Wilson seniors reflect on their experience applying to college abroad

Charlotte Guy

While most Wilson students browse their Fiske Guides for colleges and fill out countless supplemental essays, others search for a specialized, cheaper education across the seas. 

Senior Anna Wehebrink had always planned on applying abroad, partially because she plans on moving to Europe after high school. “Going to university in Europe was always a sort of given for me,” she said. “Firstly it’s cheaper than going to school in the US and then I have always wanted to go to university there since all of my family lives in Europe and it’s home to me.” 

Wehebrink is not the only senior drawn to Europe by familial ties. Fellow senior Sam Marks has English citizenship and his father is originally from the UK, so applying abroad had always been a possibility in his family as well.  

But more than that, Marks values the experience that college will provide him. He is looking to be pushed out of his comfort zone and that’s largely part of the reason the UK was such an attractive option to him. 

However, unlike Wehebrink who is solely looking at schools in Europe, Marks is considering schools in the US as well. “I did not come into [the college process] thinking I’m going to prefer one side of the Atlantic over the other…it boils down to the individual schools,” Marks said. 

Although Marks finds both US and UK universities as potential options, he noted the application processes are very distinct. 

“I think the key difference between the UK application process in the US one is that the UK is based on your major while the US one is based on your personality,” Marks explained. “And I think both of these application systems are equally good. And they compensate for each other where others might lack.” 

For students who are undecided about their major and want the ability to pursue and explore different career paths, US schools might be the better option. But for people who already know what they want to major in, the more streamlined education that UK schools provide might be beneficial.  

This factored into Wehebrink’s decision to apply to predominantly UK universities. “The schools I applied to in the UK have great programs for what I am interested in…that was a primary reason I applied in the UK,” said Wehebrink. When finding schools to apply to, Wehebrink focused on programs offered, rather than location. 

Wehebrink also applied to Esade, a school in Spain, that was recommended to her by family and friends, and alumni of the school. This application was very different from that of the UK schools. 

Esade’s application was directly through their website and Wehebrink had to write six short essays and provide the usual GPA and transcript. Along with that she also had to take a three-hour test similar to the SAT, although they offered the option to send in ACT or SAT scores. 

UK universities look at GPA and either a mix of AP test scores or the SAT or either one. Generally, they require three to four AP credits, but more elite schools sometimes require up to five, Wehebrink explained. One upside is anyone interested in applying to UK schools only had to write one essay. The caveat, you can only apply to five schools.

A foreign college application process can be confusing but luckily Wehebrink has a sister who has already been through the whole process, so navigating it all wasn’t very difficult. However, for anyone who is thinking of applying but is threatened by the unfamiliar process, Wehebrink found the school representatives to be super easy to contact and very helpful. 

Whether applying to schools abroad has always been an option or you’ve never considered it, both Marks and Wehembrink strongly encourage anyone who can to apply. “You won’t know what happens unless you apply,” Marks said.