How easy is it to study overseas these days? Every third person I know is studying abroad, be it to step up their career options or just to work at McDonalds.
I went to soup up my resume. Honestly. And no, I am not a rich, spoilt kid. I was bent upon getting out of India to gain more academic exposure and experience. However, in order to gain admission to a reputed university, you’ll need a good set of documents and will need to keep your fingers crossed. Gathering the right documents is like baking a sponge cake. If you have all the necessary documents, no one can stop you from studying abroad!
When I say gathering the right documents, I mean not all universities around the globe require the same set of credentials. So you need to know exactly what your chosen university requires from you.
Here is a general set of documents that you will need during the application process.
1. The application form
Fill in the application form carefully and properly; use a computer if you need to type in the information. This makes it so much easier for the admissions officer to read.
If you’ve just completed your high school, you will need your senior secondary certificates (SSC) and higher secondary certificates (HSC) and their mark sheets.
If you have already finished your bachelors’ degree or postgraduate degree, you will have to produce your degree certificate and the mark sheets.
3. Competitive exam scores
This is one important document if English is not your first language. Usually for arts courses you will require either TOEFL or IELTS scores for your admission. Many universities require GMAT, GRE, and ELSAT and so on for other courses. This test certificate is extremely important and has a validity date. So make sure the certificate is valid while submitting it to the university.
4. Statement of purpose
I can confidently tell you that my SOP bagged me my place at university. This written document will signify who you are, what made you choose your career path, why you opted for that particular university, what are you planning to do after the course, interests and other personal details. A well- written, well-shaped SOP will be the key to your way into the university. So take a good amount of time before you submit the SOP.
Right after you finish your high school, it is a good idea to prepare a powerful resume. I know it’s slightly unrealistic to have a powerful resume just after high school, but give it a try! It is wise to get help while preparing your resume; stick to two pages at the most, if possible.
6. Letters of recommendation
People always want to know what others think of you. Find the right opportunity to ask for a recommendation letter from someone who you know for sure will nail it for you. A sad recommendation letter will push you down the ladder.
7. Passport size photographs
Sounds like a cakewalk right? I almost lost my chances of getting out of India just because I attached a wrong- sized photo! Honestly. Always double check the dimensions of the passport size photo, be it admissions or visas.
8. Experience Documents
If you are applying for grad school, make sure you have relevant experience documents. You might not have experience certificates if you’ve just finished high school. So skip this step.
9. Additional documents
Many a times the smallest award that you have received will push your application a little harder. Produce proof of achievements and other certificates that will explain your talents and extracurricular activities you’ve undertaken. If you’ve always been a book worm, never mind!
Once you have all the right documents, re-check it as many times as you want. This will take you one step closer to your dream university. Have attested copies of all the documents in a folder and arrange it according to the check list. This will help you organize your application better.
It might seem like you have all the documents necessary, but never be too confident. Plan ahead of time and prepare all the documents a couple of months before the application process starts. This will ease your blood pressure and that of your parents!