Last week, Study International Managing Director Dianne Siozon gave us an introduction to the factors that one must consider when planning one’s education overseas. Here is the rest of her list!
(This is a guest post from Study International.)
1. Still confused? Look for an expert
Doing research for your study abroad journey can be quite overwhelming. You may not know where to begin, what to look for, and how to organize yourself. Fortunately, help is out there, and there are plenty of people you can consult.
You can start by asking your guidance counselor if (s)he can coach you, seeking information from an alumnus or organization connected to your dream school, and consulting education agents who offer counseling services for free (word of caution – there should be no fee attached to this service). These experts only know better than you because they have done it before and/or it is their job to do so!
Lastly, attend Education Fairs – all of them, if you can. There is no better way to get information than from the university representatives themselves.
2. Manage your choices
Limit your applications to two countries with around 5 universities each. Applying to universities can take up a lot of your time, effort and money – not to mention disappointments, particularly if you apply to too many of them!
Limit your choices to Reach (universities that are your top choices), Match (universities that match your grades), and Safety(universities that are slightly below your expected grades – just in case you didn’t meet your expected GPA) schools. There are no hard rules, but experience suggests it is best to apply to 2 Reach, 2 Match and 1 Safety schools.
3. Visit the campus if you can
University campuses and facilities look good on the Web and on brochures, and no wonder – it’s the marketing department’s job to achieve this! You do get the true picture, however, by actually visiting the campuses if you can.
Not only do you get the “feel” of the campus, you can also get your bearings and even put a face to your future lecturers. University staff will be happy to show you around the campus and facilities. What is also very important is that you can get the opportunity to gauge the community “vibe”, since much of your time will be spent in this environment.
4. Mind the deadlines
Mark those deadlines on your calendar, or better yet – create an application timeline for yourself. This time management tool will help you better manage your final semester studies and your university applications as well. If you miss the deadlines, there will be a last opportunity to apply, but the chances of you getting accepted in your Reach universities will have dropped to a 10% acceptance rate.
Make sure all your application forms are properly filled out and attach ALL requirements, as the admissions team will not be able to efficiently process your application if you have incomplete documentation. (Of course, if you are still on your final semester, you can attach the latest report card available in the meantime.)
Impress the admissions team by carrying a formal and professional tone in your correspondence with them. Keep your communication to a minimum, and do not ask them questions which you can find on the Web. Poor research will frustrate them as they have to deal with student applications from around the world.
Lastly, create a respectable email address to which the universities will reply to. Avoid personal email addresses with names such as cutiegirl, sexy, boytoy and the like. You are after all applying to an educational institution, not an amusement park.
Best of luck on your study abroad adventure!
Dianne has been active in student counseling and assistance for application to universities, colleges and schools abroad for 15 years now. She started her career working for the British Council as the Education Services Manager and IELTS Administrator for 4 years. Now she continues her advocacy as Counselor of Study International – a ONE-STOP-SHOP for studying abroad providing FREE education counseling and assistance for studies in UK, Australia and New Zealand, USA, Canada, Switzerland, Italy, Netherlands, China, Malaysia, and Singapore. She helps students make an INFORMED choice based on student’s aspiration, goals, and budget.