You have a dream, a dream to study abroad and travel the world. You are fascinated by those beautiful moments shared by your friends or total strangers, and you want to see your dream become a reality.
The moment you think about study abroad, perhaps you start thinking of IFs and BUTs associated with it or pragmatically speaking you just feel restricted by financial matters and by the end of the day, you just happen to give up on your dream.
REALIZATION OF THE DREAM
What if I told you that you could do all the process of study abroad by yourself!
You would not believe me, right!
And that is completely justifiable because most of the international students do not believe it. And why should they! I mean, students who have got excellent grades do not want to lose their chances of admission just for the sake of saving some money, and those who lack good performance on their mark-sheet try to rationalize their point by saying that they stand nowhere in the race and the only way is to pay large amount of money to some study abroad consultant.
For the record, I am not against consultancy. We all seek consultancy in different matters of life every now and then. All I am saying is that if you plan on getting some professional consultancy, it should be from someone who’s an expert in that field and the price should be reasonable (especially when you’re a student).
PROS AND CONS OF APPLYING ON YOUR OWN
Students just seem reluctant to handle their admission file themselves, but it is in fact the best practice. When you apply to study abroad yourself, you will:
- Save money
- Portray yourself better
- Connect directly with universities
- Choose your study program and intended university
- Control the delivery and use of your personal information
- Experience the entire process, which helps if something does not work out
Talking about the cons of applying on your own, you will have to:
- Do some intensive research
- Arrange the required documents
But that is fair enough because you will have to consider the above mentioned cons even if you pay someone to do the complete application for you. By the way, asking someone to do this (from A to Z) is never a good idea because it might be against terms and conditions of some of the universities. Furthermore, what if you end up in:
- A university, which is not recognized
- A practice-oriented study program while you were interested in a theory-oriented program and vice versa
By now you might already be considering to apply on your own, but you might be asking yourself “But can I REALLY do it all by myself?”
YES! YOU CAN DO IT
We often hear that EDUCATION is the SOLUTION but the sad reality is that education has become a BUSINESS nowadays. However, if you show dedication and persistence, you can achieve your goal without being restricted by financial barriers. Yes, you will have tough times, but no big achievement comes on easy terms.
You might need some GUIDANCE, so let me tell you this.
From high school to master’s degree, I have experienced studying in Pakistan, Italy, the USA and Germany; I always applied by myself and for the most part, I have always managed to get some SCHOLARSHIP. During my adventures in the last few years, I did not only add value to my academic profile, but also I had the opportunity to explore different cultures and to meet amazing people from around the globe (benefits of study abroad). Many students, who are already studying abroad, are willing to assist those who wish to study abroad. Moreover, universities also offer guidance to prospective students, particularly by answering the questions you might have.
Adifiles is a student guide and aims to help students make their study abroad dream come true.
Get started on your dream of study abroad, the sooner the better. Following are some of the steps to help you with that:
Before Applying for Study Abroad
So! You are all set to make your dream come true. The first and the most important step towards study abroad is to decide what you want to achieve in the short term as well as in the long run. Following points could help you make a good decision:
- University and study program
- Goals after graduation
- Job market
Searching Study Abroad Programs
There is no one specific or best way of searching study abroad programs, different people prefer different methods. Here are two simplest options you could consider:
- Search in online platforms, for example DAAD for Germany, and then check with the universities who are offering those programs to obtain more information
- In case you have short-listed the universities and would like to join one of those universities, then you could look in the university catalog to find your desired program
Meet the Requirements
After short listing the study abroad programs, make a separate TO DO LIST for each university, and consider the following points to add in the lists:
- Application documents
- Motivation letter (LOM)/Statement of purpose (SOP)
- Recommendation letter (LOR)/Reference letter
- Transcript/degree certificate
- Language proficiency certificate, for example IELTS or TOEFL for English
- Standardized tests, such as SAT, GRE and GMAT
- Application deadline
- How to apply: online/by post, directly to university/through an application platform
While applying for Study Abroad
Arrange all the documents beforehand and apply well in time, it would save you some money you might have to pay, for example in case of “24 hour delivery” through some postal service. It does not really matter for one application but consider doing the math for sending 10 or more applications.
Additionally, applying in time also offers you a time-window in case some documents went missing or the university requires some additional documents (this point depends upon the university and their admission policy).
After Applying for Study Abroad
Once you are done with your study abroad applications, it is time to collect information about visa regulations for the countries you sent your admission application to. You can also do this after receiving an admission letter. However, you will be spending some time to acquire the information and to arrange the required documents for the visa application and because of this, you might miss the chance to get a visa appointment (if required by embassy/consulate) that suits you the best. This might affect the enrollment deadline issued by the university.
The best practice is to obtain all the information and manage the documents for visa application after your admission application, so that you can apply for the visa appointment right after receiving an admission letter or let us say THE admission letter (the one you have been looking forward to).
Travel and accommodation arrangements
Many international students I have met, prefer to live in student dormitories because of the facilities these dormitories offer. However, many student dormitories in different countries have application deadline and sometimes several weeks or months of waiting time till you finally get a room. Besides, it might be a requirement for visa application to show your travel as well as accommodation arrangements for first few days after arrival. That is why it is always wise to do this as soon as possible.
Good luck with your admission applications!
In this post, personal views and opinions are expressed. If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know in the comments below.
Author: Adil Ilyas