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The basics
Study abroad : Applying to University

Studying Abroad: My application process

Student graduation

Assalamualaikum and Hello!

First of all, I would like to thank Hotcourses Malaysia for inviting me to be its guest blogger. Applying for a course or university can be a daunting process.  Applying to study abroad make things 10 times harder.  In view of that, I would like to share with everyone my personal experience in applying to study abroad. Many people asked me – why study abroad? Here is my answer or defence, I know it’s a cliché but when I decided to further my studies for master degree, I really want to experience different culture, history and environment with people from around the world which means studying overseas is the solution. Since I was a kid, I always wanted to study abroad and to be more specific – I would love to study in a country with four seasons. I want to be able to experience it myself how the weather can change from one extreme to another and how it feels to touch the snow with you own hands and so on. Curiosity makes me work hard to ensure that I could make my dream come true. 

When I received my Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) result back in 2005, I was really keen in applying to continue my bachelor degree abroad because my result was not bad at all. Maybe it was not as excellent as other students but it still meets the scholarship requirement. During that particular time, I was attending the foundation study for MARA-UTM Fast Track Program which only takes about five months before they offer me to continue for bachelor degree right after the foundation course. After giving myself some time to think about (debating between studying in Malaysia or overseas), I decided just to continue my study at UTM Skudai because I can save one year compared to my other friends. That was the decision I made that time, but I never completely putting my study abroad dream away. In fact, once I finished my bachelor degree, first thing came up in my mind was – let’s do my master degree overseas.

How I started my journey? I started by looking for a university. I have skipped the step of looking for courses as I already know I want to study engineering. When choosing the university, there are certain things I have to consider.  My sponsorship offer is restricted only to those who manage to enrol to the top 100 universities in the world.  In view of that, I did my own research looking for the best universities that have a good reputation in engineering field.  Bear in mind, every university has its own specialties. Some are good at business management and others might be excelled in IT. This whole research process could be time-consuming but it’s worth it in the end.  A helpful website with course details and university information can save you a lot of time.  In my case, a website with university ranking is a big massive bonus.

After going through the tough part, here comes the fun bit. I am sure education fair is not something new to most of the people in Malaysia, but there is where I went to get more information regarding about a course or university. This is also what I would recommend students to do besides looking for courses online. At education fair, you will find the representatives from the abroad universities who are there to provide you with all the necessary information.  In addition, you have the option of applying for a place on the spot with the university and usually the university will waive the application fees as an incentive. In a case where you apply the course through the university website, you would normally need to pay the application fees. It could cost quite a lot if you are thinking of applying few universities online.  Imagine if each of the application fees is $100, you can do the math. Due to that simple reason, I grabbed the opportunity to ask all the questions that I have about a course and university and applied my course at the end of the fair. 

After the university received your application, they will normally take some time to go through and review your qualifications. At this point of time, there is nothing you can do but wait. Don’t forget to provide a proper email address when filling up the application form.  You would like them to be able to reach you when they require further information or informing you about the outcome of your application. Next step - do check your email regularly. If you have done enough with your exams, research and application, good news should be coming your way soon.

Once you have received the conditional offer letter from the university, you can proceed by taking the IELTS test. Whether you need to attend an English course prior the IETLS exam to brush up your English, it all depends on your English level. There are also plenty of free test and sample IETLS paper which you can find online to assist you to score better in the exam. 

I think this is the common steps in applying to study abroad.  Please leave me a message on my blog if you have any questions regarding about studying abroad. I will share my experience of student life in Perth in my next entry. Till then, all the best everyone.


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