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STUDY ABROAD : Destination Guides - Must read

How to prepare for meeting an education counsellor

We've got everything that you need to know about meeting with an education counsellor for the first time. This includes, what to expect and how best to prepare so you get great results.

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The decision to study abroad brings with it many new, and sometimes unexpected variables. From getting to grips with your study options to working through the logistics of organising a student visa, there is much to think about. Having an education counsellor to help and guide you can make a significant difference to your experience. Education counsellors can help with everything from applications and career advice, to accommodation and programme information. If you have decided to enlist the services of an education counsellor and are getting ready to meet them for the first time or want to know what to expect, then you are in the right place. We explore how best to prepare to meet with an education counsellor.

 

Organisation is essential

 

Although it may seem obvious, it’s still worth highlighting that first and foremost you need to have confirmed your appointment. Make sure that you have noted down the date and time, as well as having sent your confirmation of attendance either via email or over the phone. You want to make the best impression and missing an appointment or not responding to a request doesn’t look good.

 

Once you’ve got the date and time set, make sure that you know how the interview and discussion will be conducted. This could be telephonic, via video link, and in cases where it is possible to do so, in person.

 

If you’re going to talk to your counsellor over the phone or via video chat it may be necessary to send through some documentation before the meeting. It can also aid the process if you address any questions you may have so that your counsellor can prepare accordingly. Explore some of the questions you may want to ask an education counsellor.

 

If you’re going to meet a counsellor in person, check your route beforehand and establish how you’ll get there. Give yourself time so that you arrive before the appointment. Don’t forget to take the necessary documents with you as well.

 

Read all about an international student in Australia and her journey with an education counsellor.

 

Know your profile and credentials

 

Before you meet with a counsellor it’s a good idea to sketch out what it is that you’re looking for in a study abroad destination, institution and degree. You will need to try and make sure that this matches up with your profile and academic credentials. That way your counsellor will be in a better position to present you with informed options.

 

While it’s not necessary to know all of the entry requirements are for your chosen degree/s, it is useful to have a general idea. For example, if you are interested in pursuing engineering you will need to have taken mathematics or physics with good academic results to qualify.

 

Managing expectations comes with the territory for education counsellors and so you may be asked before your first meeting to write a brief outline of your plans and current academic standing. This means that your counsellor can begin to source and recommend the most appropriate options, including popular subjects for international students. In addition, this can include things like funding and scholarship opportunities if you are a high achieving student, or finding specific courses that match with your specific area of interest. This is particularly the case if you are specialising as a postgraduate student.

 

There’s no harm in having some of the following prepared and ready for your meeting:

 

 

Make sure to have a look at some of the questions your education counsellor may ask you.

 

Chat to teachers, lecturers, parents and friends

 

There is great value in taking the opinions of others on board when planning your future. This is especially true of those who know you best and may have a good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. While it is useful to get this input, remember that ultimately you decide, so never let yourself feel pressurised into choosing because you think others want you to.

 

Having your parents on board can be very important as they may be contributing to the costs of your study and have your best interests at heart. Choosing to study abroad is a significant decision for a family and your counsellor may be able to give your parents the information they need to feel at ease and part of the process.

 

Think about the type of student lifestyle you are looking for and the kind of institution that you would like to study at. For example, are you looking for a university with an extensive sports programme or are you more into cultural extracurricular activities? Some of the factors you can consider when weighing up your options and discuss with friends, teachers, lecturers and parents are:

 

  • Cost
  • Distance from home
  • Language
  • Accommodation
  • Teaching and learning style
  • Academic profile
  • Personal interests
  • Career goals

 

Remember that it’s a collaboration

 

It is not unreasonable to expect your education counsellor to do quite a bit of work in designing your study abroad plans. However, it is a two-way street and you will also need to put in the hours to get the best results. The output you get relies very heavily on the input that you give. You need to be honest about what you are looking for and don’t be afraid to show your personality and express your opinion.

 

One of the best ways to get the most out of the experience is to have good, clear and open communication with your education counsellor at all times. The process can sometimes be stressful and you may feel anxious, but remember to be patient. Your education counsellor is a professional and you can trust them to try and match your requirements and ambitions with a suitable path. It’s useful to set up a good working relationship from the start and there are few things you can do to ensure this including:

 

  • Being open to discussion and suggestions
  • Providing accurate information
  • Submitting information on time
  • Being clear about your expectations
  • Trusting your counsellor
  • Being honest

 

All good relationships start with solid foundations and the one you share with an education counsellor is no different. Being an active participant in the process can positively influence your study abroad experience and lead to a fulfilling academic life and subsequent career.

 

If you are interested in exploring more about how to prepare for your studies and making choices have a look at our guides on matching your study and career path, careers to suit your personality type, how an international office at a university can help you and the ultimate study abroad checklist. You can also stay up to date with all the latest news for international students.

 

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