Meet Inara Dhrolia who graduated in 2017 and is in the fourth year at University of Toronto. Below is her testament of how counseling at OIS helped her.
‘Being at this university would surely not be possible without all your help. Personally, I was excited to reach out to you again because of the amazing time I had at OIS with you as my counsellors. A school or an education counsellor is a bridge to a student’s current and their future. However, there’s not much help when students reach their future. What I mean is that while universities have mental health counsellors, graduate studies counsellors, and even mentor mentee programs, they aren’t advertised well enough.
An international student has to get by on their own in their first year and ‘figure it out’. Because of this, lots of students find it very difficult to adjust in first year. If prepared well enough, big universities like UofT wouldn’t have the dropout rate they do currently for their first years.’ With the experience Inara has garnered as an international student she has stepped up in community help with her own platform. Here is what she has to say. ‘My friend Zubair Penangwala and I have started a platform, ZippedU that is managed for students by students. With us, you’ll find all the tips and tricks International Students have learnt before and after beginning their study abroad journeys in Canada, directly from the students themselves. We're an independent group - which means our content is completely unbiased - we're not funded or regulated by any external institutions.
We cover topics such as how to budget and manage your finances as a student, how to fast track your PR processes, what kind of residence you should live in, where to buy your winter clothing and much, much more. Please follow us on our social media platforms to know more.
2017 OIS Alumni & ZippedU co-founder
To get in touch with Inara you can message on the social media handles or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any Canada-related study abroad
questions or concerns.
Thank you Inara for this thoughtful platform and for your gratitude to
As it's now the time for students to apply to unis and decide where they want to go, I thought I'd share with you a little something I created that could help them. I know that most people watch 'campus tour' videos or 'life on campus' videos for most universities, but those don't really capture the full vibe of being here - at least I felt that way after being here for a while (I feel old). So, I made a video that captures two whole years of my life here in the most genuine way possible.
Hopefully, this "campus tour" video helps anyone thinking of coming to UW Madison or even any other university as most people wonder what it'd be like to be so independent; if you find this helpful, I'd really appreciate if you could share it with the OIS students. It'll also be some nice time pass for them aside from EEs and IAs they already have!
Here's the link to the video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffPfMa9OvBk
University of Wisconsin - Madison - USA
OIS Class of 2018
Taking gap years is a decision that can be met with a lot of criticism and discouragement from people around us. Personally, I felt very lonely as I saw everyone around me going off to college and chasing their dreams while I was stuck here all by myself. My parents were incredibly supportive and made me realize that I wasn’t alone! That's when it hit me: I had the liberty to make this year full of productivity or get through it by doing just the bare minimum.
I was determined to take this opportunity to not just explore my love for psychology but also prepare myself for college and the challenges that would come with it. And it truly was a VERY busy year. I was working hard at my internship and doing multiple psych courses all while preparing for ACT and IELTS. An unexpected outcome of my gap year journey was that I was able to improve aspects of myself that I never knew needed improvement. The most basic of them being my eating habits and studying patterns.
It was difficult to constantly keep hustling and working especially when there was no real 'incentive' but having my goal for each month precisely planned out was extremely helpful.
Finally, something I realized over the course of 1 year is that taking a gap year or a semester off does not set you back by anything in the larger picture as long as you use it to your full advantage.
Class of 2019
“Are you an incoming first-year student confused about college life? Here is an opportunity for you to connect with current students at your university and get your questions answered!
The Campus Ready Co is a collective of undergraduate students from universities across North America and India that have come together to fundraise for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Our panel largely includes OIS ex-students who have gone abroad to pursue a degree in a variety of fields and have accumulated diverse experiences to share with incoming students.
We are currently offering webinars with a panel of current students as well as coffee chats with a student of your choice to talk about your specific concerns. Now, you can get your questions answered and have a better idea about what life can look like at your university. Whether it is undergraduate research, networking with alumni, on-campus work experience, or anything in between - we are ready to answer your questions. You can register for our virtual coffee chats and webinars here!
Learn about student experiences and best practices from students currently enrolled at your university and do it while contributing to a good cause! We are offering this service as part of a unique fundraiser to relieve food shortages experienced by daily wagers and migrant workers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Bachelor of Media Studies
University of British Columbia, Canada
Class of 2018
I am now an International Student Ambassador for Georgia Tech and also on the Student Board of the University Systems of Georgia. I would like to extend any advice or help to OIS and students who are interested in studying in the United States, especially universities in Georgia and at Georgia Tech. Do let students, who are interested, know about this and you can share my email id –email@example.com – with them too. Moreover, I was awarded the Faculty Honors (highest academic achievement award) at Georgia Tech for the 2019-20 academic year.
