University is a huge step for high school students. It is a chance to explore the world, learn about yourself, and make connections with people who will be part of your life for years to come. There are many factors to take into consideration when deciding which university to go to, such as: What does the program at that university look like? Are there other students you can connect with easily? What is the student body like? How will you get around?
To help you make this important decision, we have put together a list of some of the top universities in the country.
Trying to get a familiar, easy-access web site for all your needed information is stressful. But getting a reliable website can be so satisfying. That’s why infolearners provides all you need access to the relevant information that puts an end to your search, such as how to apply for university admission, how to write an application letter for university admission, college admission process steps, application timeline, how to apply to universities in North America, and applying for an online degree anywhere in the world. With this website, you can get all the information on admission to university easily and stress-free.
University admission or college admission is the process through which students enter tertiary education at universities and colleges. Systems vary widely from country to country, and sometimes from institution to institution.
In many countries, prospective university students apply for admission during their last year of high school or community college. In some countries, there are independent organizations or government agencies to centralize the administration of standardized admission exams and the processing of applications.
You’ve made the final decision of studying abroad and becoming an international student. Now you just need to do your research and apply for a university. Are you too afraid to begin the process and keep postponing it?
Well, no need to stress out! The sooner you start searching for information and begin the application process for a university degree, the higher the chances you will be accepted by one or more international universities that you dream about.
Applying to a university, whether it is in European countries like the UK, France, Germany or Sweden, in the U.S., China or anywhere else, is not as complicated as you may think. You just have to pay attention to a few details and prepare all tnecessary documents as soon as possible.
How to apply for university admission
University Admission’s online application process is quick, easy and secure. You can start filling in your application now, save your work, and complete it later. You will receive a unique applicant number, which allows you to access your personal application, change it and add documents and submit or start new applications any time you want.
There are some basic requirements you should keep in mind before start filling in your application.
- You will graduate from secondary school this year or have already graduated.
- You want to study and develop yourself in a new environment.
- You are able to write and communicate in the language the studies are conducted in.
1. Find a course of your interest
The first thing you have to do to get started with the application process is to find a course that interests you. You can use the course finder to sort through all the different opportunities. Next to the course listing you will find buttons to start the application.
2. Fill in and submit an online application form
In the online application form you have to submit personal information, academic results and a reference(s) from your teacher(s).
After submitting your application first time, University Admission represented by a local agency charges an application fee to cover the administrative costs. With this fee you can submit applications for up to 6 courses. You will receive an invoice from your local agency shortly after the University Admission has accepted the application and find the payment details there.
If this is your first application, you will also be generated a unique applicant code, otherwise you are required to log in with your code. It provides you with an opportunity to be able to log into the University Admission’s online systems and resume editing your applications later.
Documents required for the application:
- If you have graduated from high school, you will generally need to submit a copy of the high school diploma, final grades and your exam results. If you are in the final year of your secondary school you will have to attach your diploma to the online application form as soon as you have received it. You need to use the University Admission grade transcript templates, available from here: grade transcripts
- An academic reference (recommendation letter) in English from your teacher is required. If you are not a student anymore, you can ask the letter of recommendation from a former teacher. You will be able to request the references using the online application form.
- A scanned copy of a passport (preferably at least two years to expiry date) also needs to be provided. Most institutions nowadays accept ID cards, but we strongly recommend to add a copy of the passport.
- Some courses may require additional documents to be attached to the application – specific instructions are given in the course description.
NB! You have to scan the original documents into the computer and attach them to the online application form. For more information, there is also a more comprehensive overview on required documents.
NB! University Admission is not allowed to correct any mistakes in your application. After the application is accepted by University Admission, it is forwarded directly to universities. Please make sure that all the information presented in the application form is correct and without mistakes.
If there are still significant mistakes in the application, University Admission will not accept the application. In this case the application is sent back to the applicant with directions so the applicant could correct the mistakes. If the mistakes are corrected, the application has to be resubmitted by the applicant.
NB! Your privacy is important to us. The information that you enter in your application form will remain strictly confidential and we only use it to contact you concerning your application or studies and forward it to the education institutions that you have specified.
3. Language test
University Admission organises its own English language test TESA. The language test TESA is compiled to give you valuable information about your language skills, a possibility to meet your future co-students and also provide additional information about studies abroad. We recommend to take the language test as early as possible.
You do not have to take the University Admission language test TESA if you already have received a sufficient grade in language tests such as TOEFL or IELTS. If you have taken the TOEFL or IELTS, then you need to scan the original certificate and add it to your online application form.
4. Letter of Acceptance
After the successful completion of the previous stages, you will receive an official letter of acceptance from the university you applied to.
