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How to choose a learning stream to move on with studies abroad

Posted on February 18, 2020
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Study Abroad

It’s not uncommon today that parents extend their students’ study plans abroad. But the foundations must be laid properly today! An ambition for your child to study abroad needs to be nurtured with the right approach and clarity. This plan starts to be laid right from as early as the 5th grade.

What does really make the difference for a child eligible to study overseas? You must understand the academic design of institutions overseas first. It’s not just money or merit that helps your child earn selection in foreign colleges. Other important aspects are:


This is the level of interest and innovativeness a student shows in his/her areas of study.

Leadership qualities

This involves initiative, the ability to find solutions and the skill to manage people and resources.

Holistic knowledge

It is necessary that the student can relate an idea or fact to other elements in the broader realm of knowledge.

So, it becomes necessary that we plan our child’s education with much foresight. Choosing the right board of academics is just a small part of this process. The broader vision should include many more qualities in consideration. Such a plan will lead your child to successfully migrate into a great overseas learning experience.

Hence, when you choose a board of study for your child, check these factors:

  • Does the board believe in knowledge and value-based pedagogy?
  • Does the board offer ease and comfort of learning?
  • Does the board offer a high level of adaptability to individual talent?

The common options available in India for academic streams include CBSE, ICSE, and IB (International Baccalaureate). CBSE and ICSE implement a content-based teaching method. The content is planned and has a clearly defined curriculum. Compared to CBSE, ICSE has a better focus on skill development and knowledge application.

IB is more of a research-based stream. It gives equal importance to various subjects like humanities, language, commerce, and science.

There are individual characteristics of each stream of study. But the caliber and aptitude of a student is built quite subjectively. Hence, while considering the prospect of your child studying abroad, there are few things to consider.

Scores cannot be normalized between different boards

When it comes to scoring style and parameters, every board differs from the other. Now consider normalizing scores of one board to another’s. In the Indian scenario, it’s impossible to normalize scores of IB with the State Board, CBSE or ICSE. It’s in fact impossible to compare the marks of these streams.

If your child takes up the IB board, the natural course is to study abroad. This is because the IB stream has a curriculum designed to facilitate global skill development. It’s also impossible to find advanced learning options in domestic streams that can follow IB.

So, choosing IB will need a dedicated plan to go abroad. You must identify how to pursue further studies in foreign institutions.


In India, many would think of homeschooling as an odd and risky choice. It’s hard to be convinced of the benefits and prospects of homeschooled children. But in fact, homeschooled children can also qualify for studies abroad.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a globally renowned institute in the USA. MIT has a long history of taking in homeschooled students. The reason is that institutes like MIT gauge the caliber of the student differently. They assess the student based on their background. They check how the student has utilized his/her opportunities to learn. The admission officers at such institutes in fact seek out such homeschooled students.

Even a non-traditional manner of learning as homeschooling can lead to admissions in colleges abroad. The candidate only needs the right aptitude and ability to advance. Speaking in this context, even state board students get through to top schools abroad.

Thinking beyond CBSE vs ICSE

The age-old debate over comparing CBSE and ICSE is indeed useless. Any of these streams have not yet been able to prove an inherent advantage that It holds over the other. So is the case with the speculation of any board’s absolute suitability for an overseas study plan.

Universities abroad are keener about assessing the candidate’s overall merits and all-round capability. The best tip for students of these boards is to make an impressive portfolio. Add essays and works done into it along with the marks to create a better impression. Even though marks are used to cut off applications, real aptitude and true capability matter most.

The bottom line

It’s wiser to look at education as a holistic process with a broad viewpoint. The learner must be able to find his/her place in the big picture. He/she must be able to relate one’s own ideas and actions affecting the total fabric of reality. The real focus should be on the ability to be practically resourceful. This stands true irrespective of the board you choose.

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