The summers are different for an international student, not because it’s hotter than ever before but because it is the time of the year for you to start prepping for your college!
Indeed, it is the perfect time to begin planning for the next pivotal phase for every teenager, and the list isn’t too small to make silly. IELTS, internships, UCAS applications, personal statements, reference letters, and many more shall be on your to-do lists this summer.
Isn’t college abroad dreamy enough to capture the hearts of every aspiring sophomore? Well, for that dream to come true, one needs to start their research right away! Here are a few things listed for your guidance on your unidays:
1. University Search
University life is a crucial phase for every individual, you explore a different version of yourself at uni, and spending those days at your dream uni will surely make it special. University search isn’t limited to only the university, rather it is more about the country in which you plan to spend the rest of your 3 years studying at uni. Accommodation facilities, living expenses, food and lifestyle, culture and language, and job opportunities are some of the things that you should keep in mind before finalizing your university decision.
2. English Proficiency Tests
The English Proficiency Test is a mandate for most university admissions; however, some universities do not suggest the same. Generally, there are a number of proficiency tests that are certified before universities for international students and they include: IELTS, Duolingo, and TOEFL. The procedures and requirements of these examinations differ but most of them expire after 2 years of completing them. More information about them shall be referred to their respective official websites linked above.
Preparing for those tests is vital for your college applications as your scores showcase your language proficiency before them and here are a few ways to equip yourselves: Reading novels, listening to music and pronouncing the lyrics, practicing listening comprehension, and lastly watching some Netflix series to improve your pronunciation skills!
3. Internships and volunteering
Having a CV filled with your work-life experiences will surely make your application stand out, especially in volunteering activities. I remember starting my career by working with an NGO based in India as an environmental research intern, it was the bedrock of my career path.
Kick-starting your career path before college can really teach you a lot more about people and life outside school life. Internships and volunteering will give you the experience of work-life and equip you with many skills that may prove fruitful once you actually start working in the corporate world. Websites like Internshala, Idealist, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn are helpful in finding internships near you or even remote ones.
4. Application portals
Many colleges have their official college portals for applications; however, portals like Common Application, UCAS are also available for college application guidance. They help you out by updating you about the application deadlines, required documents, personal statements, college search and many more. UCAS generally has a number of well-acclaimed UK universities to choose from and apply and Common Application is mostly for US, Canada, and other European-based universities.
5. Personal Statements
A Personal Statement is a document that reflects your personality on paper before university. It conveys about your character, future goals, hobbies, and many other fascinating aspects of your personality. Before writing your personal statement, it is important to ask yourself a few questions like: who am I as an individual? Why am I applying to college? What are my career goals? What have I learned so far in life? And the answers to them would guide you down the road of completing this essay. Here are a few tips to prep your personal statement!
6. Reference Letters
Personally, I believe reference letters are documents that convey your efficiency as an intern, student, or any other role that you have played during your internship or school life. A reference letter tells more about your skills and character from another person’s perspective and the college will look forward to it before finalizing the admission decision, Therefore, it is highly recommended to ask for a reference letter from your teacher or employer to submit along with your college application.
7. Financial Aid and Scholarship
As international students, you should be aware that there are many universities out there that offer full-tuition scholarships and outstanding financial aid as per your academic and extra-curricular excellence. Therefore a good college search will surely help you land in college with a reasonable scholarship. Some scholarships would require a separate application along with your college application however, most of them do not require one. In countries like Canada, Germany, Italy, and France it is easier to get scholarships for international students.
8. Get in touch with Alumni!
Chatting with university Alumnus or current students will update you a lot more about the university culture, uni life, food and accommodation, and many more. They will be able to share their experiences with you which will be a great source of information for your university preparation. Many universities offer this option, LinkedIn is also a great platform for you to get in touch with university alumni.
9. Take your heritage with you as you fly over the sky!
Do you miss homemade food? If you are an expatriate like me, you might be able to relate to homesickness. Being a south-Indian girl who was raised in the middle east, I can talk endlessly about Indian foods that I miss devouring over and over. Perfect recipes of your granny are something that you can carry with you as you move onto uni, it will remind you of those childhood days. If you are planning to live independently at uni, learning some easy recipes will save you time and money!