The letter of acceptance can be conditional or unconditional. *
- Conditional Letter of Acceptance. In case you have received a conditional letter of acceptance please look for the conditions in the letter that you have to fulfil to be fully accepted. Typically, the conditions are just formalities and easy to meet.
- Unconditional Letter of Acceptance or just Letter of Acceptance says that you have been accepted.
When you have received the letter of acceptance and there are no conditions that you are not able to fulfil, we recommend you to start preparing for your life abroad straight away.
* The names of the acceptance letters can vary depending on the institution but on a large scale there are two types of letters of acceptance.
What Documents Do You Need to Apply for a University Abroad?
Admission requirements for a Master’s degree abroad can vary from programme to programme, but luckily there are also many similarities, whether you want to study in the USA, China, Germany or anywhere around the globe.
The purpose of an application fee receipt, of photos, and ID copies is pretty obvious. The university needs to be able to recognize you and accept your application. However, other common requirements may determine if you will get accepted or not to the degree you are applying to.
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That is because there are a lot of elements that can influence the decision of the universities, which don’t appear in the list of admission requirements.
To help you get into a Master’s admission commission’s mind, we are going to take each important document and give you some insight into what universities expect when they require it.
Not yet sure where you want to study abroad? Here are a few universities where you can apply right now:
- University of Portsmouth, UK
- The University of Western Australia
- Royal Roads University, Canada
- James Madison Univerity, USA
- ISM University of Management, Lithuania
- EMAS Business School, Russia
So here are the main documents international universities expect from you during the application process:
Copies of diplomas from your previous studies
In your Master’s application to a university abroad you will be asked to add certified copies of your previous graduation diplomas, translated into English. While most Master’s applications only require a Bachelor’s diploma, some programmes will also ask for a high school graduation diploma.
Universities need these documents to have proof that you attended and graduated from previous cycles of education in order to qualify to a graduate programme.
However, these diplomas usually include data about the educational institution you attended, your Grade Point Average (GPA), final grades, or Bachelor’s thesis.
The university admission board will take into account the reputation of the university where you graduated from, but also what your GPA and final exam marks say about you.
If you have good final exam/thesis grades, they will know you have taken your studies seriously and you are capable of academic excellence. But don’t worry, if you do not have high grades, you will not be disqualified. There are many other ways in which you can win over the commission: volunteering activities, a strong motivation, and good references also count a lot.
Academic Transcripts from your Bachelor’s studies
Academic transcripts give the university full details about the courses and modules you studied at undergraduate level and the grades you received. Universities expect these transcripts to be official copies and not screenshots or printed pages.
Academic transcripts are important because seeing what courses you took can help universities decide if you have the necessary background and skills for the Master’s you are applying to.
At the same time, they can see at which subjects you performed better and which subjects are “weak spots” you need to improve on. That is why it is important that you have bigger grades at the undergraduate courses that are most relevant for the Master’s programme you chose.
Let’s take an example. Say you graduated from a Political Science Bachelor’s and you want to study a Master’s in International Relations. The application commission will be more interested if you followed any International Relations courses such as International Law or European Studies rather than on courses like Domestic Politics.
So, if you have lower course grades at the latter, it will probably not impact your application as much as lower grades in International policy-related courses.
Proof of language proficiency
When applying to a degree abroad, chances are that you will study in English or another popular foreign language (German, French, etc.). For this reason, universities need to know that language will not be a barrier in your studies; that you are able to understand and use that language at an academic level.
For English-taught Master’s universities will typically require official language certificates such as TOEFL, IELTS, C1 Advanced, etc. When they demand a specific score, it means they really expect you to have that score. The higher the score, the more they will be convinced that you master English skills.
There is also the case when universities will not demand a language certificate as long as your Bachelor’s was English-taught. In this case, they will pay attention to any English-language courses found in your transcript of records, such as “Academic English”.
Motivation letter or Statement of Purpose
Many students are confused about the requirement of including a statement of purpose, or motivation letter in their application. A motivation letter and a statement of purpose are very similar, but they are not the same thing
However, both documents should be focused on your background and reasons for applying for a particular degree. Typically, they should be clearly structured and well-written, but not very long (don’t tell the university your life story). Try to limit it to 1-2 pages.
Here is what most universities expect you to include in a motivation letter/statement of purpose:
- Why you want to undertake that specific programme at their university, and how you have learned about the programme.
- What interests you about the programme’s content, and what makes it the best study option for you.
- What particular factor convinced you to pick that programme (reputation, professors, employment options, etc.)
