Thinking about studying abroad? Make sure you are prepared!

By Milenka Frkovich

Preparation to study abroad really begins years in advance. These tips will help you make sure you are ready.

Thinking about studying abroad? Make sure you are prepared!

If you are thinking about applying to study abroad after you graduate from high school or college, then there are things that you should start doing way before you even make contact with the universities.

Depending on which country you want to apply to study in, the requirements are different, and so it the difficulty level.  I am currently applying to go and study music abroad, but I’m glad that at least I have checked most of the things listed for the applying. So, I was smart in checking a while back before I wanted to take the next step, because, as you may know, in most cases it’s not an easy procedure and it takes time to prepare. 

Here is a preliminary list of things that you should know about applying to study abroad:


It’s important that you know the language spoken in the country you want to go to.

For most cases, English is a required language because it is used everywhere you go, but in other cases you have to learn French, German, Portuguese, etc. You will also need to take an exam to prove that you have the language skills necessary to study.

For the U.S you’ll need to take the TOELF exam, for the UK the Cambrige exam, for France the DELF/ DALF, for Germany the Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang – DSH, and for Portugal the CELPEBRAS.

High School or College Transcript:

You must have your transcript (record of your grades) up-to-date. If you are going to apply for a scholarship, then make sure you know what the required minimum GPA (grade point average) is. In Peru we don’t use GPA’s, which range from 0 – 4, but rather the grades go from 0 to 20. If you are still studying, and have a few years to go before graduating, try your best to bring your grades up. It is acceptable to have between 14 and 20, but remember that the best always stands out everywhere.

Experience in the field:

Having worked in that field before may not be necessary if you are applying after finishing high school, but it is extremely important that you know exactly what the subject is about and that you show passion for this subject. For example, if you want to apply to study graphic design in New York, you might be asked to send in some examples of your work that involve photography, Photoshop, or any other tool to prove that you are good at it. Or if you want to apply for a music career, you should prepare a demo (or a mix tape if you want to be a music producer).  It is always a good idea to get a little experience in what you want to study, both to show your enthusiasm and to make sure that you are really passionate about it.

Recommendation letter:

In most cases, you will be asked to provide a recommendation letter from an instructor, industry professional, or someone with whom you have worked. For this, it is important you have an appropriate network with the people of the industry you want to be involved in.

Enrollment Essay:

You will most likely be asked to write an essay that could range from a few hundred words to a couple of pages. Some will have specific prompts to tell you what to write about, and others will just ask you to talk about whatever you like. In the case of the latter, you could write about why you believe this university is the right for you, why you want to study, your strengths and weaknesses (what you hope to learn and improve on), or what are your goals for the next 2 – 4 years. Make sure you read the instructions carefully and answer the questions precisely.