In the last decades, the number of university applicants has significantly increased, even though the number and size of academic institutions have not changed much. As university seats are limited and acceptance rates drop, applicants face greater competition. Consequently, university admission has become even more complicated to facilitate student selection. Applying for a university place has become a nightmare for those who have no support network, and they come across a university application form for the first time.
University counsellors, education agents, and career experts in many countries offer their support and assistance to students who wish to complete their application forms. Additionally, they provide specialist guidance and advice on selecting institutions, degrees, career options, and the whole university experience. Even though it sounds “safer” to rely on experts, this can be an expensive service with many’ grey areas’ due to biased information. In many cases, students rarely participate in the university admission process and are even led to choose the wrong programmes. Many agents work with specific institutions and tend to send students to the universities that they represent.
Advice from within your trusted circle
If you need guidance but cannot or do not want to rely on agents, maybe you should seek the advice of those who know you best. Start your research on universities and their admissions processes, speak to your teachers, mentors, or anyone you look up to and trust, and begin as early as possible. Take in their advice, sit down and make a plan. There is a lot of useful information available on the web, university websites, and career fairs; and our motivation can be triggered by all these external factors that direct our goals (Deckers, 2014). And what can be more motivational and inspirational than watching real student testimonials from successful graduates when contemplating your university admission?
“Writing down our goals and having a clear purpose helps us perform better and improves our self-determination” (Locke and Latham, 2006). In other words, we should visualise our objectives and find strategies that will help us break down our goals into achievable steps. Firstly, create a map with multiple university application steps to your ultimate career goal, to direct your journey. Afterwards, try to assess how achievable your career goal is – this assessment will guide your search in the right direction. Finally, toss all negative thoughts and aim for the best possible result!
University admission process
-Gather all the necessary documents in advance-
Your application form is key to gain entry. Unquestionably, this procedure might be daunting to some, but you can complete it effortlessly if you are well-prepared and concentrated on achieving your goal. We tend to feel stressed when we juggle many tasks, so first, set your priorities straight. Collect all important and necessary documents and make sure you complete them as required. Below is a list of the most typical documents requested by universities during the admissions process:
Important Admission Documents
- Identification cards or passport and personal documents
- Recommendation Letters
- Certificates and Transcripts
- Personal Statement
- Letter of recommendation
Above all, do not be overwhelmed by the blank fields you have to fill in; it’s just another form! Staying calm and having a clear mind is imperative when completing a form. Read through the instructions carefully and follow what is required by the form. Go step by step and remember you can sign back in at any time.
Unsurprisingly, we sabotage our efforts when we set mental obstacles or slack off, lose interest, or even get tired. Keep reminding yourself what your goal is and to try to stay on track by regularly reviewing your form. Let someone know that you have an application to submit to remind you to finish it.
Common mistakes to avoid in your application
Admissions professionals at Unicaf have narrowed down the most common application form mistakes they encounter and shed light on what causes some students to miss their chance.
-Letter of recommendation-
Recommendation letters are at the top of the admissions committee’s list. Applicants fail when they do not provide personalised recommendation letters and compromise with standard texts that do not illustrate their accomplishments, work ethic, or aptitude. Ask your referees to write recommendation letters that demonstrate your unique skills, traits, and capabilities related to your chosen field of study. Finally, your letter of recommendation should not repeat the information already presented in your personal statement.
A personal statement that is not personal. Overall, university admission officers and instructors expect to see indications that the programme you apply for suits you. Your personal statement must show your motivation, understanding of the subjects to be studied, and your vision. Your personal statement must engage the reader and make them interested in you. Don’t exaggerate, though, as fancy words can make you sound pretentious. Try to keep it real and simple. Finally, have someone else read your personal statement aloud and don’t forget to check your grammar and spelling.
-Choosing the right programme-
You will be surprised by the number of students that get this wrong. Recent surveys show that more than 50% of students in the US find it hard to choose the right programme (Ellucian, 2019). Instructors at Unicaf University warn how crucial it is to understand the programme you are applying for. Bear in mind that many degrees “sound similar” or share common modules before you select one. First and foremost, read the course content and structure and then assess whether this new knowledge and skills could refine your professional environment.
-Perfection is in the details-
Every bit of information is important for your university admissions, so do not underestimate every detail and even the smallest fields. Check everything twice; do not rush and submit your application form with self-confidence and finally embark on a new learning experience.