- How your previous studies match the Master’s you want to pursue. If they don’t match you should argue why you want to change subject areas.
- What career you are aiming for after graduation and how this degree fits your plan.
While a statement of purpose and a motivation letter are similar there’s a subtle difference between them.
With a motivation letter, universities expect you to focus more on how their programme relates to your background and your professional plans. They might also want you to state which is the course or specialization you want to focus on during your Master’s.
With a statement of purpose, universities expect you to talk about who you are, what has influenced and inspired your academic and professional journey so far, your interests and your professional goals. In other words, it is a much more personal document and your chance to shine in your application.
Reference letters let others speak for you. Typically, they are considered additional evidence of your ability that you’ll successfully complete the Master’s you are applying to.
If you are only required to submit letters from professors, then these letters will focus on your academic skills and achievements. If you are required or allowed to submit a reference letter from an employer, universities expect that letter to reflect the skills related to your Master’s.
For example, if you are applying for a Computer Science degree, it is more valuable to have a reference letter from your supervisor in a tech company rather than a reference letter from an employer where you worked in customer service, for instance.
Make sure you ask for the reference letters well in advance so that they reach the university on time.
Project description or portfolio
A project description or a portfolio is only required for very specialised programmes, like a Master of Research or a Master of Science type of degree.
Portfolios are required in applications for Masters in the Arts, Design and Architecture subject areas. Universities expect this portfolio to reflect your experience, and, yes, your talent in your field of study. They will also look at your clients and the type of projects you carried through.
A project description is required when you are applying to a programme that will end with a research thesis. This project description should include:
- What are you going to research and why
- What is the current state of research on that topic
- How you are going to conduct your research
- What findings you expect and how your research adds to the existent body of knowledge
The CV is your business card. Universities are not interested in a detailed description of all your jobs and extracurricular activities, although you should definitely include them. They want to see how your experience matches or shows your interest in the programme you want to study.
For this reason, you should focus on including in your CV published academic papers, and work (paid or unpaid) in academic groups, relevant think-thanks, etc.
For example, if you are applying to a Psychology degree, you will impress the commission if you have taken internships at hospitals, or if you have published any study in a peer-reviewed magazine.
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At the same time, if you are applying for a more professional or a STEM Master’s, you should include relevant work experience in your industry. For example, if you are applying for a Finance Master’s, it would be awesome if you have worked in a bank or any other financial institution.
How to write an application letter for university admission
Some colleges require candidates to submit a cover letter with their application. Therefore, if you’re pursuing a postsecondary education, it’s important to know how to write a college application cover letter. Having this knowledge can put you at an advantage when you apply, ensuring you meet the college’s application requirements. In this article, we explain what a college application cover letter is, list the steps for writing one and provide you with a template and and an example.
What is a college application cover letter?
A college application cover letter refers to a document that expresses your intent and interest in applying for a collegiate program. Essentially, it lets admissions officers know more about you and gives you an opportunity to emphasize your enthusiasm for attending their school. While admissions officers look at your entire application before giving you an offer of admission, your college application cover letter can improve your chances of admittance.
How to write a college application cover letter
Since many students apply for the same colleges without guaranteed admission, it’s important to create a college application cover letter that sets you apart from other applicants and reads favorably to the admissions team. While there’s no specific approach to writing a college application cover letter, there are some general steps you can take to help you properly format it. Follow these steps to write an impressive college application cover letter:
1. Write your name and street address
At the top of your cover letter, write your first and last name. On a separate line include your street address, followed by your city, state and zip code on another line.
2. Include the date
Below your contact information, write the date you plan on sending the cover letter. Include the month, the day and the year. For example, “November 20, 2020.”
3. Write the head of admission’s name, the college’s name and the college’s address
On a line below the date, write the first and last name of the school’s head of admissions. On the next line, include the name of the college. Follow the name with its street address, city, state and zip code.
4. Include a salutation
Open your cover letter with a formal greeting such as “Dear.” Follow it with Mr. or Ms. and the last name of the admissions officer and a comma. For example, “Dear Mr. Morrison,” followed by a comma.
5. State your purpose for applying to the school
Start with a sentence explaining the reason for your cover letter. In this case, it would be to request admission to the school you’re applying for. Make sure to name the school and express your genuine interest in a particular program they offer. Emphasize what their school offers that other universities don’t.
6. Explain why you want to attend their school
Below your introduction, write one or two paragraphs that detail your academic and professional career goals and how their school can help you achieve the latter. Express why you feel attending their school offers you the best career path and opportunity for advancement in your chosen profession.
