Are you an aspirant for study abroad planning to go to a University in the UK? Or do you already have your admission and are on your way to the UK? Or perhaps you are already at a UK university? In all the above scenarios, I’m sure you wish to make the most of that experience. And you want to stand out, right? Well, this blog is for you! I have extensive experience in mentoring students at international universities and in this blog, I am going to suggest some practical tips to help you to stand out at your UK university. I want you to ask yourself 4 key questions. As you try to answer these questions, you will get ideas to propel yourself forward so you can stand out in your university in the UK. Here are the questions:
*What does your UK university specialize in?
*What are your strengths? What can you excel in?
*Who are the professors at your UK University who you want as future mentors?
*Which student organizations are the most impactful (not popular!)?
What does your university specialize in?
Be clear about the focus of your institution. Why? This is important because every institution offers more opportunities in the domains which are their special focus. The level of the professors, events and placements is influenced by that. For instance, if the university is a science focused then they will have fewer options for you to distinguish yourself if your subject is business or accounting. If the university is predominantly focused on management, then your work in AI or Data will need to be aligned with their focus.
Tip: Align your specialization to the focus of the university in which you want to make a mark. If that UK university has a specialization very different from yours, you will need to work harder to find like-minded students who are willing to start student organizations in your area.
What are your strengths? What can you excel in?
By the time you plan your study abroad in the UK, you are already aware of your strengths. I don’t mean just academic work, but also personal qualities and soft skills. So, what is your strength: is it people skills? Research? Public speaking? Networking and leading student groups? Organizing campus events? Choose the areas you are best at and search for opportunities at your university in the UK. Even if you are initially shy, you must join the groups of your interest. Attending events and helping in organizing them will boost your confidence. Gradually you can offer to do more so that others see the leadership qualities you have
Tip: Always remember that to be successful in a group or team you need a fine balance. If you are ‘bossy’ or critical of others behind their backs, people will be put off. On the other hand, if you are silent and have no ideas to contribute, you will be ignored!
Who are the professors at your UK university who you want as future mentors?
Getting high grades is not the only way to stand out at a university in the UK. You can also stand out by being an enthusiastic student. Professors like students who prepare for class in advance. This will enable you to ask intelligent questions which a professor always notices! Identify the professors who look helpful. Build a good equation with them: prepare for class, submit assignments on time, request appointments with your favourite professors to discuss your difficulties and seek advice for future career plans. You will surely stand out among your classmates!
Tip: Professors at universities in the UK should be approached professionally via email– NEVER by text message! Remember that professors will be your future mentors from who you can request letters of recommendation.
Which student organizations at your UK university are the most impactful? Join them!
Every university has strong student organizations. I mean those which have an impact – perhaps because they support a social cause or because the university supports them in a big way. If you join organizations which do impactful work, their events will feature dignitaries, corporates and prominent leaders. Such opportunities will help you to meet other students who are high achievers. Future international networks often emerge from such campus interactions.
Tip: Join as a volunteer to help in organizing events. Do online research and get ideas on some new themes or activities that the group can work on. Over time, this will make you stand out.
Identify the focus of your UK university and align your skills. Join impactful campus organizations and build a role for yourself by volunteering and offering fresh ideas. As you work through the above 4 questions, I’m sure you will find many new ways to stand out at your UK university.
We will be back next Friday with another amazing blog from Dr Maina Chawla Singh. Till then, if you have any questions or suggestions, just drop us a comment and we will get back to you.