This is a very subjective question and the answer differs from course to course and college to college. In general, there are 5 aspects to the profile of a person applying for Masters:
The importance assigned to these parameters is different for every course at every college. So it is important to understand the courses you choose to apply to.
GRE ScoreUndergraduate GPA
Statement of Purpose and Resume
Letters of Recommendations
You can prepare for the GRE during a semester at college as long as you can invest 2-3 hours a day which you spend on social media or binge-watching TV shows.
Apart from these, another aspect that is commonly ignored or undermined is work experience. There are many courses which only give admits to students with job experience and most of these courses are management-oriented. The MS program for Management Science and Engineering at Stanford or the SUNY Buffalo MIS program are some courses which give preference to students with job experience.
For the list of best colleges for any course, there are many rankings available online with the most popular one being the US News and World Rankings. Here are some other websites for college rankings:
- Best for Computer Science with research-oriented rankings.
Tuition fees and living expenses
Climate(yes it can be a factor if you cannot tolerate very hot or cold weather)
Of these factors, the most important one is the course structure because no one wants to be stuck in an undesired course after going through so much trouble of giving the GRE and applying to colleges. Look up the course curriculum thoroughly before applying to a college as it is a life-altering decision to attend a college for a particular course.
Apart from the GRE score, a good score in the English language tests i.e. TOEFL or IELTS helps to affirm the validity of a candidate for any Masters program. But it is important to understand that other aspects from the above mentioned five are crucial for any admission committee to grant admission to a candidate. For more details regarding the American graduate admission process check out this article by Karthik Raghunathan. Some of the tips mentioned are also applicable to other countries.
Every course website has detailed statistics regarding the careers and starting salaries of the previous batches. For example, this is Texas A&M University’s MIS course statistics for starting salaries. Check this out for the course and college of your choice.
This information might be unavailable on the website if the course is highly research-oriented and the college does not want to encourage future students to be inclined towards getting a job after the degree. In such a case, try contact the alumni or current students through social media to find out the necessary information.
United States of America
Easily the top choice for students looking to study abroad. Most of the top-ranked universities, by any metric, are in the United States. It is also a huge economy with a higher pay scale compared to any other nation for similar jobs. The US Education System is also a notch above the others as it has a much more diverse set of courses with many hybrid programs which are not present in any other country. California, New York and Texas are the most preferred states for international students.
The biggest issue when it comes to studying in America is the high tuition fees. Many universities have exorbitantly high fees for the Master's programs. Another issue that has surfaced in recent years is the visa policy which is restricting students from working in the country after the Master’s degree. This has reduced the growth in the number of students applying each year, but the number continues to increase nonetheless.
Canada has emerged as the best alternative to the USA in recent years for students who prefer a less discriminating environment with better chances of getting work permits or permanent residence. Watch this video or refer this document for statistics in this regard.
Apart from this, the universities in Canada have a good number of graduate assistantships for Master’s students as many of the courses are highly research-oriented. The fees also generally tend to be lower than the average fees in American universities. Due to these factors, the number of international students in Canada has increased tremendously.
Also, the GRE is optional for many of the universities in Canada. Most of them also prefer the IELTS over TOEFL as the English language test.
Germany is a very popular country for students looking to pursue a Master’s in Engineering disciplines. There are a few universities which offer free tuition to research-oriented Master’s programs. Germany has also been more welcoming to international students in the past few years.
The application process is also simpler with all universities being listed under DAAD, the German Academic Exchange service. As a result, there has been a consistent rise in the number of Indian students looking for graduate courses in Germany.
Graduates from Australian schools are highly sought after due to the impressive international reputation of the Australian education system. This system is carefully regulated by the government in order to maintain the high standards of education associated with the country.
Australia’s standard of living is amongst the highest in the world. Living expenses and tuition costs are considerably lower in Australia than they are in the United States and the United Kingdom. International students are able to work part time while they study, allowing them to offset their living costs. There is also the possibility of scholarships, which helps to lower the cost of studying for international students
Institutions in Australia offer a wide variety of courses and degrees, so international students can easily find the school and field that are right for them. The first decision international students have to make when choosing a degree program is which school caters most to their needs and interests. Students can choose between universities, vocational education, and English language training. If necessary, it is easy for students to move between one qualification level and from one institution to another.
International students are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week while studying in Australia. This is a great opportunity for those who want to earn money to offset living expenses during their stay, and for students who want to gain work experience in their field of interest while they study.
Here are some of the most popular communities for students going for Master’s Abroad and giving the GRE: