6000 Miles Away from Home Part 1: Application Process and Picking DePauw

As an international student, I get asked a lot of questions about DePauw and my decisions to attend college in the United States. Everyone wants to know what I think about the university, if I enjoy the faculty and my fellow students and how the U.S. compares to my home country. I have decided to share a little bit about my experiences with being an international student in this 3-part series on HerCampus.

  1. 1. From a Dream to Reality

    As a sophomore in high school, I was part of an exchange program in Florida. I spent a semester attending classes in Vero Beach, and ever since, I have been fascinated with the idea of moving to the United States. However, it all seemed a rather impossible dream. It was something I talked about wanting to do, but never expected to actually accomplish. It is incredibly rare for students from my home to decide to study in a foreign country—  especially somewhere as far away as the U.S.

    Then, a friend of mine directed me to an organization that helped students from Slovenia apply to schools around the world. After my first meeting with the counselor, I was dead set on going to college in the States. With the help of my parents, the idea turned into a concrete plan.

  2. 2. The Application Process

    Looking back now, I wish I would have done a better job researching schools in the US. In my home country, there are only really three big universities that students can apply to, and all three have the same requirements—  your grades and senior year exam scores. They do not ask for extracurriculars, work experience or personal essays. You can see why I was in no way prepared for the amount of work a U.S. college application would take. And neither was my high school counselor, who barely spoke English. It took a lot of people, time and worries to put my application together and send it out into the world.

    The SATs are also not something students have to take in Slovenia. So, there are no tutors or preparation lessons available. I had to figure out how to study for them, while handling the regular workload from my high school (which at that point was 11 classes). I was absolutely terrified of taking the test, because it felt like no amount of studying could prepare me well enough.

  3. 3. Picking DePauw

    Second semester senior year was less about the work, and more about the wait. I was constantly wondering whether or not all my documents were filled out correctly, and if they arrived at the schools I applied to. So, when decisions started coming in, I was mostly just glad that everything worked. There were some amazing surprises and some bitter disappointments, but ultimately, I was glad the application process was over.

    I was accepted into multiple schools, but I ultimately picked DePauw, because I felt like they provided the best support for the international community. The counselors I spoke with during the year were incredibly helpful, and I appreciated that they were very familiar with the application process for non-U.S. citizens. I felt like DePauw would provide me with the smoothest transition into a completely different culture.

I have never regretted my decision, and DePauw has been nothing but a positive experience for me. It has helped me grow and become the best version of myself. I love everything, from the academics to the social aspects of this campus. More on those in Part 2 and Part 3.