How To Plan Your Study Abroad - Step by Step Guide

We live in an era where getting an advanced learning experience is easier than it used to be. Millions of students around the globe are aspiring to study abroad, and it has become a common phenomenon. Studying abroad is approached as a steppingstone in any student’s life as it provides value education from reputed universities and explores new cultures, broadens perspective, helps you expand your network and learn valuable skills along the way. But even in this age of information, one might feel intimidated by the process of planning to study abroad. The process is long and may get exhausting. Hence it is advisable to start as soon as you decide to study overseas and become ready to step into planning. 

To help you overcome your doubts and ease the burden of questions you might have about the process, we have made a step-by-step guide with the process and overview of the activities.

Do your research:

As basic as it may sound, but research is a crucial part of the plan. Researching about prospective programs, courses, universities, teaching modules, campus life, employment, demographic, and cultures is a good idea before planning further. 

Decide what you want to study:

Deciding what you want to study can save you time narrowing down on career paths and respective programmes. You can always choose in-demand or popular disciplines like Engineering, Law, Medicine and Business and Management, or you may go to the creative fields such as Arts and Literature.

Prioritise on the location:

Once you decide what you want to study, you may ask yourself which country will provide you with a suitable environment for your selected field of study, as certain countries are known for their universities and specific courses they offer. Also, consider the cost of living and employment opportunities after you graduate.

Consult with a study abroad advisor:

If you face any difficulty while planning your study abroad journey, you may consult with a study abroad advisor. They might help you narrow down program choices by analysing your best academic, financial, and cultural fit based on your individual preferences. They may also give you a timeline brochure or a checklist to help guide you on this path.

Narrow down study programs and compare them:

Once you decide on the country and subject you want to study, the question remains of which program to choose. Each university offers one (or multiple) study programmes in the same discipline. Gather all your preferred study programs and compare them against a particular criterion such as duration, flexibility, the focus of the study and the overall experience of the course. 

Pass the requisite admission tests:

If you are planning for a master’s degree, you may have to pass the respective admission tests such as GMAT, GRE along with an English language proficiency test to prove your grasp of the language. Most universities accept one of the following English language certificates: IELTS Academic, TOEFL iBT, PTE Academic, C1 Advanced. PTE Academic is one of the most popular English Language proficiency tests, recognised by thousands of universities worldwide. For registration and more information on PTE, visit

Finalise on universities and start documentation:

Once you finalise the few universities, prepare a list of shortlisted universities and their requirements. Start downloading their applications and financial aid forms and keep other required documents ready for the further process. 

Start writing SOP and requesting recommendation letters:

Statement Of Purpose (SOP) is an essay written to describe the purpose of applying to a particular course in a specific university, and a Letter of Recommendation (LOR) is a letter written by your employer or teachers, stating your capabilities and talents.

Look for financial aid and scholarships:

Exploring financial aid options and scholarships could be one of the very crucial steps in your planning process. Financial aid can include loan to support the studies and living expenses. Apply to as many scholarships as you can when searching for ways to finance. You may seek out different financial aids, such as scholarships, grants, student loans etc.

Prepare application and start applying:

You have come a long way, and now it is time for you to get organised and do the most crucial task, and that is- applying. Even if you think you have good grades and an impressive letter or essay, you shouldn’t apply to only one university. It’s true, you might get accepted, but what will you do if you aren’t? That is why you should apply to at least 3 or 4 universities you have shortlisted. The application may vary depending on the countries or universities. So, make sure you read the admission requirements carefully and follow the procedure. Try to keep track of all the deadlines throughout the process.

Offer acceptance:

One of the most rewarding steps in the process is when your application gets accepted. You are on your way to becoming an international student! But what if you get accepted to more than one university? You can go over your choices and consult with your counsellor or consider weighing the pros and cons and make an informed decision. You can take up to 2 to 3 days before giving your confirmation. After you send your confirmation, make sure they have received it, they might ask for additional documents after that for further process. 

Apply and prepare for visa process:

If the country you get accepted in has a visa requirement, you would want to get on the process as soon as possible. Applying for a visa can be a lengthy process, and each country has a different requirement. There are many documents necessary, and the issuance of the visa can take from a few weeks to a few months, keep that in mind and plan accordingly in advance. 

Ensure financial readiness:

We are almost at the end of the step-by-step guide on how to plan your study abroad. After you are through with the admission and visa process, you need to make sure of your financial preparedness, as going abroad does not come cheap. From course fees to flight expenses to accommodation, several last-minute things might come up, and you need to be ready for any situation.

Post admission process:

Hurray! You are finally ready to start a new journey. Last but not least, you need to prepare for several other things, such as flight, packing, learning about the culture of the country, learning about the laws, rules and regulations, banking system, SIM cards, insurance etc.

And that is it! Your step-by-step guide on how to plan your study abroad completes here. You are now about to embark on one of the most interesting, educational, fun, empowering and sometimes challenging journeys in your life.

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