Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Ansøgning Shuffle

The last few weeks have been stuffed to the gills with university application stresses.

The process of getting to the point where I can apply for university programs in both English and Danish has been a long one, culminating with this last module of Danish classes and a rush of trying to get paperwork together over the last month or so.

The application process here in Denmark is, on its surface, simpler than it is in America.  But its open-ended nature makes it infinitely more stressful.  Let me explain:

In the US, you get an application form to fill out, you write an essay about yourself, and you send the school your grades and your application fee.  At least 10-15 years ago when I was last applying for colleges, that was how it went.  All fairly low-tech, but what was expected of you was very clear.

Here in Denmark, the applications for almost all of the universities are done online through one central website, which then sends your information to your chosen schools.  You fill out your personal information, choose up to 8 programs to apply to, upload your transcripts, proof of relevant experience, and (for most programs) what is called a "motiveret ansøgning," or motivation letter.  It sounds pretty straight forward, but they leave it up to you to decide what documentation to upload, and aren't especially clear as to what constitutes proof of experience.

So, here's what I've managed to upload so far: My high school diploma and transcripts, the certificate and transcripts for the theater conservatory I went to back when I thought I wanted to be a Broadway star, and the transcript for the one semester at Emerson college that I managed before switching to said conservatory.  I'm still impatiently waiting for transcripts from the university where I studied broadcasting, but they seem to be stuck in the 20th century, claiming that they need a signed request form mailed to them with a check, and claiming that they "don't have the capability" to scan and email the transcripts.  This makes things infinitely more complicated and time-consuming when trying to accomplish it from overseas.

Not to mention, said university sent my first request form and check back, claiming that there was a hold on my account.  After a lot of confusion/anger/stress, we finally determined that the hold was because of a $30 parking ticked that I apparently got 8 years ago.  So, now that the bill is finally paid, we had to figure out a fast way to send the request and check back to them, and request that they send the transcript to my parents (who are, it would seem, far more technologically up to date than the university...), so that they can scan and email them to me.

There has to be a simpler way.

Actuallt, tthere is a simpler way.  Emerson College has an online request form, through which you can request to have a secure PDF of your transcripts sent to you.  I ordered mine last night, and had it uploaded to my application within an hour.  How hard was that?  Not hard, that's how hard.

But anyway, back to the applications...

So, as I mentioned, the whole thing is fairly open-ended.  Especially when it comes to these motivation letters.  I should also mention that 3 out of 4 of the programs I'm applying to require them, and 2 of those 3 need to be written in perfect Danish (the 3rd is for a course taught in English).  So, I've written the two Danish letters and have forwarded them to my current Danish teacher, as well as my previous module's teacher, so that they can correct what I can only imagine are horrifying mistakes.  But more troublesome than that, I have no idea if what I've said in the letters will be what the schools are looking for.  Have I shown my knowledge of the programs well enough?  Have I explained why my experience is relevant well enough?

Last things last, I've had a Danish friend helping me to translate my resume (or CV as they call it here in Europe), so that I can upload one in each language.

Will it all be enough?  I honestly have no idea.  I'm sure that I have more relevant experience than any kid straight out of high school, but have I documented it well enough?

All I can do is wait...

Who's stressed?  Not me...


Not stressed at all.

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