You’re reading an excerpt of Admitted by Soundarya Balasubramani. Written by an Ivy League graduate from India, this is the proven guide for students worldwide looking to pursue undergraduate or graduate study abroad in the U.S., Canada, or Europe. Purchase for instant access to the guide and other exclusive resourcesβ€”including sample SOPs, sample resumes, scholarship lists, and a private community with other readers.

At the end of all this T-talk, go back to your best buddy, the Dream Tracker, who has kept track of all your work so far.

​action​For the vertical bar where you dived deeper, keep track of your findings and modify the scores for each of the columns accordingly. You also don’t need to resort to using just numbers. Add a new column to record the qualitative feedback and information you obtained from your research.

For the horizontal bar where you looked at newer factors, create new columns once again to record your feedback.

Finally, add the relevant information from the What’s New? quadrant for each of the universities, if any.

With that, you are armed with everything you need to make that decision.

The Final Element

We all build our own frameworks to get to the solution here. The way I chose a university to study at is different from the way Sai, or anyone else, did.

​story​Sai told me that he loved the four years he spent in Trichy, even if he didn’t put a lot of thought into choosing to study there. When he got admits from all seven universities he applied to, he took the opportunity to dive deeper into each to find the optimal one. He made a list of the five most important factors that will affect his experience, based on research, and asked his seniors and mentors to rank their importance. The five were: curriculum, reputation, tuition, weather, and proximity to the industry. He chose Dartmouth in the end due to the flexibility of coursework, reputation as an Ivy League, and scholarship offered to offset the tuition.

On the other hand, I certainly did not love Trichy, but I loved the limited freedom and independence I had. From my viewpoint, Trichy was a city with too many temples, sparsely populated restaurants, and a single theater (at least in my time). Even before I sat down to evaluate the admits from Columbia, Cornell, and Dartmouth, a part of me knew I would choose Columbia. Maybe I chose Columbia for its reputation and course curriculum, which let me work as a student consultant for startups in New York. But maybe, a small part of me chose Columbia for New York. Maybe I wanted to get away from the austere environment for a while and immerse myself in one that was chaotic and exhilarating. It’s hard to tell the difference.

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