Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Here’s how you can shortlist the right universities to maximize your admission chances

Before choosing subjects for grades XI and XII, you need be clear about your long term goals.

By India Today Education Desk: Preparing for university admissions is a long, involved, and exciting process. There is anticipation about starting a new phase of life, coupled with anxiety at the uncertainties the future may hold.

While several factors like grades, test scores, essays and letters of recommendation are common in the admissions process, it is important to first identify universities that match the students’ academic profile, interests, financial ability, and long-term objectives. That initial university list allows for focused preparation and improves the chances of success. Here’s what expert Vivek Bhandari – CEO and Founder of Scholarly has to say.


Before choosing subjects for grades XI and XII, you need be clear about your long term goals.

Do you want to become a doctor? Do you want to study law? Would you eventually like to start your own business? Do you plan on pursuing a higher degree like MS, MBA etc.? Answering these questions is crucial to the admissions journey. The subject selection needs to closely align with your choice of major and career you eventually plan to pursue.


The next step is to define your geographical preference. Would you like to work in Silicon Valley? Or as an aspiring finance professional, does the thought of working at Wall Street excite you? Maybe you want to start your own business in Bangalore. Or maybe, you want to study medicine abroad but are undecided about where you ultimately want to practice.

Once you have answered these two questions about

A) What to study and

B) Where to study you can move on to the next steps


Students should try to create a university longlist at the beginning of grade XI. By this time, students have their grade X results, and should use their performance to develop an initial list of target universities. This longlist helps students understand how their efforts over the next 15 – 18 months can impact their admission results and helps them prioritize their activities.

Several data points such as academic performance in grade XI, standardised test scores, advanced placement grades, research papers, art portfolio, extracurricular activities etc. are only finalised by the beginning of grade XII. At that time, the university shortlist can be created from the initial longlist.


The best way to find out information about a university is to speak to people associated with it. Current or past students can share their experiences and provide a useful insight into college life. University representatives and admission officers are usually happy to answer questions and provide extra information. Students can reach out to them via email and clarify their doubts.

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