A simple guide to studying overseas

For those who are considering overseas education, here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply for one.

Samantha Ng
Samantha Ng

Published: 7 May 2015, 3:18 PM

Overseas unversities can be an exciting prospective for further education, but there is a lot of background work to be done. However, the application process can also be quite troublesome and frustrating. I would know, because I had to go through this ordeal recently.

Here is a quick guide that simplifies the tedious processes involved when it comes to applying for overseas universities.

Step 1: Should I really go overseas to study?

Explore the local options first. Local universities are definitely more convenient and cheaper. You should only consider the overseas option when you are certain that local universities do not match with your interests.

Before making any major decisions, ask yourself these questions: Are you financially able? Most importantly, are you emotionally ready to leave your comfort zone for a new, foreign experience?

Also, do ask your parents if they are comfortable with financing your studies. If they are not financially able, you could consider sourcing and applying for scholarships.

Step 2: Do your own research about these overseas universities.

Companies such as IDP and Overseas Education tend to organise conventions that bring in representatives from UK, USA and Australia universities.

Attend these conventions, and do not hesitate to talk to the representatives. Ask them about the cost and duration of the programme, whether lodging is available, and if the school environment is friendly towards international students.


Photo credit: aber.ac.uk


Be sure to check about the costs for submitting your applications, and if you have to take any additional tests on top of your current qualifications, such as SATs for American universities and IELTS for UK universities.

If the universities you are interested in are not featured in such conventions, do your own research online, and contact their admissions representative through email with your queries.

You should also consult your friends who have studied overseas to find out about their experiences with their universities and its learning environment.

Once you have collated all the necessary information about the different universities, compile them in a list for easy reference.

Step 3: Decide which course you want to pursue, and the university you want to go to.

When you commit to pursuing a degree, it is going to take at least two to three years of your time. Hence, be sure that what you are pursuing is worth your while.

You will definitely be left feeling miserable if you are studying something that leaves you disinterested while being overseas alone. So, choose your course after much careful consideration.

When it comes to choosing a university, always consider its ranking, and the specific courses it excels in. For example, some universities are well known for their law programmes, while others are sought after for their communication programmes.

Step 4: Apply!

Once you have settled all the necessary paperwork, such as your certificates, letters of recommendation and the required test results, send them to your chosen university’s admissions.

If are not confident about submitting the application yourself, you can always send them through an agent, such as IDP or Overseas Education.

What follows is the nerve-wrecking waiting game. Check your email inbox sporadically for any updates—the university might ask you for more details, since it is the most convenient form of contact.

All the best!

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