Your Guide to Applying for a Postgraduate Course in USA

Your Guide to Applying for a Postgraduate Course in USA

If you dream of pursuing a masters or a doctoral degree from one of the world’s most prestigious colleges, it’s never too early to start planning.

USA is home to some of the world’s most prestigious educational institutions. Universities in America are the frontrunners of research in almost all fields. Every year, the US takes in close to 800,000-1,000,000 international students.

If you are a student looking to pursue a postgraduate degree in a foreign country, USA offers commendable research-led programmes and state-of-the-art facilities in both academic and professional fields. However, to make it to one if these universities, every application goes through an extensive evaluation process.

Go through our guide to make sure you send in a complete and impressive application well within the deadline.

Evaluate your eligibility

For postgraduate degrees, most American universities require applicants to have 16 years of formal education. In India, this typically adds up to 15 years (12 years of school and three years of bachelor’s degree). However, quite a few American universities now accept 15 years of formal education, often giving more weightage to other criteria like GMAT/GRE scores, academic scores, and statement of purpose. Before applying, make sure you check the eligibility criteria of your shortlisted universities on their websites. If you are targeting a particular university that is strict about the 16-year rule, consider taking up a one-year PG diploma course in India in a related field before you apply.

Some colleges require applicants to have some professional experience, especially if you’re applying for a master’s in medicine, technology, or education. So, taking a year or two off to take up a job or internship may work in your favour.

Plan your finances

Pursuing a postgraduate programme in USA can cost you anything between Rs.12.5 lakh to Rs.38 lakh. Here too, planning in advance gives you an important advantage. If you realise early on that you will require financial assistance, you can target colleges that offer scholarships and grants. These are usually merit-based for international students and you will have to submit a different application to be considered for them. In case you do not qualify for the scholarship or the amount granted is insufficient, you can also apply for a loan against property for education. The advantage of the latter is that you can avail a large sum of money—up to 75% of the value of the property mortgaged—at low interest rates and enjoy a flexible repayment tenor. This allows you to use the funds not only to pay tuition fees, but also other living expenses with ease.

Start early

The application process for a master’s programme in the US can be really intense and time-consuming. However, the earlier you start, the less stressful it becomes. Ideally, you should start working on your application towards the end of your second year of bachelor’s, which gives you enough time to shortlist your colleges, study their requirements, get your documents in order and—once you are enrolled—apply for a student visa. Most colleges have March as the deadline for accepting applications for sessions beginning in the fall. Some also accept applications as early as 8-10 months before the course commences. If you would like to be considered for a scholarship, it is best to meet the early deadline.

Ascertain test score requirements

A key component of your application will be your graduate admission tests scores. The most commonly accepted tests in USA are the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). While GMAT is used for admissions in MBA programmes, GRE is not specific to any discipline. The cost of taking these tests ranges from Rs.12,500 to Rs.20,000. One test score is valid for five years. A number of publications like Princeton Review, Barron, and Kaplan offer comprehensive self-study guides with sample questions and practice tests.

Once you have received your scores, you can choose to reappear after 21 days. It is better to take the tests about 6 months in advance, so that you can reappear for them without missing your application deadline in case you are dissatisfied with your score.

For applicants from countries where English is not the native language, it is mandatory to submit proof of proficiency in English. You can appear for either the IELTS or the TOEFL, which are conducted all year round in most metro cities in India. The registration fees for both tests is around Rs.11,000 and both scores have a validity of two years, so you can take them in advance, much more your college application is due. Do note while English is one of the most commonly spoken languages in India, and is even used as the medium of instruction in most schools and colleges, this does not exempt you from submitting a proof of proficiency.

Figure out transcript requirements

Apart from your bachelor’s degree and final mark sheet, most colleges will also ask you to submit your academic transcripts. The advantage of starting your application process early is that you give your college enough time to arrange for these transcripts, which often take a long time. Your academic scores are converted into GPA before being evaluated by American universities. This is often done by the universities themselves, but some may ask you to send in converted scores.

All academic documents you provide must be clear, accurate and officially verified, bearing the stamp or signature of the issuing authority.

