5 Tips for an American Applying to a European University
Research Local CultureOne of the first things that you should think about when looking for a school in Europe is if you'll be comfortable with the local culture. Even in English-speaking countries, the food, clothing and even local dialects can require someone to make some major adjustments. If you intend to go to a school in a country where English is not the mother tongue, you're likely to need to learn the native language to be able to do things like go shopping and eat out. It's also a good idea to find out how to act in social settings. Things that are completely acceptable in the U.S. may be considered bad manners in other countries.
Familiarize Yourself With The Education SystemOne of the major draws of a European education is that most degrees can be completed in a shorter time frame than it takes to obtain the same degree in the U.S. However, this advantage also represents a challenge because more coursework is crammed into a shorter period of time. Additionally, grading systems can be quite different in Europe. Few students receive A grades, and Cs are very common. These differences can be quite a shock if you're not prepared for them.
Find Out What Paperwork You NeedIf you're intending to study outside of the country, you'll probably need more than just a passport. Depending on which country you want to study in, you may also need to apply for a Schengen Visa that allows you to move about Europe. As with schools in the states, European universities also require you to fill out an application and send in your SAT and/or ACT scores. Depending on the school you select, you may also have to pass an entrance examination to be eligible for enrollment.
Determine If There Are Support ServicesIf you're going to a country that you're very unfamiliar with, especially if the language spoken is not English, it helps to be able to take advantage of support services. If available, these services are normally provided by the school that you choose to attend, and they will help you arrange your relocation and acclimate to your new environment. Some schools even have representatives in the U.S. that can meet with you and assist you with the application process as well as answering any questions you may have.
Look For Scholarships And Student AidStudent Aid from the U.S. government is available for many people who are interested in studying abroad. The Federal Student Aid website has a list of all of the European colleges that participate in the program, and you can also learn more about the loan application process through the site. There are numerous scholarships that are based in the United States but can be applied to schools outside of the country as well. When looking for financial assistance, it is important to verify that a loan or assistance program is available for the particular university that you want to attend. Along with being able to get into a university in Europe, it's also essential that you know that you will be able to do well in the environment that you will be learning in. When applying for admission, be sure to consider both the admission requirements as well as if you'll be able to succeed at your chosen school.
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