Now that you’ve researched the options available to you, and come up with the ideal study program at your dream destination, your next step is to fill out your application to study abroad.
This can seem like a daunting task, but with a little planning and a few effective tips and tricks, you will be able to get it done quickly – and right – the first time. This post addresses some of the most helpful ways to ace your study abroad application. Follow these insights and you’ll be experiencing student life in a foreign country in no time.
How to Ace Your Study Abroad Application
1. Get Started Early
Studying abroad is something a lot of students aspire to. It comes with a myriad of benefits, including making new friends and learning new cultures, as well as growing personally and academically. But, without proper planning and organization, you may not have a successful experience studying abroad.
The most important thing you can do is to begin the process early. Make sure you submit your study abroad application long before the deadline so you don’t have to worry about any last-minute issues that may kill your plans. By planning ahead, you make it more likely that you will be able to complete your application without any pressure so that you submit your best work possible.
2. Research Your Destination
Now that you know where you’re going to study, it’s time to research your destination. Before completing your study abroad application, you need to know a few basic things about the culture, history, and laws of the country you intend to spend the semester in.
Gathering such knowledge will help you determine not only that this is really where you’d like to study, but it will also make it easier for you to complete your personal essay and in-person interviews (if any). For instance, one of the most commonly asked questions is ‘Why do you want to study in our country?’ With this information, you will be much better equipped to answer that question.
3. Get the Application Form Basics Right
As with college or university applications, a study abroad application is made up of several different parts. Here are some of the basic concepts to expect when you fill out your application.
General Information – Each application requires basic information, such as your name, nationality, etc. The most important part of this section is your passport information. If you are thinking about applying to study abroad, or if you’ve already started the process, make sure that you have applied for your passport as it can take several months to receive it.
CV/Resume – Although not always a requirement, you may be asked to submit your resume or CV with your application. This is particularly true when you intend to do some service work or internship while you’re abroad. So if that is the case, then you need to submit your CV even if the application doesn’t call for one. And remember to update your resume to keep it current.
Physical or Health Forms – You will have to submit different forms relating to your health depending on the study program or country you’re applying for. If you don’t submit these documents during the application process, you may end up having to undergo some type of check during the visa process. Whichever country you choose likely has a vested interest in ensuring that you’re healthy before you set foot on their soil.
You will probably have to complete a general questionnaire asking about your physical and/or mental health conditions. For some of the more rigorous applications, you may need to undergo a full physical. That’s why it is vital to check exactly what you need beforehand so you can schedule the necessary doctor’s appointments and avoid any inconvenient surprises down the road.
Recommendation Letters – You will probably need to submit a few letters of recommendation, particularly for the study abroad programs that are more competitive. Such study options typically require at least one to three letters from your academic connections. If you need to submit letters of recommendation for your chosen program, you need to decide early on which faculty you’ll ask to write the letter(s). Make sure you let them know where you’re going to study so they can add a personal touch to the written recommendation.
4. Choose Your Course(s) Wisely
Studying abroad is great for meeting new people, experiencing new cultures, and immersing yourself in a totally different environment. But the most important experience there will, of course, be the actual ‘studying’. For students who choose to study in France, it’s very important to choose wisely when considering the courses that you will take part in during your stay abroad. Make sure you opt for something that will enrich you academically while enhancing your overall experience of French culture.
You may need to choose some preliminary courses in your initial application, or the program might call for a selection of your final course. Either way, it’s best to be prepared with your desired courses in mind before filling out the application. You may also need to submit some type of approval form that you can get from your home university academic advisor.
5. Write an Outstanding Personal Statement
Your personal essay is a lot easier to write than a typical academic essay. That’s because it’s written straight from the heart. In it, you have the freedom to open up and get personal about the reasons why you want to study abroad. Of course, you shouldn’t forget to mention your academics, as well as your career goals. What do you hope to get out of the experience? Is it personal growth? Or maybe you want to be more worldly at the end of it?
Whatever it is you hope to achieve, make sure it comes across clearly in your personal essay. Brainstorm different ideas and create a simple outline. Edit the essay, and then edit it again. Make sure to proofread before submitting your essay. The last thing you want is to have typos in the text that could have been avoided.
A quick recap of the steps to follow:
1. Get started early
2. Research your destination
3. Get the application basics right:
– General Information
– Physical or Health Forms
– Recommendation Letters
4. Choose your courses wisely
5. Write an outstanding personal statement.
Use this article as your resource to help you get the process done, step by step. Before you know it, you will be studying abroad in a country of your choice. Just remember to keep your grades up through all of this. If your grades aren’t where you’d like them to be, then use this semester to work hard and get your grades in check so you can be studying abroad next semester.
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