Anyone can get into a university abroad, and often for free. The main thing is a well-formulated admission strategy, proper completion of documents, and adherence to deadlines. We’ll help you put together a guide to applying to a foreign university.
Why go to college abroad
Higher education programs abroad focus on quality. Universities in the U.S. and Great Britain are consistently at the top of world rankings.
Many universities abroad allow students to arrange their schedules and choose which courses to take. Faculty members at foreign universities are often focused on practice, not theory.
Many U.S. universities allow international students to remain in the country for one year after college to gain practical work experience through the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program. Similar programs can be found in Europe as well.
Studying abroad is a useful experience, new acquaintances, and tremendous personal growth, and a diploma from a foreign university is an advantage over competitors in the hiring process. Studying at prestigious universities certainly will not be easy, but with the help of tutors, capstone writing services and diligence you can become a successful student.
Is it possible to enter on your own
Whether you apply on your own or with the help of professionals is up to you. Both options are possible.
If you apply on your own, it is important to remember that you need not only to prepare for all the necessary examinations, but also to deal with filling out documents, filing applications, correspondence with universities, and also keep track of deadlines, and knowing what and when to do. For example, the American system of applying to universities is fundamentally different from ours: the documents are submitted a year in advance. If a student wants to start school in September 2023, you have to send your documents to the university in September 2022.
Deadlines can be either September or January. Check everything carefully and don’t miss the deadline. The higher the university is in the rankings, the earlier it closes enrollment.
It’s important to make sure you don’t make any mistakes that could affect admission and funding when you apply.
If you choose to apply, it is important to choose certified companies and read the contract carefully.
When to Start Preparing for Admission and What You Need to Do
The preparation for admission is divided into several stages:
- choosing a major;
- Determining achievements and working out a personal brand (below we explain what it is);
- assessing the chances and selecting universities according to the criteria;
- gathering information about required exams and deadlines;
- preparing documentation, sending applications, and applying for scholarships.
You can start preparing four years in advance or a year in advance. But keep in mind that the later you start to prepare, the harder you will have to work on admission. If you begin to prepare in advance, there will be more opportunities to retake tests – for example, to get a better result.
Most universities require international students to confirm the level of English language by taking the TOEFL or IELTS. It is usually required at least Upper Intermediate or Advanced. Universities want to see an average of 80-100 scores on the TOEFL out of 120. The higher an institution ranks, the stricter its requirements are. But you can also apply without the English, for example to programs in the Baltic States or the Czech Republic. Information on the required tests is available on the websites of universities.
High grades are not a guarantee of admission to university abroad, even if they are all A’s. In addition to grades, universities want to see achievements and contributions to society. You need to show leadership and initiative.
A motivation letter should clearly articulate what the applicant wants to accomplish in life and how education will help. The admissions committee appreciates it when the applicant has a clear plan and trajectory of professional growth.
In some countries, the school system is longer – 12 grades. In such a country it is not possible to start studying immediately after the 11th grade. In this case, you have to choose one of the options:
- Go to language courses in the country where you plan to enter;
- Take annual courses at a foreign university (for example, such courses in Germany are called Studienkolleg).
It is also important to adjust psychologically. It takes several months to adapt to the move. At first, you will miss your family, friends, and familiar surroundings. But, as practice shows, then the situation stabilizes: there are new impressions of learning and rich student life. In addition, foreign universities always have a psychologist who you can turn to for help.
How to Choose a Country to Apply to:
When choosing a country for admission, you should pay attention to:
- the availability of scholarships for international students;
- examinations that need to be taken;
- popular fields of study;
- the cost of education and living.
The easiest places to go to university are Germany, Italy, and Spain, and the most difficult are Switzerland and Great Britain: the requirements for admission are very high, and scholarships are few and extremely difficult to obtain.
A common situation – is to enter a country where the student has never been before. In this case, it is worth reading about the traditions and local mentality in advance. Practice shows that students quickly settle in a new place and make new friends. In addition, foreign universities have departments for working with foreign students, which provide the necessary support.
How to enroll for free or with partial funding
There are many types of full funding available to cover tuition, fees, and even travel. Some scholarships may be awarded not by the university itself but by private sponsors, organizations, and foundations. These range in size from $100,000 to more than $10,000.
Here are some common types of scholarships.
- Need-based scholarships – scholarships awarded based on financial need.
- Merit-based scholarships – scholarships awarded based on achievements, such as excellent exam results or a strong personal brand.
- Heritage-based scholarships – Scholarships based on ethnicity.
- Scholarships for women – Scholarships for girls in certain programs, such as business courses.
- Major-specific scholarships – scholarships for applicants to certain programs.
It is also possible to get coverage for your education by working for the university. Here are some activities that might help with that.
A Residential Assistant (mostly undergraduate) is a student who coordinates activities in the dormitories. This position is a great benefit: free housing. In this role, you are responsible for the safety of the dorm residents, organizing floor meetings and group activities.
Assistantship (mainly for master’s students) – An assistantship involves performing work related to your field of studies, such as assisting with research or teaching. This position allows students to cover all or part of the cost of their studies.
Research assistant (mainly for PhDs) – A research assistant position involves assisting with research. It often involves working for the cost of tuition.
You do not have to be a prodigy to get funding. Grants go to regular, motivated kids who are willing to show the admissions committee their accomplishments. It’s important to package your brand competently. It includes:
- a letter of motivation,
- history of the applicant,
- achievements in the professional and social sphere.
What to do if you can’t get in for free
If a student was able to enroll, but only at the parental expense, it is not a verdict. There are real cases where students have increased their funding from zero to full coverage.
It is important to write your financial aid appeal letter competently when you ask for money: it should not be limited to a couple of paragraphs. If you want to ask for tens of thousands of dollars – you should write a long, well-reasoned letter with good reasons to convince the university administration to be sympathetic to your situation. Natalia’s letter took two pages to write. There are two types of arguments you can use in a letter.
How expertly the letter is drafted can lead to several scenarios:
- the university will ignore the letter;
- the university will increase the scholarship;
- the university will transfer the student to another program in which they can give you the amount of funding you need.