You’ve made a bold decision to study far from home. The first problem that you need to face is finding the best university in a country where people probably don’t even speak your language. This guide will help you to find and enroll in the top universities in Poland.
Ranking of top universities in Poland
The most-recognized academic ranking list in Poland is called Perspetywy. You can find it here. Unfortunately only a Polish version is available, but you can simply google English websites of the included universities.
I’ve found such websites for the first 10 universities from the list:
- Uniwersytet Warszawski – University of Warsaw
- Uniwersytet Jagielloński – Jagiellonian University
- UAM w Poznaniu – Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań
- Politechnika Warszawska – Warsaw University of Technology
- Politechnika Wrocławska – Wrocław University of Science and Technology
- Akademia Górniczo-Hutnicza im. Stanisława Staszica w Krakowie – AGH University of Science and Technology
- Uniwersytet Wrocławski – University of Wroclaw
- Warszawski Uniwersytet Medyczny – Medical University of Warsaw
- Gdański Uniwersytet Medyczny – Medical University of Gdansk
- Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika w Toruniu – Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń
How to find the best study programme
One solution is to go through website after website in order to check out what the top universities in Poland offer, but you can also use two search engines in order to deal with this much faster.
The Ministry of Science and Higher Education maintains a website for foreign students called Go! Poland. You can use the wonderful search engine from this website, called Studyfinder. It will help you to find all the interesting study programmes here in no time.
The other website is called Study in Poland. Visit the website and use the search engine on the left side of the page in order to choose your field of studies. Then choose a degree.
Remember to confirm data at the official sources
When you have a list of universities and study programmes that interest you, google them to find the English admissions websites. I have given you examples of the admissions sites of top universities in Poland above.
Use these websites to confirm that all the information that you’ve gotten from the search engines are correct and up to date. You need to know what the fees are, what is important for the recruitment process, when you should apply, what documents must be submitted, and so on. If you have any concerns or questions, find the contact details of the admissions team and send them an email.
Check if the city is attractive
The fact that you’ve chosen one of the top universities in Poland doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve chosen the best possible place to live for the next several years. Use Google and social media groups to find some expats in the cities that you’re choosing from. Ask them how they like living, working and studying there. If you’re not able to find any groups, contact me and I’ll help you. Ask them what they think the biggest problems are. Is the air often polluted in the city? Is there a big expat community, so that you don’t feel isolated?
After you learn that, you should be able to make a decision.
How to enroll at the university?
As recruitment procedures differ from case to case, you should follow instructions published by the university on the webpage for international students.
For example, if you wish to study at Kozminski University in Warsaw, you should first register online, then pay the admission fee, and then submit documents. Within 10 days there will be a decision, and after that you’ll sign a contract.
And at the Jagiellonian University, for instance, you need to first sign up in their system and then register for your chosen programme. Then you may be asked to pay the application fees and to submit the documents within a given period. Here you can check how clear and easy it is to follow the guidelines from the Jagiellonian University: click!
You often ask me how to deliver documents. In most cases you simply send the scans to your university via email. As you see, so far it’s all easy and you don’t need to pay any agency.
Look for accommodation
I recommend that you take a room in the student hall managed by your university. Your university should provide you with clear instructions on how to sign up for university housing. If they don’t send you any information once the recruitment process is over, contact them to ask for it. Make sure you learn how to apply for a room as soon as possible so that you don’t miss any deadlines.
What should you do if you are unable to or don’t want to live in the student hall? Look for a flat on classified advertisement websites, or use social media.
Online classified ads
These are the most popular websites with flats for rent in Poland:
However – all are in Polish.
It seems to be a better idea to find an online group of expats in your city, or a group with flats for non-Polish speakers. There are plenty of them for Warsaw, Wrocław, and Krakow.
If you’re a non-EU citizen you probably wonder how you can legalize your stay as a student in Poland.
I cannot give you any straightforward and clear instructions regarding visa issues, because rules differ from consulate to consulate. You can read some tips on how to apply for a visa to Poland here.
What should be pretty much the same for all the countries is that you cannot apply for a visa earlier than 3 months before coming to Poland and that you will need a letter of admission from your university for the application process.
Temporary residence permit for studies
After coming to Poland you should apply for a temporary residence permit for studies. Although sometimes expats wait until the last months of their visas’ validity, I would recommend that you submit the application form much faster for two reasons. First, the process is really slow. Second, as a working student you don’t need a work permit, but you shouldn’t sign an employment contract before you obtain a residence permit for studies. Otherwise the clerks will tell you to apply for a temporary residence and work permit which is worse in your case.
You’ll find all the official information on this process on the website of the Office for Foreigners. The same subject was also described by the International Organization for Migration.
Speaking from experience…
- Before you go to the Voivodeship’s office to start the process, it’s good to find the website of your voivode. Like this one for Małopolskie Voivodeship (Kraków) or this one for Mazowieckie Voivodeship (Warszawa). You’ll learn from there what to do, where to go, and how much to pay to obtain a residence permit in your city.
- Remember to ask for a stamp in your passport.
- Offices are overcrowded. Before you go, check if an appointment is required, or if you need to wake up early to stand in a queue.
- Most of the time people working in the office are nice and cooperative. But many of them prefer to only speak Polish, so it’s much easier for both sides when you come with a Polish speaker. When it’s possible to communicate in an easy and effective way, clerks usually answer your questions in an exhaustive and friendly way.
- Make sure to deliver all the needed documents in time to make the process as fast as possible.
- The most important thing is to check your mailbox regularly. If a postman cannot hand-deliver a registered letter to you, he will leave a note in the mailbox. When you find this note, go to your post office to collect the letter. The letter will be there for up to 14 days. After this period, it will be sent back to the Voivodeship’s office, and the office has the right to state that the message was delivered anyway. It is considered your fault if you haven’t provided any extra documents listed on one of the letters sent by the office.
I hope that you’ll find it easy and enjoyable to enroll at a top university and study here in Poland. If you’re looking for more information check the other sections on my blog, although Study in Poland should be the most interesting for you. If you hope to earn some extra money while studying, you definitely should read this article.