Im Going To Study Abroad University Essay Layout

Here you’ll find a collection of the most frequently asked questions regarding how to studyabroad. Find information on where to study, how to apply, entry requirements, getting a student visa, tuition fees and funding, finding study abroad scholarships and other practical information.

Browse the questions below to discover the answers to the mysterious secret of how to study abroad…

1.  Why study abroad?

2.  Where in the world should I study?

3. How do I get started?

4.  How long do study abroad programs take?

5.  When can I start applying for study abroad programs?

6.  What are the entry requirements for study abroad programs?

7.  What documentation should I submit with my application?

8.  Do I have to speak a second language to study abroad?

9.  Will I need to attend an admissions interview?

10. After gaining a letter of acceptance, what do I do next?

11.  Do I need to apply for a student visa?

12.  How much does it cost to study abroad?

13.  Can I get financial aid to study abroad?

14.  Where can I find study abroad scholarships?

15.  Where will I live during my study abroad program?

16.  Can I work while studying abroad?

17.  Further questions?

1.  Why study abroad?

There are many reasons why study abroad programs are becoming so popular. For most international students, the appeal is likely to be a combination of gaining a high-quality education, experiencing immersion in a new culture (and often a second language), gaining a global mindset and expanding future employment prospects.

For some, the prospect of leaving home and heading off into the unknown is daunting, but studying abroad is also an exciting challenge that often leads to improved career opportunities and a broader understanding of the way the world works. The type of experience you have during your time abroad will vary hugely depending on where you go, so make sure to pick a study destination based on your own personal interests as well as the country’s academic reputation, in order to keep a healthy work/play balance.

To get more of an idea of whether studying abroad is for you, read some of our blog posts:

2.  Where in the world should I study?

Choosing where in the world you wish to study is not always an easy task. As well as your own personal interests you should think about practicalities such as the costs of studying in that country (both tuition costs and living costs), your graduate career prospects (is there a good job market?) and your overall safety and welfare.

You should also think about what sort of lifestyle you wish to have during your studies. Do you want to live in a big city or a small university town? Do you want arts and culture on your doorstep or world-class sporting facilities? Whatever your interests, be sure to match them up with your study destination so that you really give yourself the best chance of loving your international experience.

If you need help making up your mind, take a look at some of the most popular destinations – Australia, Canada, Germany, the UK and the US  – or use the links below to view our university rankings and full range of country guides:

Related articles and blog posts:

3.  How do I get started?

Once you’ve made up your mind about where you want to study, you should start to think about choosing a program and a university, if you haven’t already. You can research leading universities with the QS World University Rankings®, use the subject rankings to discover universities which are best for your subject, and also consult national rankings of universities in your chosen destination. You’ll then want to look closely at the courses offered by the institutions on your short list, as well as researching the local area and lifestyle, admission requirements and costs.

Once you’ve firmly decided on your program and institution, you should start to think about your application(s). Application processes differ depending on the university and the country, but generally each institution will provide full details of how to submit your application on the official website.

In some cases there is a “two-step application process” for international students. This means you must submit two applications: one for a place at the university and one for a place on the course itself. This should be clearly stated on the university’s website. If you still have questions about the process, you should contact your chosen university directly.

If you think you might need a student visa, remember that in most cases you won’t be able to apply for one until you have received a letter of acceptance from your chosen university. Each stage can take several months, so allow as much time as possible.

For more guidance on choosing a course and a university, check out the links below:

4.  How long do study abroad programs take?

The length of time you spend studying abroad will depend on the program and level of degree you’re undertaking. Generally, an undergraduate degree will take three or four years of full-time study (for example, in the UK the typical length for most subjects is three years, while in the US the norm is four), while a graduate degree such as a master’s degree or equivalent will take one or two years. A doctoral (PhD) program will usually take three to four years.

At many universities across the world, there is also the option of studying abroad for a shorter period of time. Student exchange programs allow you to study abroad for a year, a semester or even just a few weeks. Information about these shorter programs should be available on the website of the main university you plan to enroll at, as well as the university you’d like to be hosted by.

5.  When can I start applying for study abroad programs?

Considering your application as early as possible is the best way to go. After all, the sooner you gain acceptance into a university, the sooner you can arrange your travels. To avoid disappointment, note down all the relevant application deadlines (set out by your chosen university) in HUGE LETTERS on your calendar.

Application deadlines will be different depending on the school, but generally speaking, for programs starting in the fall (September/October), applications will be open from early in the year (January/February) until the middle of the year (June/July).

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6. What are the entry requirements for study abroad programs?

Entry requirements vary widely between universities and between countries, so be sure to check the information provided by your prospective university before submitting anything.

Speaking generally, however, if you are applying for an undergraduate degree you will be asked to show that you have completed your secondary education to a standard that is in line with the required grades (e.g. your GPA, A-level grades or equivalent) for the program you’re applying to. If you have an international qualification and are unsure whether this is accepted, you should contact the admissions department of the university.

For non-native English speakers wanting to study in English-speaking countries, it is also highly likely that you’ll need to provide proof of your English-language proficiency by taking an English-language test such as TOEFL or IELTS. Similar tests may be required for those studying in other languages. For more information about language tests, refer to question 8.

7. What documentation should I submit with my application?

You may be asked to provide some supporting documentation as part of your application. Once again, requirements vary depending on the country and university, but international students are often asked to provide the following:

    • Passport photos for identification
    • A statement of purpose
    • CV/résumé
    • Academic references/ letters of recommendation
    • Certificate and transcripts of your secondary education
    • Proof of English-language proficiency (e.g. a TOEFL/IELTS certificate, for schools in English-speaking countries), or other language test
    • Admissions test results (e.g. GMAT/GRE results, for graduate programs)

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8.  Do I have to speak a second language to study abroad?

This depends on the country you wish to study in, and the language your course will be taught in. If you are not a native English speaker but wish to study a course taught in English, you will have to prove you can speak the language to a fairly high level, by providing English-language test results. This is to ensure you will be able to follow your course without any comprehension problems.

English is also used as a language of instruction in a number of other countries worldwide, particularly for graduate programs and business degrees. English-taught courses will be advertised on the university’s website and can sometimes be searched for using a centralized database run by a national agency.

Common tests accepted as proof of English proficiency are the TOEFL and IELTS. If you need to prove your proficiency in a language other thanEnglish, there are also similar tests in other languages, such as the DELF/DALF and TCF-DAP (French) or the DSF and TestDaF (German).

Before taking a language test, make sure you confirm which results are accepted by your chosen school to make sure you don’t waste money on the wrong test.

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From the blog:

(Image: Polka Dot/Thinkstock)

Whether you’re applying for an undergraduate school or trying to get into graduate programs, many applications require a letter of intent or personal statement. Personal statements are one of the most important parts of the application and sometimes the deciding factor for admission.

Personal statements give a better understanding of who you are, beyond the rigid constraints of the “fill-in-the-blank” application.

Like many around this time of the year, I am finishing my graduate school applications. Looking for advice and guidance, I decided to compare different schools’ personal statement requirements and ask admissions offices for advice. Here’s what I found:

1. Be yourself

The Columbia Graduate School for Journalism encourages students to write about family, education, talents or passions. They want to hear about significant places or events in your life; about books you have read, people you have met or work you’ve done that has shaped the person you have become.

Schools want to know about you so don’t portray someone else in the essay. It’s almost like going on a first date. You want to display your best qualities but be yourself at the same time. You want the other person to like you, not someone you’re pretending to be.

2. Show diversity

Rayna Reid, a personal statement guru, received her undergraduate degree at Cornell, Masters at the University of Pennsylvania and is currently pursuing a Law degree at Columbia. Reid says a personal statement is really just a way to make the college fall in love with you.

“The essay is where you really get a chance to differentiate yourself from the other applicants,” she said. “Explain why they should accept you. What will you contribute?”

Sean Carpenter, University of Southern California Student Services Associate and undergraduate student, reiterates the importance of differentiating yourself from other applicants.

He works in the Annenberg School for Communication admissions office and deals with prospective students daily. Carpenter says USC or any major school want to see diversity.

“They want to see how you’re different from all other applicants, especially through diversity. What makes you unique out of all the other applicants?” Carpenter said, “Tell things that has helped you grow as a person and built your character.”

3. Do research and tailor each essay accordingly

Every college is different, so each personal statement should be different. Many students try to get away with having a universal essay but admissions departments will notice.

“Do research to give concrete reasons why you’re interested in particular program,” Carpenter said. “Speak with a faculty member that you’re interested in working with or doing research for and mention that in your statement. It would also be beneficial to say what classes you’ve taken that were relevant to the field of study.”

4. Be concise and follow directions

Make sure you read the directions carefully. One of the biggest red flags for an admissions office are students who don’t adhere to word limitations. Don’t give them a reason to throw out your application.

Believe it or not, there is a way to say everything you want in a page or less. If you need some help, ask several faculty members to read over your essay and give you feedback.

5. Go beyond your resume, GPA and test scores

Many students worry about how their GPA and test scores will affect the admissions process. The personal statement is an opportunity to explain any strengths or weaknesses in your application — such as changes in major, low GPA or lack of experience.

For instance, Reid was worried about not having a 4.0 GPA. Since Reid didn’t have the perfect GPA, she explained what she did with her time to make up for that fact. Being on the Varsity rowing team and a Teach for America Corp member are great examples of how devoting her time to other things made an impact on her GPA.

6. Tell a story

“Nothing makes someone fall in love like a good story. It does not have to be the next Pulitzer winner,” Reid said. “For college, one essay I wrote was about how I have often felt like my life was a movie and how Dirty Dancing (yes, the movie) changed my life. My sister who currently goes to Princeton even wrote about killing a fly!”

One of the worst things you can do is bore the admission officer. Make yourself memorable by telling a story about something distinctive from a creative or different angle.

With this advice, your personal statement will be the highlight of your application. Good luck!

Alexis Morgan is currently a senior at Penn State University. She has extensive experience in public relations, broadcast journalism, print journalism and production. Alexis truly believes if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life. Follow Alexis’s career on her website.

Alexis Morgan, Columbia University, Cornell University, grad school, Penn State University, the application, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, COLLEGE CHOICE, VOICES FROM CAMPUS 

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