With the advent of a new year and semester, thousands of applicants rush to coaching centres for preparation help and counselling sessions. To ease out the process, DU Beat brings to you a guide to applying abroad.  

With the end of the 5th semester for the third-year students, it’s time to start looking at higher education opportunities, in India and outside. We, at DU Beat, bring to you a guide that can help one can track the plan and set in motion the application process to get in line for the opportunity to study at the best institutions.

1.Checking Educational Requirements

The first step is identifying the countries and institutions that one has access to. By that, I mean, focussing on colleges that accept applicants with 15 years of education or a three year undergrad degree. In brief, all major Ivy league and cream colleges of USA and Canada accept only 16 years of education as a minimum for application. Yet, it is advisable for candidates to mail the respective colleges to inquire, as some colleges are lax with this criterion in the presence of good work experience. On the other hand, almost all UK and EU colleges or Asia based colleges accept applicants with 15 years.

  1. Checking Cut- Off Marks

Another major criteria are cut-off marks that worry a lot of kids. Most colleges would ask for 2:1 minimum marks which is roughly 60% or 6.0 CGPA, while some (mostly ivy leagues) go up to 1:1 or 75% or 7.5 CGPA. Even if a candidate doesn’t have the minimum required marks or CGPA, one can still write to the college and ask for consideration with an adequate reasoning of how the marks don’t define one’s ability and aptitude correctly.

  1. Marking the Calendars

The next step is to make a list of programs that one wants to partake in and mark the opening and deadline dates for the applications. US applications generally open up in August whereas UK applications open in October. These dates are important as the sooner one applies, the higher are the chances for one to get admission. One should also check out the required exams list, these are extra exams that students from foreign countries are required to partake in and score a minimum amount. The general ones include: GRE, GMAT, TOEFL and IELTS, the latter two being English language exams. These exams happen all year round and can be taken at any sitting of choice. IELTS happen 4 times a month. These results can stay valid for over 2 years and 3 years in some cases as well, so an aspirant can take them before hand as well.

  1. Collecting Documents

The next step is to collect all the required documents, majorly the most important documents are:

  1. LOR (Letters of Recommendation) –

These are documents written by professors, employers, etc. in order to recommend an individual to a college for higher education. They are, thus, also divided into two: Academic and Work. The minimum number of LOR’s required is 2 and there is no maximum limit as such. Applicants should make sure that there LOR’s are personal and represent them properly.

  1. SOP (Statement of Purpose) –

An SOP (usually 1000 -1500 words) is an essay about the applicant, why the applicant is choosing the college and program, and what makes them suitable. Some colleges provide specific questions that need to be answered in the SOP and hence, the kids need to carefully go through the documents page of the application guidelines

  1. CV/Resume – A basic document detailing important information about the candidate along with the experience (jobs, education, extracurricular, etc.) of the candidate.
  2. College, 12th , and 10th grade mark sheet – An original copy of the official marksheets of these classes.
  3. Certificates and letter of acceptance from past jobs and internships


One should have these documents in hand during the application process. With the online application system, it is best to have their scanned copies too in .JPEG or .txt format. Most colleges also put limits on size of the file (i.e. 2MB).

With all of these things in hand, one can apply to colleges abroad easily. There are a lot of counselling organisations like ‘The Chopras’ or ‘IDP’ that help students with the process, but colleges usually prefer kids applying out of their own merit and will.


Feature Image Credits: Istock

Haris Khan

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