top of page
  • Writer's picturemie dyasha wong🍦

🇺🇸 Mie's admissions journey to the UK & US universities 🇬🇧

Updated: Apr 28

Hello, unique and new visitors/readers!


This is Mie again! 😃 You might wonder who am I, right? Let me introduce myself to you, my new readers. I am so excited to meet you here (online). Thank you so much for coming to read my first blog in English (that is not my work or essays), but rather my new journey to pursue my postgraduate/master's abroad :) 🇬🇧🇺🇸


simple cover image for this blog! 😄 (i'm lazy, lol)
My nickname is "Mie" (pronounced like "me" but in a lot higer tone), or you can also call me "Dyasha" if you'd like 😃
Let's get to know Mie more since this is my first blog in English (please accept my apologies for any mistakes I've made since English is not my native language, but I'm trying my best to communicate with people around the world, or international students) 🥹
	I am a Thai student who graduated from Mahidol University International College (MUIC) in Salaya, Thailand where I majored in Media and Communication with a Cumulative GPA of 3.53 on a 4.0 scale (First Class Honours). I chose Creative Content concentration and Film Production as my major electives. I am 22 years old, a recent graduate, currently work as an educational service coach at an English international academy. There is nothing much to know about me, but I am passionate about education because I believe that it is the first key to change people's lives. I was not born and raised in the first world country. I have learned English by myself and secured places to study undergraduate in Australia and New Zealand, back in 2019. However, I decided to study in Thailand (an international programme) first to meet my family's requisite half way. I find many students in Thailand have struggled a lot when they want to pursue their education abroad, with the Mathayom 6 (Maw 6) qualification that is not widely accepted in the UK and European countries. *This is just my opinion, though*

I am back with another blog about my admissions journey to the UK and US universities. I got accepted into five universities for the Master of Arts (MA) International Education programme at the George Washington University (Washington DC) with a GSEHD Grant and Merit Scholarship, totalling 24,000 USD and the University of San Francisco in the USA, as well as the University of Bath, the University Exeter with its Global Merit Scholarship (3,000 GBP) and the University of Sussex in the UK. 😃

 

The content I will talk about in this blog:

1) IELTS UKVI Academic Review with a 7.0 overall
2) Required documents for university applications in the US and the UK e.g. personal statement/SOP, English proficiency test (IELTS or Duolingo), international transcript evaluation and recommendation letters from my academic professors
3) Awaiting decisions and acceptance letters and paying deposit fees for your course
 

🇬🇧 Taking IELTS UKVI Academic in September 2023 📝

IELTS IDP Test Results that Mie got an overall 7.0
Mie's IELTS Results in 2023 🥹

I would like to share my experience as someone who has studied in an international programme in my home country (Thailand). It might not be the best result for someone, but I am so proud of myself since I managed to prove that my English is already at the C1 advanced level. My scores are satisfied because they require only an overall 6.5 and each element 6.0. If I had 0.5 more bands (or the fact that I did not get too anxious, I would have got at least 7.0 in Speaking), I would have reached 7.5, but it is not necessary anymore. The module is IELTS UKVI Academic in case I had to study Pre-Sessional English courses with the university.


Test centre: Bangkok, Thailand (I took the test with IDP Thailand)

Test format: Computer-based (academic)

Test date: 8 September 2023

Results posted: 13 September 2023 (I checked the results in the morning of today while SMS and the email were sent to me at 10.33 AM)

Website: IELTS by IDP


I took IELTS 4 years ago (in 2019) and got an overall 6.5. That said, I know IELTS structures pretty well, and I did not prepare so much just 3 days before the exam to get used to the updated format. 


Mie's IELTS Exam Experiences:

1) Listening: I am used to listening to long lectures/speeches in English. I took 5 mock-up tests and scored around 7-7.5. I used Cambridge English (the white book) and IELTSonlinetest.com to practise listening parts. The audio parts in the actual test were moderate (not too easy and too hard). I got topics about a traveller in Sydney, boat racing maps, a chemistry student struggling with her studies and wanting more advice from her professor and a long lecture about whales vs. ship navigation. 


