How to choose a university program | Must-have Documents For Study Abroad

Documents For Study Abroad: Are you preparing for your study abroad? and you are still wondering which document you need to get first? or How to choose a university program?

Many websites just provide information on the considerations you should make when selecting a university program. While some of these factors (such as location, weather, etc.) are important, others ought to be more important (like cost and faculty). But no one informs you of it.

I’ve provided a thorough, step-by-step guide on how to pick a university course. Moreso, we have put together 10 important study abroad documents you should get ready.


That being said; during your study abroad application, the most significant phase in your journey is the gathering of all the required documents so you don’t look stupid when finally arriving at your study destination.

Most high school seniors and secondary school graduates who want to experience education in a foreign country (study abroad) don’t know where to start. That is no different from many bachelor’s degree holders who want to pursue a master’s degree overseas but are unsure how to do so. The same is true for master’s degree holders who intend to pursue a Ph.D. overseas.

It is critical that you plan ahead of time. To get admission to your selected college or course, you must begin working months in advance.

Why Study Abroad?

Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience. If you wish to study abroad, you must be willing to go on an adventure.

One of the most fulfilling and stimulating experiences in a person’s life can be receiving an international education, whether it be through a semester abroad or a complete degree program in another nation.

There is so much to be gained from exploring a different culture, taking on fresh challenges, and widening your horizons.

Through the blending of many cultures, international studies foster deeper intercultural understanding.


According to, In the United States alone, The number of international students attending doctoral universities in the academic year 2020–21 was 687,031, greatly above the number attending any other category of higher education institution. In the same year, master’s colleges and universities welcomed 104,453 international students.

Why Study Abroad?
Why Study Abroad

Benefits of Studying Abroad

There are so many benefits to studying abroad. Students get the opportunity to personally encounter various cultures, religions, and ways of thinking, which improves their outlook on life and increases their acceptance and tolerance of minorities.

By exposing students to a diversity of fresh viewpoints, the newest technology, or cutting-edge research and training, can advance their professional careers.

Studying abroad has numerous advantages, but maybe the most significant one is that it helps us better understand the world we live in.

How to choose a university program | Step-by-step guide

It might be challenging to select a university program that meets all of your requirements when there are hundreds of possibilities accessible.

You must conduct an enormous amount of research, and you begin to lose track of what is crucial and what is not. Follow this easy, step-by-step guide if you want to keep on track.

What are you still holding out for? Explore the most effective method for picking a university now!

#1. Program availability:

I’m going to presume that if you’re reading this blog you already know the course you want to take and where you want to take it.

Your chosen course of study may be as readily accessible as a master’s degree in computer science or as difficult to locate as a master’s degree in creative writing or fiction.

You can see a list of institutions that offer the course you’re looking for based on the nation. These lists can be found on numerous websites, including world study portal and those of the best institutions.

I recommend you generate a list of every university you locate on your computer and enter it into an excel sheet.

For instance, if I’m interested in studying in the United States, this is a sample of the universities on my list for an MFA in Creative Writing, Fiction:

  • University of Iowa
  • University of Washington
  • Indiana University, Bloomington
  • University of Texas, Austin
  • Syracuse University
  • San Jose University
  • Ohio State University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • North Carolina State University
  • University of Florida
  • Virginia Tech
  • University of Arizona

Usually, you will be starting with over 20-30 universities on this list. To keep things clear here, I have only stated 12 universities.

#2. what are the prerequisites for the school you are applying to?

If you can’t meet these conditions, cross that school off your list. The following step is to confirm that you meet the conditions set forth by the university.

Read the overview and the “How to Apply” section on the program page on the university website. You may find a list of the requirements the university is looking for here. such as your GRE and TOEFL results, college credentials, etc.

The majority of the time, their entrance requirements will also list the minimum GPA, the subjects you must have studied before enrolling in the course, and the minimum score you must achieve on the required exams.

If you can’t meet these criteria, cross that university from your list.

My GRE score is 315, my TOEFL score is 116, and my converted GPA is 3.50 on a scale of 4. I also have a scientific degree. Therefore, transferring areas in order to pursue an MFA is not something that all of these universities will accept.

I will have to take Ohio State University, San Jose University, and Oklahoma State University off my list in light of these requirements.

#3. Consider the Course Fees

Take into account the cost of tuition as well as living expenses like food and travel.
The cost of attending a university may not be one of some people’s top considerations, but it is unquestionably an important one.

