The University admissions world can be mysterious and requires early preparation and plenty of research. Due to the competitive nature of admissions, colleges want to see that you're focused and also that you're the right fit for them. 

So what can you do to prepare for this ?

1. Start early: Begin your university preparation as early as possible - approx 24 to 36 months prior is a good time-frame. Ask yourself the important questions – Why are you keen to study Overseas? What is your goal after completing your studies ? Getting these answers will help you navigate this journey smoothly and go a long way in achieving your dreams.

2. Research : universities & countries – basis your answers to the questions above. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to counsellors, university representatives and alumni. Also register for University visits ( virtual & in-person) as these will tell you a lot about the culture and your ability to fit-in with it. Understand & make a note about how you can contribute to the campus community, as this can be highlighted in your application.

3. Get good grades:  Your academic record is one of the most important factors in college admissions - Grades and Test Scores matter. While most colleges and universities take a “holistic” approach to their application process, they also review applications from thousands of qualified students. They’re looking for students with exceptional credentials. That’s why grades and test scores are important, if you want to get accepted to your dream university. It’s rare (but not impossible) that a student with below-average grades or test scores gets accepted to a top school.

5. Participate in extracurricular activities: Extracurricular activities play a critical role in admissions. Universities look for well-rounded students who have interests outside of the classroom. Participate in extracurricular activities that interest you. Universities like to see if you care about society / your community. Avoid short-term or a sporadic day of service - it will do more harm. Participate in a long-term community service project instead. Overall, extracurricular activities can help you stand out in the college admissions process. They give admissions officers a more complete picture of who you are beyond your academic record.

6. Write a strong personal essay: Your personal essay is your chance to show the admissions committee who you are and what you can contribute to the college. Celebrate your background - international students with distinctive cultural backgrounds help contribute to the diverse community at the university. And remember - the essay is about you.

7. Get letters of recommendation: Ask teachers, counselors, or other adults who know you well to write letters of recommendation that highlight your strengths. It's important to know how many & which LOR's to get - some universities only need  1, while others may want you to get one from an activity  / internship that you participated in. It is also important for you to keep your school updated on activities which you're participating in, so that the LOR's are well-rounded.

8. Submit your application on time: Make sure to submit your application before the deadline, and don't forget to check for any additional requirements specific to your dream choice. 

If your dream college has an early action or early decision option, consider submitting your application during that period.

9. Wait patiently: you've done your best. Now focus on other important things - other applications, school exams , sports !!