Is studying abroad on your mind? Believe it or not, it’s not as easy as it seems. Pursuing your bachelor’s or Master’s in a foreign university doesn’t happen overnight. It takes months, sometimes years, of planning and preparation. Since studying abroad involves multiple obligations, you need to know everything related to it before flying off to your dream destination. Here’s an easy-to-follow guide on how to study abroad to make the process more effective.
- Determine what & where you want to study:
The first step to studying abroad is to know what you want to study and where. For that, conduct in-depth research on the courses, subjects, scholarship opportunities, colleges or universities and locations you are interested in. Check the course offerings, campus life, training opportunities, and research and job prospects. For a broader view, connect with the school’s alumni on social media sites and clear your doubts. You also consult a study abroad consultant for guidance. AbroAdvice is a well-known consultant that offers comprehensive support, from providing IELTS Coaching online to assisting candidates with visa, travel, and accommodation.
You can also sign up with AbroAdvice.com to hire a study abroad consultant to help you choose a subject. You must be sure of the subject you want to study before you apply for a degree course. Some of the popular subjects to study overseas are namely, engineering, law, mathematics, business and management, and computer science and IT. So focus on your interest and research the career paths of the shortlisted subjects. List a few subjects according to your preference and scratch out the least interesting ones.
- Start applying to multiple schools:
Applying through your university is the easiest way of booking a program as your study abroad credits often fit the academic requirements, and primary fees are directly linked to the tuition fees. Moreover, with transferrable courses, you can manage other factors like getting visas and housing. For detailed information on the study abroad opportunities through your university, consult your on-campus counsellor at the earliest.
You can also apply to study abroad programs through a third-party provider. Often, universities don’t offer study abroad programs you are looking for. You can use these “third-party providers” to study a course you are interested in. However, note that these services come with an additional fee.
Another way to study abroad is to enrol in a foreign university directly. If you don’t wish to apply through your university or a third-party provider, you directly apply for a course at a foreign university. Numerous universities welcome direct enrolments from international students. Just make sure your preferred international university’s credits are transferrable in case you have to complete your course at your home university.
- Prepare and take the English proficiency test:
The number of Indian students applying abroad is at an all-time high. More and more students now aspire to study abroad to explore world-class academic facilities, research opportunities, and high-paying jobs. No wonder the competition is also steep to secure a spot in a foreign university. Therefore, the best way to increase your chances is to secure the best scores in standardised tests such as the GRE, GMAT, IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, and so on.
Language proficiency is a critical factor when applying to English-taught programs abroad. All foreign colleges and universities require the test scores of IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, or Advanced C1 to determine students’ proficiency in the English language. For instance, IELTS tests a candidate’s speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills through a specific exam structure. The test assesses grammar, comprehension, vocabulary, pronunciation, and other skills.
The best piece of advice to secure a good IELTS band score is to understand the significance of the test and practice. The more you practice, solve sample questionnaires, and appear for mock tests in an exam-like set-up, the better the chances of getting a high band score with improved skills.
- Check eligibility & apply for scholarships:
Pursuing a degree course abroad is many things: fun, empowering, challenging, life-changing, but it’s certainly not cheap. Yes, you will find some destinations or universities more affordable than others, but it’s always better to know early on how much the entire course will cost you. For instance, if you wish to study in Europe, the cost usually ranges between 0 and 20,000 EUR/year. And let’s not forget the living costs, which can range between 300 and 1,000 EUR/year. However, the cost will likely vary based on the course subject, study level, and location.
Earning scholarships is a great way to reduce your financial burden and complete your degree without a heavy student loan. So, once you receive a confirmation letter from any of the applied schools, start applying for scholarships when filling out your admission form. While there are a few scholarships that require repayment, you will find countless grants and scholarships that don’t.
However, before you apply, carefully go through the prerequisites and make sure you meet the eligibility criteria, such as educational qualifications, research needs, and financial requirements, among other factors. Do not apply to gamble your luck if you do not match the eligibility requirements.
Here’s a list of scholarships you can apply for after 12th:
- TATA Scholarships
- Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship
- The Oxford and Cambridge Society of India Scholarship
- MEXT Scholarship for Japan
- Gates Millennium Scholarship
- Harvard Scholarship
- Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowships for Indian Students
- The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Programme
- The Indian Trust Fellowship
- President Scholarship in Canada
- Victoria Master’s Scholarship
- SEG Scholarship
- Accept the offer & apply for a visa:
After your application review, you will receive an acceptance form and offer letter if you are shortlisted. Read the letter and make sure you understand everything mentioned. In case you have received confirmation from multiple universities, take your time and evaluate all aspects before deciding. Discuss with your family and consult a consultant at AbroAdvice for thorough guidance. Upon deciding, send a confirmation mail to the university with the requested documentation or official copies.
Once you have sent the offer letter, apply for a student visa. Visit your nearest country-specific consulate or contact a certified visa consultant for valid details on the required documents. Generally, you need the following to get a student visa:
- Proof of admission
- A valid passport
- Evidence of language proficiency (if needed)
- Evidence of financial means
- Passport size photographs
- Academic transcripts/mark sheets
- Vaccination results (if required)
- Hunt for accommodation & book your tickets:
If you have not opted for on-campus residence, browse for rental options, homestays, student hostels, or a trustworthy local host. Charges of accommodation vary by country and location. For instance, the accommodation cost in London is higher than outside London. Also, note that you’ll have to pay tenant’s insurance and utility costs if you stay in an apartment. So plan your budget accordingly.
After finalising your accommodation, book your flight ticket. Do it way in advance to get the cheapest deals for your seat and additional baggage costs, web check-ins, and things like that.
Finally, start packing your necessities much before time to avoid the last-minute rush. Here are some necessities you should not miss out on:
- Laptop, power adapters, USB, and headphones
- ID, passport, and other important documents
- Prescribed medication or drugs (if required)
- Toiletries, cosmetics, and makeup products
- Clothing based on weather conditions
There you go! You’re all set to travel for overseas education if you follow these suggestions. Nevertheless, do not hesitate to consult a professional study abroad expert for professional assistance to make the process seamless and stress-free.