Winning with your application – things to notice when applying

It might feel challenging, but the application process is not complicated at all. Linh Dang shares her experience and tips with you.

My choice - University of Oulu

“The hard part is the applying process.”

I have heard many times from friends how difficult it is to complete an application to schools. However, have you ever thought? It feels challenging just because this study means a lot to you, but the real application process is not complicated at all.

If you are still feeling unsure, this post is for you.

Everything starts with the website

No one expects to get lost in a bunch of information. Universities and admission offices are on the same page as us on this. The easier we get to know how to finish our application, the better they can process the next step. That’s why the University of Oulu’s website has been developed into a platform where we can find everything we need. Step by step.

Need a little shortcut? Try opening the following link to see from a-z about a non-Finnish qualification application.

Keep in mind that after reading through the webpage, there are a few things you should be able to answer:

  • Are you eligible to the study programme?
  • What is the language requirement that you need to prove?
  • Tuition fee and scholarship opportunities. Please note that for the 2022 application round, besides the University of Oulu’s scholarship, there’s a chance to apply for the Finland Scholarship. The chance might be yours.
  • Does your study programme require a SAT or GMAT/GRE Test result?
  • What are the required documents and their deadlines?

Documenting – don’t wait until the deadline

Probably one of the most common mistakes that we can make is to wait until the last second to gather the required documents. Those papers are always with you, so what can go wrong?

There are a few reasons why you should prepare your documents as soon as possible. Firstly, it takes time for your mail to arrive at the school office. Secondly, it’s always good to have time to double-check. Thirdly, you thought that you had the document ready, but is it in the right required language and legalized? Last but not least, as the education system varies across the globe, certain documents might be specifically requested.

The upcoming application period starts from January 5 and lasts until January 19, 2022. By January 26, 2022, at 15.00/3 pm (GMT+2), you should finish submitting the following attachments:

  • Proof of language skills

  • Copy of degree certificate

  • Copy of transcript of records

  • Translations of degree certificate and transcript of records if they were issued in a language other than Finnish, Swedish, or English

  • Possible programme-specific attachments.

Then it will be time for you to relax and wait for your Admission or Letter of Conditional Admission via e-mail.

After receiving the study place offer, you have time until April 30, 2022, to submit your country-specific requirements for educational documents or a verified language test result.

If you happen to graduate after the application period, don’t worry. Note the following timeline to send your attachments:

  • April: verified language test result, verified transcript of records

  • July: verified copy of the final certificate.

Visit this page for detailed requirements for each document and pin this page to keep track of the application timeline.

In case you need help, don’t hesitate to contact the University of Oulu Admissions Office.

Motivation letter is a two-way street

Another type of paper that you might be requested to submit is a motivation letter. Have you ever had the thought that your CV or your educational reports don’t speak everything about yourself? Or did you wish that you could put more into your application?

Then, you need to pay attention to the motivation letter. Your general documents are the tip of the iceberg, by writing nicely a motivation letter, you will be able to show the university what greatness is still hidden. So, don’t be afraid, just write.

Through this short piece of writing, you should answer the question of why you are the perfect candidate for this study place.

How I started writing my motivation letter is pretty easy. Don’t try to immediately think about the catchy first sentence. It will usually lead you to a writer-block. Let’s start first by jotting down everything you like about yourself. Yes! Everything.

It doesn’t matter if it is your favorite subject at school, your recent project, a failure that you have stood up from, your bubbly personality, or your reading hobby, try to list as much as you can about yourself at this stage.

Next, take a little bit of time to read through about your school. Try to search its name, and navigate what is the core value, and what the vision of the school looks like. It’s also good to read through the school news and blogs. By doing this, you will be able to absorb the culture and see what in you is suitable for this community.

From here, you start to match your competencies with the school’s values.

Motivation letter is a two-way street. We don’t go to school with only students, it’s a cooperative relationship.

As a result, try to not only think about how you will fit in with the university but also how the school’s vision, the studying environment, and the programme curriculum match with your future development plan. After that, delete the extra parts and you now have the scoring points for your letter.

How to construct a motivation letter is totally up to you and your creativeness. However, it usually has three parts:

  • Intro: You will briefly introduce who you are? What and where are you applying to? And why are you applying?

  • Body: Take the main points you have prepared and show off” yourself with the uses of facts and metrics. Put something concrete instead of being vague with only polished words. For example, if you are interested in Marketing, tell more about what exactly you are interested in and what you have done to explore that interest.

  • Conclusion: Summarize your main points and mention your future plan/goal. Don’t forget to thank the reader.

From my point of view, a good motivation letter should be one-page length. During the process, it’s better to think about how you’re inspired in real life and try to imitate in your writing. I found this video from Simon Sinek really helpful to set up my mindset while writing.

These are only my personal ideas for a motivation letter. I believe that you will have a thousand more interesting ways to conduct one.

This is it

By now you have had all the important information regarding the application period. Now it’s time to start.

Remember that the University of Oulu’s website is a great instructor, don’t be afraid to reach out for help from the admission office, stick with the timeline, always double-check the specific country-required documents, and be brave.

You have come so far and the gate to your desired academic life is now only one step behind this application period. Good luck and see you soon in Oulu.

About the author

Linh Dang from Vietnam holds a MSc in Marketing from University of Oulu. There are two places where you can easily find her: by a laptop and a plate of good food.