7. Write a conclusion
End your college application cover letter with a strong conclusion. Let admissions officers know that you’ve included the other requested documents with your application. In addition, let them know that you’re available should they have questions or need additional forms and that you’re looking forward to hearing from them. It’s also important to thank them for their time and for considering your application.
8. Include a sign-off
Below your conclusion, write a sign-off such as “Sincerely,” followed by your first and last name.
Tips for writing a college application cover letter
Make sure your college application cover letter makes sense and ultimately presents you and your qualifications in a positive light. Continuously look for ways to improve your letter before submitting your application. Use these tips to help guide your writing:
- Research the college. Before you submit your college application cover letter, find out more about the institution you’re interested in by looking up its website. Then, use what you learned to craft the perfect cover letter. Highlight how you’re a great fit for the college based on the information you learned. For example, maybe their mission statement aligns with what you believe in, or maybe the program you’re interested in made recent developments that align with your career goals.
- Be concise. Keep your cover letter brief, to the point and a maximum of one-page long. If you need help shortening your cover letter, look for information that you may have repeated in other parts of your cover letter or application.
- Be specific. When writing your college admission cover letter, make sure you have a solid reason for wanting to attend their particular institution over other schools. Providing the admissions team with a specific reason as to why you choose their school or university over other programs helps them understand your genuine interest in their school.
- Emphasize your uniqueness. As you write your cover letter, highlight your unique abilities and skills to help you stand out among other applicants. Make sure you’re confident in your abilities, too.
- Proofread your cover letter. Before you submit your application, read through your cover letter and make corrections to any spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. This shows your attention to detail and ensures your cover letter’s overall readability.
A college application cover letter follows a similar format to that of a business cover letter. Not only does keeping to a format make your cover letter more legible, but it also presents your qualifications and words in a professional manner. Use this template to help you format your own college application cover letter:
[Your first name] [your last name]
[Your street address]
[City], [state] [zip code]
[First and last name of the head of admissions]
[City], [state] [zip code]
Dear [Mr. or Ms.] [last name of the head of admissions],
This letter is a formal request for admission to [name of college or university]. Over the past few years, I’ve researched many colleges that offer [type of degree]’s in [field of study], but have ultimately chosen [name of college] because of its commitment to [school’s or program’s goals, objective or mission]. Unlike other colleges, your program [state what the program is about and how it differs from other college’s offering a similar program].
Currently, I’m looking to begin my undergraduate studies. My goal is to complete the [college program] program at [name of college]. Upon graduation, I hope to gain employment as a [job title] where I can [career goals]. I believe [name of college] gives me the best option in preparing for my future endeavors thanks to its [the program or college’s unique offerings].
My application form and the requested documents are enclosed. I’m available for additional questions and look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you for your time and consideration regarding my application.
[Your first name] [your last name]
When you’re ready to write your cover letter, consider what specific information you want to include. If you need help guiding your writing, consider the following college application cover letter example:
5555 Cherry Blossom Way
San Clemente, CA 55555
November 18, 2020
University of Santa Ana
5555 Maple Drive
Santa Ana, CA 55555
Dear Ms. Harvey,
I would like to express my interest in the Journalism program at University of Santa Ana. Over the past few years, I’ve researched many colleges that offer a bachelor of science degree in journalism, but have ultimately chosen the University of Santa Ana because of its commitment to educating students with a digital-first mindset. Unlike other colleges, your program focuses on the growth of each individual student with a “learn by doing” mentality. Not only that, but the program’s efforts have proven successful based on the impressive number of alumni currently in the news media. I would be honored to receive the quality education your institution offers its students, both in the journalism program and beyond.
I’m currently looking to begin my undergraduate studies, with a goal of completing the Journalism program at the University of Santa Ana. Upon graduation, I hope to gain employment as a news reporter where I can share breaking news stories while giving a voice to the voiceless in my community. I believe the University of Santa Ana can provide me with the best opportunity to pursue these endeavors.
My application form and the requested documents are enclosed. I’m available for additional questions and I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you for your time and consideration regarding my application.
college admission process steps
College applications: words that strike fear in the hearts of many high school juniors and seniors. But students need not tremble and break out into a sweat. While the college application process will always be associated with some stress, the more you know about it, the better you will manage and the more likely you are to achieve your higher education goals. With that in mind, this guide helps demystify the college application and admissions process. Get information and resources to help you conquer each step of the process, from start to finish.
The college admissions process starts long before the first application is submitted. Even though it might seem early, students can and should begin thinking about where they want to go to college, what they want to study, and how they plan to get there once they start high school. Review these tips for freshman through senior year to ensure you cover all your bases before you send your applications for review.
