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You may think your study abroad experience is going to be all fun and games but in its early stages, I’ve found that it’s anything but. While I know it’ll be more than worth it in the end, it’s a lot to handle: Not only is there paperwork for your home university but sometimes there’s also the added benefit (note the sarcasm) of applying for a visa. Here are some things I’ve learned about the process so far:

Don’t expect to understand what the website tells you right off the bat. (It IS the government, after all.) Figuring out what they want is a task that needs a translator so be thorough in your research, ask your study abroad adviser and call/email the country’s council or consulate. I know I did!

Efficiency is expected. For the United Kingdom, incomplete online applications will only be saved for a week. After your appointment at an application center for them to collect your “biometric data” – this scary term just means fingerprints and a photo – your entire application must be sent within two weeks. Make sure you have what you need before applying, if at all possible.

If you need to send a confirmation of acceptance for studies (aka CAS) to prove you’re legitimately studying in that country, get on that ASAP. I didn’t realize that even though I’ve been accepted to the study abroad program, I still have to apply for a CAS and I’m freaking out about missing my deadline. Save yourself the extra stress and check with someone at your university abroad to see if you need this before applying.

Getting a visa is clearly no picnic, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. See if your parents can send you bank statements and other documents you may not have on hand. Your study abroad advisers and the country’s council know more about this than you do so pick their brains and ask questions.

Most importantly, though, remember the stress will pay off. In a few months, you’ll be abroad and having the time of your life!

Adventures in Visa Acquisition

November 7, 2011
by Darci Miller
You may think your study abroad experience is going to be all fun and games but in its early stages, I’ve found that it’s anything but. While I know it’ll be more than worth it in the end, it’s a lot

Between announcements of Cooper Union possibly charging tuition and the average student debt topping $25,000, news about the cost of college haven’t been too positive as of late. But lo, the University of Charleston has broken the bad news cycle: The West Virginia school has announced it will reduce tuition by 22 percent for all new students and provide additional aid for continuing students.

University of Charleston Slashes Tuition

November 4, 2011
by Alexis Mattera
Between announcements of Cooper Union possibly charging tuition and the average student debt topping $25,000, news about the cost of college haven’t been too positive as of late. But lo, the

So you took the standardized tests, filled out the application, wrote the essay and secured the appropriate transcripts and letters of recommendation well in advance in order to apply to your first-choice school early. Nice work – it’s just too bad Mother Nature had other plans.

Early Decision and Early Action Deadlines Extended

November 2, 2011
by Alexis Mattera
So you took the standardized tests, filled out the application, wrote the essay and secured the appropriate transcripts and letters of recommendation well in advance in order to apply to your

If you’re a prospective college student considering a career in engineering, architecture or art, Cooper Union is probably on your radar. Not only is the school among the most selective in the nation but the tuition – zero – has been the best deal in higher ed for more than a century...or it was.

Tuition at Cooper Union?

November 1, 2011
by Alexis Mattera
If you’re a prospective college student considering a career in engineering, architecture or art, Cooper Union is probably on your radar. Not only is the school among the most selective in the
College athletes enjoy certain perks – the strong possibility of a free education (we’re talking full-ride scholarships!), on-the-house room and board, complimentary textbooks and top-notch tutors – but with that territory comes a serious commitment to grueling practices and high expectations to excel on the field, all the while juggling a full course load. Sure, college athletes are considered amateurs in their sports but the fact remains that these students participate in a multi-million dollar industry. Should they be compensated? More than 300 football and men’s basketball players seem to think so.

College Athletes Press NCAA for Share of Profits

October 25, 2011
by Suada Kolovic
College athletes enjoy certain perks – the strong possibility of a free education (we’re talking full-ride scholarships!), on-the-house room and board, complimentary textbooks and top-notch tutors –

Firefighters. Police. Ghostbusters. Your mom. There are certain people you instinctively contact when you need assistance and the same holds true for the federal government. When the Department of Education noticed there was something strange in the neighborhood regarding federal student aid, they knew just who to call.

The Fight Against Federal Student Aid Fraud

October 21, 2011
by Alexis Mattera
Firefighters. Police. Ghostbusters. Your mom. There are certain people you instinctively contact when you need assistance and the same holds true for the federal government. When the Department of

Accepted, rejected, deferred and waitlisted are all responses students can receive when tearing open a decision envelope or clicking on an admissions-related email. Some are obviously more favorable than others but are the practices that lead to these decisions as fair as they can be?

Fairness in College Admissions

October 20, 2011
by Alexis Mattera
Accepted, rejected, deferred and waitlisted are all responses students can receive when tearing open a decision envelope or clicking on an admissions-related email. Some are obviously more

Wherever you are in the financial aid process, you’ve probably heard the term merit aid – financial aid based on students' academic and other merit rather than financial need – and its increasing popularity over the last decade or so. What you may not know, however, is the impact this trend has had on students seeking need-based aid.

The Impact of Merit Aid

October 19, 2011
by Alexis Mattera
Wherever you are in the financial aid process, you’ve probably heard the term merit aid – financial aid based on students' academic and other merit rather than financial need – and its increasing
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