8 Tips for Students Looking to Apply Abroad (From an applicant who just went through the process)

Looking back at the past year and what I went through during the application process, I can say that CAMP Philippines and my CAMP mentor really helped me in myriad of ways that I will forever be thankful for.

A few days ago, I got a chance to visit my CAMP mentor Chris Dee who is currently a junior at Yale. At one point, we ended up exchanging notes on the application process, synthesizing my experience (what worked well for me), talking about what CAMP has done for all the mentees and underclassmen and just going over the rising college-abroad scene in the Philippines and our role as “Illustrados.”

(CAMP has a super duper helpful guide for people interested in studying abroad (all the essentials are here): http://www.campphilippines.org/uploads/1/2/3/6/12362897/_camp_college_app_guide.pdf

With my CAMP mentor in the Yale, New Haven campus

With my CAMP mentor in the Yale, New Haven campus

I still remember going through the process like it was yesterday. The college application process was an experience in itself, filled with countless of highs and lows. And in between all those were valuable lessons I learned that I wish to share with you guys as you go through the process yourselves!

Top 8 Tips for Students Looking to Apply Abroad

  1. Enjoy the Process; Treat it like a Game –As you start thinking about applying abroad, it’s inevitable that you will become busier than ever. To add to your academics and countless of meetings already, you will have to study for the SATs, write your essays and find ways to stand-out and boost your application.

Since you will go through it anyway, might as well stay positive and enjoy the process. The best way to do this is really treating the college application process like a (video) game with you trying to improve his score (SAT score?) and finding ways to make it to the next level! And besides, believe it or not, some of your best memories will come from the fact that you’re applying abroad!

An extremely helpful SAT guide: https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/sat-preparation/955109-silverturtle-s-guide-to-sat-and-admissions-success.html

2. Do your RESEARCH– With the power of Google, there’s no excuse. All your questions regarding the process can be answered if you look hard enough. There are countless of websites out there on college admissions, standardized testing, learning and the colleges themselves!

Google will become your best friend not only for information but for inspiration as well. You’ll be surprised by the information the things you learn when you actually take time to research. The technology is there, USE IT! 

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – We often are afraid to ask for help because we’re afraid to be rejected but more often than not, if you ask properly, people will respond positively. Studies have shown that people are inclined to help others when asked properly. They sometimes even find it flattering when they are asked for advice! So seriously, go ask for help!! You won’t regret it! And this is also a good way to make friends and build relationships!
  1. Seize every opportunity and make the most out of your resources – Believe it or not, you actually have a lot of resources at your disposal, you just have to make the most out of it. There are so many events out there to join. There are so many organizations that you can volunteer or intern in (CAMP has already offered you that opportunity! But look even further, there are so many other opportunities waiting for you!).

I’m sure your school has countless of clubs that you can get yourself involved in. Heck you can even ask to work at your parent’s company or your parent’s friend’s company! Or maybe, your second cousin might know somebody who can get you involved with a certain company or organization.In this connected world we live in, there’s no excuse!

Opportunities won’t be handed to you in a silver platter but if you take the initiative, you can be the one creating opportunities for yourself! Bottom-line, look around you, listen to what your relatives and parents mention or talk about it and before you know it, your shining opportunity will be right in front of you!

  1. Build and cherish your relationships – You won’t be able to survive the college application process if you don’t have your support group. You have your teachers, friends, mentors, family and even your fellow applicants ready to answer your questions, help you out and simply keep you sane during the process. Don’t ever forget about them because they’ll be the ones giving you the extra boost when you’re in the brink of burning out.

Stay in touch with them, give them the occasional update/greeting and thank them whenever they help you. These things will go along way because even after the process, these are the people you will be working with. Moreover, the opportunities that open up the more people you know are priceless.

 6. Learn how to email the right people – I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW IMPORTANT LEARNING HOW TO EMAIL PEOPLE IS! Emailing others can be a powerful tool to not only building connections and networking but to gaining invaluable opportunities as well.

From my own experience, I’ve been able to join different events, meet-up with prominent individuals and land myself some really good opportunities all because I went ahead and emailed/messaged people I didn’t even know personally. And the nice thing is that the emails of these organizations and people are all over the internet, you just have to do a bit of searching!

Here’s a really helpful article by Adam Grant, the highest rated professor of the Wharton School of Business, on constructing emails:

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130624114114-69244073-6-ways-to-get-me-to-email-you-back

  1. Work hard but also work SMART – A lot of people think that they should just join hundreds of activities in hopes of padding their resume yet no matter how hard you may work, you will burn out if you don’t pick your spots and work smart. It’s much better to do a few things you’re really passionate about and then go the extra mile in those activities! And remember, it doesn’t always have to be all you doing the work! Learn how to delegate, ask for help and of course, use your resources wisely!

Check out my favorite blog for work smart study hacks: http://calnewport.com/blog/about/

  1. Take time to reflect – Never forget why you’re applying in the first place

Countless of times during the process, you will be tested. You will think of giving up and just forgetting about the process. You will start feeling cranky and irritated. You will get stressed out and feel miserable especially when things aren’t going your way. You will be caught up in the endless to-do list and tasks you have to accomplish in the school year and for the application process. These things will happen.

This is why it’s important to learn how to slow down from time to time and remind yourself why you’re going through all of this in the first place. It’s important to reevaluate and re-plan your attack every now and then. It’s important to reflect and look back at what worked and what didn’t. Honestly, I highly recommend that you keep a journal, diary, notebook or blog where you can release your feelings, thoughts, realizations and even the things that are bothering you. I promise, you’ll feel much lighter afterwards and you’ll be good and ready to get back to work again!

Stick it out. Do your best. It will be worth it

Looking back at my experiences in the application process, I can say that it was every bit worth it! It may not have been a smooth ride but I honestly learned so much from the process! There will be moments where you will really dig deep and question your values but stick to it and you won’t regret it! A year from now, you will be just like me, looking back at the experience, stronger than ever!

Good luck CAMP mentees! Make the most out of your summer and hit me up if you have any questions or if you just want to chat about the college application process or high school life! My email is david.ongchoco@gmail.com

Stick it out, give it your best shot because you never know where you'll end up!!

Stick it out, give it your best shot because you never know where you’ll end up!!

-DOitChoco

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2 thoughts on “8 Tips for Students Looking to Apply Abroad (From an applicant who just went through the process)

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