“In your freshman year, aside from taking classes that interest you, it’s time to strategize how to ‘max out’ your high school course offerings,” says college admissions expert and SocratesPost founder Mercy Yang. Students should use this first year of high school to plan out the classes and extracurricular activities that will stretch them academically and personally over the next four years. “This shows colleges you have intellectual vitality and the ability to excel in rigorous academics — the two cornerstones of college,” she says.
Key action items:
- Meet with a guidance counselor to create a four-year plan that supports your college goals
- Begin taking challenging courses that push you to grow academically
- Start exploring college websites to get a sense of what you might want to study and the type of college you want to attend
“In their sophomore year, students need to start building relationships with teachers and coaches,” says Yang. Cultivating these relationships early in high school can help students get answers to their college questions and ensure that these individuals can talk about your skills, abilities, and growth should you need to ask them for a letter of recommendation. “Teachers who feel like they know their students personally will want to support them throughout high school and recommend them to college when the time comes.”
Key action items:
- Make a list of questions about college for your teachers and set up times to meet with them to discuss potential college options
- Participate in extracurricular activities that will make you a well-rounded student
- If you struggled with a subject freshman year, seek out tutoring to improve those skills
- Start preparing for standardized tests by taking the PSAT 10, PSAT/NMSQT, or ACT practice tests
- Begin comparing colleges that you are interested in
- Start searching for scholarship and grant opportunities
- Continue checking in with your guidance counselor to ensure you are taking classes that meet graduation and college admissions requirements
“During their junior year, students need to hone in and do an audit of their extracurricular involvement,” notes Yang. Admissions panels love reading about students’ involvement in programs or projects outside class, but they need to be strategic. “Junior year is your time to ask yourself which one or two activities really matter to you and stick to those — this shows you aren’t just participating in everything possible to look good on paper and will also give you free time to research college and figure out how you want your next chapter to look.”
- Stop participating in extracurriculars you aren’t passionate about or that spread you too thin
- Study for and then take the SAT or ACT
- Begin attending college fairs and meeting with school representatives
- Visit college campuses to start figuring out where to actually apply
- Research and take note of application deadlines for the colleges you’re most interested in
The last year of college is all about applying to and preparing for college. In addition to collecting application materials, completing and submitting applications, and securing scholarships and grants, high school seniors need to keep the momentum going through the end of the academic year. “Students should really focus on their AP exams — even if they’ve already gotten an admittance letter, continue participating in your classes, asking questions, and prepping for these exams,” encourages Yang. Good scores on AP exams look great to admissions panels and also helps lower the overall cost of college. “If you do well on the exam and get college credit, you’ll save thousands in tuition and will be glad you did when it’s time to pay back student loans.”
- Retake the SAT or ACT, if you think you can improve your score
- Ask for letters of recommendation
- Complete college applications and personal essays
- Send thank you notes to everyone who helped you with your application, especially those who wrote letters of recommendation
- Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- Finalize a financial aid plan
- Speak with parents, teachers and counselors if you need help making your final decision on which college to attend
- Once you’ve made a final decision, notify colleges
The College Application Process
Going through the process of applying to college requires students to step outside comfort zones, figure out long-term goals, and demonstrate why they deserve a spot at a particular school. This section walks college-bound students through the process and provides tips for each step.
Step 1: Research and Self-Reflection
Picking the right college starts long before the application process and requires students to think critically and carefully about the type of experience they want while in college and what they want to do after college. Before even beginning an application, students need to reflect and consider the big picture. A few questions that prospective applicants should ask themselves include:
- Why do I want to go to college?
- What do I want to do after college?
- If I don’t know what I want to do after college, what subjects have I enjoyed in high school? Could any of them turn into a major or career?
- What are my strengths, weaknesses, and personal interests, and, knowing these, what could be possible majors to pursue?
- In what type of environment do I learn best? (E.g. smaller classes with more personalized instruction from professors or large auditoriums where I can do my own thing?)
- What are the most important factors to consider when choosing a college? (E.g. Cost? Community? Ranking? Location? A specific degree program or department?)
After considering these questions, students should consult with parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and academic advisors to ensure they are on the right path for achieving their college goals. Students should also start researching prospective colleges by visiting school websites, requesting information packets, and attending college fairs.
Step 2: Choose Where to Apply
According to Yang, students need to think holistically about the type of experience they want to have when selecting schools to apply to. “Do you want to learn by reading primary texts and discussing them with a group of 10 students in a Socratic style, or would you rather learn by listening to a lecture in a large auditorium, taking notes on your laptop?” Yang also cautions that learners need to focus more on how they learn and less on where or what. “As an example, journalism majors across different campuses experience vastly different curriculum and teaching styles,” she explains. “Some colleges focus on reporting in field, some on the theory of media, some on public relations and mass communication.”
