Jared lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He attends high school in the best public school district in the state at a school that is ranked in the top 200 schools nationally. Though he is smart and a good student (4 AP courses, strong SATs, a weighted GPA of 4.3), he has never really enjoyed school and was approaching the college application process in unenthusiastically.
Jared loves to travel. He completed summer language courses in both Costa Rica and Barcelona and has also traveled with his family. When he heard about Beyond the States, he asked his dad if he could look into the possibility of going to college in Europe.
Jared completed our Matching Service and received information about a number of schools/programs in Europe that match his qualifications, interests, and preferences. He is interested in studying International Business and he was excited by the business program at KU Leuven. KU Leuven is ranked #44 globally by US News and costs a mere 890 Euros per year (about $975 per year). And it’s a 3 year program (yes, that means his undergraduate tuition will be under $3,000 total)! Though Jared had dragged his feet completing his US college applications, he really seized the initiative in the Leuven application process which surprised (and pleased) his parents.
Jared noted that the first obstacle dealt with figuring out the application KU Leuven’s website. He found the English version of the site to be a bit scattered and there were some terms used that he was unfamiliar with. Once he figured this out, the application process was very simple. He noted that there were a lot of steps in the process, but they were all easy (setting up an online account, entering info, scanning a copy of his passport). He was a bit intimidated by the motivation letter, as it had no prompt or topic to cover. After brainstorming and some research, he was able to come up with a strong essay.
Interestingly, Jared’s biggest obstacles in the process came from this side of the pond. After completing the application process, having his school send his transcripts, and paying the College Board to send his SATs, he noticed that his application was still shown in the “New” status as opposed to the “Under Review” (there’s a place online to monitor this). He contacted Leuven and found out that they didn’t receive his SAT scores, so Jared had them sent again (and even paid the College Board again). Once again, the school didn’t receive them. Jared contacted the admissions department who was able to see it was an issue with the College Board. They accepted a scanned copy of his official SAT results. Within the week Jared was notified that he was accepted!
I am often asked what qualities a student needs to be successful in Europe. One quality I always note is that the student needs to be proactive in asking for assistance. Jared was not only proactive in keeping an eye on his application process, but in reaching out to the necessary people to resolve the issues that arose. I have no doubt in my mind that Jared will succeed as a student at KU Leuven!
Jared will be keeping us posted about his experiences a few times each year. Watch for future posts.