Write a good personal essay

Unlike undergraduate essays, which are more general, essays for postgraduate programmes need to clearly express your academic interests and aptitude for the course. This need not be in-depth knowledge of the field but more about your understanding of and your inclination towards it.

Whatever the course you wish to pursue, be realistic in expressing your knowledge and interest. Never present inaccurate facts. Not only are you likely to get caught, but it may also put you in a tough spot in case you are required to appear for an interview. Be clear and honest in what you write and things are likely to work in your favour.

The process of applying for a postgraduate course in a reputed American university will be a lot more manageable if you get the ball rolling early. Understanding the requirements of your shortlisted colleges and matching them with your aspirations, ability and resources will help you plan better and increase your chances of getting enrolled in a college and course of your choice.

Top colleges in the world to study biomedical sciences

Top colleges in the world to study biomedical sciences

Considering a career in the fast-evolving field of biomedical sciences? These world-class colleges are worth aiming for.

With the rise in the popularity of interdisciplinary studies in the last few years, biomedical sciences have emerged as a much sought-after choice for aspiring students. Combining life sciences with medicine and technology, this field has been conducting remarkable research in areas like microbiology, immunology, epidemiology, and genetics. It has and continues to contribute greatly to the understanding and treatment of human diseases. Biomedical engineering, an offshoot of biomedical sciences, is now being offered as a standalone degree by many leading colleges of the world.

A degree in biomedical sciences will open up a large number of promising career options for students, especially if they are interested in healthcare. For medical students who are equally passionate about technology, pursuing biomedical sciences can truly broaden horizons, both in terms of knowledge and professional growth. While these courses may be expensive to enrol in, there are many financing options available for students who wish to pursue a career in this field. You can get a scholarship at undergraduate courses or graduate stipends depending on your grades and past experience. However, universities have gradually reduced the number of scholarships over the last 5 years, and qualifying for these has become harder than ever. To finance your biomedical studies, you can opt for a loan against property for education. With low interest rates, long tenor ranging up to 20 years and access to funds up to 75% of the value of the property mortgaged, you can be rest assured of meeting your tuition fee as well as cost of living.

For a field as complex and multifaceted as biomedical sciences, a strong foundation built in a stimulating environment with guidance of the best experts and state-of-the-art research facilities is mandatory.

Here are the best universities where you can study biomedical science.

Harvard University, USA

Harvard University’s Medical School is among the most prestigious in the world. With nine Nobel Prizes to its credit, it is best known for its pioneering work in stem cell research and Parkinson’s disease. For those interested in both technology and biology, Harvard’s John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences offers a one-of-its-kind biomedical engineering programme at the undergraduate level that includes studying neuro-engineering, biomechanics and medical instrumentation. The approximate cost of full-time yearly tuition here is Rs.30 lakh.

University of Cambridge, UK

Known for its path-breaking research in the areas of cancer and mental health, the Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine has been among the top three medical schools of the world for several years. It offers world-class graduate programmes in medicine, including a reputed MPhil. in biomedical sciences. It also enjoys the advantage of being closely associated with the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, one of the world’s largest (and the largest in Europe) health science and medical research facilities in the world. The approximate cost of full-time annual tuition here is Rs.17 lakh.

Oxford University, UK

Oxford offers a dedicated biomedical sciences programme at the undergraduate level. After undergoing a foundation course in biomedical science, students can opt to specialise in neuroscience or cell and systems biology. The faculty comprises leading experts from clinical and non-clinical departments. One of the facilities that current students swear by is the tutorials, where students can have one-on-one sessions with these experts. Established in the 13th century, Oxford is among the oldest medical schools in the world. The approximate cost of full-time annual tuition here is Rs.19 lakh.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA

While it doesn’t have a medical school, MIT’s School of Life Sciences offers extensive undergraduate and graduate programmes in biological engineering, microbiology, brain and cognitive sciences, bioelectrical engineering and a lot more. It provides its students the opportunity to collaborate with scientists and be part of crucial medical research programmes. One of MIT’s most reputed research facilities is the MIT Center for Biomedical Innovation, known for its commendable work in biopharmaceuticals and biomanufacturing. The approximate cost of full-time annual tuition here is Rs.30 lakh.

