How to Apply to a College in Another Country

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Millions of American college students study abroad every year. But for some people, a single semester or year abroad just isn't enough. Some students prefer to enroll in a 4-year degree program at a college or university in another country, especially if they are studying the language or history of that part of the world. If you or someone you know is thinking about applying to colleges in another country, there are some important things to keep in mind.

  • Make a short list of colleges that might be a good fit for your plans. Factors to consider may include the exchange rate (a great way to save on tuition bills), proximity to major urban or cultural centers, and languages or dialects spoken. For example, a person planning to major in French would likely benefit from studying in Paris, even though universities in Quebec and other former French colonies might also be a good option. However, because Parisian French is often considered the purest dialect, most French majors wish to study in and around Paris.

  • Select a small number of schools to apply to. The precise number will depend on your academic records, as well as the amount of money you have budgeted for application fees. You should apply to at least three schools: a "reach" school, a school that you feel you are likely to be accepted to and a "safety" school which you feel you are overqualified to apply to.

  • Make sure the colleges you want to apply to are accredited and are given high rankings. It is important that you apply to a college that will give you a respected degree upon graduation.

  • Carefully review all application requirements for each school. Overseas students may have to submit additional application materials, including proof of language proficiency or results of additional qualifying testing (the SATs are useful only when applying to US colleges).

  • Contact the school. If you are going to spend the next four years of your life overseas, you should learn everything you can about the college, its student life, and the atmosphere surrounding the school. If you can't visit the campus in person, you should contact the admissions department to schedule conversations with students, faculty, or administrators who will be able to answer your most pressing questions about student and academic life.

  • Apply for a passport at your local post office. It is best to get this step taken care of early in the process, to ensure that you have plenty of time to obtain a passport before heading off to orientation. You will also find that having your passport in hand before applying for a travel visa can streamline the process.

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