Georgia Institute of Technology
LinkedIn and Portfolio
1. There are sports fields, gyms, courts everywhere
2. The town is adorable and an easy 90 minute
train ride from London
3. It's a lovely campus to walk around with
architecture from all different time periods and
lots of green space.
University of Edinburgh -OIS Alumni Mihika Varshnei
1. 43000 students in three colleges
2. Amazing sports facilities which cater to ultra
athletes as well as everyday people who just
want to be active
3. Amazing vet facilities for large and small animals
University of Strathclyde
1. Incredible links to industry throughout the university
2. Big clustered city campus with housing on site. Cheaper and easier to find
3. Has some 3 year accelerated programs as well as 5 year combined courses in
addition to the normal 4 year undergrad degree
University of St Andrews - OIS Alumni Vvidhi Agarwwal
1. Joint degree with William & Mary (US
and UK experience) for classics, econ,
English, film, history, IR
2. Home of golf. Weather is milder than
you think. Never gets hot but they
also rarely get snow so you can play
sports outside year long
Just before winter break, I visited “the land down under”, while this is a song title from my high school days, it was a pleasure to finally visit Australia. It was also an honor to represent OIS during Monash University’s Career Counselor workshop. Australia is of increasing focus amongst OIS students. After my visit, I left with confidence that this interest will only continue to increase as students look to join Monash’s inspiring and innovative educational community. On Thursday, January 30th, OIS hostedMonash University a workshop involving Mumbai area counselors. Parents and students wishing to get in touch with Monash staff are encouraged to contact Ms. Pinky Desai, our local representative, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monash’s motto is “If you don’t like it, change it!”
During my visit, I saw ample examples of how this high-ranking, “Group of Eight” top research university and Australia’s largest, is producing world-class professionals and continuously improving upon their already exceptional programs and facilities. In fact, Monash is the youngest university to be amongst the top 100 universities worldwide, is the #1 ranked university for engineering, pharmacy, and education degrees, and this year beat out all other Australian universities in securing research funding. Monash’s Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Professor Elizabeth Croft, who is originally from the University of British Columbia (UBC), and their Provost and Senior Vice President, Professor Marc Parlange, has taught and led curriculum development at UBC, Johns Hopkins, and UC Davis before joining Monash in 2017. Prof. Croft is leading the development of Monash’s robotics and new Co-op program. “Designers must have the perspective of the customer base,” declared Prof. Croft as she shared her goal of ensuring that the engineering student base better reflects society’s gender balance. Currently, 24% of Monash’s engineering students are women.
Known for their international and multi-disciplinary focus, Monash’s double degree opportunities are expansive with 39% of students electing to add a 4th honors year to a typical degree program. Students can choose to pursue a degree in architecture while earning a degree in civil engineering. Or, how about paring Applied Data Science with Psychology/Digital Humanities. Within the School of Engineering (entry granted with an IB Predict of 33), students study common courses during the initial year and choose their specialization, often changing their pathway, before their second year.
Monash professors conduct research but their primary focus is teaching. They are in the classroom/lecture hall and intimately engaged in each student’s learning process. New programs for 2020 include Applied 25 25 Data Science, Mechatronics/Robotics, Criminology, and PPE (Philosophy, Politics & Economics) with Biomedical Engineering planned next year. Closely linked with industry trends, Monash is always innovating and investing in its programs and facilities. Ranked amongst other top worldwide universities, Monash has more affordable and accessible programs. Monash's Biological Sciences, for example, is ranked on par with the U of Pennsylvania's program ($51,000+ USD/year) and only a few ranking slots below UBC (Canada) ($29,000+ USD/year), the U of Chicago (U.S.) ($58,000+ USD/year) and U of Edinburgh (U.K.) ($33,000+ USD/year). Monash's program has a minimum entry requirement of 28 IBDP points whereas the other programs range from 32 to 39 IBDP points.
The three campuses, scattered in and close to Melbourne's city-center, are inviting with trendy, well-lit buildings and sustainable landscaping. I felt at home and a sense of calm on each campus. I loved their thoughtful nooks and unique mix of spaces for group and individual learning interspersed with cafes, restaurants, and shops that cater to nearly every student's need from banking services and health care to hair salons.
