According to the QS World University Rankings, currently India is only second to China in terms of international student enrollment in schools across the globe. This is largely because of its population of 1.26 billion, of which more than 50% are below the age of 25. Every year, thousands of students from India leave their home country to fulfill their dreams of studying abroad, something SchoolApply can also help you accomplish! We took it upon ourselves to uncover the reasons behind their desire to study abroad. We’re happy to share some useful insights into the most compelling reasons why Indian students want to pursue a higher education abroad.


Why study abroad?

Why would anyone want to study abroad in the first place? Studying abroad will help you stay ahead of the students who opted to stay at home and study at local colleges and universities. An international Bachelor’s Degree has global recognition that will demonstrate that you have thrived and succeeded in an endeavor outside of your comfort zone. One of the biggest advantages of studying abroad is that your language skills are almost guaranteed to improve. Even if you are studying in English or another language you already know, your vocabulary will grow immensely while living in a new country.

An international Bachelor’s Degree is also a gateway to employability prospects abroad. Indian students who wish to return home and seek job opportunities will have them in bounty. Companies consider international exposure an important factor when making decisions about which applicant to hire. And a Bachelor’s Degree earned abroad will demonstrate to your future employers that you possess a go-getter attitude.

When you choose to study abroad, you can try new activities and sports that may not even exist in India. Depending on where you end up studying, your university may offer exciting extracurricular clubs and classes that will help you broaden your horizons while living in a new country.

And finally, when you study abroad, you will most likely become friends with people from your host country as well as with international students from all over the world. Indian students can join clubs, societies, organizations and online portals that connect them with Non-Resident Indians living abroad. Student-run clubs, sororities and fraternities are great ways to mix with an international crowd and form connections for life.

Indian Student Mobility SchoolApply

Source: World Education News + Reviews

Top 5 reasons why Indian students have decided to study abroad in 2019

1. Ease of admission

Admission to India’s top-ranked institutes is highly competitive given that lakhs of students pass out of high school every year and seats available for admission are quite limited. IIMs (Indian Institute of Management), IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) and AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) are amongst India’s dream schools. The race to secure admission gets much more intense depending on the level of study and discipline. On top of that, students have to deal with the stress of acing entrance exams for certain disciplines, for example the Joint Entrance Exams (JEE mains) for engineering colleges and the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) for medical colleges. A study revealed that on average, a student has less than a 50% chance of securing admission to a highly reputed IIT.

High cut-offs cause even the brightest students to give up on their hope of securing admission to a course and college of their choice. And as a result, students with no guaranteed admission have to think through the final option of studying abroad. Eventually, students with a strong academic standing and enough budget choose to further their higher education abroad. Since undergraduate admission at a highly ranked foreign school is perceived to be comparatively easier, an increasing number of students from India are choosing to take the big leap.

2. More study options

A common concern about the Indian education system is that its academic institutes focus only on delivering popular STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) courses. A segment of Indian students who wish to take the road less traveled, are constantly looking to advance their higher studies abroad just because their desired program is not widely available in the country! Even if the course is available, the universities in India lack expertise and accreditation to shape talented students for a better career path.

On the other hand, there is a rich variety of courses available to international students in countries like the US, UK, and Canada. Schools in these countries offer courses in some of the most contemporary and unconventional fields like entertainment, sports and psychology. For example, a student who wants to study filmmaking in India has fewer film academies or schools to choose from and may end up with just a diploma. Whereas the same student can pursue a fully accredited Bachelor’s Degree and study filmmaking in greater depth if the course is pursued abroad.

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However, if you are interested in pursuing a STEM field at a university abroad, your options aren’t limited. STEM fields are growing in popularity around the world, and you’re likely to find programs that explore these areas (and even more specific sub-areas) everywhere you look. The UK in particular is home to several affordable universities that offer top-notch engineering programs that cover everything from mechanical, telecom and electrical engineering to motor sports, textile and aeronautical engineering. Staffordshire University, Teesside University, Harper Adams University, the University of Bolton and the University of Birmingham are all among the five most affordable engineering universities in the UK.

