Choosing a major
While it is possible to be undecided about your major when applying to many US undergraduate schools, you need to apply for a specific major/course/program at most European universities.
Choosing a major is easy for only a handful of students. Some of these have been lucky to observe an adult at work, to get to know his job well and to believe firmly that this is the job they were made for. Some of these students make sober and mature choices, while others do not. There are students who just like the way a job title sounds, but have no idea whatsoever about the essence of the job. Others have just heard that a certain job is a lucrative one.
Many students, however, are filled with doubts and anxiety as they are pressed to make very important decisions for which they do not feel prepared. Tension grows between parents and teenagers. The former are constantly trying to discuss the issue, while the latter are trying to avoid such conversations. Sometimes it becomes impossible to discuss the matter peacefully, and time flies.
Students are running out of time for test preparation as they do not know what tests they need to take. They are running out of time to explore and engage in activities which will help them make better choices and present them as attractive applicants to selective universities.
One of the important goals of the Cooledge program is to help students make the best choices for themselves by finding out more about different types of educational philosophies, academic and career fields, figure out how university courses can offer different content and approach while sharing the same titles, look into their own strengths and weaknesses, preferences, etc.
Getting into university depends a lot on making the right choice. Colleges/universities can vary a lot. Some subscribe to a more theoretical, academic approach, while others believe in a more practical approach and hands-on experience. The size, location and “personality” of a university can affect student experience a lot too. If an applicant does not “fit in”, he will feel miserable and most probably drop out. Luckily, for many students who do not “fit in” it is impossible to get accepted.
There are important things students need to research before they apply, and these cannot be figured out just by looking at university ranking lists. Students need a lot of time not only to get to know what universities really can and cannot offer them but also to get to know themselves and their real needs. Before starting university searches students should actually know what they are searching for.
Applying to university
Applying to a good university in Europe and North America is not the same. In fact the very process is quite different, and students should radically tailor their approach. However, there are some requirements that do overlap: grades and test scores, teacher references, application essays, sometimes interviews. A personal statement written for a selective UK university is quite different from an application essay for a selective US university, though.
Successful application takes time, dedication and sound judgement.
The Cooledge Program helps students make good choices about their majors and universities, figure out the application processes and prepare competitive applications.