This information is readily available on the course website itself. Contact the program director to ask about it if you can’t find it.

In addition, I advise you to check into the cost of living. Depending on the location and whether you wish to live on- or off-campus, it varies from college to college.

These prices are listed on the university’s official website.

In my situation, I want programs that are completely funded. There are several universities that give a tuition waiver, cover your health insurance, and even offer a stipend because an MFA in creative writing is a more specialized subject. This is sufficient to pay for lodging, food, travel, and other incidentals.

Which reduces my list to:

  • University of Washington
  • University of Texas, Austin
  • Syracuse University
  • North Carolina State University
  • University of Florida
  • Virginia Tech
  • University of Arizona

#4. Course curriculum

Find a comprehensive list of the topics the institution offers for your course.
Knowing your course of study in detail is essential before selecting a university. You must check the program page’s Course Requirements section to get this information.

You will just receive an overview of the material you will be studying from this information.

But here’s a tip you can take if you want to grasp something completely: go to the section for Current Students’ Courses. You’ll discover a comprehensive list of the topics the university is offering for your course. You will be able to see which classes you can enroll in each semester, how many you can take, and how much credit you can get for each one.

This will enable you to eliminate colleges whose curricula don’t appeal to you.

I was able to exclude North Carolina State University (too technical) and the University of Arizona using this filter (the subjects are not very interesting to me).

#5. Course flexibility

It’s one thing to know what you’ll be learning; it’s another to be able to study it. If you’re paying for your education, you should be allowed to pick and choose the subjects that interest you.

I want you to look at the number of required subjects and the number of electives you will be able to choose from each semester. This will reveal the degree of flexibility in your course. And that’s crucial if you want to enroll in a university overseas.

Because you should be free to choose the subjects that interest you if you’re paying for your education, even a little amount. You have a better chance of liking a course the more flexibility a university gives you.

In light of this, the universities on my list are:

  • University of Washington
  • University of Texas, Austin
  • Syracuse University
  • University of Florida

#6. Faculty

Check to see if your hobbies and those of your teachers are similar.
The opportunity to work with and learn from professionals is one of the main reasons we study abroad. We must learn more about our teachers and how much time they can devote to us in order to be able to do that.

Check out who is teaching what subjects. See if your hobbies and those of your teachers are compatible.

Take a look at the type of fieldwork they are conducting right now. Look at the faculty-to-student ratio. And by all means, give that university some thought if you like what you see.

For my part, I adored the professors at each of these four universities. I will thus not reject any of them.

#7. Opportunities

Visit the university website’s Opportunities or Career Prospects sections.
Finding an internship or a job after graduation is the most crucial consideration for some students when selecting a university.

While some institutions need internships as a part of the curriculum, others may let you do one during the summer.

You can look at the Opportunities or Career Prospects sections for each of the universities you’ve narrowed down when it comes to employment. You can find out more by visiting the Alumni section and reading about the current endeavors of former graduate students.

This will enable you to make a more educated choice and give you a general picture of where you might be a few years after graduation.

In selecting a college, I would consider the following three institutions:

  • University of Washington
  • University of Texas, Austin
  • Syracuse University

Notice that I’ve been able to shortlist 3 universities out of 12. If you want to apply to start at 6-10 universities, you’ll have to start with a much bigger pool.

How to choose a university program
How to choose a university program

Factors you should give less priority to

While researching, it’s easy to get lost in the rabbit hole and feel exhausted. You will find it easier to choose a university based on factors that are easy to understand. Like-

  • The weather 
  • Location
  • Student and sports societies
  • Campus
  • Rankings
  • How amazing the university website looks (I’m not kidding)

Try to stay unbiased and steer clear of these details. Give higher priority to things like the curriculum and the fees. It’s the more difficult thing to do – I understand. But it’s also the right thing to do.

Documents Required for Study Abroad Applications

When applying for a study abroad program, there are so many documents and forms to fill out that you may end up overlooking some of the important ones.

You will need a comprehensive list of documents required for an international study. The following are the many documents that you should have available when applying for a study abroad program.

#1. Application Form

Because the application form is the first thing an admissions committee sees from you, it’s critical that it looks well! It will offer them a rough impression of your abilities and personality. Applicants should be informed that they must fill out all of the fields in the online application form correctly, providing accurate information and presenting evidence through proofs such as essays if any unusual circumstances apply to them. Make sure to double-check everything before submitting it to avoid any last-minute mistakes!