Other considerations include whether students want to attend a small liberal arts college or a large public university, whether they want to stay close to home or venture away, and if they want to attend a school located in a city, town, or in the country. If you need extra help deciding, consider scheduling a campus visit. According to College Board, students should try to schedule these in the late summer or early fall of their senior year.
After doing thorough research, organize prospective schools into three lists to narrow down the options: safety, likely, and reach. The first list would consist of schools you feel certain you’ll get into based on academic and extracurricular requirements. Although your chances of getting in to these schools seem strong, they may not be your top choices but you would still attend them. The second list would be schools you feel you have a likely chance of getting in to but aren’t certain. Lastly, reach schools are those institutions you dream of attending, but you may not meet all admissions requirements or the school may be highly selective.
Step 3: Take Required Standardized Tests
Most colleges require applicants to submit either ACT or SAT scores, which are often used to assess college readiness, determine class placement and/or in some cases determine scholarship eligibility. Depending on the institution, chosen major, and courses taken in high school, college-bound high school students may also need to take SAT Subject Tests and/or Advanced Placement exams.
The SAT consists of three components: reading, writing and language, and math. Test takers can score up to 1600 points. The mean SAT score for the Class of 2018 was 1068. College Board reports that approximately half of students take the test twice – often once during their junior year and again in the fall of their senior year.
The ACT covers four subject categories: English, math, reading, and science. An optional writing section is also offered. A perfect score on the ACT is a 36 and the average composite score was 20.8 for the Class of 2018. Like the SAT, students can retest if unsatisfied with their original score.
AP exams are one way students can earn college credit while still in high school. Learners must enroll in AP courses and show proficiency in college-level material. Scores range from 1, meaning no recommendation, to 5, meaning extremely well-qualified. Each college has its own policy regarding score minimums for receiving credits. Currently, students can select from 38 AP tests.
SAT Subject Tests:
SAT subject tests are offered in 20 academic fields. Many students take these tests to demonstrate competency in a particularly subject to stand out during the admissions process, although some schools also require subject test scores. Others use them to award college credits to those who earned exceptional scores. SAT subject tests may be a good alternative for students who don’t have access to AP classes.
Step 4: Plan When to Apply
In general, colleges and universities use one — or more — of the following application deadlines:
An early decision application is due during the fall of a student’s senior year. This option, however, should only be used if a student is certain they will attend a particular university. Because of this, applicants may only submit one early decision application. If accepted, the student is required to enroll unless financial aid falls short. Although students can only apply to one early decision school, Yang says there are some benefits. “If you apply early decision, typically in October or November, you’ll be compared among a smaller applicant pool and can benefit from higher acceptance rates. You’ll also know your admission decision by December and won’t have to think about college again until you start attending,” she explains.
Similar to early decision, these applications must be sent during the fall of a student’s senior year. An early action application signifies a school is a top choice, but it does not obligate the student to enroll if admitted. Multiple early action applications may be submitted.
Regular applications are generally due in January. Check with the institution for specific dates, which typically range from January to March, with some exceptions such as the University of California system. Yang states regular admission is more competitive because of the larger applicant pool but it also allows students to compare multiple admissions offers and financial aid packages side-by-side, which would not be possible with early decision.
Finally, some colleges and universities accept applications at any time. This option is known as rolling enrollment. Schools in this category may have a priority enrollment date, but students who miss it are still allowed to apply later. While applications are accepted at any time, Yang recommends students still apply as soon as applications are accepted. “Rolling admissions schools accept applicants as applications are submitted, so the longer you wait, the fewer seats you can be considered for. Sign up for their email list, follow them on social media, or visit their website often to get notified right when applications are released,” she says.
Step 5: Complete Your Application
After doing lots of preparation and research, students can sit down and fill out applications to all the schools to which they want to apply. Most schools use multipart applications so that admissions panels get a holistic sense of the applicant’s abilities, interests, hobbies, and life story. Specific requirements may vary by school and degree program, but common components of the application usually include:
Colleges and universities use this document to collect basic information such as name, address, date of birth, parental details, and social security number. Students also provide details for any honors or awards they won in school or their community, information about extracurricular and volunteer activities, and employment history.
Official high school transcript(s):
Colleges and universities use high school transcripts to assess how well a student has done in their high school classes. To be seen as official, the high school must send a sealed transcript directly to the college or university (meaning it cannot come from the student). If applying through early decision or early action, institutions may request a mid-year report from the school, alongside a final transcript once the student graduates.
