If you’re planning on applying to an English-speaking institution, it’s highly likely you will be asked to show your proficiency in the language.
For citizens of countries like the US and UK, this requirement may be exempted depending on your university.
But many international students from non-English speaking countries will have to take exams, including the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and/or TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), and meet certain scores in order to gain admission.
It’s an understandable area of concern for international students – fail to make the grade and you may not be accepted into your university of choice.
Ideally, it’s best that you prepare early on and sufficiently to ensure you make the cut.
But if things do not go to plan and the worst really did happen, here’s some top advice on how to deal with the situation:
1. Don’t panic
Plan B needs to kick into action now and running around like Spongebob and Patrick above is hardly the best mental state be in. Getting as much information is vital, even though it seems all the hard work put into the application process has gone to waste. Take a deep breath, keep calm and start finding ways you can solve this.
2. Contact the university
Some universities enforce their requirements and are very strict about them, come heaven or hell. Some, however, do not enforce it as strictly. It would be invaluable to speak directly to the admission officers at the universities you’ve applied to, especially if your score is just a scrape below their minimum requirements.
3. Re-take the exams asap
If time is on your side and your university has confirmed they will be able to accept your re-take results, you should book a re-test as soon as you can. Note that IELTS results are available 13 days after taking the test whereas for TOEFL it is available after approximately 10 days.
4. Consider the option of a foundation program
If all else fails, there is always the option of taking a transitional course before continuing onto your undergraduate programme. In the UK, these courses range from just a few weeks to almost a year, according to your degree requirements. Another option is INTO; a third-party provider that offers these English language courses at its 22 international study centres within leading university partners in the UK, North America and China.