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What makes a great application for university?

December 9, 2021 - 5 min read

Choosing to go to an overseas university is one of the biggest decisions you can make. There are so many things to think about in this life-changing adventure. Am I ready to leave my family and friends? Is my English good enough? Do I have the right background education? Can I afford to pay for it?

Even understanding the words used at an overseas university might be challenging. What is a trimester? What’s the difference between a course and a program? Many little things can add up to a big barrier that may prevent you from applying and missing the opportunity of a lifetime.

That’s why it is important to have people who can help you knock down that barrier to a rewarding and exciting adventure in a far-off land. Staff at Deakin University in Australia are the people you want helping you.

‘The application process was quite challenging as it was my first time applying internationally. Luckily, I got to meet one of the staff from Deakin’s office in Indonesia, who helped me enormously,’ said Liman, an Indonesian student who is studying public health at Deakin. ‘The staff member who handled my submission was very responsive and helpful. The submission was surprisingly easy and straightforward.’

‘Luckily, I got to meet one of the staff from Deakin’s office in Indonesia, who helped me enormously.’

Consider getting help from an education agent

Some applicants seek assistance with their application from an education agent. Samantha met an agent at an international education event in the Philippines. ‘The education agency helped me through my whole application journey,’ she said. ‘I was assigned an education counsellor who gave me the documents I needed and walked me through the whole process.’

Though applicants from some countries must submit through an agent, Deakin’s global network of authorised education agents are available to help anyone regardless of where they are from. Agents are experts at understanding you and Deakin, and helping you get the best outcome. An agent suggested that Reinhard, from Indonesia, apply for the prestigious Deakin Vice-Chancellor’s International Scholarship, worth 100% of his tuition: ‘Fast forward to the present and here I am, a final year scholarship student in Deakin University’s Master of Communication program, specialising in digital media. It has been amazing!’

Get your application in on time for a scholarship

Though not everyone can get a full-tuition scholarship like Reinhard, Deakin offers other scholarships and bursaries with many different criteria. Some are based on where you live. Others are based on what you study. These are offered in limited numbers and are highly competitive. Offered on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, eligible applicants are awarded scholarships in the order they are accepted into a program. Receiving a scholarship you aren’t expecting is a nice surprise. Liman applied early to his public health program and ‘Exceeding my expectations, I was granted the Global Health Leaders Scholarship!’

While most of Deakin’s scholarships do not require an application, the Deakin Vice-Chancellor’s International Scholarship and the Deakin International Scholarships do require one. High-achieving applicants are encouraged to take the time to apply. It isn’t a hard process and you may end up with money to help you out.

Preparing your documents for application

Whether you are applying on your own or through an agent, you will need to supply supporting documents with your application. Give yourself a good amount of time to get all the required material before you start your application. Some may take a while to obtain.

‘My mother had to travel to Metro Manila (capital of the Philippines) for some documents even though I am from Cebu (another region),’ said Samantha of the process she had to go through. ‘Bank statements and certifications are required. It is helpful to request them from the bank early.’

Everything you submit needs to be in English, so allow plenty of time to get them translated if needed.

English language proficiency

One of the important documents you will need is evidence of English-language proficiency, a required component of the application. The level you need to obtain depends on the degree you are interested in, so applicants need to check their course page to find out the English language requirements. Samantha recommends scheduling your International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam as soon as possible when you decide to apply because it may take a few weeks for the results.

Get credited for prior study and/or work experience

 If you have relevant experience and qualifications in the degree you are interested in, Deakin automatically assesses your application to recognise prior study and/or work experience for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). RPL turns your study and life experience into course credit – credit that can reduce your study duration, as well as the cost of your tuition.

 Applying for RPL requires you to provide a lot of details about previous study. But for Liman, it was worth doing: ‘I decided to give it a go and applied and got, yet another surprise for me, bonuses worth 4 credit points. This undoubtedly has encouraged me yet again and motivated me to study at Deakin University.’ Though it might seem difficult, this bit of paperwork can save you time and money by shortening your course.

‘I decided to give it a go and applied and got, yet another surprise for me, bonuses worth 4 credit points.’


Making your case

Sometimes the application and supporting documents just don’t feel like they are saying much about who you are and why you belong at Deakin.  That’s why some programs require additional information, such as a personal statement. Deakin’s Manager of Admissions, Sada, says this ‘is a chance to tell us why you want to study in Australia and your plans for after they finish your degree.’

Your personal statement is an opportunity to tell us how great you are.  It is an opportunity to tell us about the amazing things you have done. It is your time to tell us why we should be proud to have you at Deakin!

Once you have submitted your application and are waiting for a response, sit back and think about all the great things you will do in Australia. Decide where you want to live. Think about your first road trip. Think about who your new friends will be. Think about your future.



Quick links

Find a Deakin authorised international agent here

Discover the range of scholarships and bursaries available to international students at Deakin here

Learn more about English language requirements for Deakin degrees here

Learn more about Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) at Deakin here

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^^ 2022 Student Experience Survey, UA benchmark group Victorian universities.
# Australian Graduate Outcomes Survey 2016–2022 (GOS), Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT).

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