2) Reading: it has 3 long articles. I used the strategy to manage my time as 15:20:25. 15 for the easiest one (technically, the first part). 20 is for the moderate one. 30 for the hardest. It had True/False/Not Given, Yes/No/Not Given, multiple choices, summary, fill-in-the-blank, and others I cannot remember. The first one was about a fictional business called NF Stores for older people. The second was about flora and fauna in an urban environment (Sydney, Australia) - this one was like a biology topic. The third one was about watching athletes make our brains happier (this one is really scientific in terms of neurology).


3) Writing: 

Task 1: it has two graphs for the first topic about average housing prices in City A and City B in one country compared from 2010 and 2015 and projections in 2025. The second graph shows the rate of homeowners and renters in 2010 and 2015. 

Task 2: In many countries, more and more people are competing for a place to study at university. Why does this happen? Do you think this is a positive or negative development?


For writing part 1, write only the main features using familiar vocabulary and make sure it has correct meanings. I spent the last 19 minutes on this using a trick from IELTS Advantage YouTube. My brain can extract information better when I have quite limited time. So, it is better to write task 2 first (in my opinion)—but go with the one you are comfortable with. 

For writing part 2, I would say I got lucky because I plan to study Education, and I got familiar with this topic already. I wrote about university admissions, competitions to get an offer and the positive impact of studying at university for 354 words. I divided it into 4 paragraphs without memorising the template to write. The first paragraph is the introduction, the second is body 1, the third is body 2, and the last one is the conclusion by writing only things that are mentioned already (please do not add anything new). 


4) Speaking: 

I got too nervous and excited for this part, and I got tongue-twisted a lot. My voice and hands shook the entire speaking test (I panicked and overwhelmed). I might not be the best person to help you with the speaking parts. The first topic was about running. The second cue card is a person you know who enjoys cooking, and the third part is the continuous questions about cooking (e.g. why students should learn cooking at school). Speaking is the component I could have done better, but it was nerve-wracking, and I lost confidence easily. I messed up during my speaking test. I aimed to achieve at least 7.0. I did a mock-up test with an IELTS examiner and got evaluated with 7.0 in my speaking.


I wish all of you the best of luck. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on Facebook, and I will give you my best advice. 🍀🤞

 

📄 Required Documents for Admissions 🎓

Required Documents for US Universities (GW and USFCA):

  1. Online Application Form on its university portal (you can look it up on the Internet; visiting the official website of your university is recommended since they put everything about applying as an undergraduate/postgraduate student on their website).

    1. For George Washington University (GW/GWU): you should visit this website. I applied to the Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GW GSEHD), majoring in the Master of Arts in International Education Programme (MAIEP). This part will be about yourself and your academic qualifications. You will have to upload other supplementary documents on the portal like your English proficiency test (I submitted the Duolingo English Test and scored 130 with each component 125), Statement of Purpose (SOP) and Academic Transcript. Please note that you have to submit an International Transcript Evaluation to GW since they will NOT accept your transcript from your home university if you study outside the US. I used the evaluation service from WES or World Education Services (link). It costs around 370 USD for both evaluation and international courier fees from Canada to Thailand. In contrast, GW offers "no application fee" and no GRE required as benefits to applicants.

    2. For the University of San Francisco (USFCA): you can apply on this website. This application is pretty simple and easy compared to GW. I applied to the School of Education, majoring in International and Multicultural Education. It is pretty much the same as GW, but the USFCA did not require an international evaluation like GW. However, it is mandatory to pay 75 USD as the application fee to proceed to the next step. As far as I can remember, you can put your referees' details on the portal, and your referees will receive the link to access the portal for a letter of recommendation. This will be your referees' responsibility to complete the letter of recommendation for you without disclosing what they have written to you. One thing: DON'T LIE on your SOP and application form. I suggest asking the professors who know you best and can evaluate you in terms of your academic performance, how well you did in their classes, and your personality and interpersonal skills (like whether it matches their university or programme's missions/goals). Most American universities love people from different academic backgrounds since it adds more perspectives to the class culture/environment. I asked my professors who taught me photography and have seen my academic writing and work - how much effort I put into each work or final assignment or final project. One of them is an Australian photographer and photojournalist with a social-documentary background who is a brand ambassador for Fujifilm Australia. The other is a Canadian-Australian photographer, and he works for news agencies like Reuters. You may wonder, "How the he*k did I get in when I asked my photography professors to evaluate me?". Well, photography is a tool for social change as well. I did my projects with these lecturers about the pandemic, mental health issues (bipolar disorder, anxiety, panic attacks or depression) and the beauty of coming-of-age (the transitions of each generation). Although I did not have any direct experience with teaching or education when I applied for the master's, one thing I have is a "passion" for being an agent of change in the education field. Of course, with my academic background, (I think) it has proven that I have enough self-discipline to achieve what I aim for.

