Application Process

I found these initial admission requirements, including: completing an online application form, sending photocopies of a high school diploma and BA diploma, submitting a photocopy of my passport, a curriculum vitae, and a letter of recommendation from the Church authorities (only clergymen), and payment proof. This was pretty straightforward. I submitted the electronic application form; scanned my diploma, degree, and passport and submitted these as PDFs. Then, I transferred the money using the bank details provided on the tuition page of the website. (The tuition cost would be refundable if you do not pursue the program, with the exception of the non-refundable deposit.) The certificate confirming command of English is not required for native speakers.

Upon being accepted (which happened two weeks after submitting the application), I received a PDF copy of the acceptance letter. It took three more weeks for the same letter to arrive to me by mail.

I don’t know why they need original certificates. But I mailed these directly to the school and they say they keep them throughout the duration of my studies here.

Then, I needed to submit the original documents of my high school and university education as well as my baptismal certificate, which I sent by mail.

It would have cost me $175 CDN to get my degree papers translated by Polish sworn translators in Toronto. I waited until arriving here in Lublin to accomplish this and went to a translation company, Agit Tłumaczenia, next to the Ukranian Embassy. It can be hard to find an English-to-Polish translator when their signage is exclusively in Polish, which is why I am glad I brought along a friend to help identify the place. Here the cost for the Polish-sworn translation of my high school and undergraduate degrees was $27 CDN. When I asked the translation service why universities require the translation of such documents, a woman who works there told me she doesn’t know.

As for the medical certificate, this simply required getting a letter on a doctor office’s letterhead with a sentence written by my family doctor affirming that I am in good health. This is included in public healthcare in Canada, but the American and British students attest to having had to pay a fee for this.

A baptismal certificate is requested from those who are Christian. All students are required to swear an oath and confirm it in writing upon undertaking their studies. Non-Catholics and non-believers may leave out the words: “the Church” and “So help me God.” The oath reads as follows:

As a student of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, I do solemnly swear to be diligent in performing my duties in order to earnestly prepare to work for the good of the Church and the Fatherland. Guided by the principles of Christian morality, I will uphold the dignity of a student and the good name of the University, as well as abide by all the regulations of the University authorities. So help me God.

By colour photographs, what is required is, in fact, passport photos. These are certainly more expensive in North America than in Poland. In Canada, I got two passport photos for $28 CDN at Walmart. Here I went to a photoshop near the McDonald’s and got four passport photos for $10 CDN.

After this, the last steps were purchasing international health insurance and getting a student visa. I chose RBC Insurance and found the bank insurance companies to be generally the most helpful and responsive.

For the student visa, I completed an online application through the website of the Polish Consulate in my city. Then, I received an appointment time to drop off my documents. I received the student visa stamped in my passport within a week.

At first all of these steps seemed daunting. I was greatly strengthened when, sitting on a porch visiting with a dear friend who had studied abroad, she calmly encouraged, “Yes, it is a lot. It is also possible though. Step by step.”

I preferred the application process in Europe compared to that of American universities. In principle, I am opposed to programs requiring standardized test scores based on multiple choice exams in order to study philosophy, politics, and literature. To me, all of the above steps and costs were worth it in order to study John Paul II and avoid taking the GRE and having to wait several months to receive a decision.