Study Abroad

How to Ace Your Study Abroad Application

Taking steps to make your study abroad dream come true? Read on to find out how you can ace your study abroad application!

Three students smiling walking down a street

So, you’ve decided to take the leap and study abroad! Not only will you continue to refine your knowledge in a particular field, you’ll learn how to thrive in a new environment, gain a stronger sense of cultural awareness, and meet a new network of people who can turn into lifelong friends and colleagues!

However, before you can begin your journey of personal, academic, and professional development, you’ll need to submit an application. Putting in the time and effort into perfecting the details of your study abroad application will prove to be a great investment into your future.

Read on for tips about how you can ace your study abroad application!

1. Select your program

In order to optimize your study abroad experience, you’ll need to decide when, where, and what you wish to study at least 9-12 months in advance of your ideal study abroad period.

So, if you want to study abroad, you should start thinking about the program around an academic year prior. While there are programs where the deadline is more flexible, planning ahead ensures your application goes smoothly.

Here are some of the things you should consider when selecting a program:

  • Courses: You should pick a course that is of interest to you and meets your academic, personal, or professional goals. This will not only sustain your study engagement but it will improve your living abroad experience and future prospects.
  • Destination: We suggest focusing on a specific continent or region which interests you, and narrowing down your options from there. Or, you can read our guide to the best countries for studying abroad, and choose a university or program from there!
  • Program length: Do you want to study abroad for a semester? What about a year-long program? It’s important to make sure the program will fit within your ideal academic roadmap, especially if you’re planning to graduate in 4 years.
  • Credits: Ensure that the credits you earn throughout the program will help you fulfill your graduation requirements. Some credits or qualifications may not be recognized by other academic institutions, so it’s important to find out and decide whether this affects your decision.
  • Cost: Make sure you can realistically afford or budget for this program! It’s also helpful to check if the program offers any scholarships or financial aid.

2. Gather documents in advance and keep track of deadlines

The earlier you decide your desired program, the better, since study abroad applications can take time. We suggest that you plan ahead and craft your application with plenty of time in advance.

Why prepare your application in advance?

Regardless of deadline dates, program vacancies may still fill up. As soon as your application is ready, apply! This will also allow you to get hold of any letters of recommendations to support your application. Best assume that your referee is busy, so be sure to get a hold of your letter of recommendation or reference with plenty of time to spare.

Documents you may need for your application

The documents that you’ll need will vary according to your nationality, program, institution, and so on. But, generally, you’ll need to prepare documents such as:

  • Passport page scan: You’ll need to submit your passport to not only confirm your identity but your eligibility to study abroad. Ensure that your passport is valid and that you don’t need to apply for a new one, which could delay your application.
  • Official Academic Transcript or Home School Authorization form: An academic transcript is one of the most important documents you’ll need to submit in your application to study abroad. Your application viewer will need to understand your level thus far, and what grades you are expecting to achieve.
  • Letter of recommendation and references: Submitting letters of recommendations and references from teachers, employers, and other professionals will greatly boost your application and increase your likelihood of success.
  • Academic or extracurricular qualifications: Attaching academic or extracurricular qualifications or achievements will help support your application.

3. Craft a unique and compelling personal statement

Students smiling under a shrine in Japan

Your personal statement should include why you want to study this program, how you’ll thrive in this country, and also why you’d be a valuable asset to institutions abroad. We highly advise you to craft a unique and compelling personal statement to boost your chances of studying abroad!

While your application will include things such as personal information, grades, achievements, and more, a personal statement is much more - you guessed it - personal.

While it may take more time, you should put in the extra effort to personalize and tailor your application to each program. College admission officers sift through endless applications and data, so it is important that your personal statement is authentic, unique, and tailored towards your chosen program.

Here are some tips on writing a compelling personal statement:

  • Be detailed and specific: Share your honest reasoning for studying abroad! Be prepared to explain why you resonate with this country and program, and how it will benefit your studying experience.
  • Explain why you’re qualified: Whether your grades, experience, or character reinforces your abilities, have confidence in yourself and make a statement as to why you’re qualified enough. Be sure to include any extracurricular, work, or travel experience which can reinforce why you belong on this program.
  • State your goals: What do you hope to get out of the program? Explain how you’ll utilize the skills and knowledge that the program offers towards your future.
  • Share anecdotes and personal experiences: Not only can this reinforce why you belong on the program, it can humanize your application. Rather than skimming through endless data, anecdotes can diversify your application significantly and allow you to stand out.
  • Be concise: While you want to be descriptive and informative, don’t overcomplicate sentences or worry about using complicated language. Overexerting yourself or the application viewer will only make your personal statement more difficult to read.
  • Proofread and revise! You can ask your study abroad advisor, friend, or family member to read it over and provide feedback before you submit your application. An external and objective opinion is invaluable if you’ve been working on an application intensely.

4. Double check everything before submitting your application!

This is the most simple, yet often overlooked step, but be sure to double check your application before submitting! If you’ve enough time, you can spend a day or so away from your application in order to review it with a fresh pair of eyes.

By planning ahead and keeping organized, this allows you enough time to update any details with plenty of time if requested. Issues and errors occur, no matter the university, so be sure to plan ahead in order to anticipate any errors.


Ace your study abroad application with ease!

Students smiling in front of a castle

It can appear daunting at first, because this application can have a big influence on your study abroad experience. However, once broken down into these simple steps, it all becomes clearer and much easier to manage.

Just remember, give your future self the respect by planning your application in advance! By keeping proactive and organized, you’ll do yourself a huge favor in the event that you need to update your application or proceed to the next stage. In addition to keeping proactive and organized, remember to make use of study abroad scholarships and grants!

Learn more about study abroad: