New Zealand is a popular destination for international students. With a world-renowned education system, glorious natural environments, and a friendly and welcoming population, it’s not hard to see why. If you’re considering New Zealand for your post-secondary education, we’ve highlighted some essential information to get you started...
Why New Zealand?
There are many reasons why New Zealand is such an excellent place to study. It has some fantastic universities, a wide choice of qualifications and a relaxed atmosphere. We’ve highlighted some of the reasons why you might want to consider it:
- Top universities. Institutions such as the University of Auckland and the University of Otago are ranked highly in the QS world rankings. All of the eight state-funded institutes appear on the list, showing how highly regarded the country’s education system is.
- The Kiwis. People from New Zealand are affectionately referred to as Kiwis, after the adorable flightless bird native to the island. They’re often seen as some of the friendliest people in the world. Expect a warm reception and a welcoming atmosphere.
- The weather and environment. New Zealand doesn’t have the extremes of temperature that many countries have. It’s usually fairly mild throughout the year. The winters are a little wet, with snow at higher elevations. Summers are warm but not unbearably so. It’s also home to a diverse range of environments and ecosystems. From stunning beaches to verdant rainforests to snow-topped mountains, there truly is something for everyone.
Preparing to apply
Along with university entrance requirements, you’ll also have to apply for a student visa, have enough funds, and have medical insurance. We cover each of these points below:
On the whole, the grades you have to achieve vary between universities and subjects. It’s therefore recommended that you check with the specific institution you wish to apply to. However, we’ve outlined some examples below to give you an idea:
- The University of Auckland. For guaranteed entry, UK students require grades CCC to ABB depending on the course. US students need an SAT score of 1150 to 1450. International Baccalaureate students must achieve a score of 26 to 36.
- University of Otago. UK students must achieve three passes equalling a minimum grade of 8. For US applicants, a minimum SAT score of 1190, or a minimum ACT composite score of 24 is needed. IB students need a minimum of 26 points.
- Massey University. For UK applicants, grades AAA are needed. US students require an ACT composite score of 24 or a minimum SAT result of 1100. For IB students, a minimum of 24 points is required.
Students from countries where English isn’t the native language will also have to prove their English abilities. A TOEFL or IELTS qualification is usually sufficient, provided you have the grades. See your chosen institution for further details.
Although the exact requirements depend somewhat on your country of origin, there are some common prerequisites you’ll have to meet:
- An offer from an accredited university
- Evidence of funds to support yourself (fees, accommodation, living costs)
- Police background check
To find out more about the exact requirements, the New Zealand Immigration site can help.
The conditions of your visa mean that you’ll also have to purchase health insurance in order to enter the country.
If you choose to study in New Zealand, you’ll want to start applying as far in advance as possible. There are two semesters per academic year, with the first running from February to June, and the second from July to October. As such, applications are usually open from August of the year before you start.
We’ve outlined the steps you’ll need to take during the application process:
- Choose a university and degree programme. The choices are varied, with eight government-funded universities and twenty-one Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPS) in New Zealand. Research your options to find a place that’s right for you. Contact the institutions you’re interested in for further information.
- Apply. You can apply online for the majority of programmes on offer in New Zealand. You’ll need to make sure you have your personal documents ready, and that you meet the entrance requirements.
- Await confirmation. It can take a few weeks for universities to process your application. During that time you can start budgeting and look at your options for accommodation, flights, and insurance.
- Apply for a visa. Once your place is confirmed, you can start applying for your student visa. Again, you’ll want to allow plenty of time for this. See above for the conditions you’ll have to meet.
- Book flights and accommodation. As soon as you get your visa, you can start planning your departure. Make sure you have somewhere to stay for at least the first few weeks after you arrive.
Costs of studying in New Zealand
Tuition fees vary among the eight government-funded universities. You will also pay more or less depending on the degree programme you choose. Some figures estimate that you’ll pay around NZ$20,000 (US$13,338, £10,499) for an arts or social science bachelor’s, NZ$25,000 (US$16,672, £13,124) for a science and engineering degree, and around $75,000 (US$50,000, £39,372) for a dentistry or medicine degree.
To be eligible to study in New Zealand, you’ll have to prove that you funds to live for the first year of your stay. This figure is currently around NZ$15,000 in addition to your university fees. Of course, how much you actually need will depend on your lifestyle and location. Don’t forget that you may be eligible for scholarships for your studies, and you can work up to 20 hours per week while you study.
Accommodation costs vary greatly based on the location you choose, and range from NZ$650 – $2000 per month for a 1-bed in a city centre. University accommodation is also available.
Despite only having a population of around 4 million, New Zealand is a multicultural and welcoming place. In 2016, about 15% of the student population was made up of internationals.
Most universities offer a range of sports, culture, and arts clubs that will welcome students from around the world. You can join the community, study, and explore this wonderful country.
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