  2. Statement of Purpose(s)—SOP or Personal Statement: one thing you must be careful about is "word counts" or "maximum words"— if they specifically told you to write no more than 500 words, you should do so and follow their instructions. Otherwise, the admissions team might not read your SOP, and your chance of getting in could be decreased. I will provide just some parts of what I have written on my SOP (but not all content since I do not want anyone to copy my SOP. I hope you will get a rejection letter from every university you applied to if you copy my SOP). I WILL NOT give you the full version of my writing, so please DO NOT message me for the full version. Below is just for guidance only (I paraphrased all of it by using AI to prevent people from copying my SOP, but it is still in the same context). Technically, SOP and Personal Statement are the same thing; it just depends on what (terms) the university will call this writing.

    1. This is what I have written as the introduction part of my SOP: (*DO NOT COPY MY INTRODUCTION*) "Being a Thai national, I have first-hand experience with the education system from the ground level, and this has provided me with valuable insights into what works and what needs to be improved. Unfortunately, inequality in education is a persistent problem both at home and abroad. The standard of education delivered in Thailand varies significantly depending on the delivery approach, whether it is public, private, bilingual, religion-affiliated or international schools. This leads to a situation where the quality of education you receive is directly proportional to the amount you pay, and the better your qualification, the higher the cost. As a result, we must take steps to address these inequalities and ensure that every student has access to quality education, regardless of their financial background."

    2. The examples of being Thai and studied in a Thai school for 12 years. The inequality I have encountered and the passion to adapt to what I plan to study when I return home to Thailand: (*DO NOT COPY MY EXAMPLES*) "Education inequality is a significant problem in Thailand and beyond. Its impact is felt in lost opportunities for young people to acquire knowledge that is essential for the country's progress. As part of Generation Z, I am eager to join the movement aimed at transforming the education sector in Thailand. I believe that we can make a positive impact and build a better future for our country."

    3. The reason(s) you chose that university and the programme: You should learn more about their programme and curriculum + the professor who you want to work with since we (the professor and you) might have the same research objectives. It is possible to look at their publications first before writing or mentioning their journals. I looked thoroughly for each professor before mentioning their name on my SOP since it reflects that I have done some research about the university, department and also faculty members.

    4. What you have committed to when you studied that is relevant to the programme: (*DO NOT COPY MY PAST EXPERIENCE*) "Although I majored in Media and Communication at Mahidol University International College, my experience as an International Student Counsellor in the MUIC ISC Counselling team from January to September 2023 gave me a unique set of skills and knowledge in International Education. For nine months, I had the opportunity to help international students in a number of different ways. My time with the ISC Counselling team has given me an in-depth understanding of the needs of international students, and I am confident that I can leverage this experience to make a meaningful impact in the field of International Education."

    5. Your plan after graduation from that university: (*DO NOT COPY MY PLAN*) "I plan to become an Education Researcher at a non-profit organization (Education Development Center) and a part-time International Student Advisor. With a background in Media, Communication, and Photography, I aim to utilize my knowledge of journaling on my website to raise awareness of educational issues and findings through my posts. As a teenager, I have had short-term living abroad experiences in England, New Zealand, and the USA. I have come to realize the historical, political, and cultural complexity of education. I am passionate about bridging the gap between cultures and people who share the dream of cultural and educational equality, diversity, and inclusivity. By pursuing my career goals, I am confident that I can contribute to this vision and make a meaningful impact in the world."

