photo/ Annelise Suber
photo/ Annelise Suber

Principia College admits students from all over the world every year. The task of selecting the best applicants to join the college is a collective effort of both the applicant and the admissions office. Many international students agree that this journey of thousands of miles begins with taking the brave step to apply.

Marina Byquist, former international admissions counselor, explained that international student admission revolves around three major steps that are carefully scrutinized before students can finally join the college.

The first step involves communication between the admissions counselor and the applicant. Each year, Byquist communicated with applicants to help them decide whether this community would be suitable to their needs. She noted that many students felt certain that Principia would be the ultimate place for them.

The second step involves taking candidates through their application. Byquist encouraged students to ask questions during their application process to avoid minor mistakes that could disqualify their admission. Timely updates and feedback take place between the counselor and the applicant at this stage and vital application documents are submitted.

The final step involves an application presentation to the executive board of enrollment at Principia College. In these meetings, Byquist directly represents students. She had been in such close contact that she could essentially speak for them if necessary. Byquist noted that she directly represented students in the board because she was accountable for their actions in case of an inquiry of any applicant by the board.

For most international applicants, these three steps are accomplished with relative ease. The hitch comes about during the visa application, which can sometimes be complicated and overwhelming.

According to freshman Gerves Baniakina from Congo, the visa application process is what determines whether one comes to Principia College. Some international students who are qualified to be admitted at Principia miss the opportunity because their visas are denied. At this point, one’s application journey comes to an end.

Senior Laud Adjai from Ghana said that “the visa process can sometimes be taxing in a way.” Adjai stated that the visa issued to him was a lucky strike. “It’s like winning a lottery. You never know when you are going to get it or miss it, and that’s the awkward part of the application process,” he said.

On the contrary, senior Jessica Jordao from Brazil said that getting the visa “is not a matter of luck, neither is it a guarantee. I can try applying for it, and if I have the right documentation from my college and a normal background, odds are I will get my student visa.”

Sophomore Merle Schmuland from Germany said that getting a visa as an international student is comparable to tourists travelling abroad. So long as you have the appropriate documentation sent from the college you applied to, the process can be smooth.

Many students from different countries had different takes on the visa application which confirms the assumption that different applicants face varying challenges when applying to a student visa. Fortunately, most of these students do not have problems with their desired college’s application process.

Image courtesy of Julia Suber