The Step-by-Step Guide in Applying to a UniversityNovember 02, 2018

If you think that it would be easy to apply for a place in the university, then you wouldn't read this post at this moment. You must be aware that the application process requires your attention to details, and it won't be the admissions essay alone.

The first step to this (long) process is not to come up with your short list of universities, all of which are located on the East Coast. You must have decided that you want to pursue an undergraduate degree, hoping that this can help you find a job (of your liking) after you leave the university. (It can also be a few months after graduation.) You're tempted to forego the application, as you want to give in to wanderlust. Hold that thought.

There's nothing wrong about going away for months, if not a year, traveling around Southeast Asia. It's the mecca of backpacking (or so your mates claim), not to mention cheaper than a road trip across South America. The time away won't be taken against you if you plan to look for volunteering opportunities in that region. There's nothing to worry if it's not part of your itinerary (or if you have one), but beware of busking in the busy street in Bangkok (and someone taking a picture of you and post it in Instagram). The next step would be a change in your mindset.

You must be serious about your application, as if your life would depend on it. University could be the best time in your life (unless you can relate to Muriel Heslop). You must not be too serious in your approach, such that you forgot to include a quirky trait or two. Furthermore, there must be something that could make you stand out in the department (of your choice). And you must not be modest about it. (You're promoting your capabilities. It should prepare you for job hunting, but it would be another matter.) You're ready to proceed to the next phase after you're aware of what you're up to (and you have prepared for it).

Getting to Know You: Looking at Your Options

Do your homework. You don't make a shortlist after glancing at the long list of universities. And you didn't pick the institutions in the East Coast because of the places of interest in New South Wales and Victoria. (If you happen to reside in Sydney, then you may not want to go elsewhere. Homesickness could be an issue, but don't think about it. There's no offer at the moment.) If you prefer the big universities, then check out the websites. If you don't live far away, then arrange a campus visit. If it's too far, then make inquiries. Money would be a factor, so do a rough calculation. Is it worth it? The answer to your question won't be easy, as you must consider the possibility of applying for a loan. It doesn't matter if the system is not unfavourable (compared to the US). Debt is still a debt. In this regard, your parents could help you (in any capacity).

First semester or second (semester)? You can start your studies on the first semester (March-June) or the second semester (July-October), If you choose the first, then you must submit your application form (and documents) on December. If you choose the second, then it must not be later than May. It would be better if you could finish it much earlier, which should give the department (of your preference) more time to look through your application form (and documents). The administrators has time to read your personal statement.

Download your application form. If you have problems about it, then seek help. And don't be ashamed about it. (You're not the only one.)

Do you understand what you read in the application form? Read the instructions carefully. If you're uncertain of your answers, then write it down first. Look at it after you're done with it. Repeat it, and then do it one more time.

Write your application essay. This step could take you days, if not weeks. Take note of the deadline, which should help you make a plan. You must give priority to your paper writing especially if you're applying for a place in the School of Arts. And allot a few days, if not a week, on proofreading.

Take note of the agent (if there is one). Most universities have agents, where you can send your application form (and documents). It would be a huge mistake to assume that there is not one, so get in touch with the administrator(s) if you're uncertain of it.

Funding? International students can apply for a scholarship grant, which you must not see as distressing news. If your family can't cover all the (incoming) expenses, then look around. Don't discount the possibility of part-time opportunities. You must make sure that you would earn something, though. This option includes volunteering (unless you have another plan).

Do You Have a Back-Up Plan?

If you're unsuccessful in your application for a scholarship, then you might consider a part-time job. This is not a setback, as your experience could help you handle the coursework better. Government assistance is another option, but there may be conditions that you might not meet. You also need to know that some universities are looking for applicants who are about to enter their second year (of studies). You would do a sloppy job, if not assuming too much, if you're not admitted at all. It rarely happens, though.

Good luck!

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