    6. Conclusion to sum up everything you have written: (*DO NOT COPY MY CONCLUSION*) "My ultimate goal is to serve as a catalyst for change by revolutionising Thailand's national curriculum. I envision a curriculum that is of the highest quality, globally recognised, and equally accessible to all Thai citizens."

  3. Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Résumé: your work experience and educational background are important. Your relevant commitments throughout your college career can reflect something about your passion for the programme you will study. Mie's work experience: - I voluntarily worked as a Public Relations and Student Assistant at my university for three (3) and a half years after I was accepted. My job was mainly to respond to all queries on the Facebook group that I moderated. I participated in a lot of activities related to my major, advised students to get accepted into MUIC and was a student blogger for the MUIC Media and Communication programme. - I was a Corporate Communications Intern at Bosch Thailand for almost four (4) months. It was about social media monitoring and launching campaign assistance for LinkedIn and Facebook, implementing branding initiatives and internal and external communication and coordinating administrative support, corporate visuals/contents, and commitments to CSR activities. - I was a Digital Content Creator for a study abroad agency in Thailand for four (4) months. I worked on creating posts about A-Level (UK), foundation programmes, and UK undergraduate admissions to be friendly-reading to Gen Z and other generations. Mie's educational background: - University: Mie majored in Media and Communication at Mahidol University International College (MUIC) in Salaya, Thailand, for three and a half years. Creative Content concentration, Film Production major electives. My CGPA was 3.51 by the time I applied. Clubs and Activities: MUIC International Buddy Programme, MUIC Public Relations Team, and MUIC International Student Counselors (MUIC ISC). Most of the time, clubs and activities I joined were more than a year of dedication e.g. International Buddy Programme for 3 years and ISC for a year. - Formal High School Education: Mie received the Mathayom Suksa 6 Certificate (Thai High School Certificate) in March 2020. She graduated with a CGPA of 3.15/4.0. She studied Language Arts in English and French (Thai programme) at a private Catholic school in Bangkok, Thailand. - General Educational Development (GED): GED is my second high school equivalency diploma as an international test taker. I took GED tests in Bangkok, Thailand, from December 2018 to June 2019 since I had to study in school simultaneously.

  4. Transcript and Certificate of Studying from MUIC (my home university): These two are straightforward. You can request the documents from your home university by filling in the form and paying the fee (my university asked me to pay 100 THB for the transcript and 50 THB for the certificate of studying, the total fee was 150 THB or around 4.07 USD). Another thing was I requested the documents from my home university to be delivered (digitally) to WES (World Education Services) to evaluate my International Qualifications. My home university has an MOU with WES, so I did not have to mail the documents to WES in Canada. During this process, I just had to fill in the form, pay the fee and wait to get notifications from my home university and further updates from WES on its online portal. Please note that for the UK universities, you are NOT required to do the international evaluations like some US universities.

  5. IELTS (English proficiency test): I uploaded my IELTS scores via my application portals, which are 7.0 overall, 7.5 for listening, 7.5 for reading, 6.5 for speaking, and 7.0 for writing. I was not required to to take a pre-sessional course (PSE) since I met all English requirements from all three universities. I took the UKVI version, just in case I had to take a pre-sessional course to improve my English. If your English does not meet the university's English requirements, you can take a pre-sessional course with the English pathway programme like INTO, Kaplan, Study Group, or Navitas. For instance, Exeter has INTO Exeter as its partner institution. After you have passed all the tests in your English course, you may enrol directly at Exeter. Please keep in mind that you will receive a "conditional offer" to study, and you will obtain an "unconditional offer" after you have met all their criteria. Initially, I wanted to take a PSE course to be well-prepared for postgraduate studies. I actually got an unconditional offer from INTO Exeter to study English there for 6 weeks. Unfortunately, my family decided that it would be better if I attended the postgraduate programme directly since PSE was not compulsory. *Depending on each university, you can also take Cambridge CAE (C1 Advanced), Pearson PTE Academic, TOEFL iBT, and other recognised English tests. Please check the required scores from your dream university.


