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Choosing a Study Abroad Program: Non-Negotiable vs Optional Factors


Choosing the right university abroad is one of the most important decisions in your life. Everything you’ve been doing so far has been leading up to this moment, and the move will ultimately change your life beyond recognition.

There are a number of things you must take into consideration if you want to make the right choice and make your university journey a successful one. The entire process consists of important steps, some of which are non-negotiable and others which are completely optional. Here are the main ones you should focus on:

The non-negotiables

Studying and living expenses

Even though you have probably set your heart on a particular school, the related costs are something you have to take into consideration, especially when you also need to worry about accommodation, your visa and even your basics such as airfare and essential living costs. If you don’t have a scholarship to rely on, consider other financial support opportunities and start developing a plan.

Together with your family, weigh in all the available options and figure out which one is the best for you. Also, have you thought about your future? Are you going to continue with education after you earn your bachelor’s degree? The important thing is to have a long-term plan and start making arrangements accordingly.

Finding the Right School For You

When it comes to making the right choices for your future, there should be no compromises. The list of your top picks should be completely non-negotiable and carefully considered. When you finally decide on the right schools with programs that interest you, it’s time to do everything that’s in your power to make sure you get in. The entire process can be quite stressful and seeking out professional help is always a smart move. For example, organizations like Crimson Education consultants will help you stay focused on the admission process, and ensure you stand out by keeping you on the right track towards success.


The location of the school is a very important part of the decision-making process. Are you willing to sacrifice not only visiting your family regularly, but some holidays as well? Starting your college life in a different country, or even a different continent means dealing with homesickness and building your own independence often in a culturally different environment.

Start by researching and, where possible, visiting the schools that are on the top of your list – this can give you a deeper insight into the culture and the local life, especially if you can spend a day or two exploring the area. Finding the right study destination can have a crucial impact on how well you assimilate to your new college experience, make friends and ultimately make the most of your education.

The negotiables

Field of interest

Choosing the right school usually comes down to its reputation and the quality of its programs, however, one other major factor is your own field of interest. In the end, you want to be able to finish what you’ve been working so hard to achieve. So, look for schools which offer programs you are most interested in, but don’t choose your major right from the start. There’s a strong chance your interests might change under the influence of your newly found freedom, so be patient and you’ll be able to make the right decision down the road.

Extracurricular activities

Taking a break from tons of school work may come in the form of an extracurricular activity of your choice. So, look into your school’s athletics department, debate club or volunteering programs. It may all be extracurricular for the time being, but you never know when they might come in handy, especially when you start looking for a job. There’s a chance that your involvement in the school’s newspaper, for example, may set you apart from the rest of the crowd.

The most important thing you need to keep in mind during this entire process is to make sure that the decision you make is entirely yours. Be mindful of all your wishes and demands and see to it that they are fully fulfilled. Remember, you’re the one faced with a four-year journey in a different country, so you might as well make it a good one.

Contributed by Claire Adams

Claire Adams is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. You can find her online writing and giving tips about lifestyle and development as a regular contributor at

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