Do you have a desire to study overseas? If so, what do you need to know as the entire application process is very different from the US in all aspects (testing, programs, and timing)? As a former admissions representative at several top international universities, Sara Cavalier shares her story of studying and working abroad in addition to advice for students as they research what school offers the best academic fit.
- Admission representatives are looking for students who are independent, self-confident, and self-motivated.
- Due to the nature of the curriculum, admissions are looking at students to determine if they have the academic background to succeed and thrive in a particular program. Students apply to individual programs at universities. Testing scores are required.
- International universities require students to apply to a specific program so there are prerequisites required. There are no general education requirements thereby students jump right into their intended area of study,
- Degrees are shorter overseas – 3 years excluding Scotland which is 4 years.
- Universities want to see you have taken AP/IB level courses in your field of study.
- American Universities abroad offer liberal arts programs.
- There are no waitlist options.
- In Australia, admissions look at SAT/ACT. They do not look at GPA, there is no personal statement essay or recommendations. The application is free and you hear back within a couple of weeks.
- In the UK, the emphasis is on AP exams. There are some universities that might consider honor courses.
- Reach out to your US-based international representatives to ask questions. However, they do not track demonstrated interest.
- Universities overseas do have rolling admissions but apply early and definitely before January 15th. After that, programs close.
- In the UK you can only apply to five schools. UCAS is the platform used for admissions.
- Apply to programs that are similar as you only get to submit one essay which goes to all five choices.
- Tuition is far less overseas than in US-based schools.
- There is no greek life overseas. Sports are more of a “social” experience versus a Big 10 sports campus experience.
- Housing overseas – there is no roommate culture. Every student has their own room. After the 1st year, students live off-campus.
- Dining halls – not all universities offer dining plans. Most students cook for themselves.
- Students are able to work part-time overseas to get extra pocket money.
- The academic system is very different from the US so many students spend the 1st year acclimating and adjusting to the more intense academic environment.
- Career services do offer career fairs for US students specifically.
- Engaging in clubs is the best way to form friendships and connect with the college experience.
- The teaching style is focused on independent learning and more lecture-style based teaching. There are fewer assessments and more focus is on the final exams.
- Students should definitely attend orientation as you will meet other students and get a good introduction to the program.
- FAFSA loans can be used overseas.
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Meet Sara Cavalieri
Sara Cavalieri is the founder of College Apps Abroad and is a San Diego-based educational consultant specializing in helping students apply for college or graduate programs overseas in places like the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and beyond. She has more than 10 years of experience working in international recruitment and admissions for some of the world’s top universities, including The University of Edinburgh in the UK and the University of New South Wales in Australia. With firsthand experience as an international student herself, she also spent a decade studying, living, and working on four different continents and is a huge proponent of international education.
Thank you Sara for joining us today as we discussed all the nuances of applying to colleges overseas. If you have an inkling that you may want to study overseas, start the process earlier rather than later. The criteria for applying to universities overseas is very different from the US and students need to plan accordingly. Admissions look at ACT/SAT test scores. There are no interviews, recommendations, demonstrated interest, and supplemental essays required. In terms of affording tuition, international universities are far less expensive than US-based colleges and you can use FAFSA.