These are documents I submitted to apply to the US universities. For the UK universities, let's move on to the next section. 😃


 

University of Bath
Picture from University of Bath

The UK universities used the above documents, just like the US universities. There will be a few more things you need to know before submitting your applications. However, I submitted my applications with an educational consultant agency since it is free of charge, and I can reach out to them anytime I need help. The agency in Thailand that I go with is "Hands On". It is a Kaplan International company.


I began the application process in September 2023 to study for the intake of September 2024/25 and got conditional offers in October 2023 (it takes around 2 weeks to hear back from mentioned universities).


I got conditional offers from the University of Bath, the University of Exeter, and the University of Sussex because I had not graduated bachelor's at that time and had one reference letter to send. I decided to study at the University of Exeter eventually because of my lifestyle, the city, and the vibes. I think I can see myself living there. Plus, my auntie lived in Exeter in her late twenties for a year to study English, and she said she knew I would love to live in that city. At first, I wanted to go to Bath, but it is a tourist city and the living expenses could be a lot more pricey, so I decided I better stick with Exeter. It is also about the curriculum that Exeter focuses more on International Education, while Bath concentrates on "Globalisation" (a bit more of International Relations) and "International Development" fields for Sussex. I want to study something specifically about education, that is why I chose Exeter over Bath and Sussex.


Required Documents for UK Universities (Bath, Exeter, Sussex):

  1. As I mentioned earlier, documents from US and UK universities are (pretty much) the same. However, it varies depending on the university you want to apply to. You may submit documents number 1-5 or check directly with the university you want to apply to by googling "University of ... (or the name of the university) + admission/entry requirements" for more specific information. I am sure that all universities provide this information on their official websites. Still, it will be based on your international qualification as well. For example, if you are from other countries, you should find "international entry requirements" and click on the country your qualification is issued e.g. India, Pakistan, China, Thailand, the US, Canada, the Netherlands and so on. Right there, you will find the entry requirements and the details of your grade equivalents. *For arts, photography, fine and applied arts, filmmaking, music and drama/theatre programmes, they might require a "portfolio" as a part of their consideration. I recommend you check with the department on the website first to avoid any delays or inconvenience in applying to each programme.

  2. Letter of Recommendation(s): all applied universities required me to submit two (2) letters of recommendation from the professors. One of my professors submitted the letter when she had access to the link that these universities asked her to complete on the portal. Unfortunately, the other professor of mine did not check her email for three months and this took forever to be solved. So, I decided to change the other professor to the new professor instead because I could not wait any longer. It was such a waste of time. When the new professor came to help me, it turned out that the university would not send him a link (it is a different process). We had to work on the LOR on the paper version. Exeter states, "If your referee emails your reference to us, we can only accept this if it is sent from a university or company email address. Paper reference forms should be endorsed by an appropriate institution/company official stamp. Alternatively we can accept a letter of reference on official institution/company letterhead." I am glad that the new professor saved me from all the headaches.

  3. Official Certificate of Graduation and Transcript: As I said, I decided to study at Exeter and to remove a conditional offer, I needed to submit my official transcript and certificate of graduation from MUIC. These should be degrees granted by the Mahidol University council or your university council first. If you have already received your diploma, that works better. My home university will not grant a diploma until October 2024 for the Royal commencement ceremony that will be held at the university.

  4. Passport: it is recommended that you have a passport that is valid for 1.5-2 years (depending on the course). I renewed my Thai passport and got one with a 10-year validity. You have to attach your biographical data (bio) for your application and CAS data check.


 

💤 Awaiting decisions and receiving offers from universities 😄

Mie's acceptance letters from GW and USFCA 🇺🇸

George Washington University, Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GW GSEHD) offer in 2023
Mie's offer from George Washington University (GW)

For George Washington University (GW), I waited almost six (6) weeks before I got the decision from the Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD). It was anxious and overwhelming. I did not expect to get the GSEHD Merit Scholarship, but here we go! I lingered for a month before declining the offer from GW GSEHD since it was the school I wanted to study the most in the US.