3. Quality of education

Even though the standard of courses available across colleges in India is developing, there still seems to be a lack of opportunities for practical application of skills learned through conceptual understanding. And because of this, many students in India struggle to get job placements after graduation. The root cause of this problem circles back to the Indian education system emphasis on rote learning to remember concepts rather than understanding them.

In contrast, schools abroad engage students in active learning through class participation, dialogue exchange, case studies, and practical off- and on-campus experiences that make learning fun and meaningful. In addition, flexibility to tailor courses to a student’s interest and the freedom to work on a part-time basis while studying adds to the overall appeal of earning a degree abroad.

Many schools in the US hold a lot of weight when it comes to universal recognition. The Ivy League is a great example of this. Attending a school like Harvard, Yale, or Stanford offers global name recognition, along with strong alumni networks that span the globe. These networks can help significantly with job offers after graduation or with gaining attendance to high-quality graduate programs. Even outside of the Ivy League, though, American schools are generally viewed as offering a high quality education and experience to international students.

If you plan to pursue a career that works heavily in trade or partnering with global organizations, an education in the US can help you build strong US-based networks that can create future business opportunities. There's also a strong culture of innovation and technology in the US, whether you're studying health care, artificial intelligence, or even finance. American universities help foster much of the innovation and technology breakthroughs throughout the world through their research and development departments. International students can benefit hugely from access to technologically savvy labs and other research facilities that American universities offer.

4. Emigration pathway

Emigration is one of the top reasons why Indian students, especially at the graduate level, look to pursue a degree abroad. Countries like the US and Canada offer attractive job prospects post graduation and their flexible immigration policies allow students to seek employment on completion of studies. US National Science Foundation’s Survey reveals that about 80% of students from India and other Asian countries choose to remain in America after completing their graduate and doctoral studies.

Canada has made several recent changes that have increased the options international students have when it comes to living, studying and working in the country – that’s a perfect answer to the question “Why study in Canada?”. In June 2018, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced the launch of the Student Direct Stream (SDS). Effective as of June, this new program replaces the Student Partner Program (SPP) and promises to ensure consistency and efficiency in the student visa application process. Students from India, China, the Philippines and Vietnam can now benefit from faster visa processing times provided that they submit upfront proof of funds and the required level of English language proficiency. If you are a legal resident of any of these countries, then SchoolApply can guide you through the new Student Direct Stream application process.

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Under this new system, students with the required level of English language proficiency and proof of funds will benefit from faster visa processing times. A study permit under the SDS system gets processed within 45 days, as opposed to 60 days under the regular stream.

Previously, the SPP system allowed students to apply to only about 47 community colleges in Canada, which meant that students had a limited number of schools and courses to choose from. Now, with the launch of the SDS, students have the option to apply to Canadian colleges as well as universities. Every college and university with a unique Designated Learning Institution (DLI) number comes directly under the SDS system, which gives international students a range of higher education options to choose from. As a matter of fact, SchoolApply has partnerships with a number of institutes that are classified as SDS schools.

Students applying through the regular process need to submit up to eight documents of finance as proof of funds when applying to study in Canada. This has been reduced to just two financial documents under the SDS system.

It is essential to note that the Student Direct Stream complements the Express Entry System. This means that students who successfully complete their studies in Canada through the SDS process will be on the path to permanent residence and Canadian citizenship.

Individuals who have moved to Canada need to spend three out of the previous five years as a resident in the country in order to apply for a Canadian citizenship. Fortunately for students, half of the time they spend at any Canadian university counts towards the total residency time.

