How to Apply to Universities Outside the US

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Applying to an overseas university is similar to applying for a US college with a few differences.

  1. Once accepted to the university, you'll have to apply for a student and/or residence visa to live in another country if you are planning on staying longer than your tourist visa allows.
  2. The process takes awhile, so you'll need to apply at least 5 to 6 months before you plan to attend school. Then again, it takes a similar time acceptance for most 4-year universities in the US.
  3. You'll need to prove that you can support yourself while living in the other country. Support proof is readily provided using certified bank statements, credit cards, or letters of intent from parents or hosts.

With all that in mind, let's get into the process of applying and going to a university in another country. Keep in mind the process can vary slightly by each nation but in most cases is relatively the same. Check out our country guides to find out more about the process in the country you are considering.

Application Process and Attending a Foreign University

  1. Decide what major you want to take and research which universities offer it.
  2. Is the course offered in English or the country's native language?
  3. If only provided in the mother tongue, it's time to learn a new language because you'll need to pass a competency test to prove that you can do the work. Or if you already know the language, you'll need to provide certification.
  4. Do you need to take a competency exam to be admitted?
  5. Apply directly to the university (there are also services for applying that you can use, but be aware they cost extra).
  6. Submit application fees and any documents requested by the university.
  7. Wait for approval.
  8. Once you receive approval, apply for a student visa at the country of acceptance's local embassy, unless you are taking a course that can be finished before your tourist visa expires. Getting a student visa follows a similar course as getting your passport with you providing proof of who you are, photos, and any requested documents, generally in both English and the language of the country.
  9. After receiving your student visa, it's time to pack up and relocate to your new home.
  10. Upon arrival (in most countries), you'll need to apply for a residency permit.
  11. Quite often students can also work a few hours to help pay for your schooling and living expenses. You may need a work permit to do so, so check with local requirements and apply if needed.
  12. Get out, make new friends and enjoy your student life.
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