John Hopkins University, USA

John Hopkins was the first ever research facility of America and the first graduate-level medical school in the country to admit women. Its teaching hospital and biomedical research facility, John Hopkins Hospital, is among the world’s best. The John Hopkins Biomedical Engineering School offers undergraduate and graduate programmes that are intensively research-based, where students get the opportunity to learn from top minds at the university’s medical school and engineering schools. The approximate cost of full-time annual tuition here is Rs.33 lakh.

Best colleges in Asia

Closer home, top ranked National University of Singapore offers bachelor’s and master’s courses in life sciences with specialisation in biomedical science. Osaka University’s Interdisciplinary Program for Biomedical Sciences offers master’s programmes in biological sciences, applied chemistry, environmental engineering, and advanced pharmaco-science, with expected continuation into its doctoral programme. Korea’s top university, Seoul National University’s Department of Biomedical Sciences also has a master’s and doctoral programme. The average cost of annual tuition is around Rs.20 lakh for these universities.

Why is applying for health insurance a necessity

Why is taking health insurance a necessity?

Everyone talks about health insurance being a necessity. But, are you actually familiar with the various benefits of a health insurance policy? Read on to find out why you need one.

Health insurance offers coverage against procedures, doctors’ consulting fees, and several associated medical costs. It eases the burden of high medical costs in exchange for a premium, which you pay every month. A good health insurance policy can help economise medical costs in situations where you need huge sums of money, urgently.

Take a look at 5 reasons that make it an absolute must-have.

  1. Lower your costs and gain tax benefits:

Good health insurance allows you the opportunity to avail discounted prices for all healthcare-related needs. A medical insurance also provides tax benefits under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act. The premium paid towards the policy is subject to income tax deduction up to the amount of Rs.25,000. This holds true if the policy is in your name, your spouse’s or dependent children’s name. When it comes to your children, this rule is applicable until your son is 25 years old, if he is unemployed, or a student. For your daughter, the provision extends until she is married. If your policy includes coverage for your parents, who are senior citizens, the deduction limit goes up to Rs.30,000.

  1. Ensure better medical attention:

Good health insurance covers regular medical check-ups, offering better preventative care. A proper screening at an early stage can help in successfully treating critical illnesses like breast cancer and cervical cancer. Some health insurance plans offer better pre- and post-natal care to expectant mothers. With pre- and post-hospitalisation care and Ayurvedic treatments covered under health insurance, complete medical care can affordably be availed by patients.

  1. Save your income for your future:

In case of a medical emergency, you are forced to pay huge medical bills that may deplete your savings and curtail your future plans. This is where medical insurance plans are the most helpful. They help cater to the patient’s medical needs by covering the cost of expensive medical procedures and offering many healthcare services at subsidised rates. A health insurance helps you save your income to fulfil your other needs.

  1. Benefit from discounts and special rates:

A well-outlined health insurance plan has several added benefits which include cashless claims, multiple day-care procedures, and affordable premiums. Additionally, most insurance providers have arrangements with hospital networks. This benefits you because certain medical procedures are offered to you at a special price. This feature extends to certain Ayurvedic treatments as well. All these benefits can help you save a great amount of money, without compromising on the health of you and your family.

In addition to certain monetary benefits like tax exemption, a health insurance enables you to provide complete care for your family. For more information on the benefits of a health insurance, click here.

Top 5 Family Health insurance Plans

Top 5 family health insurance plans

Opting for the best family health insurance plan in India requires a detailed analysis of all the available options. To help you out, here’s a look at the top 5 family policies.

The cost of medicines, as well as healthcare, is rising exponentially. Due to this, it has become even more important to make prudent financial decisions to cover your and your family’s health needs. The first step in this direction is to have a secure health insurance plan.

Before you select one, take a look at the major elements that define any health insurance policy.

Below are some of the factors that you need to consider while selecting a health insurance policy:

– Premium

– Maximum age

– Hospital network

– Waiting period

– Types of cover

Now, take a look at the top 5 family health insurance plans that cover these parameters.

