Decoding Profile Building: The Crucial Role in Study Abroad

If you are thinking about pursuing your academic journey abroad, you will have to concentrate on profile building. This is the first and foremost step in every study abroad decision. You might be wondering what is profile building and how you achieve that to meet your study abroad dreams. In this article, we will be answering exactly that question to help you continue with your academic journey.

Profile Building – What is it?

In simple terms, profile building refers to the process of building your application in such a way that it aptly demonstrates your strengths and skill sets. While academic performance is a part of the study abroad application process, it is not the only component determining your chances of admission to your dream college. Rather, colleges prefer to take a holistic look at applications before deciding an applicant’s fit for the program. They want stories. This is where profile building comes in. In other words, profile building is a form of database to showcase your expertise and interests.

Thus, profile building includes all aspects such as academic performance, extracurricular activities, relevant experiences, practical exposure in your field of choice, and industry network, among others. These activities will not only enrich your resume but also add experiences to your profile. If you are in high school, the best way to start strengthening your application is through summer schools, internships, and AP programs. Similarly, if you are in a graduate program, you can partake in research, projects, internships, volunteering activities, clubs committee events and the like to further strengthen your application.

Why is profile building important for study abroad?

At the outset, profile building is important because it helps to strengthen your application and consequently a strong profile will always help you stand apart from the crowd. Adding experiences to your resume means that you have the opportunity to show your unique selling point (USP), thus making you a competent applicant. Moreover, a strong profile will present your skills holistically to the admissions officer. 

Imagine a scenario where you have met the percentage requirement for applying to your study abroad program of choice. But how does it set you apart as every other applicant will have scored the same percentage? By adding experiences that extend beyond the limits of your classroom, you allow the admissions officers a glimpse into your specific skill sets. Thus, your essays reflect how you know how to face and overcome a challenging situation, accept feedback and work on your weaknesses, or manage time effectively. Beyond these situational aspects too, the stories will help you justly demonstrate your qualities as a leader, a team player, and a learner and your potential as a lateral and creative thinker. Moreover, a strong application will mean well-rounded experiences and thus, will always give you a head start in the job market. Profile building, therefore, is an organized, logical, and systematic process that helps to highlight both your academic and non-academic competencies and to establish you as a potential global student. 

Profile Building – Components

Profile Building Components

Academic achievements

Your GPA, relevant test scores such as TOEFL/IELTS, GRE/GMAT, SAT/ACT etc., awards and recognitions in the academic domain constitute strong pointers in your profile. The best way to ensure that you have a solid academic record is to visit the cohort pages of your selected programs and find the average scores for each segment. Make that your target score for profile building. Alternatively, if you have not decided on your study abroad academic journey yet, target the highest acceptable scores in each segment.

Extra-curricular activities

These are important to showcase your strengths. Beyond stating your passion and specific interests and/or hobby, participation in extra-curricular activities will enrich you with stories that highlight your soft skills such as competency as a leader, your problem-solving proficiency, your ability to work as a team and the like. 

Technical skills

To develop your soft skills, you can take up certification programs and participate in internships and relevant research projects.

Global mindset

Apt industry exposure, ability to work in teams, and desire to step beyond your immediate realm help to showcase your global mindset, a strong component of your overall profile to facilitate your study abroad journey. 

How to build a strong study abroad profile?

Start Early

A crucial question remains – when should you start your profile building journey? It is generally suggested to start as early as possible as it helps you delve into your areas of interest and expertise and consequently makes you more career-oriented. As a rule of thumb, it is advised that you embark upon this journey as early as the ninth grade. This is when you have the opportunity to explore and find your niche. However, do not fret if you have completed your high school and are already looking into undergraduate programs. You can always take a break and pursue meaningful experiences – the gap year will not affect your chances of admission and you will only need to explain away your need to take this gap year. 

Leadership Roles

You can explore leadership roles through extra-curricular involvements or even by leading project teams, taking initiative at your place of work or elsewhere and the like. Experiences teach you how to be a good leader and the more experiences you add to your profile, the better you can showcase yourself as distinctive from the applicant pool.

Extra-curricular Involvement

Extra-curricular activities are the most crucial component of a strong profile for your academic journey. These not only help nurture the latent skills in you but also teach you to efficiently manage tasks, time, and people while not losing sight of your end goal. Thus extensive participation in meaningful and relevant extra-curricular activities builds you up to face life. These activities can include anything that you take an interest in – across sports, arts, and experiments. Importantly, ensure that you add strong community involvement in your profile as social volunteering does carry some weightage in favourably influencing admission decisions. 

Build your Technical Skillsets

You can work on these by taking up certification programs online. Additionally, joining internships will ensure that you add industry exposure and hands-on training to your profile.

Real Life Examples of Profile Building for Study Abroad

Examples of Profile Building

Anand was solely focussed on his classroom performance when he enrolled into Manya – The Princeton Review to explore study abroad programs. Following a detailed brainstorming with his advisor that involved understanding his areas of interest and goals in life, he enrolled as an intern to assist a researcher, Dr. Pan, at Harvard University. Herein, he had the chance to not only gain hands-on exposure but also develop his skills as an interviewer for onboarding the next batch of interns. Simultaneously, he worked on his knack for numbers and partook in several competitions organized at both national and international levels. Meanwhile, he also attended a summer program at the New York University. This helped him prepare his global mindset and added to his network. Furthermore, inspired by these successes and motivated by his advisor at Manya, he even explored his entrepreneurial skills and founded a mathematics club at his school. Additionally, he remained involved with a number of international and local organizations in an attempt to give back to society. These involvements dramatically enriched his resume and enlivened his stories. He had a strong profile to apply to his dream programs and targeted the top tier and Ivy League colleges, securing admits from almost each one of them. Presently, he has accepted the offer from NYU, his dream school, and following his continued remarkable performance in the Fall Semester, he has been invited to apply to the Presidential Scholarship program by the school.

Anand enrolled with Manya after his tenth board exams and had only two years to focus on his academic grades and add to his profile.

Thus, if you have decided on your study abroad journey and are concerned about profile building, get in touch with the expert advisors at Manya – The Princeton Review. Their experiences, coupled with the number of services offered by Manya, will ensure that you complete your academic journey seamlessly.

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What is profile building for study abroad?

Profile building is a strategic process of effectively highlighting one’s academic accomplishments and extra-curricular involvement through projects, leadership experience, personality traits, and future aspirations which will eventually be part of a comprehensive application for admission.

Is profile building important?

Yes, profile building helps to create a holistic application that sets you apart from the applicant pool. It helps to strengthen your application to study abroad programs significantly. 

When should I start profile building for my academic journey?

Start as early as possible. Ideally, it is recommended to start your profile building journey from your high school years when you have the scope to explore your interests and determine your niche while also adding crucial experiences to your resume.

What are the components of profile building for study abroad?

Focus on beyond classroom activities for a strong profile – take on leadership roles. Get extensively involved in extra-curricular activities, enrol in summer programs abroad, take online certification programs, partake in projects and research programs, take up internships, and participate in community programs. 

How can I find resources to build my profile for study abroad?

Get in touch with our advisors at Manya – The Princeton Review for a custom plan on how to enrich your profile for study abroad. Additionally, they will guide you with the resources necessary to build your application for study abroad programs.

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