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Tips on the Application Process (Foreign Universities)

Many students choose to study in foreign universities abroad. The application process to these universities usually begins while students are still in their twelfth grade, unlike the Arab universities where the application process begins after completion of the Secondary School Certificate (Thanawyia A’mah). Below you will find some helpful tips and steps on how to apply to most foreign universities:

  • 12th grade scores are very important

  • Being organized and meeting application deadlines must be a priority during your last year

  • Applying to foreign universities is different from applying to Arab Universities, and research into the process is mandatory

  • Start your application process as early as possible, at least one year in advance
  • Search the country that suits you, remember you will be spending a long period of time their

  • Search the university that matches your abilities:

    • Make a list of factors that are important to you (location, major, cost of living, diversity, campus life, size of the student body, climate, extra activities etc…)

    • Accreditation

  • Apply to 6-8 universities

  • Request applications, brochures, and financial aid information from the admissions offices of the colleges to which you are applying.

  • Read the requirements for International students

  • Download the application/s or apply on-line

  • Read the application/s thoroughly

  • Sit for the different required tests

  • Prepare your transcripts (10, 11, 12)

  • Complete the application/s properly and keep a copy

  • Prepare an impressive essay, (ask someone to read it through before sending

  • Ask Teachers to prepare good recommendation letters

  • Stick to deadlines

  • A final transcript should be sent to the university you have selected

  • Most admission decisions and financial aid award letters arrive in April. You should read each letter carefully, and make a note of all deadlines.

  • Send the enrollment form and deposit check to the college you will attend.

  • Notify the other colleges to which you were accepted of your decision.

  • Apply for the visa

  • Make your travel arrangements


The College Interview

Some universities especially the Education City universities as well as medical schools might ask the student to sit for an interview as part of the selection process. The objective of the interview is for the university to learn more about you: your communication skills, personality, motivation, creativity, depth of commitment and other things that can not be known from your application. The interview can last for 30 minutes to an hour and could affect your admission to the university so treat it with special care.

Tips for Winning a College Interview

Be Prepared:
  • Learn more about the college that you are applying for (from website, catalogue, talk to a current student or an alumna.
  • Read your application essay to remind yourself of your accomplishments.
  • Highlight your positive academic achievements but do not ignore any negative points. Instead try to explain why they happened.
  • Some interviewer might ask your opinion pertaining to a current issue, be updated regarding the most hot issues.
  • Practice answers to expected interview questions with a parent or a friend but never memorize your answers.
  • Arrive at least 15 minutes before the interview to relax on the one hand and to become familiar with the place of the interview on the other hand.
  • First impressions count. Try to practice how you will introduce yourself to the interviewer.
  • Be honest in all your answers so that you may defend them convincingly.
  • Make your reply to questions brief but convincing.
  • There are some common questions(find below). Try to answer them before the interview.
  • Take any documents you might need such as test scores and a copy of your high school transcript.
  • Try to come on your own for the interview and prepare some questions to ask the interviewer. Ask questions that show your interest in the college. Avoid questions that you might find answers for them on the university website or catalogue.
  • Dress appropriately not casually . Do not exaggerate With jewelry, makeup and perfume. Don’t chew gum!
  • Have a positive attitude.
  • Smile and maintain eye contact.
  • Be yourself and remember to enjoy the experience.

Common Interview Questions:
Usually the common questions that a university ask in an interview relate to the followings:

  • Tell Me About Yourself"
  • "Why Should We Accept You?"
  • "What Are Your Long Range Goals?"
  • "What Is Your Greatest Weakness?"
  • "Tell Me About Your Schooling"