Standardized test scores:
Schools require testing scores to be sent directly to the designated schools, which students identify on the form when taking the exams. These can include the ACT, SAT, and, if applicable, SAT Subject Tests. Letters of recommendation: Schools usually ask for two or three letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to a student’s record and their potential for success at the collegiate level. Most students ask teachers to provide these, but mentors, spiritual leaders, employers, and other non-family members who know the student well can also write them. Make sure you ask your recommender and provide any necessary information at least one month prior to the application due date. This allows them to really think about you, your accomplishments, and your potential contributions.
Essays or personal statements:
Colleges use essays and personal statements to get a more unscripted sense of who the applicant is, what they hope to accomplish, and how their life experiences shaped who they are. Most colleges provide a prompt to discuss, such as a time the student overcame adversity, significant accomplishments, or future goals. Students should take this chance to clearly and succinctly show the panel why they deserve a spot at the school.
Many colleges and universities have their own application, which means students will need to complete multiple packets if applying to more than one school (which they should), but some schools use platforms that let students to apply to multiple schools with just one form. When it comes to filling out applications, check out services such as Common Application, Coalition Application, and Universal College Application. If applying to state schools, some large systems provide a single application for all campuses, such as the University of California application and the California State University application. Most schools state which type of application form must be used on their website, but if you aren’t sure whether a school requires an individual application or not, reach out to the admissions office for clarification.
Step 6: Applying for Financial Aid
The cost of public and private four-year schools topped $10,230 and $35,830 per year, respectively, for 201-19. As tuition and fees continue to rise each year, students and their families must find ways to cut costs and avoiding crippling student debt. Fortunately, learners can find scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and assistantships that can drastically reduce expenditures.
The first step students should take is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The federal government uses financial information provided on this form to consider cost of attendance against income to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The agency then decides how much funding should be need-based (e.g. Pell Grants, Subsidized Loans, Perkins Loans, and Federal Work-Study) and non-need-based (e.g. Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Plus Loans). Colleges also use FAFSA information to award institutional and programmatic awards, making it doubly important to submit this document each year. The FAFSA deadline may be different for the federal government, your specific college, and individual state so make sure to research all dates and submit the form as soon as possible.
Other sources of financial aid degree seekers should research include scholarships and grants from local and state funding, private foundations, nonprofits, employer tuition assistance, and private financing.
Step 7: Choose Where to Attend
Students who applied for early decision admissions should receive notification by approximately December 15, while those who applied during rolling admission will wait between six and eight weeks to hear back. Individuals who took part in regular admissions may need to wait as late as March or April to receive word about their admissions status. Many schools give prospective students until May 1 to make their decision, providing students plenty of time to narrow options. According to Yang, students should use this time wisely to whittle choices. To figure out where you should attend, she suggests the following:
“If affordability is important to you, either eliminate the ones you know you can’t afford or appeal to their financial aid packages.”
Review the curricula
“Look at the curriculum of the majors or departments that accepted you — is it what you expected and will it help you achieve your career goals? Eliminate programs you don’t want to invest in and focus on the ones you do.”
See the school in person
“Narrow it down by actually visiting the schools or revisiting if you’ve already gone. Request to be hosted by a current student, sit in on a few classes both in your intended major and in other departments, and walk around campus to see if you can imagine yourself there.”
Tips for Community College Transfers
Given the rising cost of getting a higher education, many students now elect to complete two years at a community college before transferring to a four-year institution. While it’s worth it to save money, these students may face a few unique challenges when leaving their old school, applying to a new one, and getting settled in. These tips from college counselor Lindsey Conger can help make the transition easier.
- When signing up for classes, make sure the credits are transferable
Far too often, students take classes without ensuring they actually transfer to the four-year school they hope to attend. “You can find websites and other tools through your community college, and the university you want to transfer to that can help you,” says Conger. “Speak with your advisor to make a curriculum plan so you can make your time at community college count.”
- Ask lots of questions
Conger stresses the importance of asking lots of questions to ensure students understand the full picture and take advantage of any benefits or agreements between the two schools. “Make sure you know if there is an articulation agreement between your community college and university,” counsels Conger. “Ask if there are any documents you need to make sure your credits transfer and talk to officials from both schools to ensure these move from one school to the other seamlessly.”
- Get to know your professors
“Your professors can serve as mentors throughout the college admissions process,” encourages Conger. Even though students will only be at a community college for two years, they can still build meaningful professional relationships and receive mentoring. “These professors may have contacts at your new university and can help you make connections; they may also write you letters of recommendation.”
