Universities are willing to know you and admit you in their masters. But you must always bear in mind that they will have to deal with bureaucratic paperwork to admit you – and that you will be competing with many other international students that will also want to study there. So let us guide you through a typical application process so that you know how to apply to a masters program.
Universities have organizational deadlines as to when everything must be handed in. This is especially clear when you apply for masters, where there is a lot of competition between students. Universities can make exceptions but being late with your application will make you seem less eager, prepared or eligible for the course. So, make sure that you have had ample time in preparing everything so that whenever the uni asks you to send some info through email or snail mail, you are ready.
You can normally send all of your information through your computer, by email, but also through traditional mail (snail mail). Anyway, make sure you ask the university to confirm that everything has been well received by calling or emailing them again. You will also stand out from the rest doing that.
Some universities might require you to provide official translations of some of the documents. Those are papers with a juridical value: elaborated by special translations. Do inform yourself, and if you need help to find a translator, go visit any language school in your town. Someone will definitely know a specialized translator.
How to apply:
The university will require you to hand in some papers so that they can get to know you. We are going to mention the main papers you might need to apply to a masters program:
- Transcript: The university needs to acknowledge your previous studies and grades to be able to admit you. If you want to study a master, you will need your full transcript: a document elaborated by your previous university that will cost you some money and time to get, so this should be your first step. Although the university takes some time in elaborating the official diplomas, they know how important the transcript is, and will make it available to you soon. You are going to need it anyway, so do not hesitate and head towards your school headquarters and ask for it.
- Recommendation letter: Admissions personnel will love to see that you have been recommended by a previous teacher, dean or student representative. Reference letters can be quickly written by your favorite teacher, so use your time in uni to pay him or her a visit, make them happy telling them that you are going to continue studying and ask them for that favor.
- Motivation letter: here, the uni staff wants to get to know you. They will quickly know if you have spent time and effort writing your motivation letter or if you just did it without time and interest. Therefore, spend time writing it, and make it thoughtful: explain who you are, what you like and why studying will make you better, or more interested. Mention your idea of the future, and how you have a sense of direction. Do not miss this one.
- English certificate: some of the masters that you can study abroad are in English. That is why many institutions will ask for a proof of English Level. You can find that they require anything from level B1 to C2 (advanced to proficiency). There are also many certificates that can be required, and some will be valid for many universities (cambridge/ toefl /ielts /sat /gcsc) but others might only accept one. The good news is if you don´t have one and you do not have the time to get the certificate, many universities have their own English level tests, even online. You will have a chance of proving your level.
- Other higher institutions might require specific certifications, like the business-related GMAT or any research papers related to science bachelors and masters. So do inform yourself of what is expected from you. Sometimes, a copy of a final project is all you need.
- For most of your student stays (unless inside the E.U. and other exceptions), you will need to get a student VISA. This is also a tedious process that you can either fulfill online or in the country´s embassy that is closest to you. Both this and the application itself will require you to fill in some forms and give copies of your passport and ID pictures.
- By the time you are applying for a masters, you do need to have had some professional experience. Also, you might be required to have a minimum of work experience under your belt. Either way, it is time to refresh your CV and hand it over. Start with a simple compilation of what you have done through your early student years. You will be setting the ground for the future CV´s that you will surely be required (internships, courses, masters, etc.).
What else can you expect:
Personal or online interviews.
One of the usual procedures to get to know students is to email them, call them or even have online video-calls with them. In this type of sessions, the recruiter just wants to get to know you. Not only will they ask you a couple of background-related questions, but they will also help you with any steps that you might not fully understand. Do not get nervous about these interviews: the recruiters are meeting many nervous students and will like you if your disposition is to work hard.
Tuition fees and scholarship.
There are several ways of funding your studies: if you choose a public university, the government is paying for the majority or all of its cost. Otherwise, you will have to fully pay for the program. Estimates show that in Europe, a year of superior education costs from 10.000 to 15.000 € per student. How can students overcome that expense? Some people have saved money, some people ask their parents for support, and others take a student loan. But there is another way to fund your studies: asking for a scholarship. Scholarships are normally merit-based (if you have performed greatly in your previous studies) and come from universities themselves, the government, private institutions etc. Remember that you will also need a lot of time and documents to ask for a scholarship. When it is time to pay the university, you will have the option of dividing the payments amongst months or pay everything in the beginning (which might provide you with a discount).
Whatever the master you want to study,
we can help you with the process. Check our recommended Online Open Days and find out the easiest way to contact universities about their admission´s procedures: chatting with them through a webinar. And we hoped to have helped you to understand how to apply to a masters program.