Step-By-Step Guide To Study Abroad Application Process

Study Abroad Application Process

You’re here, reading this blog, hence we are certain that you are willing to pursue your higher education from an international university.

Perhaps, you are willing to experience a different culture or may be it is the global exposure that has lured you towards studying abroad. Whatever be the reason, you need to go through a process to apply to and get admitted to your dream university abroad.

There is no one standardized application process for different countries and universities. Nevertheless, we will take you through a few general steps that are common in the application process of most of the international universities. Since, it is a lengthy process, students generally take help from study abroad consultants, who hand-hold them throughout the application process.

General steps of Study Abroad Application Process

• Determining the course, university and country of interest

This is the first and the most important step of your study abroad journey. It is inevitable to invest enough time and thought to what your interest area is. To choose the right program or area of study, you must consider various factors like your interest area, academic background, course length, job opportunities and cost.

Once you have selected the program, the next is to work on your list of universities that offer the program of your choice. While selecting the universities, one must also consider the reputation of those universities for the desired program, the fee structure and eligibility criteria for admissions.

It is also crucial to choose a study abroad destination or country based on the job opportunities it offers, the cost of living and other factors that may be important to you as an individual. You can consider browsing through the reviews of other students about your shortlisted course, university and country before making a final decision.

• Prepare for tests

This is the first hurdle before applying to any programme abroad. Determine how much time you require and book a slot already to kickstart your preparation. It could be any one of SAT, ACT, GMAT or GRE or even EA, which is the Executive Assistant test accepted by several schools if you have 8 or more years of full-time work experience. The EA is a shorter exam than the GMAT, but don’t be misled by sources suggesting that it is an easier test that you can take with little or no preparation. The more you study, the better you will do.

If you’re looking out for guidance on test preparation, seeking help from study abroad consultants in India can be a good option.

• How to decide which test to take

The GMAT was designed as a test for admission to the management programs. If you know that you want to go to a business school, you might lean towards the GMAT. While the format remains similar to the Common Aptitude Test (CAT) conducted in India entailing Quant (Maths), Logical Reasoning/Data Interpretation and English, there are differences in the pattern and type of questions as well as the test duration.

The GRE is more widely accepted among different graduate programs. If you’re not sure which kind of graduate program you want, you might take the GRE. The EA is only appropriate if you have 8 plus years of full-time work experience and intend to apply to only executive MBA programs. It’s important to note that you can only take the EA twice, so make sure you prepare beforehand.

TOEFL or IELTS is also required by most colleges if the medium of instruction at your college/university wasn’t English. In India, most students take either of these tests anyway even though they have studied in an English medium university. While it is encouraged it is not necessary.

• Get your documents in order

Get all your transcripts and marksheets scanned and ready to upload in the specified resolution – it is usually common for most colleges. But be sure to read the instructions carefully on the website of each college you are applying to. Starting early helps and will keep you comforted in knowing that you have enough time to get everything covered. Most colleges except certain UK colleges such as Cambridge allow you to start your online application and save it to keep coming back to it. Utilise that feature.

Ensure that you notify the professors or official reporting supervisors with ample time for them as well as you on hand for recommendation letters. Once you have ascertained who all are going to help, register them on the website of the college in your respective application.

If you are applying for loan waivers/fellowships/scholarships/financial aid, it is most likely that you will be required to have submitted tax returns for the previous two to three years. It may or may not be explicitly asked, but the credit check is probably run before imparting any financial aid. It is also important to note that students who are debt free, and do not have any prior education/car/personal or consumer loans (like balance on credit cards) running definitely have a much higher chance of securing aid. While it may seem unjust, in hindsight, it is imperative so that you can focus solely on academics.

Getting documents in place can be overwhelming at times. Generally, study abroad aspirants sign up with the best study abroad consultants in India who help them throughout the process.

• On time

Ensure everything is duly submitted before the deadline. Check the eligibility criteria beforehand and select the colleges carefully.


If you are applying to a research course, like a PhD or an M.Phil, it is advisable to reach out to the professors who take that course at the college well in advance. They always have important insights to share w.r.t. the application.

Criterion for selection and choosing students

The most important thing while writing your essays is to be authentic and truthful. The professors are seasoned professionals who are extremely capable of ruling out anything dishonest in the application simply by reading it and out of sheer experience. DO NOT attempt to outplay them by acting smart or trying to fib around in the application.
Make sure that the English is impeccable. Be sure to discern British and American English depending upon the country of the university you are applying to. Spelling or grammatical errors represent carelessness. We do not, under any circumstances, want to give the reader the idea that we are not serious about our future. Seek opinion and feedback from your peers/seniors at work or placement consultants. They have known you and your work ethic and would be able to guide in your best interests.

Other than this, the more tangible aspects of selection remain somewhat common across colleges (even so, be sure to check respective details specific to each college on their website):

• Academic excellence
• Reasons for choice of course and how the said school/university would help achieve the goals you have set for yourself
• A commitment to improving the lives of others
• A capacity for leadership

Ensure you include examples that make a strong case for your candidature while keeping it brief. Having only words at your disposal to convince someone to give you a shot warrants demonstrating clearly that you have the academic background and the necessary skills and expertise to not only complete the course, but also thrive while you are at it.

Once through, make certain that you gratefully enjoy your time at the university. Rigorous as it may be, it will also make for the most memorable time in your life.

Bushels of good luck!

LilacBuds, your study abroad companion

Lilac flowers are a traditional gift on a student’s graduation day. The brand itself signifies the celebration of higher education and stands out as a study abroad consultancy in India.

We help students evaluate where their profile stands at the start of their study abroad journey and highlight the areas of improvement to enhance the chances of selection across top universities.


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