International higher education is an exciting World: so many student from so many countries, various backgrounds and cultures… Everyone has different strengths, weaknesses and experiences. It might seem hard to pinpoint one skill (or habit) that can truly make a positive difference in this journey. However, after interviewing 10000+ international students in the last decade, the BIC admission team has a good idea about what is the one decisive difference between successful and unsuccessful applicants.
So what is the secret ingredient? As with all important things in life, it’s a very simple thing: reading (and comprehension).
What? It cannot be that easy!
Oh yes, it actually can- according to our admission team, a large portion of students fail their interviews (or later on, university exams), simply because they fail to read available information. Being informed and prepared already brings you to the finishline, you just have to cross it.
What will be the questions on the interview? – you receive emails about this, you just have to read them. What are the application requirements? – they are all on the website. What is the name of your study program & university?- They were right there in your application!
University employees work hard on making all information easy to digest and available to you at all times- you just have to read them. If you cannot even do that- by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
What if the available information seems overwhelming?
We know, it’s 2023 and most people are used to getting all information just with a click on their phone. What’s more, nowadays it’s enough just to ask ChatGPT and it will give us an answer for any questions so we don’t even have to search for it…
While this is true (and allow us to be a little bit boomers right now), if we are never conciously using our brain for searching and synthesising information, we’ll lose the most important skill that a university degree holder can have: being able to perform intellectual work. And if we cannot perform intellectual work (like giving advice based on information, creating reports based on information, presenting strategy based on information, creating schedules, statistics, plans etc.) then why is it worth having a university degree? What is our worth in the job market then?
So let’s agree: we must learn how to read and comprehend information. But what to do if the information is way too overwhelming, too much or too confusing?
- Take notes with bulletpoints or mindmaps: if the information is way to lengthy, just read through it quickly, pinpoint the most important info and write a short list (or mindmap) of them for later. That way you don’t have to remember multiple pages, you just have to understand those couple of thoughts you noted down. (This is a super useful practice for the uni exams too!)
- Have good bookmarks: too much information too quickly? Just save it for later and read them when you are ready or when you need them. Just don’t forget where you saved your precious bookmarks!
- Read, Search, Ask (in this order!): this is a common practice used by coders. In case you get stuck, first make sure to read all necessary information carefully! If you surely cannot proceed, go ahead and search for the info you need online. If you cannot even find the info anywhere online, then make sure to reach out to the relevant person for guidance.
Sure enough, doing all this work seems too much sometimes and impatience can take over. Just remember: if you are mastering a skill that is so crucial in life and so few people can master it, you can truly shape your career with a powerful skill in your wheelhouse!