Bajaj Allianz Health Insurance:

  • The sum insured under this policy can range from Rs.1.5 lakh to Rs.50 lakh. It has cashless facility more than 5700 hospitals in its network.
  • It usually covers pre- and post- hospitalization, ambulance services, and day care procedures.
  • Furthermore, it offers you a life-long renewal option and 24/7 call assistance for claim settlement.

Religare Health Insurance:

  • This insurance policy offers coverage that starts at Rs.5 lakh and goes up to Rs.40 lakh.
  • Depending on the plan you select, you will be eligible for comprehensive cover, medical cover, and more.
  • Usually, it covers expenses such as room rent at a hospital, ICU charges, ambulance charges, and organ transplant charges.

Apollo Munich:

  • Apollo Munich offers health insurance policies that range from Rs.3 lakh to Rs.50 lakh. Depending your budget and your requirements, you’re sure to find a policy that fits.
  • The plan provides for 6 members at the most and covers health check-ups, pre- and post-hospitalisation costs as well as room rent.

Max Bupa Health Companion:

  • This insurance policy varies from Rs.2 to Rs.4 lakh. It lets you avail discounts on premiums after 2 years of the policy period are up.
  • The Max Bupa Health Companion also gives you a daily cash allowance of Rs.1,000 in cases of hospitalisation. This is over and above the pre- and post-hospitalisation coverage.
  • Furthermore, you can enjoy extra covers such as medical cover, free health check-ups, and direct claim settlement. It also offers income tax benefits and assured policy renewal for life.

ICICI Lombard Complete Health:

  • The insurance options in this policy range from Rs.2 lakh to Rs.10 lakh. The period of this policy ranges from 1-2 years. This is a good option for first-time policyholders or those who can’t invest a large sum of money. Moreover, it provides medical coverage across a network of over 4,500 hospitals.
  • This insurance covers nursing expenses, ICU expenses, doctor and surgeon expenses, anaesthesia, OT specified day care treatment, pre-existing diseases, yearly health check-ups and other in-patient hospitalisation expenses such as rent and transplant costs.

No matter which policy you choose, you must be certain that it provides coverage for all the expenses that you foresee. A good way to buy an insurance policy is to compare policies provided by various insurers. This way you will be able to pick one that offers the best value for the money you’re spending. Don’t have a health insurance policy yet, click here for more.

Step-by-step Guide to Choosing The Best Health Insurance Plan

Step-by-step guide to choosing the best health insurance plan

Purchasing the ideal health insurance plan for you and your family can be a difficult task. This detailed explanation on how to choose the best health insurance plan will make the job at hand easier.

Choosing a good health insurance plan has now become a necessity for all Indians. With medical costs steadily on the rise, it is imperative to invest in a suitable insurance plan that will help reduce your financial burden.

For this, it is advisable to follow a step-by-step guide that will help in your efforts to choose the best health insurance plan:

  1. Carry out a detailed comparison between plans

Many health insurance plans are available to applicants, each with a set of benefits and drawbacks. Depending on which health insurance plan you choose, you will be able to calculate your out-of-pocket costs and manage your finances better. It is advisable to check the summary of benefits provided by each insurance provider, which will also list the clinics and doctors that are a part of the programme as well as the network.

  1. Consider the health plan network

A doctor that is a part of the network of your insurance provider usually charges a lower fee. This is due to a tie-up between the network’s doctors and your insurance provider. If you consult with a doctor who is out-of-network, both you and your insurance provider must bear higher costs. Another way to approach this would be to ensure that your preferred doctors are affiliated with your health plan. As a thumb rule, pick an insurance provider with a large network, so you have ample choices.

  1. Consider out-of-pocket costs, such as premiums and facilities not covered

Your health insurance plan should clearly explain how much you will have to pay on your own. Generally, the lower your premium, the higher will be the out-of-pocket costs. It’s wiser to pay higher monthly premiums for a plan if you frequently need emergency care, plan to have a baby, or have a planned surgery coming up. Otherwise, it’s better to opt for lower monthly premiums if you rarely need medical care or can’t afford higher premiums.

