MS in US vs Preparation for civils in India: Pros and Cons

Your sixth semester is underway and you are probably caught in a quandary over your career choices. This is usually a tough period for an undergraduate as in a few months you will need to begin your applications either for jobs, MS in the US or start preparation for the civil services.

This choice if often influenced by a number of personal and professional factors. Here we discuss the pros and cons of choosing MS in US vs. Preparing for the UPSC exam in India.

MS in the US

A Master’s Degree forms a logical extension to your academic progress so far. For that you would apply to the best colleges, the majority of which come from the US. So, invariably, your choices will be a few colleges halfway across the world. Once the GRE, TOEFL and your applications are out of the way, there is just the wait for the acceptance and then you are off to the US.

An MS in the US will certainly have the following benefits:

  1. There will most certainly be a better choice of jobs after doing your Masters from some of the best colleges in the world. They will also be high paying.
  2. The quality of education is significantly high and diverse so that you can explore education courses of your choice.
  3. The US universities are a melting pot of cultures from all around the world and exposure to different nationalities will only benefit your personality.
  4. Due to a better base of research and development, the opportunity to enter PhD. courses are more. There is also a greater demand for PhDs in the industry.
  5. MS is an added security as there is no guarantee that you will crack the civil services. An MS will provide value addition while preparation for the civil services has little value addition from the perspective of the private sector.

However, MS does have its pitfalls as well:

  1. The first drawbacks are the initial high costs of travel, tuition and lodging in the US. The first few years on the job are often spent repaying the loan and as costs rise, these loan repayment periods are getting longer.
  2. The above are in addition to the already high expenses for application fee to the US universities also the charges for TOEFL and GRE. Moreover, there are several students who sit the GRE again to improve their score.
  3. If your ultimate aim is to become a civil servant and you have already decided on that then there is no advantage in taking a circuitous route by doing MS first. A good paying job as well as the benefits of living in a developed country will deter you from chasing your goal.
  4. The job market for international students is precariously balanced on the policies of the US government. Recent changes in visa rules have hurt prospects of several MS candidates in the US.
  5. Distance from home is a big factor that affects the lives of several students in the US as India is not so easily accessible physically and financially. It can lead to emotional stresses.

Thus, there are trade-offs while going for MS in the US, so the decision must be taken keeping all factors in mind.

Preparation for Civil services

Firstly, this is a path that has as many cons as there can be and just one reward - selection in the civil service. The preparation has the following downsides:

  1. You will spend a majority of your time for over a year studying for the civil services thus leaving little to no time for other activities.
  2. The preparation does not amount to any value addition in the form of a degree or a diploma. Thus, if you meet failure for two consecutive years you have little to show for your efforts.
  3. The exam is continuously evolving, thus giving no advantage to people who have been preparing for longer periods of time.
  4. Without a job, the value of your qualifications will depreciate over time making it tougher to land a job

However, despite the drawbacks, the selection more than justifies the journey that one goes through to become a civil services officer. The opportunity to serve one’s nation through the top most positions that it offers is a rarity. There is no other service that provides you with the ability to influence and make differences in the lives of millions. The wide ranging challenges and experiences that this service offers leaves no time for stagnation.

Here, we have looked at the pros and cons of doing MS in the US vs. Preparing for the civil services in India. We hope that you’ve benefited from the above discussion and wish you the best in the career path that you choose!
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