If you are reading this, you are either intending or have already made plans to study abroad in the near or distant future.
Or, you are just curious about checklists.
Whoever you are, you should know this – checklists work a magic of their own.
If you are planning to study abroad, you would want all your bases covered. There are things you would rather get done with as soon as possible – shortlisting courses, getting the application forms, recommendation letters, fee payments, etc. Having a checklist for getting these things done might be a neat way to close matters and be well-prepared for your studies abroad.
We have done the work for you. Let this checklist act as your guide – from start to finish. Get things done and tick the items off the list.
The best way to get something done is to-
1. Shortlisting Institutions
Institutions need to be shortlisted based on certain basic criteria like:
Type of institution
(private, public, liberal arts, etc.)
Programs of interest
– how are they related to what I am currently doing or what I want to do?
– how relevant is this course for the future?
(urban, semi-urban, rural, etc.)
2. Test Requirements
a. Language Tests
TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language)
IELTS (International English Language Testing System)Check the official institution’s website in the ‘Application Requirements’ section to know which test is accepted. IELTS is widely accepted in Australian and UK based institutions but there could be exceptions. TOEFL is widely accepted in the US. However, certain institutions might be strict about a particular test while some others might accept either.
b. Academic Tests
SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test)
– for US undergraduate
ACT (American College Testing)
– for US undergraduate
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations)
– masters level programs, engineering, etc.
GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)
– post graduate, management courses, etc.
c. Booking test dates and centres
Make sure the dates are planned in advance as registrations fill in quickly and have to be booked few months in advance depending on the type of test and availability.
3. Score Reports
Obtain the institution code for sending the official test reports directly from the test centre to the institution.
Structuring and formatting
– how are my strengths highlighted?
– what kind of a personality and story emerges with my varied experiences?
5. Recommendation Letters
Get in touch with your intended Recommenders in advance
– discuss with them about your experiences, what you have been currently engaged with, your plans, etc.
– Get their personal information like (official email ID, current engagements, etc.)
– Providing them with an updated resume (if required)
– ensure the stipulated steps for a particular institution are followed
6. Scholarship Application
Apply for eligible scholarships
Specific institutions have selected scholarships reserved for international students which you would need to apply for. If you are awarded a scholarship, certain other documents might be requested. Such documentation varies from institution to institution.
7. Financial Aid
Need-based financial aid is given to applicants who are unable to fund the entire tuition fees. You would have to apply for need-based financial aid. There are certain limitations for international students who apply for aid
Few institutions offer admissions to students regardless of their ability to pay. You must find what if international students are eligible and if there are any terms and conditions attached.
8. Visa Application
Check passport validity
Verify the visa requirements of your host country and do the necessary paperwork
Schedule Visa interview date
Carry all the important documents (application copy, passport, financial records, etc.) for your visa interview
9. Application Form
They have to be official (attested). No foreign institution requests an original marksheet/transcript to be sent.
Official Recommendation Letters
Application Cover Letter
This refers to a letter stating your personal details, your purpose and goals as an introduction to your application.
Application Fee Payment
– ensure you have a proof of payment if you made the payment online
Book flight tickets
Ticket fares can vary greatly depending on when you want to fly, when you book the tickets and where you book them from
Check with the airlines if they have extra baggage allowances for students or discounted pricing for extra baggage
Check if there are accommodation options that the institution provides.
Find housing/apartments nearby that you can rent alone or share with fellow students
12. On Arrival
International phone connection
Public transport guide
Figure out the best mode of transport that will suit your needs locally