As the number of students preparing to apply to universities over the second half of this year doubles, it is only fitting for me to do you all a favour.
Let me guess; after spending a decade of your lives being told what to do and where to go in high school, you are suddenly bombarded with this life changing decision to make, with at least hundreds of options on the platter for you to choose from. As much as this is advantageous, it is, trust me, brain racking to get this right because all you have is one chance and the clock is ticking. It is a game, no doubt, and there is no easy way out.
If I told you the official age that experts concluded was suitable to begin applying to universities, it would blow you off whatever you’re sitting on right now as you read this.
13. THIRTEEN. That’s right. You need this article. You need me.
Several things tend to confuse you when you first explore the internet without knowing what you are looking for. If you think you can directly revert to the course you’re looking for by looking up your favourite occupation like you did as a kid, you’re wrong! This is a PROCESS and lets me talk to you about it:
Get Yourself Ranked
Ever heard of the QS Ranking system? Well, it identifies the world’s strongest universities in 46 individual subject areas and is almost a direct answer to getting to the ‘top’. Start by looking it up for the most aspiring universities worldwide if that’s your plan. Moreover, if you have eyes to a particular place and course, then look for rankings within that place by filtering for example QS ranking for Medical Sciences and you will have the world’s top universities under this specificity. It not only makes it easier to sort but also lets you know that there is a definite chance that your desired course is available in the universities that they list.
Pick out desired universities from the desired range of ranking that you want to be placed in for instance: Top 20th to 35th. Keep to a minimum of 3 universities in each of the countries that you have your eyes on and more so if you have only one destination in mind. This is one of the many small meanders that will lead you to the EXACT place you want to be in.
Main Course is Everything
The ironic thing about looking for an appropriate course is that you don’t go looking for the course at all, but instead revert back to the choices you have made during high school…that is, your subjects in any board level that you have completed. Once you’ve sorted that out and have all your achievements written down (because honestly who can remember all of that right?), you can begin to compare your achievements and current qualifications with the requirements of the courses picked out in the universities desired. Eventually, you will cut down on a solid list to which you are eligible(almost!).
Watch out for the biters!
Apart from the basic requirements like subject grades, extracurriculars and community service, you need to keep an eye out for standardised tests like the SATs, CATs, ACTs, IELTS, TOEFLs as they tend to be the most common requirements in the prime countries that comprise the best universities worldwide. Often students miss out on the opportunity to be able to sit for a second try and achieve even better marks to improve their profile. It’s advisable to make space to do at least two sittings in each of these tests as there is always room for improvement.
Finally, you will have considered your economic feasibility, budget, location, environment preferred and would have come to a valid conclusion. Let me tell you, deep down you know you have made the right choice because you would have eliminated major flaws in your application by now.
Of course, what follows is making a unique personal statement that shows you’ve been reading outside your course and getting new ideas. Try to implement them somehow and fix your accommodation before all because you will not only be studying but going to live a life there while you’re at it. Most of all, you need the emotional support and mindset to be able to move out for a better purpose; leave no space for regret because when you do return, it will be with one thing more than what you had when you left. That valuable piece of paper with your name on it enough to change your life in ways unimaginable. Start now and watch yourself fly with colours!