Don’t know how to apply to a university abroad? We have got you covered, this article shares detailed instructions on the procedures involved.

Start researching 6-8 months ahead of when you would like to kick-start your study abroad journey.

Applying to university, outside your home country is not as complicated as you may think. You just have to pay attention to a few details and prepare all the required documents. Most universities have their complete application process on the website to make things quick and easy for international students. The application process will require you to create an account in the university website and complete a step by step process. If you know about the program you want to apply and have scanned copies of all required documents; it will take about 30-45 minutes to submit an application.

Documents

You can start gathering all of the documents when you start preparing for admission and language tests. Below documents may vary from universities to universities, but usually, include many of the following.

Past academic transcripts

The universities will need you to submit your original or attested transcripts. On the website, these will have to be scanned and uploaded. Few universities may ask you to send your transcripts for evaluation through international organizations such as World Education Services(WES), Education Credential Evaluators, Inc. (ECE), and International Education Research Foundation, Inc.(IERF).

Admission and Language Tests

You will be asked submit recent test scores of admission tests like GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT and language tests like IELTS, TOEFL, PTE. These scores will vary from university to university so run a check on the website to know the requirement. The scores you make on these tests play a vital role in determining the type of university you are admitted to. Having a high score will most definitely improve your chances of being accepted. These tests are the critical part of the overall application process.

There is a range of different tests you may be required to take. Each university will have specific requirements, so make sure to explore on which admission test you will need to take.

Essay

SOP or Statement Of Purpose essay offer students a chance to really stand out, so it’s a great opportunity to impress the admissions team. SOP requirements can vary. Sometimes, students are allowed to pick their own topic at random or students are given a choice of topics to use as a prompt for their essay.

The Essay should cover reasons for you choosing the program at a university, long term and short term goals, personal background and internship experiences if any.  Stick to the length limits and make it as strong as possible using brief stories and engaging language to stand out, as universities will be receiving a ton of these. Along with your SOP, you can submit a resume highlighting any work experiences you have had.

Recommendation Letter

You will have to approach professors or an employer for Letter of Recommendation (LoR). This letter should talk about your achievements and highlight your academic or employment and overall attitude to prove that you have college potential. In most cases, this is not mandatory for undergraduate students. Most recommendation letters should be sent by the person writing it, in a sealed envelope. Make sure that you give professors or bosses plenty of time to prepare and write your recommendation letter.

Proof of Finance

The university will require you to submit ‘Proof of Financial Ability’ that will cover your educational costs and living expenses (for your first period of study in most of the time) while in the country. A sponsor is generally required to provide this guarantee to the university on your behalf. Make sure you have the amount required by the university in your account.

We insist you contact the university and request for scholarship information. Find out all you can about what kind of financial aid is available for international students and apply for them by the mentioned deadline. This would reduce your financial burden.

Interview

An interview with one of the admissions officers is another application process. Most admissions officers never see or speak to an applicant before making a decision, so taking advantage of an opportunity to sit down with someone can significantly increase your chances of acceptance. These interviews usually were done over Skype. Here are a few things you should do: dress formal, look into the camera, speak slow and careful, keep everything you need (such as your resume, SOP, and all your documents) at hand, be prepared for any technical hiccup, minimize outside noise.

Along with these, you will also be required to submit a copy of your passport and birth certificate.

Generally, the university will reply to your application within three to eight weeks. So your last and final step, once you receive the acceptance letter is to respond back within the given time period and confirm your place in the university. Once accepted, the university will offer the required approval documents for applying for a student visa.

A piece of advice

It isn’t a good idea to apply to a whole bunch of universities. The application processing fee(non-refundable) for universities range from USD 50 to USD 150. You will end up spending more just on application fee if you are planning on applying to too many. Few universities require you to submit applications and documents by regular mail. So that is additional money you spend on delivery services. Our advice to you would be:

  • Submit an application to a university that has the kind of expected scores and grades that are in line with what you scored.
  • Apply to universities that have marginally higher grades and scores for entry requirements, than what you have got.
  • As a backup option applies to a university that is sure to take you in as their expected grades are below your scores.

Also, ask yourself if you would be happy at the university before you apply for it. Don’t do anyone a favor, make sure it is where you want to spend your next few years.