Most academics will tell you that university studies have changed. “In the current academic environment study abroad has changed significantly”, says Professor Dr William Duncan, the Director of Admissus, an academic support consultancy that helps aspiring applicants to navigate the wilderness of post-baccalaureate study opportunities that are available to foreign students.
Admissus is one of many similar organisations available to help students interested in study abroad to prepare for enrolling in graduate and post-graduate programs. The programme at Admissus is designed for professionals and recent graduates who seek admission to postgraduate and doctoral programs. Dr Duncan and his team are the modern-day guides to academic study.
“The concept is not new”, Professor Duncan points out, “In the old academic system, particularly in Europe, it was the professor who picked the student to help through a programme until graduation”. “The admission system today is different”, he added, “And student applications are increasingly subjected to an automated system using predictive computational models to forecast a student’s academic performance. Those who survive the automated selection process must then survive a distant, impersonal committee. Committee members may be less interested in an individual student than they are in admitting those with backgrounds that fit a certain demographic”. “Even worse,” Dr Duncan said, “If the programme does require a live interview (usually online) with the candidate, they often must respond to questions from a robot rather than a real person”.
The evidence supports Dr Duncan’s appraisal of the current system of admissions. The rejection rate of applicants at top tier universities is at an all-time high. Moreover, as a recent scandal in the US where a supposedly charitable organisation faced criminal charges for using illegal and unethical methods to gain admission for its clients. The case shows that skills may be of lesser importance than money in buying influence for admissions (see https://www.nytimes.com/news-event/college-admissions-scandal).
This ‘admissions-gate’ scandal illustrates the problems within the current system. Students who possess the skills and background (objective criteria), but that perhaps are not in tune with the university’s mission, or that propose a thesis that is not in line with the ideological direction of the university selection board (subjective criteria), are summarily rejected. The U.S. university system scandal is but one example of the problems. Due to the ever-increasing volume of student applications, U.S. universities only accept applications that survive the automated selection system. Standardised exam scores, Language exam scores, application documentation, and social media screening of applicants are driving the process.
As a recent graduate of a doctoral programme and who Dr Duncan advised explained, “I am a 30-year practitioner in my field. I have designed educational programs, am a subject matter expert (SME), met the requirement to publish, and evaluated over 3,500 student programmes throughout my career. Although I earned my Master’s Degree and maintained a decent GPA, my thesis was not that great because my supervisor was, mildly speaking, a disaster. I had the choice to extend my master’s for a year to improve my thesis, but I had family commitments. One year later, my alma mater, a top-ranked university in Asia, rejected the thesis. Had they not done so, it would have improved my standing after graduation and smoothed my path towards a post-doctoral program.”
The frustrated student added, “My application for a doctoral program was tough; a top university in Scotland suffered a meltdown with professors leaving and the university not admitting new students. Because of its ideological orientation, a top university in New Zealand’s rejected my application, and another institution did not like the format of my application documents, and the list goes on.” The student who is currently A senior executive of a leading boutique research centre added, “Maybe if I were in my 20’s I would shrug off the rejections; however, in my late 40’s I am glad that consultants like Professor Duncan and organisations like Admissus exist.”
This the student’s experiences illustrate the point: The study abroad environment is constantly changing. Moreover, those in business, academia and other professions realise that to keep up in a globalised market they must upgrade their educational backgrounds and experiences. Study abroad allows one to broaden their linguistic, cultural, social and academic credentials. Professionals who complete graduate degrees abroad increase their marketability significantly. Also, these individuals are often able to relocate and become citizens of the country where they finished their graduate degrees. Even better, these individuals contribute to the domestic economy and the intellectual richness of society.
Study abroad in Europe is, therefore, the choice for lots of individuals that aspire to better themselves.
Admissus provides a premier program where Dr Duncan, also the Head of Admissions, first assesses an applicant’s chances of being accepted for study at a select European university. He assists the applicant to identify any deficiencies in the necessary qualifications for the university. This includes potential issues about obtaining student visas and work permits. Once the Dr determines that an applicant has the necessary qualifications or that, with remedial preparation, the applicant stands an excellent chance to be accepted, he will send the applicant an invitation to participate in the Admissus Programme.
Candidates who have already prepared a proposal or thesis will be able to draw on Dr Duncan’s expertise to ‘tick the right boxes’ and to be guided by an experienced educator who served on admissions committees and counselled thousands of students. Admissus is the modern version of the old European educational system that nurtured Albert Einstein, Max Planck and many leading academics and professionals of their times.
For interested applicants, contact Professor Dr Duncan at https://admissus.org/. Visitors will find services including simulated interviews prepare applicants for a for an online interview with university admissions officers, student representatives, alumni or a robot. Admissus also offers proofreading, editing and polishing services for admission documents such as personal statements, CVs, and writing samples.
Professor Dr William Duncan was speaking with Walter Vogel in our series on the ‘Future of Education’ for Voice of India News in collaboration with The Citizen Daily News.