Study abroad expert tips- Know what works best for your application package
Updated on Feb 27, 2017 - 2:25 p.m. IST by Bedasree Das

Study abroad application package - 
One of the things that worries a student the most while planning to study abroad is the application package. More often than not, students are overwhelmed by the elements to be included in the application package. One point to remember here is that universities abroad look beyond academic qualifications and put more stress on the overall qualities of the student. “Your extracurricular activities definitely play a big part,” says Adarsh Khandelwal, Co-Founder, Collegify.

In this interview with Careers360, Mr. Khandelwal speaks about the various aspects universities abroad consider before offering a seat to an aspirant.


AdarshBelow are excerpts from the interview:

Q. What kind of skills other than academics do universities abroad expect from an applicant?

A. When an admissions office receives your college application, they’ll look at all of its components in the study abroad application package, and your extracurricular activities definitely play a big part. Looking at what you were involved with in high school can give them a better idea of your leadership skills, interests and talents.


Activities related to whatever you want to major in can also be a boost too. If you want to study journalism and if you were involved with your school newspaper or television station during your time in high school, it can be very helpful.


It is more about quality than just quantity! Remember you want to show leadership and long-term involvement. Colleges are still looking for some breadth of interests, but they are far more concerned with depth of involvements. Rather than looking for well-rounded students, many colleges say they are looking to create a well-rounded class, made up of students who each excel in one or two areas. A student who has devoted significant time to two or three activities is considered far more desirable than the student who is a member of twelve.


Here are a few more examples:

  • Being on the track team through high school shows that you’re able to make a long-term commitment.

  • Doing volunteer work at a hospital shows that you are dedicated to helping others.

  • Working a part-time job while keeping your grades up shows that you are responsible and can manage your time.

Kinds of Activities

Here are the most common kinds of extracurricular activities.


School Activities

These might include sports teams, special-interest clubs, a school newspaper, music groups and student government.


Community Activities

Examples are community theatre, music and art groups as well as local clubs and sports teams.



Internships, summer jobs, part-time work, babysitting, delivering newspapers — it all counts.



This might mean tutoring elementary school kids, helping out at the animal shelter or raising funds for a charity.


Colleges want to know who you are and what you can do. Your activities help you show them. So put down the books and get out there!


Q. How important is an SOP in the selection process of universities abroad?

A. You should have a goal and you should know how you are going to get to your goal and why do you want to get to your goal too.  Universities treat SOP in the study abroad application package very seriously. It is very important for you tp write a good Statement of purpose interweaving your goals, your achievements, how will you achieve your goals and what do you really want to accomplish in life, etc. SOP gives the admission committee to judge your goals and make sure they are in line with the schools’ ethics, capabilities, and standards and provide you all the support to let you reach your goal. Statement of purpose gives the admission committee to judge your perspective of life, your career aspirations, your ethics, your technical aptitude, your vision for life, etc. The key point is, it is your chance to explain to admission committee why you are going for higher education and what is your main purpose.


Q. What are the elements which should be present in an SOP?

A. Colleges attach great importance to the statement. A thoughtful and well-written statement often makes the difference between admission and denial. But applicants frequently fail to do justice to themselves in statements of purpose. Here are a few tips to help you make your best effort.


Your statement should clearly have the purpose it’s supposed to have.

The statement of purpose in your study abroad application package should be narrowly focused on convincing the intended reader – i.e., a professor who teaches in the program to which you are applying – that you have a serious and well-considered purpose in applying to that program. A compelling statement will convince the reader that you are the kind of student likely to thrive in the program to which you are admitted and who would contribute to (and not merely benefit from) the academic community.


A statement of purpose is not a narrative of your accomplishments.

The statement of purpose is usually the only part of the applicant’s file where one can find strong evidence of whether the program will really mesh with the applicant’s interests and ambitions. If you devote the statement to a list of the things, the great things you have done, then you will merely exasperate the reader.


Your statement should be the right length.

Succinctness is a virtue in academic as in other writing. When your file is being read by members of the faculty, they will be reading it alongside many other files, and they will typically be reading under severe time constraints.


Make absolutely sure that your statement contains no misspellings, grammatical or factual errors, and that your prose is as lucid as you can possibly make it.

Your readers will reasonably expect that your statement is an example of your writing at its very best. Poor writing and factual errors are very strong evidence that you are not yet ready for graduate school.


Your statement should be tailored to the particular institution to which you are applying.

A few sentences that address why you are applying to this institution in particular can be very helpful. A student’s application might be quite strong overall without making it clear to the reader why for example Stanford in particular would be an excellent fit for the student. A statement of purpose in your study abroad application package can stand out by addressing that question directly and persuasively.


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