Another change was announced in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). CRS is a point-based system used to assess and score immigrant profiles and rank it in the Express Entry pool. Simply put, the CRS determines if an immigrant is eligible for permanent residence status in Canada or not. It ranks each profile on the basis of several determining factors such age, education, work experience, language ability and adaptability. The Comprehensive Ranking System now awards 15 points to international students holding a diploma or certificate earned on completion of one- or two-year courses. Likewise, holders of certificates, diplomas and degrees earned in three years or more, including a Master’s, professional or doctoral degree, are awarded 30 points.

Another important point to note – not part of the bill, but a promise made by the Canadian government is that there will be a review of the Canadian Experience Class program. This program is very important for international students in Canada as it helps talented individuals who are studying in Canada and wish to become Canadian citizens.

Immigration Policies of Popular Destinations For Indian Students

Country Cost National Marketing Strategy Path to Immigration Work Permits
US Button Flag Icon Highest No No

On-campus work for upto 20 hrs/week: 12 month total curricular practical training(CPT) during study

Post-study: 12 months optional practical training(OPT); STEM majors can extend the period to 36 months

Canada Button Flag Icon High


Int’l Education Strategy


Extra points for immigration applicants with Canadian credentials

Work Permit not required: during study for upto 20 hrs/week

Post-Study work-permit: for upto 3 years

UK Button Flag Icon High


Int’l Education: Global Growth Prosperity


20 hrs/week: if you are in a degree programme or above at a higher education institution

Post-study work permit: cancelled in April, 2012

Doctorate graduates: get one year extension

Australia Button Flag Icon Moderate


National Strategy for International Education 2025


Extra points for immigration applicants with Australian credentials

20 hrs/week during the study; unlimited hours during breaks

Graduates with a minimum of 2 years in Australia can get a post-study work visa for 2 years

New Zealand Button Flag Icon Moderate


Draft Int’l Education Strategy for New Zealand to 2025


Extra points for immigration applicants with New Zealand credentials

20 hrs/week: during study

Post-study: 12 months permit

Germany Button Flag Icon Low


Strategy DAAD 2020


90 days/year: on student visa

18-month visa: extension post-study

Source: World Education News + Reviews

5. Better research opportunities

Students pursuing subjects particularly in research-centric areas like biology or pharmacy do not receive enough support from Indian colleges in terms of infrastructure and resources. Colleges in America, Canada and Britain offer abundant resources to provide students with sophisticated technologies, equipment and infrastructure to conduct in-depth research. Indian students also particularly choose research courses abroad because of favorable climatic conditions, habitat, and in some cases flora and fauna exclusively found in those specific locations.

Studying abroad can be your chance to stay ahead of the rest. SchoolApply will guide you through the whole application process – from selecting schools that suit your preferences to receiving your acceptance letter.

You are now convinced to study abroad. How can you convince your parents to let you pursue this?

When it comes to the topic of studying abroad, it is completely natural for parents to get stressed out and worried about your life-changing decision to leave home. It may be easy to just dismiss their concerns, but that probably won’t help when you need their signature on your university application. Your first stop should be SchoolApply – our education advisors will counsel you on how to get your parents onboard with your plan of studying abroad. And later, they’ll even be happy to speak directly with your parents.

Remember to angle your pitch from the standpoint of surprising benefits that come along with a study abroad experience. Show them how this decision will have a holistic impact on your overall development in terms of academics, personality and beyond. In an increasingly globalized economy, being adaptable and attuned to cultural differences will be an invaluable skill. It is widely known in India that an international degree is highly valued as compared to local degrees. This is why employability quotient of candidates who have studied overseas is higher than local students who are increasingly struggling to stand out.

You will need to be emotionally intelligent at this time to handle the situation. Let your parents talk their heart out about what worries them most. Prove your emotional maturity and ability to handle conflict by chatting with them about what they’re worried about, rather than resorting to teen-tactics of slamming doors and shouting matches.

Remember that your parents want only the best for you. They know you’re capable of doing this – they raised you after all! Be easy on them if they are worried, and remember it’s okay to also show that you’re a little afraid. By supporting each other you’ll gain another lifelong benefit through this experience: a strong relationship with your parents.