Well, essentially that is what our web site Studyinsweden.se is all about. Although you should take the time to read up on most of the things we cover there, as well as look more deeply into the universities and study programs you are contemplating, I thought I’d gather a few tips of things to have in mind when considering to study in Sweden.
– What makes Sweden different?
Every country’s educational system has its own distinct profile and higher education in Sweden stands out in several areas. The open, informal relations between students and teachers are often cited as typical of university studies in Sweden. This does not only mean that you are on a first-name basis with your teachers and professors, but perhaps more importantly it means that you are expected to think for yourself and argue for your cause. Students should develop their own academic intellect and not just repeat the teacher’s words. Hence, personal initiative and critical thought is expected of you if you are to do well on your exams and papers. At the same time there is also an emphasis on group work. Expect to be thrown into different constellations where you will apply methods and theories in practical situations.
(You can read more about the nature of Swedish higher education in our section called “Why Sweden?”.)
– What and where do you want to study?
Some students have a clear image of what they want to achieve through their studies, and some have even focused their attention on a specific study program at a specific university. Most students however are a bit in the dark when it comes to making the choice. Our program database and university map may hopefully be of assistance, but even after reading up on program descriptions and university profiles it may be difficult to differentiate between the multitude of available programs and educational institutions. Sweden has a mix of universities — large and small, old and new, research-oriented and student-centric, more academically grounded and more practically focused — and the variations between faculties within the universities may sometimes be more distinct than between the universities themselves. What to make of all this? Look into what you want to get out of your studies and try to find the program that suits you — but don’t always expect the choice to be evident. At least it never was for me.
(If you want to talk to someone with first-hand experience of the program or university you are considering — check out www.swedenintouch.se.)
– The application
Once you’ve identified which program/s you’d like to apply to, you will inevitably get in contact with the central online application service at www.studera.nu. The only caveat would be if you are applying for a PhD program or one of the (mainly in the field of Fine arts) few programs that relies on different application procedures and application deadlines. When applying to your chosen programs at Studera.nu, you will also need to pay an application fee (of SEK 900)*. At this point you should also apply for any scholarships that might be available.
After the deadline passes, your application will undergo a selection procedure determined by the individual university, usually based on criteria such as your grades and results of previous degree projects and academic theses. The decision on whether to accept an applicant ultimately rests with the academic institutions themselves as long as you fulfill the general requirements.
If you are accepted to any of the programs you have applied to, you will need to confirm that you will attend the program in question. At this point you will also need to pay the tuition fee for the first year of study.* If you have received a scholarship that will cover your tuition fees, just make sure to confirm that you will attend the program.
Next up is to apply for a residence permit from the Swedish Migration Board (unless you are an EU/EAA citizen, in which case you only need to register with the Swedish Migration Board upon arrival). As the application process can be lengthy, you should apply as soon as you have received your acceptance letter. Generally speaking, in order to obtain a residence permit for studies you will need to show that you:
- have been accepted to a full-time study program (if you are not a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland this includes paying tuition fees for the first year of study)
- can support yourself financially throughout the entire period of study (you must show proof that you have access to funding of SEK 7,300 per month of your stay)
– The final step (which really is the starting point)
Come to Sweden.
*Swedish and EU/EEA citizens (and Switzerland) are exempt from application and tuition fees. If you are in doubt whether you need to pay tuition fees — check out the ‘personas’ at Studera.nu.