#2. Get Your passport

This is required for international travel, and you must keep it up to date. A passport that is valid for at least six months after your intended return date is required. This is a crucial Study Abroad Document.

#3. SOP (Statement of Purpose)

The SOP is critical to the application’s success. It will discuss your academic and professional knowledge, why you want to improve on a specific subject, and why you want to apply to a specific university. This is a difficult task for the pupils, and they must approach it with caution. This essay is required since the admissions committee will scrutinize it.

#4. Academic records or Transcripts

As part of your application, you must submit official copies of your academic transcripts. These are your academic records, which are comparable to consolidated mark sheets. These will include degrees and previous courses you have taken.

#5. LOR (Letter of Recommendation)

Another significant piece of evidence that aids the admissions committee in evaluating the student profile is the Letter of Recommendation. It provides insights into the applicant’s college journey and introduces participants to their accomplishments as well as their individual working routines.

#6. Standardized Study Abroad Exam scores: 

If you’re applying to a program that requires standardized test scores, be sure you have them on hand. It is occasionally necessary for international students to provide proof of English proficiency. The IELTS is the most commonly used test for this, but certain universities may also accept the TOEFL or PTE.

If you are applying at the undergraduate level, you may be required to take a SAT or ACT test. Many colleges need additional tests, such as the GRE or GMAT, if you are applying for a master’s degree from an institution in another country.

#7. Evidence of financial resources:

At the time of visa application, you must provide documentation of your bank balance to demonstrate that you can fund tuition and living expenses. This is supported by bank statements. At the time of visa application, you may also show proof of your student loan statement or any other source of income.

#8. CV – Curriculum Vitae

The resume/CV is an extremely valuable document for showcasing your talents, expertise, and career history, as well as academic achievements). It is critical for overseas students, particularly MBA candidates, who want to catch the attention of admission officers.

#9. Certificates of Health

Several countries have their own health regulations that must be followed. Obtaining health insurance cards and having immunization records are two examples. Don’t forget to get a checkup so that your personal health records are up to date!

#10. Photographs

To prove your identity, a photo with a close-up of your face will be required. Visas may have specific requirements for pictures so make sure you investigate this thoroughly and conform to their standards.

Some other documents are: 

  • A student visa
  • Portfolio
  • Identity Card
  • Proof of Work Experience
  • Proof of accommodation

By having all of these documents ready in advance, you will be able to streamline the application process and increase your chances of being accepted into your dream program. So, if you are planning on applying anytime soon, prepare these documents and get them in order. Lastly, you’ll need to pack your bags and get ready for an amazing experience!

How to apply to universities abroad

I recall one of my friends asking how did I apply to universities abroad? well, if you have read this article to this point I’m pretty sure you have gotten a little of where to start but if you are still confused, the section of the article will throw more light.

There is no magic formula for getting into the university of your choice because the application procedures vary from country to country. But there are some general guidelines you should abide by, as well as advice that can help you get accepted.

#1. Select a program.

Decide where you want to study abroad, what level and field of study you’re interested in, and whether you have the necessary academic credentials. After weighing your career options, choose a specialism.

Try to choose a university that is highly ranked, has a stellar reputation for your desired subject, or meets other relevant criteria to you. Select a curriculum that is in line with your ambitions.

#2. Carefully review the requirements and deadlines

Checking the requirements is the first step in applying to a school overseas. Ask the schools for extra information if you feel the material on the webpage is unclear or lacking.

Visit official government websites and study councils if you’re wondering if the nation accepts your nationality for student visas.

To avoid missing the entrance exam or admission dates, it’s critical to pay attention to the deadlines.

#3. Draft a Powerful motivation letter

A motivation letter is required when applying to specific academic subjects or institutions. Your ability to succeed at the university should be demonstrated in the motivation letter or cover letter, which should also include an assessment of your accomplishments and skills.

Therefore, state your interest in attending the university in a tidy and organized motivation letter. Also, keep in mind to write the letter in clear English.

#4. Request a letter of recommendation

Admission to a university or program may occasionally call for one or more recommendation letters. Asking for a recommendations letter from a teacher with whom you got along well is nothing to be ashamed of.

