where should I start

To most of my friends who plan to study abroad, their very first question is always:


Where should I start?

Follow with: how could I finish all these preposterously abstruse standard examinations within 10 months (you shouldn’t have started this so late!!); how do you prepare your TOEFL and GRE; I am not quite sure about what fields I am really interested in, what am I gonna do (Seriously?); should I go to the English academy or consulting institutions where they can help me figure out and handle all annoying application process; how much money should my parents prepare (I got to say: As an Asian, I feel utterly privileged that my parents support my education mentally and FINANCIALLY. Most of my friends need to either work part-time job or hunt a paid internship to meet the ends.)…

Let me answer these questions:

1. I hate to say that it really depends on the individuals in terms of how much time you need to prepare TOEFLE and GRE. But in general, I would suggest you should give yourself at least a year to nail these down. As for the workflow, if you have a better command of English, starting with GRE then TOEFLE can be beneficial. Here is why: GRE contains much higher level of vocabulary, literacy and logical reasoning while TOEFLE is more conversational with light academic knowledge base.

It’s always better to suffer first, and then taste the sweet.

I highly recommend going to private English academies particularly for GRE test in that they hold more resources and I have to say it would be time-consuming and torturing for you to memorize nearly 5,000 new, recondite words and read over snarky articles on your own within several months. But!!! If you happen to be those who always plan ahead and get more sufficient time to prepare, the answer is definitely NO. NO, you don’t need to spend nearly $1,000 for learning English. As a matter of fact, online resources are rich and mostly, free. Here’s a website I highly recommend everyone to read: http://magoosh.com/gre/2014/gre-reading-practice-writers-in-the-new-york-times/

There’s a myriad of resources you can have access to on the Internet. Stop being lazy. Google it.

Last, how much do your parents/you need to have is something you need to take into consideration. We all know that most of the universities will ask you for a bank statement certification of account balance as a proof prior to your admission. If your parents are more financially supportive and your goal is to enter those Ivy League or notoriously expensive private universities, $60,000 a year would be your answer. It’s a lot. I know! I was planning to go to NYU for journalism in the first place; yet, once I calculate the total amount, I feel like it’s not a wise investment for my parents and myself.

Many factors affect me to make the decision of going to Mizzou. First is the obvious: It values hands-on experience and its reputation in U.S.A. is fairly well known. Plus, Mizzou provides plenty of Graduate Assistantship and Teaching Assistantship opportunities for graduate and PhD students, which means that as long as I get a GRA or TA position, my tuition will be waived. Nearly 85 percent of graduate students hold GRE or TA. This is the top choice for students who are ambitious to squeeze into a revered journalism Pantheon and have tight budget.

You need to be smart in making choices. Don’t be sugarcoated or blinded by others’ opinions. You know exactly what you are capable of. Just keep in mind: plan ahead, stay optimistic and just do it.


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