Applying to study abroad as international students can be tricky. This is because thousands of other students with great extracurriculars are doing same and you wonder how you can stand out. Well, we’ve come to the rescue so tag along as we discuss how international students stand out at university applications.

1. Be a Leader 

Holding leadership positions can be a great way to stand out on your applications. With high-profile positions, you can establish yourself as an outstanding and efficient leader. For instance, student council president, concertmaster, etc.

2. Maintain Cordial Relationships

Maintain cordial relationships with your teachers so that when universities want to get to know you more, your teachers’ recommendations will be great. Having great grades and extracurriculars are very important. However, if your teacher doesn’t have complementary remarks about you, it could affect your application adversely. Amazingly, if your grades aren’t great but your teachers’ recommendations are great, admission officers may consider your application.

3. Engage in Community Service

If you believe that opportunities abound all around us, then you’ll look more closely to optimize some of them. For example, you can volunteer at a local hospital, a local homeless shelter, food drives, building houses, etc. This way you’ll learn to be selfless and connect to the world around you. This is a very good way international students boost their university applications.

4. Ask Upperclassmen for Advice

Applying to study abroad as an international student means you’ll need to take the TOEFL exam to prove your English proficiency. Upperclassmen in your high school will likely have some experience with this and in other relevant areas. They are in a good position to advise you so, ask relevant questions that will help boost your application.

5. Make your Essays Vivid

Judith Hodara was the associate director of admissions for the University of Pennsylvania ( She was also the director of admissions for the Wharton School of Business. Now she coaches high school students and MBA hopefuls through the application process. She says, “Students should really capture a moment in their lives; a chess tournament when they have their hand on a pawn and are going to move it, getting out the door when the volunteer fire department alarm goes off, or the shock of cold water when they hit the pool for swim practice. All very small instances, but they give the reader a real idea of who the student is.”

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