It’s getting REAL now! 🔥
“This is the time in our Study Abroad Timeline that most families and students find Beyond the States, and start setting roots. The goal in the 11th year is to identify specific programs and schools that you’re interested in, that fit your budget, and match your qualifications.”
– Jenn Viemont, BTS Founder and Chief College Advisor
This is a deeper dive than what you may have done during your freshman or sophomore years, and should include a true exploration of individual needs and preferences around location, teaching approach, curriculum, university specific criteria, and more.
Don’t panic, we can help! Read on…
Ohh, and while you’re here, take a look at our 10th Grade Timeline to College in Europe page to catch up, if you missed it last year. 😁
While many of our members have started at European universities without visiting ahead, Junior year is a great time for visits. Many schools offer in-person tours or events at specific times of the year, and some offer virtual tours or online workshops, but university tours are much different in Europe, and regularly occurring tours aren’t necessarily prevalent. If you are able to do a tour(s), we suggest doing so after your initial list of best-fit schools is narrowed down a bit. Pro-Tip: set up a meet with another BTS student/member already studying in Europe - you can easily do this in our private member Facebook group when you become a member, or in your member dashboard.
(If you’re planning to visit in the summer, keep in mind that many schools in Europe will be entirely shut down, and keep in mind that the feel of many places in the summer is quite different than when students are present. Pro-tip: Thanksgiving is an ideal time to visit, since it’s a relatively affordable season for travel in Europe, schools are open, and you can spend a full week abroad and only miss 2 days of school in the US.)
Almost every country in Europe has English-taught bachelor’s degree programs at Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS). Belgium and the Netherlands throw University Colleges in the mix as well - we’ll get to that in a moment. These terms pertain only to public schools and most countries also have private schools offering these degrees. Here’s the low-down on what each of these are:
Universities - these are academic and research based. They can award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees, and they are similar to universities in the US in that students are focused on research, taught to develop an analytical mind, and to present arguments (as opposed to preparing for a vocation). Many of these students go straight to a master’s degree program.
Universities of Applied Science (UAS) - these offer a practical higher vocational education for a specific profession, and exist to prepare you for your career. The emphasis is on learning through application rather than through research, and internships are typically required with these programs, as the focus at UAS schools is to provide students with the skills, knowledge, and competencies needed for the professional world. Study areas like Business, Engineering, Digital Arts, Computer Science, and on, can be found at these schools. Students can still pursue master’s degrees, but will usually need a semester or so of required courses to do so.
University Colleges - these are specific to the Netherlands, and are part of a larger university. University colleges in the Netherlands offer honors-level liberal arts degrees. Classes, living, clubs, etc are self-contained. There are additional admissions requirements for these schools, as well as requirements for living on campus (1-3 years, depending on the school). Belgium also has University Colleges, but they don’t have the liberal arts focus - they are the same as UASs - and unlike in the Netherlands, do not offer doctorate degrees.
One of the biggest differences in applying to universities in Europe is that you are applying to a specific program, as opposed to applying to an overall university like in the US. This is basically like declaring your major ahead of time, and since there generally aren’t any university-wide core requirements, switching majors/programs often means starting over; but the upside to this is that you’re able to focus on your area of study at the get-go, bypassing the traditional first year of gen-eds we’re accustomed to the in the US. But don’t feel overwhelmed by this fact - it doesn’t mean that you are stuck studying only one thing, and it doesn't mean that you must know exactly what you want to study or your future career path. There are programs that take a broad start, allowing you to explore your area of focus, and many dynamic, multidisciplinary programs as well.
Our How to Choose a Major Self-Paced Course - which comes with membership - can help, even if you’re certain of what you want to study. Through lessons and exercises, you’ll learn how your unique interests will translate into the different study areas in Europe, and which programs you may most align with.
Great question! Our super-helpful, 4-part How to Choose a University Self-Paced Course was built to help you determine your own criteria for choosing a program and school. In this course we cover quantifiable criteria around budget, admissions requirements, and fields of study. We also discuss what to look for (and red flags) in schools, programs, locations, and student life. Sign up for this course, and our other self-paced courses, when you purchase a membership.
11th grade is an ideal time to sign up for our Best Fit List Bundle, and is typically the time when families opt in. Rest assured, you’ll save yourself headaches and time with this offering, as we apply our expertise in curating a list of 3-5 programs customized to your specific parameters around area of study, budget, general needs and preferences, taking into consideration your background and qualifications.
But beyond this list, you’ll get Lifetime access to both our bachelor’s and master’s database, access to our series of in-depth self-paced courses AND masterclasses, a one-on-one consultations with our study abroad expert, and access to our uber-engaged and supportive private Facebook group of parents and students.
Preview a Best Fit List HERE 👈
SIGN UP HERE - Choose either our Premium Monthly Membership OR Save $$ in the long-term with our Lifetime Access (great for families with multiple children!).
Note: You can cancel this membership at any time. Give it a shot!
You can do this on your own, with a DIY approach, using our database, courses, and many other resources with our Premium Monthly Membership option (look above), or you can skip any overwhelm and have us bear the load by signing up for our Best Fit List Bundle offering. It’s is the cream of the crop, and includes everything from the above monthly membership description, but also:
Preview a Best Fit List HERE 👈
Already a member? Want to upgrade to a Best Fit List Bundle, or simply add-on an individual Best Fit List to membership - you can do this easily in your member dashboard.
10 Mind-Bending Benefits of Studying in Europe
Are Degrees From Europe Recognized in the US?
The Best Places to Study Abroad in Europe
Do European Colleges Have Sports?
How to Choose Which Country to Visit for College
That’s it for now. With these steps you’re off to a no-sweat good start. Check in on the Timeline to College in Europe as you go along, since we’re here to offer direction at each stage of the process.
Go forth and discover!
– The Beyond the States Team
“Beyond the States has been amazing in helping me narrow down my options and commit to a school in Europe. It brought me further in the process after doing research on my own and provided information about universities that I couldn't find myself!”
“I just wanted to thank you for your assistance and the Best Fit List! I applied to Bocconi after talking to you and I just found out a couple of days ago that I got in! I plan to enroll and move to Milan in the fall. I'm very excited to attend school abroad and I couldn't have done it without your help! Thank you so much for the guidance and many resources you provided!!”
“Well first off, I ordered the Best Fit List which was the most helpful thing. Then the masterclass itself was hugely helpful as it simplified the process and gave very easy to understand information on how to apply and how to choose and research the colleges.100% worth it, if I had tried to do the process myself I would be so lost.”