  1. Evaluate all benefits

To help decide the best health insurance plan for your individual needs, try reviewing the summary of benefits so you can see which one covers the most services. Some plans are more beneficial for mental health care, while others favour physical wellbeing. Ask whether certain treatments will be covered with the chosen plan, what will happen if you get sick when travelling abroad, what are the documents required, and so on.

It is important to go through this detailed checklist when opting for a health insurance plan. Then, select the one that offers the most benefits. Learn more here.  

How do I enrol for health insurance

How do I enrol for health insurance?

Here’s how to buy health insurance in the most convenient manner.

An insurance policy is your ally in a medical emergency, which is why choosing the right medical plan for you and your family is an important responsibility. To get started, take a look at how you can apply for a health insurance.

Here’s how to apply for health insurance in the most convenient manner.

Assess your needs

  • Firstly, take stock of your situation and decide what kind of medical insurance you’re looking for.
  • Also, decide if you want an individual health insurance plan, accident insurance, or a family floater plan.
  • Align your requirements with an insurance policy and your budget to get a clear idea of what it is that you’re looking for.

Compare policies

  • Once you have zeroed in on what you need, view the types of insurance schemes that are available to you.
  • Closely examine each policy and understand whether it addresses your priorities.
  • For example, if you are looking for coverage for pre-hospitalisation expenses, select a policy that covers this generously. You want to compare features of multiple policies, as well as their premiums before selecting one.

Consider costs

  • Next, you need to select an insurance premium. The flexibility that is offered to you will depend on the insurer you choose.
  • If you choose add-ons to boost your health insurance, don’t forget to factor in their cost. This way you will be able to select the ideal premium based on factors such as your income bracket, budget, and age.
  • It is worth taking your time with this step as it ensures that you are financially capable of paying premiums throughout the term.

Fill in personal details and make payment

  • Once you have narrowed down an insurance plan, read its terms and conditions, and ensure that you understand the technical terms.
  • Fill in all your personal information such as name, age, and address.
  • Also, fill in any pre-existing medical conditions if the selected insurance scheme covers this. After this step, you can proceed to pay for your insurance online.
  • All reputed insurance providers have websites that are compliant with secure payment gateways and systems.
  • You can make the payment using your debit card, credit card, or any other method, such as a digital wallet.
  • Once you have made your payment and received a confirmation, the policy purchase procedure is complete.

This is the simplest way to buy a health insurance policy online. Not only does it save time and money, it is easier to avail as compared to visiting a branch and completing lengthy paper work. Want to know more? Click here.

Health Insurance Plans Available in India

What are the different types of health insurance in India?

Health insurance is an investment that will come to your rescue in the times of need. So, it is important that you do your homework and pick a policy that is right for you and your family.

Regardless of your income, it is important to invest in a health insurance plan that provides a cushion in the event of medical emergencies. Instead of just picking a policy, take the time to study the various options available to you. This way, you’ll be able to choose an insurance that caters to all your needs.

Here’s a look at the most common types of health insurance policies. This will serve as a sound starting point on your search for the best health plan.

Critical illness health cover

  • This health cover is designed to treat those critical and life-threatening ailments such as cancer, heart attacks, strokes, meningitis, etc.
  • The treatment for such conditions is usually expensive, and this policy covers their diagnosis as well as treatment.
  • The list of illnesses varies from one provider to another. For example, conditions that can be traced back to pregnancy or childbirth are not covered. Similarly, an HIV infection isn’t covered under this health insurance. In case of some conditions, you will have to sit out a waiting period before your insurance policy covers the condition. So, take a closer look to better understand these policies.
  • When you opt for this plan, hospitalisation is not necessary to make a claim. A simple diagnosis is enough.

Senior citizen health insurance

  • From diabetes, hypertension to rheumatic conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis, senior citizens are more prone to ailments and need a specific policy covers these.
  • The medical costs for ailments could also be phenomenally high. And, without a salaried job, it can be difficult to pay for the right treatment.
  • It provides coverage to individuals from the age of 65 and above. Do note that the premium for these plans is higher than other insurance plans.

