Step-by-Step Process to Go Abroad

Step-by-Step Process to Go Abroad for Higher Studies

Going abroad for higher studies has held an allure for Indian students since the late 1900s. Back then, only the privileged were able to secure admissions and get scholarships to pursue higher studies in foreign countries. As the world becomes more interconnected, more avenues for higher studies abroad have opened up for Indian students. Studying abroad is a dream for many Indian students, as it offers exposure to new cultures, advanced education systems, and better career opportunities. 

The experience of higher studies abroad helps Indian students gain a global worldview and develop crucial skills for self-development, such as living by themselves, fending for themselves, and adapting to a foreign culture and way of life at the same time. It helps students to step out of their comfort zones and expand their personal and academic horizons. The process of moving abroad for higher studies can be very daunting and confusing, with a plethora of options available. Numerous prestigious universities offer competent courses across various countries like the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and other European countries like Germany, France, and Italy. In this blog, we provide a detailed guide on the step-by-step process Indian students can follow to pursue higher studies abroad.

Research and Shortlist

A lot of research and study needs to go into choosing the right university and country to go abroad. With a plethora of options available, you need to focus on your preferred area of study and look for universities that offer courses for that particular subject. Factors like language, cultural differences, education system, cost of living, and career opportunities are also critical while shortlisting your destination. 

Shortlist 3-5 universities based on these factors. Ensure to deep-dive into the course content of each university, so that it matches your area of interest. Another key factor to research is the post-graduation paths available and also if the country provides a work permit upon graduating. The economic situation of the country you are choosing is also important to keep in mind. Research the trajectory of the economy and whether it has enough career opportunities available when you graduate. Speaking to friends and family who have children abroad can provide a first-hand account of their experience and help you make your final decision.

Standardised Tests

Most English-speaking countries require test scores from standardised English tests, such as the GRE, GMAT, IELTS, or TOEFL. You need to select the exam required by your shortlisted university and prepare well for it. There are coaching classes available for these tests in all major cities in India; you can also enrol for one if you feel the need. Take practice tests and interviews and seek guidance from students who have cleared it or find a suitable tutor to help you. On average, preparation for these tests requires 6-12 months. Most of the top universities ask for an IELTS score of 6.5 or a TOEFL score of 90. 

 Eligibility and Preparation

Once your university is shortlisted, you need to ensure that you meet the academic requirements of your chosen school. This includes meeting the required threshold of GPA, coursework, and relevant work experience (if required). Certain eligibility requirements also include test scores on standardised international English tests like the GRE, GMAT, IELTS, and TOEFL. Non-English-speaking countries may have certain language proficiency requirements; for example, Germany requires proof of proficiency in German (Goethe-Zertifikat). Ensure you have all required test scores in hand and other eligibility proofs ready. 

Application Process

Ensure that the application process goes smoothly by keeping all your documents, such as your marksheets, transcripts, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and resume (if required), ready. Also, ensure that all documents are certified by the issuing authority. All universities abroad have an online admissions portal on their website, through which you can apply for your desired course. Countries like the US (Common Application) and the UK (UCAS) use centralised admission systems. Application deadlines vary, but typically are between November to January for fall admissions. Application fees can range between $50 to $100 per application. On the online portal, you need to upload clear copies of all transcripts required by the particular university. You also need to ensure that your Statement of Purpose is compelling, as it is one of the most important documents for your application to be shortlisted by the university. A good SOP must highlight your academic achievements, career goals, and reasons for choosing the university. 

Financial Planning and Scholarships

Calculate your approximate total expenses, including tuition fees, living expenses, boarding, and other costs, to ensure you have sufficient funds. Average annual tuition fees in the US range from $25,000 to $50,000, in the UK between £10,000 and £38,000, and in Canada between CAD 20,000 and CAD 30,000. Various banks and financial institutions in India offer education loans that typically cover tuition fees, living expenses, and other related costs and can be repaid after completing the degree program. 

Multiple scholarships and financial aid tools are also available for international students at almost all foreign universities. These are awarded based on merit, financial need, or other specific criteria. Government-sponsored schemes, such as the Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowships or the National Overseas Scholarship Scheme, also offer financial help for studying abroad. Over 70% of Indian students abroad receive some sort of financial aid. Therefore, ensure you research well and acquire a scholarship along with the application process in order to fund your higher studies abroad. 

Visa Application

Verify the visa requirements for your chosen country and ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. Collect all required documents, including a valid passport, proof of admission, and proof of financial resources. Submit your visa application and supporting documents to the relevant embassy or consulate. Popular visa types include the USA’s F-1 Visa, Canada’s study Permit, the UK’s Tier 4 (General) Student Visa, and Australia’s student Visa (Subclass 500). Visa processing time may range from a few weeks to a few months. A university’s acceptance letter helps in getting visa approval. 

// Script to load the widget.