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Choosing the Right University

Interview with Miroslava Petrova – College Counselor at American College Arcus

Abdulkader Nahas, 11 IB

1. Based on your experience, what country do you recommend for students who are willing to study Medicine?

Bulgaria, of course! Seriously, though, I think that international students do not have such a great choice abroad. The course is very demanding and selective. A lot of people are competing for a few places anywhere in the world. Germany seems to be the choice of most students because it is affordable at least but wherever you go to study Medicine, you will have to dedicate almost all your time and effort to it.

2. List 5 of the top universities around the world.

I have always been doubtful of rankings – the most important thing for me is that the students find the best fit. A uni may not be in the top 10 in the world, but as long as the students feel happy where they are, I am happy too. This also requires a lot of research on their part – something which not many  want to do and then end up disappointed. The best thing to do (if you can afford it K) is visit the universities’ Open House and make your choice based on what you have seen. Also, contact our former students who are there – they are the people who will give you priceless information about all aspects of studying at that particular university.

3. Do you suggest that Bulgarian students apply to university in their own country or study abroad? And why?

This is all very personal – you must be ready to make this important step and consider all the advantages and the disadvantages. Just imagine yourselves in a totally different environment and ask yourselves whether you will be able to cope. Will you feel homesick? Will you be able to take care of yourselves?, etc. You need to seriously consider everything before making the decision to go abroad and if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, then go for it.

4. When is the perfect time for a student to start contacting a university?

For US universities probably the beginning of grade 10 – applying in the USA is a very long process and there are a lot of requirements. The universities there have a holistic approach, they do not only look at grades, but a lot of other things – e.g. extracurricular activities are also an important part of your application.

5. What are the requirements needed in order to apply to university?

Most universities are also looking for the best fit, so excellent grades are not the most important thing. You need to prove that you are the right choice for them and that you will benefit from your studies there, which is why the letter of motivation or personal statement is so important. Apart from the grades and the personal statement, universities also require a reference from a teacher, which gives more information about the candidates and their academic and personal qualities. It is not easy to apply, especially to the most selective unis, but it can be really rewarding once you receive that thick envelope.