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How a Pre-University Semester Can Help You get into a Top Uni in Europe

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With admission rates at elite European universities falling as universities become more selective, many students are seeking increasingly elaborate ways to make their application jump to the top of the pile.   

One option that’s growing in popularity among international students interested in studying at Europe’s top-tier universities is to enroll on a pre-university semester, to acclimatise to life on the continent and boost their chances of getting in.

Every semester, the in Lisbon opens its doors to international students from outside the European Union who have finished high school and need to develop new skills and language competencies in Portuguese or English before they can be eligible for higher education at Lisbon’s top university.

Needless to say, the incentives of spending a semester in Lisbon are many. Every day in Lisbon affords gorgeous sights, each more beautiful than the last, and spending a semester in Lisbon is an opportunity to do some sight-seeing and get a taste of daily life in Europe in a safe and affordable city.

Cradled between seven beautiful hillsides, the city is packed with iconic sights: the legendary yellow tram 28 that brings passengers up and down the city’s cobbled hills which tumble down to the Rio Tejo, the rows of multicolored pastel houses in the Belem area and, of course, Lisbon Castle, which offers a view of the city from its ramparts.

Lisbon, where offers a pre-university semester

Fortunately for cash-strapped students, living costs in Lisbon tend to be lower than in most European capitals. The cost of living in Lisbon is approximately 34 percent lower than London, and in the QS Best Student Cities 2018 ranking Lisbon is in the top 30 cities in the world for affordability.

In fact, living in Lisbon for a whole month, not including accommodation, would set you back €545 (US$650) while renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center would cost around just €770 (US$915).

One of the safest cities in the world, Lisbon has a high safety index on Numbeo of 67.41, making it much safer than Paris (47.81), London (51.49) and Rome (45.75). It’s also worth noting that Lisbon achieved a high score for the walking alone at night safety indicator in the index.

While the draws of spending a few months in Portugal's beautiful coastal city are obvious, the pre-university semester program is also a chance for students to develop new skills and prepare for higher study, particularly if they’re unfamiliar with teaching methods in Europe or need to improve their English or Portuguese.

Students on the program get to deepen their expertise and enthusiasm in three subjects, including mathematics, international relations, political science, microeconomics or information systems. The pre-semester program is also an opportunity to prepare for the degree of your choice at Universidade Nova de Lisbon and receive tailored admissions advice.

The pre-semester program covers Portugal’s fascinating history and culture so international students can learn about life in Lisbon by themselves before they make the move and prepare ahead of their degree. Book-worms on the program can even participate in a book club for a whistle-stop tour through centuries of western literature ranging from José Saramago, who won the Nobel prize for Literature, to Miguel de Cervantes, whose masterpiece Don Quixote was the first modern novel.

To apply for a pre-university semester at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, you need to complete an online form and submit a cover letter explaining your motivations for joining the program, together with academic transcripts, a photocopy of your passport, and proof of your proficiency in English (the minimum requirement is B1-level English).

Reference letters aren’t mandatory but could bolster your application and increase your chances of admission to the program.

Send off your application before June 30 2018 , Célia Janota for more information on +351 210 496 451 or , or submit questions through

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