My journey to pursue higher education from abroad began from the time when I started my master’s despite having many problems. It was nearly impossible to do a masters in the experimental field with a full-time job and 5 hour-long commute with so many problems. Unluckily, my father died during 1st year of my master’s, and I faced a very tough time continuing my education. Instead of being dispirited, I utilized my suffering to strengthen my passion and build my motivation. My wish to get higher education abroad sparked during my Master’s when, due to a lack of research facilities, I was not able to satisfy myself in the implementation of my ideas completely in a research project. Soon after the completion of my MS, I started contacting professors in European countries but got no positive response. The people who go abroad for higher education are like aliens to me. I have always wished to pursue higher education abroad but never thought that I could also go for that. To me, only rich or extraordinarily brilliant people can go abroad for education. Luckily, due to the guidance of my friend, I came to know about ScholarDen, which was a turning point in my efforts to pursue higher education abroad. I got the right path to pursue my efforts, although I did not have enough time to, but I took the GRE (296) and TOEFL (82) and applied to thirteen schools for Fall 17. Unfortunately, I couldn’t secure a single offer except one (without funding for SP 18). I was so disappointed for a few months but still determined to try again for Fall 18. This time I decided to apply in more organized way, ScholarDen Founder Faisal Khan guided me to work on my CV, LORs and SOP as well. I registered for the retake of GRE General test, prepared for the test for 2-3 weeks, but delayed it twice for some professional problems, in the end I was left with only one and half month with the language test as well. Somehow, I managed to take both tests, GRE (309) and IELTS (7.0), which was so good for me as literally, I prepared for the GRE test (quant only; for verbal, I used to attend sessions regularly) consistently for less than 1 month only. Meanwhile, with the help of the ScholarDen community, I worked on my application packet as well and applied for Fall 18. So far, by the grace of Allah, I got six acceptances out of which three are fully funded. It all looks so easy but it wasn’t as I am doing a full time job with 4 to 5 hour daily commute. Preparing for the GRE and other tests in the evening after a tiresome day and long commute is not an easy job. I was also working on my research papers side by side, for which I had to go to the lab for experimentation and discussion. In such a situation, it was easy for me to leave all the efforts as I have a good job as well, so for most people, I was like a mad person who was struggling so much despite having a good job. But for me, pursuing a Ph.D. was never for my career; it is my passion for research. I would say it is the motivation behind any effort that matters. Career is important, but the most important thing is to do what you really want to do.
Few things I would like to share about my journey in the USA Direct application process. For the GRE, my experience was not exemplary as my routine was so tough, and I studied according to my routine. But on the whole, for verbal, I will say that attending verbal sessions is very important and productive. For quant, I followed target test prep for basic concepts, Scholar Den for practice, and worked on the error log. Instead of doing a lot of practice, it is more important to work on the error log and take the test with a cool mind. For securing a fully funded admission, only decent GRE scores are not a guarantee of success; the statement of purpose, Letters of Recommendation, and CV matters a lot. So, I will suggest working hard on those areas besides the GRE. Those who are aspiring for high aims should have strong nerves to bear pressure of failure as well, this is most important. In this whole journey, which is not done yet, there are few people who supported me at each step and without them I could never be able to make this. In short, the Scholar Den community is a blessing for future students.
Wish you all the best and remember me in your prayers. Thank you.