Writing Your Application

Are you thinking of applying to one of our international programmes? Here are some great tips to keep in mind when writing your application.

Vary your examples

While writing your application, try to use examples showcasing your skills from a variety of sources: education, volunteering, and work experiences. This demonstrates that you are involved in the community and have learned from every position you’ve held.

Show interest in your host country

For most of our applications, you have to indicate which country or region you would like to be placed in. Strong applications will indicate a genuine interest in the country or region that they request. Explaining the motivation for your choice of country or region can help your application stand out, rather than just wanting to go anywhere abroad.

Consider “so what” with every answer

Many applicants simply list off the experiences they have, or list the skills they gained from the positions they held. While writing your application, consider asking yourself “so what” – what from this example or skill makes you seem like a good fit for this programme. More important than the work or educational experiences you have, you need be able to convey the value of those experiences and how they will benefit you for the position or programme you are applying for.

Make the most of the word limit

If you have a character or word limit, make sure you are using every sentence to your advantage – the use of flowery language or the repetition of examples is not the best use of space. Try using formats such as the STAR method to help you ensure you stay on track when answering questions.

Be an ambassador for the UK

Whilst you are on your programme abroad, you are an ambassador for the UK or your university. You will be representing the UK in new or unfamiliar situations, skills that we highly value are intercultural sensitivity, adaptability, and resilience. Your application should indicate that you will not just survive your time abroad, but will thrive in it.

Common Mistakes

Here are some common mistakes that people applying to our programes make. They may seem small, but they have an negative impact on the quality of your application.

Spelling and Grammar

Many of our programmes are competitive, so applicants who do not thoroughly check their application for spelling and grammatical mistakes are taken less seriously.

Clichés

We read through lots of applications, so clichéd phrases are less effective. Some examples are:

  • “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity”
  • “Since I was a kid, I have always wanted to go to ___”
  • Overused phrases associated with certain countries: “land of the free”, “land down under”, “land of the rising sun”

We would also suggest avoiding quotes and hyperbole statements.

Bullet points

Bullet points can be effective if they are used properly, however submitting one-word-lists does not indicate that you put effort into your application. 

CV and Cover Letters:

Almost all of our programmes require you to submit your CV or resume. The National Careers Service has some great tools and advice for writing CVs and cover letters, including tips for writing CVs for other European countries.