Group health insurance

  • If you run an organisation, you may want to ensure that your employees are safe from harm, especially critical ailments or injuries via accidents.
  • To protect their health, you can purchase a group health insurance policy for your employees.
  • This specific type of insurance provides coverage to a group of individuals in one go.
  • It contains a set of a specific benefits and covers that are common for the entire group.

Family floater health insurance

  • If you want to purchase health insurance that caters to the needs of the entire family, then this is the type that is ideal for you.
  • Usually, this policy lets you cover up to 6 members in your family. The exact number varies from insurer to insurer.
  • It pays for hospitalisation expenses of your family members in the event of ailments and other medical conditions. For example, if one member of your family needs to undergo a medical procedure after an accident, he or she can utilise the total sum insured.
  • This policy’s premium is calculated slightly differently. It is based on the age of the eldest member of the group.

Individual insurance plan

  • This plan is the most basic policy that you can buy and covers only the policyholder.
  • The insurance plan usually pays for a range of expenses such as hospitalisation, room rent, physical check-ups, transplant expenses, and more. But, the details of these depend on the plan you select and the insurer’s terms.
  • For an individual insurance, the premium of the policy is determined based on the medical history and age of the person.
  • Usually, an individual insurance also offers other benefits such as tax exemption, discount on day care procedures, cover for emergency ambulance, and cover for diagnostic procedures.

Plan for the future and select a health insurance that offers end-to-end coverage without draining your savings and income. To find out more, click here.

All You Need Know About Health Insurance

All you need to know about health insurance

Medical insurance is no longer a luxury, but an absolute essential. Here are a few details regarding health insurance that you should be aware of.

Although medical expenses are part of everyday life, unfortunately, they cost a lot more than other regular expenses such as food, transport, etc. If you do not have sufficient funds set aside for emergencies, arranging for money at the last minute can be difficult. If you are a senior citizen, especially, the cost of medical expenses can be overwhelming, regardless of existing savings.

The best way to manage costs related to medical emergencies and healthcare is by opting for health insurance. It offers security against various diseases and ailments and the treatment involved. There are usually two types of health insurance coverage:

  • You pay the bills on your own, and the insurance company reimburses them.
  • The insurance company pays the bills.

Here’s a look at the features and benefits of health insurance.

  1. High insurance sum

A health insurance usually offers up to Rs.10 lakh cover for all medical and health-related needs of your family. This provides a safety net in the eventuality that you need immediate and expensive medical attention.

  1. Easy processing

You can get a health insurance today within 45 minutes of applying so that you are equipped to handle all medical costs at the earliest. The entire process is hassle-free, quick, and customer-friendly.

  1. Convenient premiums

The premiums for health insurance start at a nominal sum, so you can ensure the safety and protection of your family at the most affordable rates.

  1. No cash needed

Some health insurance providers offer cashless facilities so that you can rest assured that you will get quick service at the hospitals that are affiliated with the insurance provider.

  1. Single cover for individual families

Your health insurance can cover your entire family for up to Rs.10 lakh, with no changes in premium for members who are up to 60 years of age.

  1. Multiple day care procedures

Some medical procedures like appendectomy may not require 24-hour hospitalisation, your health insurance will also cover the cost of such medical procedures. Most health insurance providers cover more than 130 day care procedures.

  1. Helpful add-on benefits

With the right health insurance, you can avail of features such as pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses being covered for 60 days and 90 days, respectively. This means that the health insurance provider pays for all pre-operation or pre-treatment expenses, as well as those incurred after the procedure. Additionally, you can also get as much as 25% off on expenses for Ayurvedic treatments such as panchkarma and shirodhara, at registered hospitals.

  1. Organ donation coverage

Some health insurance providers offer you suitable coverage for organ donation, up to the sum insured, in order to provide complete healthcare protection.

  1. Tax advantages

Your health insurance can also offer tax benefits against the premium paid, under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act. This helps you save money without compromising on the protection of your family.

Health insurance offers you a chance to cope with medical conditions and ailments so that they don’t hamper your quality of life or drain your finances. If you are scouting for the best health insurance in India, you can learn more here.

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