What Do You Need to Do Before Applying Abroad?

After you have completed the necessary research on study abroad programs, it’s time to start the application process.

Applying abroad is not complicated and not too different from the application process you underwent for your current school. It is, however, just as tedious and should be started as early as possible.

Applying abroad requires many official forms, documents and signatures. Consider yourself warned: It will be time consuming.

Proposal to Study Abroad

Nearly all study abroad programs require students to submit a statement of purpose or proposal during the application process. This is a declaration to your school that you want to and are capable of studying abroad.

Most statements of purpose explain to your school why you want to study abroad and what you intend to study. This is an important step in applying abroad because it highlights your goals and expectations.

Prerequisites to Studying Abroad

After the study abroad proposal is submitted, your school will determine if you are eligible to study abroad. Generally you must have obtained a certain grade point average, have declared a major and have shown that you are making progress toward your degree.

Depending on your school’s policies, other requirements might be expected of you. If you are not sure, check with the Office of International Studies.

Applying Abroad

Request course catalogues from the institutions and programs you researched and learn what courses will be offered when you hope to enroll. Once you have seen the course options, request or download applications from the programs in which you want to participate.

Each institution’s application process will vary. A general rule is not to apply to more than three schools.

Like college applications, study abroad application deadlines also vary. For fall or full year courses of study, the deadlines for applying abroad usually fall between February 1 and May 1. Expect deadlines for the spring term to fall between September 1 and the middle of November.

Summer programs vary widely. It is best to check with the institution for these dates.

To be safe, you should start applying abroad about two to three months before the deadline. That’s because the process will take some time. Along with completing the application, you will probably have to write an essay and obtain transcripts (possibly with translations), recommendations, medical clearance and possibly security reports.

Study Abroad Approval and Recommendations

Study abroad programs often require approval from the chairperson of your department or a confidential faculty recommendation. If you are applying abroad to more than one school, advise the professor of this so that he or she can write a general approval letter.

You should always provide the necessary supplies for mailing if the letters are not to be submitted electronically. It’s also good practice to ask a faculty member to write a recommendation letter well in advance of the application deadline.

Start off on the right foot with the application process. If questions arise as you are applying abroad, you should contact your study abroad advisor or the school you wish to attend.