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Natasha Pratap's "Wanna Study In The US?"
101 tips to get you there

'Indian students don't aim for top US varsities'

NEW DELHI, February 22 2005

Is there a sure-fire mantra for admission into top American universities? Not quite, but there are 101 tips to get you there, says the author of a book on the subject.

Natasha Pratap's "Wanna Study In The US?" - which simplifies the American academic maze and is India's first as well as only comprehensive guide for studying in the US - enlists over 100 tips for undergraduate and graduate applicants.

And going by the book's third reprint within a year, according to publisher Rupa and Company, the best selling advice is manna for US-bound scholars.

Pratap, in the capital this week for interactive sessions organised by Oxford Bookstore and the American Centre, told IANS: "When I wanted to study abroad, I found no coherent one-stop guide. Which is why I wrote this book. Of course, there is the Net. But it is so scattered, time-consuming and unreliable."

The author, who followed up a BA at Stanford University in the US with an MA in creative writing at Boston University, said: "I was surprised that there wasn't a single book written for Indians that provided accurate, affordable and easily accessible information for study in the US.

"This book is not just for Indians living here, but for Indians living everywhere," she adds. "Indian students are some of the brightest in the world. Yet so many are happy to get into just any university. Through this book, I want to inspire them to get into the best school they possibly can."

Students from India make up 14 percent of all foreign students in the US. In 2003-04, the number of international students brought $13 billion to the US economy, and the US Department of Commerce data ranks US higher education as the country's fifth largest service sector export.

"Students should be personally involved while applying and not delegate the job to others under the mistaken notion that others know better!" advises Pratap.

Dismissing the notion that post-9/11 has hit the student exodus to the US, she insists: "In fact, India surpassed China for the third consecutive year and maintained its position as the number one country of origin for international students in the US. We sent a total of 79,736 students in 2004 alone.

"In India there is a lot of talk about going abroad but little in terms of information resources. So the students settle for lesser varsities, for B or C grade ones when they should rightfully be eyeing the A-grade ones. Even education counsellors are at a loss when it comes to the right advice. It is like a factory out there.

"My book fills in all these gaps. For instance, introspective essays are alien to the Indian system. About 50 of the 101 tips offered in my book deal with essays alone; the articulation, the need to keep to a word limit... From nuclear chemistry to architecture, I've covered them all."

There are details on admission process, university selection, scholarships, the visa procedure, interview with admission directors and even obtaining effective recommendations.

The book, which has a foreword by Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, also includes original essays of applicants who got into top universities like Harvard, Columbia and Wharton.

Corporates, recognising the commercial potential in spin-offs, have also joined the bandwagon. Pratap is in New Delhi courtesy an Indian Airlines-sponsored national book tour.

Pratap can be reached on "I never fail to reply to a genuine query," she promises. (IANS)

This book is my way of giving back for what I have received. I was surprised to find that there was not even a single book written for Indians that provided accurate, affordable, and easily accessible information for study in the US. Indian students are some of the brightest in the world. Yet so many are happy to just get into any university. Through this book I want to inspire them to get into the best school they possibly can.”

– Natasha Pratap

About the Author:

Natasha Pratap received scholarships to pursue her B.A. in English at Stanford University and her MA in Creative Writing at Boston University in the US. She also holds a Law degree from the University of Cambridge, England. Natasha's award-winning short stories have appeared in anthologies in the US and UK. At Downing College, Cambridge, she won the John Treherne Prize for creative writing for two consecutive years. Natasha has written articles on varied topics for leading publications such as the Asian Wall Street Journal, The Economic Times, The Times of India, The Indian Express, Mid-day, Verve, Man's World and Elle.

Natasha currently runs WAO, or Words for Any Occasion, a niche boutique offering creative writing services and customised writing workshops for organisations such as Lowe-Lintas and Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL).

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