University of San Francisco, School of Education offer email in 2023
Mie's acceptance letter from University of San Francisco

I waited a month and four days before getting an offer from the University of San Francisco (USFCA), School of Education. I decided to turn it down since it was my safety school. I forgot to download my offer letter from USFCA, so... yeah... only a picture from my email.


Mie's offers from Exeter, Bath and Sussex 🇬🇧


From my experience, I heard back from UK universities within two (2) weeks of submitting my application, which I submitted by the end of September 2023. The University of Exeter offered me a place to study on 12 October 2023, the University of Bath emailed me their offer on 13 October 2023, and Sussex sent me the offer on 3 November 2023.

University of Exeter acceptance letter in 2023
Mie's unconditional offer from University of Exeter 🏖️

For the University of Exeter, I got a conditional offer first, paid for the deposit fee (1,500 GBP) through a bank in Thailand (SCB), removed my conditional offer and received an unconditional offer on 6 March 2024. After the submission of my official transcript and certificate of graduation, I finally got an unconditional offer from the University of Exeter.

Exeter's Global Merit Scholarship offer in 2024
Mie's Global Merit Scholarship offer

Later, I applied for a Global Excellence Scholarship (7,500 GBP), but I got the Global Merit Scholarship (3,000 GBP) instead. It is still better than not receiving anything, and I am grateful for that :) The things you have to do are: 1) hold a conditional/unconditional Exeter offer and 2) write an SOP answering four (4) questions about why you deserve a scholarship (please check this link). Exeter was the first place that accepted me and my first choice in the UK, so... why not?


📚 Credit to the University of Exeter, these were questions I had to write a personal statement:

A personal statement (of no more than 300 words) is required as part of the form, responding to the following questions:

1. What is your interest in your chosen programme of study, and what are you hoping to learn?

2. What are your future ambitions, and how will your studies help you to achieve them?

3. What would being awarded a Global Excellence Scholarship mean to you – what difference would it make?

4. As a Global Excellence Scholar, how might you act as an ambassador for the University?

University of Bath offer in 2023
Mie's University of Bath offer

This was my offer letter from Bath, which I rejected Bath before the deadline. I was a bit sad, but it was okay. It is unquestionable that Bath is one of the top-ranked universities in the UK. I wanted to study at Bath, too, but my mind is at Exeter. 😄

University of Sussex acceptance letter in 2023
Mie's University of Sussex offer to MAIED programme

The Sussex programme looked interesting, and Brighton sounds like a great place to live. Maybe give me another chance for its PhD in International Education and Development? Who knows (I might be pursuing a PhD in IED, lol)! 😜

 
Exeter SRS Portal in April 2024 of Mie Dyasha
Mie's Exeter SRS Portal (April 2024) 😗

To pay the deposit fee to Exeter, you should visit this website. Mine was through Convera. You can enter all the details there, and it will email you further information about what to do next. My family paid the fee with SCB bank (around 68,500 THB with conversion rates from Thai baht to British pound). It usually takes 3-4 days for the university to eventually receive your fee (notification from Convera). Still, it will take you up to 10 business days for your Exeter SRS portal to be updated and visible for you to check :)

If you know, then you know that I am a huge fan of Scarlett Johansson.

That is why I attached her GIF here (haha). 😝

I have no clue what else I should include in this blog because it is too long to read now, so I am gonna end it here!! I wish you guys all the best of luck and get offers from your dream universities! 📚

If you have any questions or want to make friends (who will study at Luke's, raise your hand!) - please reach out to me via:
- IG: miedya_thetraveller
- FB page: MemoMiez – มี่ตะลุยโลก

Again, accept my apologies for any mistakes I have made in this blog, including typos and grammar :)

Wish you all the best and have a great one!
Mie Dyasha 🍨
 

First posted: 21 Apr 2024 at 03.06 AM (GMT+07.00)

Updated: 28 Apr 2024 at 16.30 or 4.30 PM (GMT+07.00)

Comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page