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How To Enroll In The Dream University

Ekaterina Shevyakova shares her inspiring story about how she got accepted to three American universities at once.

How To Enroll In The Dream University

Ekaterina Shevyakova is a promising student from HSE. Over the past year, she has managed to spend a semester in London, make friends around the world, and get offers from three prestigious US universities for a master's degree with a partial or full scholarship. Now, she will share the secrets on becoming the most desirable candidate with us.

Ekaterina Shevyakova
Ekaterina Shevyakova
Hello, Ekaterina! Before moving on to your success story about getting to your dream university in the United States, tell us, please, a little about yourself.

 Hi! Well, I'm a fourth-year undergraduate student in Political Science and World Politics, and last year I spent a semester in London. I am also a part of the educational system myself – I do tutoring, work on my own projects and run blog on Instagram.

Why did you decide to continue your studies abroad?

After my semester in England, I realized that life can be what we want it to be! I’ve met new friends, in particular, several American girls, and it only fueled my "childhood dream" to move to the United States. In addition to the environment I was in, the fact that I had already managed to go for an exchange gave me confidence and showed that everything is possible. I see master’s degree as a logical continuation of my path. It not only gives career prospects, but also the opportunity to try myself in something else. For instance, I am very interested in management. And as we know, America has no equal in business, so my choice was obvious.

What, in your opinion, are the advantages of foreign education?

I find foreign education superior to domestic in many ways. First, it is possible to get a degree in just one year, which makes it possible to quickly apply knowledge into practice. I'm not ready to study all my life. In addition, it's a great career prospect. In the field of business, access to the international market is extremely useful. But, again, it solely depends on your plans.

Many students do not consider further education, as they do not want to continue studying the program they are currently in. Is it possible to change the field when applying abroad?

If you are going abroad, I can say for sure that it is not difficult to change your field of study. Though, you have to explain why you are doing so. Accordingly, when I switched from political science to management, I clearly outlined my motivation, which did not limit me in any way while applying and even receiving a scholarship.

What was the process of choosing an educational institution? Please, tell us about your criteria for selecting a university.

First of all, it is the university rating. I care about the quality of the educational program and its students’ feedback. Also, I was looking for something modern and innovative that gives character to an institution. And, of course, you should pay attention to the community spirit, how easy it is to get in touch with the university and whether they are interested in you as much as you are in them.

Now it is quite popular to get help from specialists while preparing an application. Do you think it's better to do it yourself or with the help of an agency or mentor?

I can say that the application process is quite time-consuming, so if you do not understand the requirements, of course it is better to have someone help you. I applied without a mentor or agency, but spent a lot of time learning the information online. In any case, it’s best to take this path by yourself, but some support never hurts.

Will you please explain briefly the application process and how long may it take.

It is not easy for sure. It is worth studying the criteria in advance and taking care of passing such exams as IELTS, GMAT or GRE. Usually, it’s better to allocate at least six months before applying as, in addition to exams, you need to write motivation letters, a CV, and collect recommendation letters. Although, I’ve managed to do it in 2 months.

What difficulties did you face and what should an applicant be prepared for?

In my opinion, the main difficulty is that not everything depends upon you. For example, sometimes to get a recommendation, you had to remind the person about it multiple times. And of course, motivation letter is a kind of unusual essay, where you analyze and present yourself in the right way. Don't underestimate the complexity of it.

You were accepted to all the desired universities with the offer of a partial or full scholarship. Why do you think your application was so successful?

I think it is because I showed my potential and that my education will benefit not just me, but the university itself. The main secret is to come up with your own mission, which can further benefit the society and can only be achieved through that university’s program.

Based on your experience, to what the admissions committee pay special attention to?

I believe they pay attention to all aspects of your application rather evenly. But, apart from hard skills, it is important for them to see your soft skills. That is, what kind of person you are and whether you will fit into the culture of the university. The requirements can be completely different, for example, Babson College asked me to write 4 funny facts about myself.

Finally, what advice can you give to those who are planning to enroll abroad?

I think my first advice would be to plan ahead. Secondly, be creative. You need to show individuality to really catch on. People like to believe in some success formulas, but in reality, you simply should think outside of the box. And lastly, dream big! I am the first person from my educational program to go to the US, even without any outstanding qualifications and experience. Which once again proves that absolutely anyone can do it!

Now Ekaterina is finishing her last bachelor year, working and preparing to move to the United States. You can follow Kate’s journey on her Instagram blog @kate_sheva. Let this inspiring story serve as an example that you should believe in yourself and can achieve any goal!

Text by
Margarita Grakhovskaya