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1) Language of instruction - yes, that’s right, you have to excel the language of your future studies! Register for the language course and reach the proficiency because you’ll definitely need it during your studies. Take the tests (most of them you can register online like TOEFL, IELTS etc.) and read as much as you can in the language of your future studies.
2) Pick the program – and not just one! If you want to win the lottery you are not doing it with just one ticket. Apply to at least three programs (and I recommend five). If you get accepted to more than one, GREAT! But don’t put all your hopes to just one program. You will never know will the odds be on your side.
3) Prepare for the worst but hope for the best – and with this I mean, prepare good! Write your essay or Motivation letter in the best possible way; watch the tutorials, read experiences… Compile your CV (Europass CV template is a good solution), get your Recommendation letters and do whatever is in your hands.
4) Keep the record of the deadlines – This maybe sounds ridiculous but it is definitely not! Bureaucracy waits for no man and the application systems usually crush down in the last week of the application. So put the deadlines in your calendar and set the alarm!
5) Do the research – you want to know what is waiting for you out there, don’t you?! Thanks God to the online community where you can find out more about the campus, accommodation, professors, health insurance, scholarship, metro map of the city, local customs, nearby airports, pollution and all the things you need to know before your arrival. Registration to the university of your choice is just a beginning and there are many more things that will be hugely important when you start your academic journey. And don’t forget “When in Rome do what Romans do”!