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Going to study abroad? Get ready for the fact that even before moving to another country and starting classes, you have to go a long way to prepare and enter a foreign university.

Preparation for study abroad consists of many stages, including the selection of a country and a university, scholarships, the preparation of documents and a visa. An important role is also played by the search for housing, the study of job opportunities and the characteristics of the country of study.

This article will cover only the key stages of entering foreign universities, which will help you plan the entire process, taking into account the main deadlines.  

study abroad

How long does it take to enter?

As we have already said, the process of preparing for admission and the very admission to a foreign university is long and laborious. On average, it takes 1-1.5 years, depending on the country of study.

high schools of the USA

For example, the academic year in high schools of the USA begins in September. To start school from September, documents for admission must be submitted in the period from January to March of the same year. Immediate submission of documents is preceded by their collection and passing the necessary exams. The same rule applies to most foreign countries.

Note that in some popular universities, for example, in a number of universities in England, documents must be submitted even earlier – a year before the intended start of training.

Thus, the preparation for study abroad should start in advance, about 1.5 years before the moment when you want to move and start classes.

Next, we will tell in stages what and when you need to do to enter a foreign university …

Stage 1: Choosing a university and collecting information

No later than 1.5 years before the intended start of studies, it is necessary to choose one or more educational institutions abroad.


It is important not only to determine the universities to which you will apply, but also to collect all the information about the conditions of admission to these universities, the deadlines for applying for admission, admission requirements, necessary documents, etc. Note that in most educational institutions all this varies, depending on the specific curriculum. In other words, the process of entering the Faculty of Humanities differs from the process of entering the Faculty of Medicine, etc.

To enroll in most foreign universities, you will also need to take a language test (usually IELTS or TOEFL), preparation for which should also begin no later than 1.5 years before the start of study.

Stage 2: Document preparation

Depending on the country of study and the university, 1-1.5 years before the start of study it is worthwhile to start collecting documents. On average, this process takes students about 6 months.

You will have to make copies of all necessary documents, some of them will also have to be translated into a foreign language and assured. In addition, you will need to prepare letters of recommendation and write a motivational essay. In some cases, a student resume and creative portfolio will also be required for admission, which may take a long time to prepare.

At the same stage, you must sign up for a language exam, pass it and get results. This process, in itself, can take several months.

Stage 3: Filing Documents

Depending on the country and university chosen, the period for applying for admission may begin 8-12 months before the intended start of the course. When preparing for submission, it is important to consider three important factors:

 Filing Documents

1) In advance, find out in what form the university accepts applications and documents for admission (centralized system, email, package with courier, etc.)

2) Find out the exact deadline for submitting documents to meet deadlines

3) Make sure that you apply as early as possible (by submitting documents earlier, you will increase your chances of admission, you will be able to get the university’s decision on admission earlier and proceed to the next stage)

As you prepare to apply, find out what else you can do at this stage. For example, in many universities simultaneously with the application for admission of students they are asked to apply for a residence or a scholarship. Early resolution of these issues (if possible) will save you time in the future.

Stage 4: University Answer and Visa Application

On average, applicants receive a decision of the university to enroll 3-5 months before the start of their studies. Usually the university sends the student an invitation to study, which is necessary for the further processing of a visa.

Visa Application

Depending on the country of study, the process of applying for a student visa can take from several weeks to several months. A visa of this type is issued on the basis of an invitation to study from the university, bank statements and related documents.

Stage 5: Organizational issues and relocation

In addition to obtaining a visa, the remaining months before the student’s start should be enough for the final solution of the housing issue and the possibility of obtaining a scholarship or grant while studying.

When you enroll in a course, you can discuss campus options, financial support, and other questions you may have with representatives of the host university.

As soon as you receive a student visa, you can buy a ticket and prepare directly for the move. We recommend that you move to a new country no later than a week before the start of classes. Thus, you will have time to adapt, get to know the campus and the university!