Your New Study Abroad Checklist + Tips to Prepare

We here at FES have considerable experience in guiding students throughout their study abroad process. Our team has extensive experience in helping students in their university applications, language testing, and visa process. Based on our experience and the feedback of our clients we have formulated a study abroad checklist. 

Preparing to study abroad can be a tedious process. Especially for students applying or going abroad for the first time. The student has to look at numerous applications, deadlines, and considerations to make, it’s easy for certain things to be skipped and fall between the cracks. Sometimes, you may not realise you’ve forgotten to file an application until it’s too late.

When it comes to making a plan for your study abroad ambitions, timing is everything. You need to be aware of all the major dates and deadlines, especially when concerning:

  • Applying to programs
  • Seeking financial aid
  • Finding accomodation
  • Booking travel arrangements
  • Applying passports and/or visas

A chronological checklist, arranged according to all the dates, is a great tool to organise the entire process you need to undergo in order to prepare for your trip, from one year before departure to your arrival date.

Use the study abroad checklist below and avoid unnecessary stress and make sure you are on the right track.

Start from the very beginning.

Research Study Abroad options

You have an ambition to study abroad but haven’t yet decided where to go and which program to apply for? The first step is to do all the necessary research on each aspect. Do the research and 

Go through university websites and look at all the relevant programs on offer. Along with this, get in touch with people in your network who have studied abroad in the past or are currently studying abroad. Inquire about their opinions, their experiences and find out the details that the websites and internet blogs don’t tell you about. Contact counsellors and teachers in your school that may have excellent knowledge about studying abroad. When comparing the different programs, consider various factors such as costs, class credits, courses, location, travel possibilities, and program duration.

You should begin your research well in advance because you never know how lengthy the process might take. You might be required to apply earlier than you think. You don’t want to miss out on the perfect study abroad experience just because you were not organised and missed the application deadline.

Register for a Language Test 

Pakistani students wanting to study abroad need to understand they are going to be considered as Non-native English-speaking students. When such students are planning to apply for a study abroad program taught in English they are mostly required to prove their English proficiency. In simple words their ability to comprehend English and communicate in English is tested. Below are some popular English proficiency tests out there. 

  • TOEFL — Test of English as a Foreign Language (most common)
  • IELTS — International English Language Testing System
  • PTE — Pearson Test of English

Most applications require you to provide your test results. Typically students are required to include their test scores in an application. For this reason, you should register for a test as early as possible. Each of these tests can be taken regularly at centres across Pakistan.

Apply for a Passport

Applying for a passport in Pakistan can be a bit hectic. Not only do you have to face long lines, you need to make sure your document checklist is also complete. This can be a bit of a tedious and tiring affair. If you have a passport already please make sure it is valid for more than six months. As many places require a passport to be valid for more than a certain period of time. This time period is usually something that is extremely important. And ofcourse if you don’t already have a valid passport, you should apply for one now. Our counsellors have come across many cases of rejections which were a result of passport expiry dates being ignored. This is the reason why it is the ultimate study abroad checklist, they are based on the likely mistakes which a lot of students tend to make. So even if you do have a valid passport, you may need to renew it.  

Processing times for passport applications vary according to the fees you pay the passport office. The fast track system can get you a passport within 48 hours but the other types can take up to 2 months.  

Apply for Programs

Once you have gone through all the programs and done your research, start to apply for the few selected programs. Never apply to one program. Shortlist at least three programs from various universities. The would allow you to have a “plan a ” and a plan b and c”. This approach can save you a lot of time. If one university rejects you then you do not have to wait or stress out about filing new applications since you are already playing it safe by having at least three options. Make sure the selected programs suit your academic and career objectives. Pay close attention to application deadlines, as they may be earlier than you expect. That’s because you’ll need plenty of time to apply for a visa, make travel arrangements, and sign up for classes before your program begins.

Apply for Scholarships/Financial Aid

Studying abroad can be very expensive. Tuition fees for international students are always going to be higher than that of the local students. This is the reason why international students are advised to apply for financial aid and It’s no secret that studying abroad can be expensive. In addition to tuition at a foreign university, you will have to pay for housing, dining, the cost of travel, and more. Many students will require financial aid to cover these costs.

Deadlines to apply for scholarships and funding vary. Some may require you to apply early, while others have deadlines closer to the date of departure. As a general rule, it is always better to apply earlier.

Other tips are to get your visa process started as soon as you get an offer letter from your university, arrange all the local requirements such as a health check up and arrange health insurance.

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