Are you considering pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree abroad? Great! Studying abroad is one of the best things you can do for your academic and professional career growth.
Getting there however, can be a daunting task for many prospective international students. Firstly, you have to figure out which schools to apply to and which majors you’re interested in, write compelling personal essays, and compile the required documents.
Fortunately, there are many resources that prospective international students can use to make the process smoother. These resources include school counsellors, mentors, former or currently enrolled international students, and study abroad consultants.
That said, you might not have access to these resources at the time you need them. As you look for someone more experienced to help you, here are some essential tips to get you started:
Get Your Documents in Order
When applying to study abroad, it is essential to make sure all the commonly required documents are in order.
Key documents for university applications include:
- Academic transcripts
- Letters of recommendation
- Standardized test score reports
- English proficiency test reports
- Financial documents
Start working on the documents that might take long to collect such as transcripts and test scores as early as possible. If your transcript is in another language, get it translated and certified in advance.
Not having all the important documents can hold up the college application and admission process. Each school has its own list of required documents – which you can find on the specific program’s web page.
Be sure to double-check that all of the information on your documents is accurate and up-to-date. Doing so will help you avoid any delays or complications during your application and admission process.
Take Full Advantage of College Recruitment Resources
Thanks to declining interest from traditional markets for international students, such as China, many U.S colleges and universities are putting more effort into recruiting African students. There might be university representatives in your country – whom you can reach out for admission assistance. If a school you’re interested in doesn’t have a local representative, you can also reach out to their international recruitments advisor.
Additionally, you can attend online fairs, expos, and virtual campus tours organized by schools you’re interested in.
Don’t be shy about reaching out to universities abroad. They’ll be delighted that you’re interested, especially if they don’t have a big international student population. Such schools are often looking to increase their international student population to boost the diversity of their campus – a key marketing feature for prospective international students.
How do you find these schools? A great way to find universities and colleges seeking to recruit more foreign students is by looking at the ones offering generous financial aid for international students. Here’s a list of some of those universities.
Make a College Application Roadmap
Applying to universities and colleges abroad can be hectic and overwhelming. Consider creating a simplified roadmap to help you stay on track and ensure that you don’t miss any key steps in the process.
Don’t know where to start? First, make a list of all the colleges you’re interested in applying to. Then, research the application requirements for each college, such as:
- Test scores
- Recommendation letters
Once you’ve gathered all the information, create a timeline for each college that includes the due dates for each application component. Set reminders for yourself to make sure you stay on track and don’t miss any deadlines.
Polish Your Language Skills
It’s likely that English isn’t your first language. If so, take the time to polish your English proficiency – it will come in handy when:
- Communicating with university admissions officers
- Writing application essays
- Taking standardize college entrance tests such as SAT and ACT
- Taking English proficiency tests
- Answering questions during your visa interview
I you don’t regularly speak in English, start doing so. It can also be helpful to start watching English language movies and shows. Go an extra step and enroll in free online English courses and tests online – they can help you improve your skills as you prepare for required English proficiency tests.
Consider Hiring a Study Abroad Consultant
You don’t have to do the college application process all by yourself. In addition to other resources such as mentors and schools counsellors, it’s also a great idea to hire a study abroad consultant.
A study abroad consultant can help you understand the application process, provide advice on choosing the right school, and guide you through the visa process.
They can also help you, as a prospective international student, find the best scholarships and funding options available to you. With their help, you can make sure you’re making the best decisions for your future.
Are you looking for scholarships or student loans to finance your education abroad? Find a scholarship through our extensive scholarship database and compare different loans on the 8B student loan marketplace.