*If you are not a Fairfield U student, some of the specific dates/people to talk to will not make sense to you. If you ARE a Fairfield student, at the time of this post, you will have already heard if you are coming to Edinburgh or not!
Application Process for Edinburgh, Scotland
1. Make a StudioAbroad account
You will need to make a Studio Abroad account to apply for study abroad. You can find the link on the Studio b tab on the Fairfield U website. If you are not a Fairfield U student, your college or university probably has a similar application website with information and dates.
The application is due by February 1st, but you can apply any time after the Studio Abroad site opens.
If you are having trouble creating an account, call the Study Abroad office. This may be because the site is not yet active for the new study abroad sessions (this happened to me and caused a lot of unnecessary stress). If the office has not yet received course lists/schedules for the program, they often cannot open the site to new students yet.
2. Ask for recommendations early.
Ask professors for recommendations early. I asked for recommendations around October/November (for my Spring semester abroad) so that I wasn’t scrambling during finals week in December. This also gives you a time cushion if you ask professors who are notoriously crammed for time.
Ask professors who are reliable, but also give them enough time to write a decent recommendation. (ie. not during advising week or before/after breaks).
3. Spend some thought on your personal statement.
Write your personal statement as early as possible, too. I know people who waited until the night before to apply and were very stressed.
It’s nice to come back from winter break with your application finished. If you’re like me, you were at a lack for reasons to go to your desired city other than, “It’s pretty.” (Or my reason…”It’s the birthplace of Harry Potter and plaid.”) In this case, Wikipedia is a gem. Think about your interests, major, potential career, and hobbies, and find ways that your desired city can add to your life. As an English major, I hadn’t realized how many literary giants hail from Scotland before writing my statement and researching it.
It’s important to show that you have genuine interest in the city, but this is not a college essay or job application. Relax and be honest.
3. Be patient
For Fairfield U students, you will get your student abroad offer/rejection on March 1st. It’s a fun morning in the social networking world, when you learn who is going to which country during which semester. Try not to bother the study abroad office for updates on your application, because they won’t have an answer for you until the 1st. Enjoy this application-free time while it lasts.
4. Ask the office if you still need to apply to the University of Edinburgh separately.
I didn’t realize until four months before my departure that the application I submitted on February 1st was just for Fairfield to release me to study abroad–not to the actual University of Edinburgh. Apply to the actual university as soon as possible, even during the summer if possible. (You will definitely need to have applied by then if you are heading there for the Fall).