- Earn an associate degree
Rather than simply taking two years worth of classes at a community college, ensure you follow a plan of study that allows you to graduate with an actual degree. “Completing your associate degree can help make your life easier,” says Conger. “A degree can often transfer easier than individual classes and can also signifies that you’ve already completed basic general education requirements, thus negating the need to take them at the four-year university.”
- Seek out financial aid opportunities
Even though you saved some money by attending community college first, that doesn’t mean every student can pay the higher rate for their final two years. Fortunately, funding options exist to help offset these costs. “There are often scholarships available just for transfer students,” notes Conger. “Seek those out from your new school, local nonprofits, foundations, and federal/state funding sources to help pay for your education.”
Applying to College as a Non-Traditional Student
According to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, students are considered nontraditional if they meet one of seven characteristics. These include:
- Delaying postsecondary enrollment rather than starting college directly after high school
- Attending college on a part-time basis
- Maintaining a full-time job
- Qualifying as an independent in terms of financial aid
- Having dependents other than a spouse
- Identifying as a single parent
- Not possessing a high school diploma
“Depending on the nontraditional students’ profile, the admissions process could focus more on extracurricular accomplishments rather than grades and test scores if the students has been out of school for an extended period,” notes Yang. Colleges try to be sensitive to the unique experiences and life paths of nontraditional students and work with them along their journey. “Nontraditional students may be allowed to submit letters of recommendation from employers rather than teachers, and transcripts from any college previously completed may count more than high school transcripts, as these provide a more recent screenshot of academic abilities.”
University Applications and Admissions: Expert Advice
Your Five Steps to Studying in Finland
Not sure how to proceed? Read our starter’s advice below! Share
1. CHOOSE YOUR PROGRAMME
Use the national application portal database at Studyinfo.fi to find the right option for you. Also check out the individual universities’ own admissions info pages!
There are hundreds of programmes in English for you to choose from.
2. CHECK ADMISSIONS INFORMATION
Once you’ve chosen your programme, the Admissions Services of the university/UAS you are planning to apply to can advise you on the eligibility criteria, application process and deadlines, and any documents you will need to provide as part of your application. You may need to take an entrance exam, or some other kind of aptitude test. You must also have a sufficient level of English.
Get in touch with the Admissions Office at the university offering the degree programme if you have any questions regarding your application. Check out the universities’ own admissions info pages and the Studyinfo.fi listing of Admissions Servies’ contact details.
3. APPLY TO PROGRAMMES AND FOR SCHOLARSHIPS
Start your application at Studyinfo.fi when the application period is open for the programmes you are interested in.
- In the Studyinfo.fi instructions on the application system you can find advice on how the application process goes.
The Studyinfo.fi joint application period to studies starting in autumn (September) is arranged annually in January (5-19 Jan in 2022). Some degree programmes may however have a different application schedule, so-called separate application.
A small number of individual degree programmes may also offer a January study start option. To these, the joint application period is usually open in September (1-15 Sept in 2021).
Always check with the university of your choice how and when to apply to your chosen programme. Make sure you apply in time before the deadline.
The universities offer scholarships for those Bachelor’s and Master’s level students who are required to pay tuition fees. You usually apply for a scholarship from the university at the same time when you apply for admission. For more info on your scholarship options, check out the programme descriptions at Studyinfo.fi – and contact the university if necessary.
Note that you’ll also need to be able to cover your living expenses. You should have a realistic budget in place before you apply for a programme.
4. WAIT FOR THE RESULTS – AND CONFIRM YOUR STUDY PLACE
Waiting can be the hardest part! The universities you have applied to will inform all applicants of their admissions results. If you have been successful in your application, you will receive an official letter of acceptance. This letter will explain how to accept your study place.
You can only accept one study place per term, even if you receive several offers. This choice is binding, so if you are expecting results from several programmes, wait for all the results before confirming your choice. Be careful however not to miss the deadline for confirming the study place.
- Read the Studyinfo.fi instructions on confirming your study place.
- Read more about the one study place per term provision at Studyinfo.fi.
You can check the result dates, confirmation deadlines and all other study-related details with the Admissions Services of the Finnish university you’ve applied to.
5. PREPARE FOR ARRIVAL
If you come from a non-EU/EEA country, you will need to apply for a student residence permit. You can find student residence permit advice at www.migri.fi. Remember to arrange all the necessary insurance policies and means of support.
Start you residence permit application as soon as you have received official confirmation on your admission!
You should also apply for student housing. Your Finnish university can advise you on the available student housing options.
Also check with your new Finnish home university when your first semester begins. You are now ready to study in Finland!