How to study abroad

How to study abroad | A complete checklist for international students

Last Updated on August 24, 2021 by iSchoolConnect

Figuring out how to study abroad can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. Right from shortlisting courses and universities up until booking flight tickets and finding accommodation, there are a thousand things you need to keep in mind. Here they are.

Applying to study abroad is an overwhelming process with too many things to do at once. In all this, you might miss some deadlines or tasks if you do not have everything handy. To avoid this, you certainly need a checklist. So, we are here with a study abroad checklist listing everything you need while preparing to study abroad.

Study abroad checklist
A detailed list of the preparation items you need to take care of before studying abroad

1. University Research

You must shortlist the universities that align with your goals. Begin your research by finalizing the program you want to pursue.

Once this is done, you can search for universities offering that program. Go through their eligibility criteria and see if your profile aligns with the requirements. This will ensure that you are shortlisting the right universities for you.

2. Test scorecards

IELTS test result
IELTS and TOEFL are language proficiency tests mandated by most universities for international students.

Test scorecards top the list when talking about how to study abroad. IELTS and TOEFL are supposed to be taken as a language proficiency test by an international student.

Similarly, some of the universities might ask for additional test scores like GRE\GMAT for the program of your choice.

Not every university mandates these tests. But if asked, make sure you have the test scores ready before the application process starts. Some universities have different deadlines for the submission of test scores but it is better to send the scores with the application.

3. Transcripts

Transcripts are a record of scores throughout your academic course. Universities require academic scripts of certain grades depending on the degree level you are applying for. Get all the scores converted into a transcript.

The last university or school you have been to will help in getting the transcripts ready. Some universities charge a certain amount for these transcripts. Keep at least 4 to 5 transcripts ready according to the number of universities you are applying for.

Universities ask for your curriculum vitae (CV), so make sure you have your CV updated. They are keen on noticing how your experience aligns with the program you are willing to pursue. It would be great if your CV contains a mix of working on academic papers, internships, and more.

4. LOR, SOP, and Resume

Your Letters of Recommendation (LORs) and Statement of Purpose (SOP) are as important as any academic score and test scores.

A letter of recommendation is an account of one’s character from a third person’s point of view.

SOPs focus strongly on the field of your choice and also show a sense of purpose in applying for the particular field. Make sure the SOP is original and not too lengthy. Stick to the word limit given. A well-written SOP and a favorable letter of recommendation will definitely help you in securing the place.

Customize your statement of purpose as per the university/program you are applying to. This is one of the major aspects when you ask about how to study abroad. You must include:

  1. Purpose of opting for a particular course and what it means for you to enroll in that course.
  2. Include your short-term and long-term goals and how those align with the course you are applying to.
  3.  State briefly about your life experiences and how they have shaped you as an individual.
  4. Write about how and why you are the best fit for the university.
  5. Highlight your strengths and show how you have utilized them in your professional and personal life.

Coming to your resume, restrict it to one page while showcasing all your accomplishments. Keep it structured by including your personal details, education, work experience, co-curricular activities, etc. The more concise your content is, the better.  It would be great if you add points in your resume that make you stand out from the crowd.

No time to read? Check out this video with the ultimate study abroad checklist!

5. Financial support proof

Financial support proofs are important for Visa application process.
Examine your financial support proofs thoroughly before you apply for your visa.      

Financial support proof shows the current financial circumstances and is available at the bank as a bank statement. It is an essential document for the student visa application. Financial proofs show if the student will be able to support himself during his stay while paying the tuition fees.

If your parents are the ones supporting your education, present the statement accordingly. Be well versed with your financials when you think about how to study abroad, as you have to provide the proof for the same. Make sure you have one of the below-mentioned things handy as financial proof-

  • Bank statement
  • FD
  • Scholarship proof
  • Loan approval letter

6. Offer Letter

Your offer letter is your proof of acceptance by a particular university. It is an essential document in the study abroad checklist for the student visa application process. You should also keep a copy of the letter as issued by your university. Carry the original as well the photocopies when joining the university.

7. Passport

Passport is an important document in the study abroad checklist
Your passport is your identity and proof of nationality when living in a foreign country. 

Your passport is your ultimate proof of identity. Right from the standardized test registration to the visa application, the passport will be required everywhere. Use only the original passport while traveling or for your student visa application.

However, since using your original passport as an ID proof everywhere is risky, keep the spare photocopy around. In the event of misplacing your passport, contact the embassy in that particular country. One can also contact the university for assistance.

8. Student Visa

Visa application
Fill your Visa application form carefully to make the process smooth.

Your student visa is the final step and the most important document in your study abroad checklist. With the right documents, obtaining a visa is not as difficult as it seems.

Procure a student visa as per your chosen country, as this document is a gateway to your dream university. Be sure of applying for the right type of student visa based on the duration of your course. Keep all the documents ready while applying for the visa or visiting the consulate/embassy. Prepare thoroughly for the visa interview by going through some common questions beforehand.

9. Accommodation

As an international student, you can choose either on-campus or off-campus accommodation. You also have the option of living with a host family. Start looking for accommodation options a bit early and sort your accommodation at least 5 months before moving abroad.

10. Flight tickets

Last but not least, it is time to book your flight. It is always a good idea to keep tracking the prices and book your flight tickets 3 months in advance. The more you delay, the more expensive the tickets will be.

This summarises all things about how to study abroad. Let’s understand what you need to do now.

A way forward…

This study abroad checklist will help you keep track of things so that you don’t miss out on anything. It is advisable to recheck all the steps in the order listed above. This will ensure that you are not missing any important steps while applying. 

Do extensive research before applying to universities and streamline your application process. If you need help with shortlisting universities, applying, or all things about how to study abroad, reach out to us. We’d help you sail through!

Akanksha Vora

Bright, bold, and bubbly, Akanksha Vora is a writer at iSchoolConnect. She writes creative and curious blogs that help students with their life and studies abroad.

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