Monash houses its own heart hospital with a new children’s hospital under development. Their Makerspace, an engineer’s library, is a treasure trove, where I interacted with four competitive student teams: their Nova Rover team placed 14th in the world, the Motorsport team aims to prepare industry-ready students and the High Powered Rocketry team placed 2nd in Australia during their first year of competition, successfully launching rockets at 1.8 mach to 30,000 feet to test micro-gravity impacts and gathering payload research data. The Precious Plastic team designs and fabricates creative materials out of recycled plastics, mentoring local children from area schools. When asked what Monash seeks in a future engineering student, Prof. Croft highlighted the following: Chemistry or Physics, the ability to apply mathematical and scientific skills into everyday life, coding and scripting skills, an aptitude for quantitative and science skills with creativity and design learning being an integral part of success. Students who see ideas and can use their creativity to make something happen, who have strong collaboration skills and are multidisciplinary in focus are sought after. Monash is also developing a new Co-op program to broaden pathways for employment.
Monash is passionate about inclusion and giving back to the community. Students have helped develop sign language for science terminology while computer science and virtual reality is used for therapy, to preserve indigenous cultures, improve access for visually impaired persons and to protect heritage sights. The university will begin offering a new BA of Applied Data Science, adding to its 25 science majors available. To promote multidisciplinary learning, students who are majoring in science can take 8 out of their required 24 courses in complementary fields, thereby adding a minor or second major area of study. An impressive 50% of Monash students elect to pursue double degrees blending liberal arts, creative disciplines, and traditional STEM degrees. Their Global Challenges program blends science, business and industry learning with policy and world impact focus. Students become persuasive leaders and entrepreneurs. The Research Honors program seeks to develop effective consultants and leading scientists. It is impressive to learn that Monash offers double the laboratory time in comparison with other top Australian universities.
For students interested in Medical Science, Monash offers a 5-year Direct Entry program through which after successful completion of a 1-year internship, students can be registered as a doctor. They are ranked 32nd in the world by QS and in 2022 will open the Victorian Heart Hospital on campus. Cardiology is one of their research strengths along with a large genetics program. The ISAT test is required for the 5-year medical program and required face-to-face rolling interviews are scheduled from May to December of each year. To help students prepare, sample questions are available on the testing center’s website. On the Parkville Campus, Monash houses its pharmacy and pharmaceutical science programs – ranked #1 in academic reputation and Top 10 worldwide. Applicants must have an IB predict of 33 with HL Chemistry and Maths. Extremely diverse, international students comprise 30% of the student population. There is also a faculty-wide commitment to innovative, experiential learning and industry partnerships for employability. Law studies are also a wonderful route in Australia as there is no LSAT requirement. Upon completion of 4 years of study, students complete a year of tutelage (internship), after which they may begin practicing law without an exam. Students wishing to serve as a barrister must sit for an exam. Their innovative and application-based IT programs focus on contributing to society and cutting edge tech integration with studies in business information systems, computer networks/security, and others. Accredited by the Australian Computer Society, Monash’s IT certification is recognized in the US, Canada, and the UK. Every business and entrepreneurial-focused student gains industry experience while a broad range of double-degree programs enable students to supplement a commerce or business degree with a complementary faculty and area of strength.
Monash offers admission based on predicted grades to OIS students and has two primary intakes: February and June. IB Course students may also apply with submission of standardized test scores; Monash indicated that a SAT minimum of 1190 was needed. Science bound students are competitive with IB SL math, but HL in either AI or AA math is required for the new Applied Data Science degree program. To meet English Proficiency requirements, students need a 4 in IB English Language/Literature SL and a 3 in HL with higher-level courses requiring one mark higher. International merit and leadership scholarships are also available. In general, students are automatically considered for up to 10,000 AUD in scholarship with full leadership scholarships also awarded annually. Entrance requirements seem rather low given Monash’s reputation for excellence but this is because of their inclusivity and desire to be accessible to the average Australian student. Students interested in studying at Monash should apply for housing by September for the coming year, prior to submitting their application. They can wait to accept the housing offer when enrolment is confirmed.
The opportunities for academic and personal growth go on and on with Monash. They are always innovating and reaching out to industry partners to develop new programs and to ensure that the education they are offering tomorrow’s leaders is cutting edge. OIS encourages students to build their future at Monash in Australia! For a file on each of the major faculties at Monash, please consult this Google Drive and this folder with pictures from the Monash University visit.
Ojasee Datar (left) finished her undergrad at Durham University and is now pursuing an MA at King's College London.
Sara Sethia is pursuing MA Econ at London School of Economics.
Aahana Punjabi studying Sports Management at Loughborough University, UK