leading college? Mediocre colleges aren’t worth the cost and effort.

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Also the right fit of college is very important, way more than the brand name.

Do not directly compare colleges in India and abroad

Barring our leading IITs and some established colleges, one cannot deny that the top colleges abroad will be internationally way ahead in brand name, teaching methodologies, research, and exposure for child. So don’t compare.

If you choose India, it will be for other reasons like emotional and financial reasons.

If child is very keen and is mentally ready, you can afford it, and it’s a good college and course, then go for abroad.

Don’t be disheartened if you can’t send your child overseas

Alternatively there are many leading private colleges in India are offering a decent quality of education and college experience at a fraction of the cost. Several of them have invested in a great faculty. The emotional aspect of having your young child nearby is also something very huge for parents and child.

So check those also carefully, talk to moms and kids in those colleges, see where kids have gone after undergrad, and see if it fits with your child’s aspirations. It’s a viable option to do undergraduate from India and Masters abroad. Think, analyse, and make your decision carefully.

Note – Above points are not for Postgrad. A postgrad is usually the career decider. By then the child is mature enough to know what they want and can live far alone. Also postgrad is of lesser duration, usually have more grants/aid, and hence cheaper.

Image source: AJ_Watt from Getty Images Signature Free for Canva Pro

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About the Author

Shefali Saxena

Shefali is an ex-software professional having worked in IT in leading MNC banks. She holds Masters degrees in Mathematics and Computers, now following her personal pursuits. She developed a keen interest in education especially read more...

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