The planning process for American colleges is pretty well known, but we get a lot of questions about how to plan for the possibility of studying in Europe. While it is possible to start at any point throughout the process, here is what we suggest from a planning perspective, while your child is in high school.
Freshman and Sophomore Year
This is a great time to explore the options in Europe. If there are programs or countries that really appeal to you, check their qualifications. It’s much better to find out now if you need AP courses, rather than the summer before your senior year! You might find that there are enough appealing options that you won’t need to participate in the US admission process. This is the route we are taking and I can’t even begin to express how fabulous it is – particularly when I hear what my son’s friends and other parents are already going through preparing for it!
If you are a family that travels internationally, knowing what is out there early in the game can help you incorporate school visits into your travel. Though you wouldn’t necessarily take an official “college visit” trip freshman or sophomore year, Europe is so compact that it can be easy to add a day trip to visit a school of interest from wherever your original destination is.
This is also a great time to explore whether you have any possibility of dual citizenship. Dual citizenship can be a great advantage for a student through decreased tuition costs and a waiver of financial proof of means. If a student’s parent holds an EU passport, this is already part of the discussion. It’s less well known that citizenship can passed down from the grandparents, as well in some European countries such as Spain, Italy, Ireland, Germany, and others. It’s beyond the scope of Beyond the States project to research and detail the permutations of international immigration law. Here’s a link to an article get you started on your researching path.
The quarterly membership is a great option for families with freshman or sophomore students. It doesn’t cost much more than one of the many US college guides you find at bookstores and can give you an idea of what is currently out there.
This is a great time to start to identify the programs and schools that you are interested in and qualified for. Some schools have virtual tours and online workshops throughout the year.
Providing a copy of your passport is a requirement for all European schools. If you don’t have a passport, or need to get your passport renewed, take care of it this year to avoid having to scramble when application time comes.
This is a great time to use our annual membership. Not only will this help you explore the programs, but our monthly member Q&A calls will help with any questions as they arise. We also plan to have guest speakers on call, including American students studying in Europe and administrators from European schools. If you are having trouble narrowing down your choices or knowing what school would be a good fit, we have consultation services that can be purchased with a membership or separately.
It’s application time! Many schools have rolling admission periods that start as early as October. Some have admissions periods that don’t begin until June. Therefore, the month in which new programs are announced varies from school to school and country to country. We update programs in our database beginning in the summer, and will note whether it has been updated for the next school year. Keep an eye out for new programs that might be of interest.
If you are applying to schools with earlier admissions periods, you will spend the fall dealing with the application process (which is tremendously easier than it is in the US). Rolling admissions means just that: unlike your friends applying to US schools, you won’t have to wait until April to get your admissions decisions! You can find out before Christmas in many cases, and spend the rest of the year getting excited and handling the logistics like housing and your student visa.
Some schools require motivation letters, a CV (curriculum vitae) and/or an interview. We are able to help in those areas through our consultation services. Our database lists housing and visa information and our consulting services can provide additional help as well.
Already a senior or a transfer student and feeling behind in the process?
Don’t worry! We can help you with choosing programs that would fit and the planning and get you up to speed.