Keep in mind that professors may be asked for letters from several students, and that writing recommendation letter takes time. Ask them as soon as you can to give them time to prepare a thorough and persuasive recommendation.

#5. Study for the TOEFL or IELTS exam.

You’ll likely need to take an English language test if you want to study abroad and English isn’t your first language. Consider the test preparation time while scheduling your test and organizing your study abroad schedule.

You’ll need time to study and get ready for the test, depending on your level of English language competence, your command of the language, the score the university wants, and other factors.

Additionally, keep in mind that each test center offers exams a maximum of four times per month depending on local demand, so make sure to schedule the test at least a month in advance. It can already be full if you apply too late.

#6. Have your documents translated and authenticated.

Your documentation (including your diploma and grades) must be translated into English if you are applying to a program that is taught in English abroad. Be mindful that a reputable authority should certify the translations.

If you’re unsure which authority your desired university accepts, check their website or ask an admissions official.

#7. Make use of the online submission platforms

In order to make it simpler for students to apply for the programs, more schools now frequently employ an online application platform.

Most schools and students prefer sending documents electronically over by mail since it is quicker and frequently more affordable or free.

#8. Sign up for the entrance examination

There are admission tests that assess your understanding of natural science and abilities related to disciplines like language or mathematics in some nations, like India, and in some colleges, such as medical schools.

As the exam often occurs one to two months before the start of the school year, confirm the exam’s date and location.

You must make arrangements for your international journey in advance and register for the test in advance. Make sure you are aware of what to anticipate on exam day. If at all feasible, review a sample test to help you become ready.

#9.  Be confident for the interview

An acceptance interview could be the last step in the application process. Interviews are conducted by several elite programs and universities like the University of Oxford to determine which applicants are most qualified to enroll.

The interview normally begins with questions about your motivation for choosing this particular school or program, your past, and your future goals. Be confident, prepare for the interview, and don’t let the formal environment worry you.

Keep your cool and avoid speaking too rapidly or too slowly.

#10. Make a visa appointment.

Your school and program must be accredited by the government of the country they are located in order to be eligible for a student visa.

The time to apply for the student visa usually comes after you obtain a letter of acceptance and are admitted to the institution.

The process of applying for a student visa can be very challenging, depending on the nation’s rules and the number of candidates.

It is therefore advisable to apply for your student visa as soon as possible and set up your appointment or interview.

You’ll often need a bank statement, the application form, a receipt for the application fee and university tuition, your passport, medical records, and background information when applying for a student visa.

READ ALSO: How to write an acceptance letter for college | Complete Guide 2023

#11. Consider the expenses.

Finally, You must take into account the costs associated with applying to schools abroad, including those for the school’s entrance exam, document translation, scheduling an English language test, tuition, and visa application fees.

As many students study abroad on a tight budget, don’t let this deter you, but do prepare a plan for your expected costs so that you can budget effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions on How to choose a university program

Can you apply to universities in different countries?

You can apply to another university if one rejects your application. Students can also apply directly to the university, which is something that is not feasible in other nations like the UK.

How can I study abroad for free?

  • Choose a country with an affordable cost of living. You don’t have to break the bank just to take your studies overseas.
  • Enroll directly in a foreign university or language school.
  • Complete a work-study.
  • Opt for a cheap study abroad program.
  • Apply for scholarships & grants.

How to apply for universities abroad with a scholarship

Finding a scholarship to study abroad is the first step in getting one. Find out whether there are any subject-specific scholarships available from the university or inquire about international scholarships by contacting the universities you are applying to.

Feel free to check out this complete guide on a list of international scholarships to study abroad

How to apply to university

6 steps you need to take to apply to university

  1. Choose where you want to go and what you want to study.
  2. Make sure you know all the deadlines and key dates.
  3. Check the entry requirements.
  4. Get your application started.
  5. Write your personal statement.
  6. Wait to start getting your offers!


After completing your study abroad program, you’ll have a fresh outlook on culture, language proficiency, a top-notch education, and an eagerness to learn when you return home. It goes without saying that all of these are highly desirable to potential employers.

The chance to learn about yourself while immersing oneself in a new culture is another advantage of studying abroad. Being alone in a strange country can be intimidating at times, and it puts your capacity for problem-solving and adaptation to the test.

Many international students fall in love with their host nation and opt to look for employment there. If you can identify with that country, you will discover that having a local education will be quite helpful while looking for a future career there.


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