The ability to persevere is a key requirement for many of the students we work with in order for them to gain admission to a university abroad and also obtain their visa. Students can easily confront various frustrations during the admissions process associated with wire transfers, mailing documents abroad, translating documents from French to English, transcript evaluations and more.
While we clearly define all steps and procedures for the admissions and visa process in advance, when the reality of it all confronts some students they walk away in frustration. We explain to them that along with grades and finances, perseverance, strategy and commitment are also key factors that will contribute to their success. Our recent contender/applicant gave new meaning to the word perseverance and by doing this set the bar quite high.
Most students assume, incorrectly, that if they have completed their Licence/Bachelor degree, then they are automatic candidates for a Master program abroad. We caution them about making this assumption, because the transcript evaluation may indicate that their Licence is not equivalent to the Bachelor degree offered in the country they want to travel to. In this case, the student can continue looking for another university that may accept them at the Master level or apply as a transfer student and earn the additional credits needed to complete their degree. At this time, we remind students again of how important it is to have several options in place. The options should include different countries, a variety of universities and possible programs. When a student arrives with one plan adamantly in mind, we become official change agents in order for them to explore wider choices.
In some cases, when the Licence is deemed acceptable for admission or transfer, the grade point averages (GPA) then becomes another roadblock. For students who do not meet the minimum required GPA of 3.0 or 2.5, this can be another blow. Often, students do not realize the permanence of their cumulative GPA. As one student cautiously asked, “Can we do anything to change this?” In reality, once you have completed the bachelor degree this GPA is yours for life!
International institutions are sometimes reluctant or unable to understand that some of the requests they make cannot easily be obtained worldwide. When we had finally identified a great study option, they wanted course descriptions, syllabus information, and other details that while a normal request they proved impossible to obtain. Despite repeated emails, phone calls and visits to the university it was made clear that we were not going to acquire this information.
Yet because our most recent contender was still willing to persevere so were we. Ultimately, we matched him with “the school.” By this we mean this school met all of the needed basic criteria including: having both the Bachelor and Master program he needed, accepting him as a transfer student on track to complete both degrees there, responding quickly with great interest and support throughout the admissions process, understanding fully what he could and could not obtain from his previous institution and finding solutions. After admission, we started the visa process and just like the admissions process, there were some twists and turns. The good part is our contender did obtain the visa; the not so good part is despite an extension of his university he obtained the visa too late for the January semester but will go in the summer session. While the university gave an initial brief extension, I respected their final deadline. In my experience it is in the best interest of the student to arrive on time and be able to participate in orientation and other programs designed to successfully transition to new international students into the campus. Most importantly, I was proud of our contender for accepting this decision with grace and a committed vision that enabled him to understand that through it all he would get there.
Empowering students with the ability to persevere is crucial. We often assume that money alone is the key factor to study abroad, yet at Chez Alpha Books we often see the ability to persevere as a deciding factor for success. As we said earlier, we have seen students who can easily pay the fees walk away when confronted with the first hurdle. In helping students understand the importance of persevering to achieve their goals, we provide them a skill that will be valued throughout their personal and professional life. Like Dr. Martin Luther King said, “If you can't fly, then run, if you can't run, then walk, if you can't walk, then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” Our contender is almost there and we remain committed to supporting his move forward prior to departure and upon arrival.
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