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.

Let’s start with the foundational question, how much money do you need?

Instead of guessing based on your tuition fee, let’s go back to our trusted friend, the Dream Tracker. Navigate to the sub-sheet titled Loan Estimation.

​action​First, spend some time reviewing the sheet and the text added below.

Second, understand that the numbers added there are a very approximate average. Review each category and edit the numbers to reflect your situation. For calculating your rent and food, use the link available next to the table and search for your location. For Visa and Immigration, leave it as is unless there’s been a change in fee.

Finally, add a buffer of 10% on top of the total amount needed, after taking into account scholarships and personal funds. For example, if your loan amount comes out to INR 30,00,000, add a buffer of 3,00,000 on top of it.

Remember, your loan is meant to cover not just your tuition costs, but also your living expenses.

Loans: 101

Let’s start with the definition of a loan.

A loan is a type of credit vehicle in which a sum of money is lent by a party to another party in exchange for future repayment of the value. In most cases, the lender also adds interest and/or other finance charges to the principal value, which the borrower must repay in addition to the principal balance.

Sounds good? Now, along with the loan, there are a few more terms whose definition you might benefit from.*

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