How to Correctly Fill in Your University Application Form

Congratulations! You’ve already chosen a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree and are now ready to apply at one or multiple universities abroad.

What you might not know is that numerous students fail to fill in the university application form correctly and can’t be admitted to the university because of this. This may be due to the high levels of excitement, not taking enough time to go through everything or not double-checking the personal information.

To prevent this from happening, here’s what you should keep in mind while filling in your university application form:

1. University application: fill in every mandatory field

By now, you should already be familiar with online or PDF forms. Most of them include both mandatory and optional fields. And while we encourage you to at least consider filling in the optional fields as well — as it might be useful to your overall application — we will focus, for now, on the mandatory ones.

Mandatory fields are usually (but not always) marked with an asterisk sign (*). Oftentimes, you won’t even be able to submit the form if you miss one of these fields. Remember to always keep an eye on the fields marked with asterisks and pay additional attention to them.

Mandatory fields usually ask you to provide details such as:

  • First and last name
  • Age and date of birth
  • Contact information: email address, phone number
  • Previous diplomas or degrees: high school, Bachelor’s
  • Proof of English language skills
  • Country of origin and country of residence
  • Address, including zip code
  • Study programme(s) you’re interested in
  • When you plan to begin studying (usually there are 2 admission periods, in autumn and spring)

Example of university application form

2. University application: optional fields can make a difference

Optional fields are a great opportunity to provide additional information, which can help the university process the application faster. This allows academic institutions to contact students who might need to give more details or clarify different aspects mentioned in their application.

“I want to be contacted by a university representative or counsellor” is often a common optional field. You can accept or decline based on your own needs, but if you’re uncertain about the application or what to do next, choosing ‘Yes’ will help you get advice from people who have helped many other international students like you.

3. University application: double-check your information

Don’t rush to fill in everything as quickly as possible. It’s not a sprint race, and there’s no trophy if you finish faster.

Pay attention to each field and make sure you understand what information is expected from you. If you have the option to choose or insert multiple answers, do so, as long as it’s relevant.

Be especially careful with your spelling. And no, in this case, we don’t mean “neighbor” vs “neighbour”. We refer to your email address or phone number — crucial details which, if given wrong, will not allow the university to contact you! Spelling your name wrong can also cause trouble further down the line.

Failing to provide info about previous degrees or accreditation might negatively affect your application or may cause you to lose your place in favour of someone else!

4. University application: scholarships and grants

This doesn’t apply to every university out there, but you should know that some institutions ask students to apply for financial support (if they qualify) during the application process.

If this applies to you, make sure you verify whether you’re eligible for a scholarship or grant and provide all the necessary additional information.

Some scholarships or grants are based on financial need, which means you need to include official evidence of your (or your family’s) income. If they’re based on merit, mention what awards or achievements make you stand out.

Very important: some forms of financial support are only available to students from specific regions (e.g. Africa, Asia). Failing to mention your country of origin might make you lose a scholarship opportunity. So don’t skip that field in your application form!

5. University application: ask for help

Applying to a university can be a very stressful process, and it might be even more demanding for students like you, who want to go abroad.

This is why you should never hesitate to ask for help. You’ll discover that most universities are more than willing to help, and some of them even have dedicated departments whose main goal is to guide international students throughout the application process.

You can get help by either writing an email, calling the university directly or mentioning (in your form) that you’d like to receive support going forward.

Example of scholarship application form

6. University application: tips and tricks

Provide accurate information

This should go without saying, but avoid providing any elusive, fake, or ‘between true and false’ information. This can get you in all sorts of trouble, and it is also illegal!

Not to mention that, eventually, you will need to send official copies of your documents. So, if you provide inaccurate information initially, it will only make things worse. Only say what’s true and be very specific and clear.

Country of origin vs country of residence

You will notice that the university application form will include either a ‘country of residence’ or a ‘country of origin’ field – or both! It’s a significant distinction, and you shouldn’t skip either one if you were born in one country but currently live in a different one.

Your country of residence or origin will also affect what type of tuition applies to you (national vs international), the availability of scholarships or student loans, and so on.

For example, if your native country is Ukraine, but you’ve lived for the past 10 years in the UK, you might be entitled to different tuition or financial support compared to people who are only now planning to move to the UK for studies.

The differences and benefits you might enjoy will vary based on the policies of each nation, but it is essential to fill in these details in the university application.

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Use a current email address

Use a current email address (or create one), ideally with a regular name; for instance, you might want to skip your personal or gaming email address: e.g. ‘jimmy_cs_go_96@gmail.com’.

We recommend using services like gmail.com (Google), outlook.com (Microsoft), iCloud.com (Apple) or protonmail.com. Staying away or migrating from Yahoo might be a good idea, especially given their poor security record in the past.

Check for spelling mistakes

Spelling mistakes, in general, can create a negative first impression, whether it’s your university application, personal statement, CV, or an email. You don’t want to start on the wrong foot.

Use the built-in spellchecker of your browser, Word application, or install a free extension, such as Grammarly. Asking a friend to take a second look might also be a good idea, especially if you’re not 100% sure.

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