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The basics
Study abroad : Applying to University

What questions will an education counsellor ask me?

In this article we look at the types of questions you might be asked by an education counsellor so you have a head-start.

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What course are you interested in studying?

This will help the counsellor find out more about you and your interests so that they can recommend universities and information about courses, degrees and programmes.


Is there anything specific on the course that you want to learn about?

A counsellor will want to know as much as possible about your hopes and ambitions, in order to point you in the right direction. Some courses may sound the same, but different universities may teach different content. For example, history degrees at some universities may not focus on the same historical events that you are interested in. To avoid disappointment, its beneficial to work out your expectations from the very start. 


What level of study have you already completed (if any)?

To recommend relevant universities and courses, a counsellor will need to know about your previous qualifications to make sure that you would be accepted or if there’s anything else you need to do.

Where do you want to study?

You might imagine yourself studying in a certain country which perhaps doesn’t offer the best international programmes. So, a counsellor may offer you a few options that you can think about instead of having your heart set on only one.


Do you have a career in mind?

This can be useful for the counsellor to work out if you have an end goal in mind. Some routes are clearer, such as an undergraduate course in business might lead to a postgraduate master’s in business (MBA) in the hope of working as a business consultant. Yet other courses can lead to varied types of work and you might not know at this stage what your ideal career may look like, which is completely fine.


How proficient are you in English?

English language is used globally and predominantly in education. So, many countries will teach courses in English and your communication skills need to be up to scratch. If your English isn’t where it needs to be, a counsellor will instruct you on your next steps and which course you might need to take. Find out more about education counselling services.


How will you finance your studies?

International students pay much higher fees than domestic students and are not eligible for in-country student finance. So, you need to have a plan in mind on how you will afford the tuition and living costs. Some students rely on their family for financial assistance while others are hoping for a scholarship to cover the fees.


Do you want to work while you study?

As an international student, there are restrictions on the number of hours that you can work according to the type of visa you have. So, your counsellor will be able to inform you of the legal restrictions of working part-time.


What kind of experience are you looking for?

You might be hoping to study somewhere by a beach or maybe you want to live in a vibrant city? There are several types of study abroad experiences so it’s good to be honest about what you would like. That way, a counsellor can give you the most relevant options.


Do you have any work experience?

This might look great on your university application and could help you to find an internship while you study.


What are you looking to gain from studying abroad?

Do you want to meet lots of people? Explore the country and travel around? Find work abroad? Whatever your idea of studying abroad is, this information will be useful for a counsellor and for you to think about.


What do you think you might find difficult about studying abroad?

Studying away from home can be hard, particularly as an international student as you may face language barriers, culture shock and being far away from family. However, if you know the challenges before going you can be more aware of yourself and where to ask for support. Counsellors have helped a wide pool of students before you and will have advised on many issues and struggles. This means, they’ll be well prepared to deal with any difficulties you might face.


How open-minded are you about embracing new people and cultures?

One major aspect of studying abroad is experiencing a new culture and trying new things. However, if you think this might be too much for you, studying closer to home might be a better option.


Do you have any hobbies that you enjoy doing?

University is not just for studying. While pursuing your academics is essential, university is also your chance to develop new interests and hobbies. Do you like playing sports? Debating? Feel passionate about a particular cause? Each university offers different types of societies and clubs to join and so it will be good to think about this when choosing an institution. 


IDP is a leading global education provider, running for almost 50 years. They have a huge network with offices in 30 countries and experience in helping 450,000 students. IDP counselling sessions are also completely free.


Now you know what an education counsellor might ask you, find out what questions you should ask to kick-start your study abroad journey.

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