Once high school finished, I started to think about my upcoming years at university and how my life would start to change. Finding out I had been accepted at IE University was the greatest news I could have received during my last year of school. I was about to enter a new phase, and I had to take a huge step. But where to begin?

Below, you’ll find the top tips I wish I knew before applying to IE University. Are you ready to learn what life is like at IE University from a second-year student’s perspective?

  1. Embrace diversity: don’t judge someone on first appearances.

At IE University, the vast majority of students are very open-minded and extroverted. On the first day of university, you’ll start to look around to find someone that is quite similar to you. However, as the saying goes, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” IE University has many international students that will welcome you even though you come from a different country. Overall, try to take advantage of this great opportunity and make an effort to get to know and meet as many students as possible!

  1. Research different aspects of the university, not just its programs.

When we apply to university, we tend to only look at the programs that the university offers. Try to broaden your investigation. Before applying to a university, research everything it offers its students instead of just looking at the different bachelor’s programs on its website. At IE University, there are many other important and interesting elements for you to consider during the application process. These include a range of different clubs for you to join, IEU athletics, labs, languages, and so on. So, my general advice would be to research a university and its environment, not just a specific program that interests you.

  1. Know the value of your GPA.

I would highly recommend that you try to achieve the highest possible grades during the first year of your bachelor’s degree.  This is something most students miss out on since they are more focused on making friends and having fun as an undergraduate. Your GPA is the overall average grade of the subjects you have taken throughout the year, and you use this to apply to the IE Exchange Program. Having said this, the higher the GPA, the more chances there are for you to choose between a wider range of countries and universities.

  1. The IE Exchange Program.

There is a different exchange program for dual degree students and single degree students. If you enroll in a dual degree, you’ll be able to study abroad for only one semester. However, if you choose a single bachelor’s degree, you’ll be able to apply for up to two semesters. In terms of the countries and universities offered, this is the same for all students—no matter what bachelor’s degree you study.

  1. Teamwork is key to learning.

IE University not only reviews your midterms and final exams. In fact, their learning process requires you to participate in a lot of group projects, presentations, debates, and so on. That involves communicating with your classmates and exchanging different ideas with the group. In order to complete all of the group assignments, you’ll have to meet with your classmates in your spare time, during which you can take advantage of the common areas that IE University offers. In summary, you could say that students don’t learn independently at IE University. Instead, you spend most of the time working with your team, which allows you to discuss issues and learn from each other’s varied knowledge and cultural backgrounds.

  1. How to choose your accommodation.

Whether you’re thinking of applying to the Madrid or Segovia campus, you can either stay and live in a student residence or a flat of your choice. I would highly recommend that you stay in a residence, particularly if you’re not from Madrid or Segovia. By living in a common residence, you’ll be able to easily communicate with the students that share your building and you can quickly start to build a group of friends. In this way, you’ll easily adapt to university life and begin to feel more comfortable.

  1. What to expect once you arrive.

Once you arrive at IE University, you can expect to meet people from all over the world. Be open to new ways of thinking, expect a very project-based learning process, get ready to work in teams, present your work to the rest of the class and, lastly, expect very good teaching.

  1. Learn a new language.

Enjoy all of the activities that the university offers undergraduate students. Take the opportunity to study another language at the IE Language Center, such as French, German, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, and English. If you’re not a native Spanish speaker, you’ll have to take mandatory Spanish lessons so that, at the end of your bachelor’s degree, you will speak Spanish fluently. This means that, when you go home, you’ll have another language under your belt.

Now that you know what IE University is like, I encourage you to apply for the bachelor’s program that interests you the most. Once you arrive, take full advantage of studying at an institution that not only meets your expectations but offers opportunities for you to grow personally and professionally.