Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for a Study Abroad Program

High school student in class

Though there are many different and important factors that go into an acceptance into a study abroad program, here are some tips and tricks that help you prepare for your best chances at success:

Do your homework

Don’t leave anything out. Thoroughly research the specific criteria for applying to your selected program to ensure that you can meet all requirements. You should expect to submit many additional items with your application form, usually including transcripts, references, health records, and often an application fee, among other possibilities. Take the time and care to complete any optional requirements as well. If the optional items didn’t add value and insight, they wouldn’t make the list. Follow instructions precisely, carefully noting each step and each component of your application.

Keep on track

Don’t procrastinate. Don’t let deadlines sneak up on you or pass you by. Once you have chosen a program, start organizing and prioritizing immediately, so you’re ready well-before the deadline.

Keep an agenda or calendar of important dates. Carefully review the application requirements and deadline for submission. Boldly mark (highlight, outline, box in, bedazzle, etc.) the date of the final deadline. Then, consider each of the items you will be submitting. Some of the items may take some time to prepare or secure, such as transcripts, references, and immunizations. Ask yourself what the maximum time required could be to procure each of your items. Working backward from the deadline, mark the latest date that you should begin planning for each item, and write in the specific action that needs to be taken on or before that day. Any additional items that you will need for travel, such as a passport and student visa, can also be scheduled in your agenda as action items through the same process.

Stand out in the crowd

Don’t be afraid to flaunt what you have accomplished. Most applications will require you to craft a personal statement or essay. Whatever the topic, take the time and energy to create a statement that represents who you are, and be honest. Write, review, and revise as much as necessary, until you are content that the quality of the writing reflects what can be expected from you.

Proofread, proofread, and proofread.

Typos and other careless errors reflect poorly on you. You’ve worked too hard to let a sloppy submission hurt you. It is easy to miss errors in your own writing, too. So having someone else proofread your writing is a great safeguard against oversight and worth the extra attention.

Taking these steps to ensure that you are starting your study-abroad adventure with your best foot forward will help ensure that you achieve your goals.


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