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Are you feeling Trumped ?

“I think we need a back-up plan. Should we also apply to Canada?” called a worried parent of a class XII student soon after the Executive order from President Trump. She’s applied for universities in the United States only and even has close to a hundred thousand dollars scholarship from one. She’s not alone.

Whether you are at school, in college, or a young professional aiming for the American dream, President Trump’s comments in the last few weeks may seem to have put your plans in jeopardy. Well, you should know that this unconstitutional and discriminatory ban is in direct opposition to the values that most U.S. universities stand for. My colleagues in the U.S. would like it to be known that the universities in America are known for diversity and inclusion and welcome all persons, regardless of age, gender, sex, race, color, nationality, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or disability or handicap. This has been built over years and centuries perhaps – to imagine that they are going to succumb to political agendas and diktats, and ruin this branding built over a lifetime would be premature. So here’s some immediate advice depending on where you are in your journey.

Already studying in the U.S.

– Wait and watch the situation. Allow political sentiment to settle into a meaningful ruling and not mere statements.

– Maintain a high GPA (above 3.0 minimum)

– Work on building your skills and equipping yourself with what the future needs – technology, sustainability, research, progressive business ideas, and more.

– Explore industry sectors of importance to you that have presence or headquarters across the world; make a plan B for employment opportunities.

– Don’t allow gossip to build panic within or around you.

Planning to study in the U.S.

– Evaluate why do you want to study in the U.S.

– Programs with built-in OPT and co-op options must be considered first. They allow you to show your work acumen.

– There’s never been a better time to apply to some of the most competitive universities in the U.S. This contrarian sentiment is sure to relax acceptance rates and/or the number of offers the university issues. Do evaluate your chances with your Counselor though.

– Prepare a plan B, a set of applications for another country but don’t necessarily create a plan C or more. This can confuse more than facilitate.

– If immigration is the only reason to apply to the United States, think again.

Have an offer letter from a university in the U.S.

– Congratulations. Meet your Counselor to evaluate the net value of your move to the particular university/course.

– Speak to students already studying at the university to understand the sentiment and the culture

– Reason over rapture: Prepare another plan only after due consultation with your Counselor.

Remember while there’s never a wrong time to do the right thing, it is important to decipher the right thing to do. Indian students are known to be resilient, persevering, and innovative in their approach to situations and life. This is just one more test; don’t let this one have you ‘trumped!’

Read my recent article in The Tribune, Chandigarh: Time to face the American Dilemma

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