A Sample of College Interview Questions

  • Why did you select this university?
  • What attracts you to this college?
  • Have you been accepted elsewhere?
  • What will you do if not admitted to our university?
  • What do you hope to gain from the college experience?
  • What contributions do you hope to make to student life?
  • How do you plan to finance your education?
  • What are your favorite subjects at school?
  • What has been your greatest experience in high school?
  • What were your most significant extracurricular activities?
  • Are your grades an accurate reflection of your potential?
  • What events or experiences in your life have been most crucial to you?
  • What is your greatest strength and weakness?
  • Why do you want to major in this subject area?
  • Are there skills you hope to acquire or improve?
  • Tell me about someone you find intellectually challenging.
  • What would you do to make the world a better place?
  • What books have you read recently and what do you think of them?
  • If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  • How would your teachers describe you?
  • What do you want to do after you graduate from college?
  • Where do you see yourself in 15 years from now?
  • How do you deal with stress?
  • What is the most difficult situation you faced in your life?
  • If you were placed on a deserted island, what three items would you want to bring with you? Why?
  • If you could change one thing about your high school, what would it be?
  • Do you have any questions about us here at (name of school)?

Sample Questions to be asked by the student:
A student can ask questions pertaining to curriculum, evaluations, counseling and student support services, facilities, financial aid, student involvement etc… Find below a sample of questions that may be asked:

  • Is there flexibility in the coursework (the number of electives) and the timing of the courses?
  • Are there opportunities for students to design, conduct, and publish their own research?
  • What percent of your first-year class returns for the second year, and why do students leave before graduation?
  • How are students evaluated academically?
  • How diverse is the student body?
  • Does this school provide guidance to its students?
  • Tell me about the library, computer and extracurricular facilities (i.e., housing and athletic/recreational facilities).
  • Are students involved in community service?
  • Is there any career counseling services for graduates? What sorts of jobs are they taking? What are the professional and graduate school opportunities available to them?
  • Do you think that this college is a good match for me?
  • Do my academic and personal credentials fit within the range and scope of this college's student body?
  • What is the current tuition and fees? Is this expected to increase yearly? If so, at what rate?


Pre-departure Orientation
Students heading towards a study abroad has lots of plans and preparations to make:
Preparing the following documents:

  • A valid passport that will not expire during your stay in the country abroad
  • Air-ticket
  • Letter of acceptance from your institute of study.
  • Proof that you have adequate money to pay your fees and support yourself while studying such as recent bank statements, proof of scholarships or any other financial support.
  • Insurance documents
  • Address and telephone numbers of your final destination,

Other preparations:

  • Obtain a medical report from your doctor and enough supply of medication if you are currently using any.
  • Arrange for personal and luggage insurance during your journey.
  • Arrange for medical insurance
  • Label your entire luggage with your name and address.
  • Make a list of what you have packed in each item of your main luggage
  • Make sure that you are not carrying with you 'prohibited and restricted items'
  • Have at least three passport-size photographs with you.
  • Make sure you have enough money to cover at least your first weeks of stay
  • Do not hesitate to contact the International Students Office in case you have an inquiry
  • Talk to graduates or current students who are studying in the same country

What you need to bring with you:

  • Dictionary
  • All the needed identification papers and documents
  • Pictures of the family, friends and your country
  • Cultural items
  • Camera
  • Casual clothes taking into consideration the weather conditions
  • Some formal clothes for the different formal occasions
  • Some souvenirs from your country

Tips for Academic Success:

  • Become familiar with the university requirements for graduation.
  • Pay attention to important dates on the Academic Calendar (when to pay, drop and add period, midterms and final exams etc…)
  • Meet with your academic advisor at the beginning of each semester to know what courses to take.
  • Avoid taking too many credit hours
  • Make sure that you always carry you student’s ID with you
  • Get to class early and try always to sit in the front
  • Avoid carrying your cell phone to class
  • Be prepared before going to class. Know what you need before the class starts (textbook, notebooks, laptop computer, etc…)
  • Maintain frequent eye contact with the professor
  • Participate in class work: ask questions, answer questions and participate in class even if you do not agree with your professor
  • Make use of a professor's office hours
  • Submit your homework on time or before it is due
  • Get involved with school related activities

What you need to know about the country of study

  • Weather
  • Currency
  • Time difference with your country
  • General transportation
  • Main cities
  • Tourist areas that you could visit
  • Prices of daily consumable items
  • General holidays