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How Early Should You Apply To Study Abroad?

If you're hoping to study abroad, here’s something you need to know: the process of applying to overseas universities can get pretty complicated.

You’ll have to take certain standardized tests, compile relevant documents for your application, write admission essays… the list goes on and on.

At this point, you might have a ton of questions running through your head, including…

What’s the typical college application timeline?

What are the deadlines to apply?

What do I need to do to apply?

In this blog post, we demystify the process of applying to overseas universities, and walk you through all that you need to know!

When Do You Start Applying To University?

Simply put, the deadlines for applying to college depend on two factors: which country you’re applying to, and whether you apply through early decision or regular decision.

idp-apply for college

We’ve outlined the relevant dates for applying to colleges in the UK, Australia and more in the following sections, so read on to find out more!

Intakes for Canada Universities

When it comes to applying to Canada universities, you’ll often be required to prepare documents like a Letter of Intent, language results like IELTS, a complete application for your course, proof of funds and also have your education assessed with an Educational Credential Assessment if you have not studied in Canada before.

If you’re unsure or need reassurance when it comes to applying, simply make an appointment with one of our friendly counsellors who’ll provide free advice and even give you study abroad tips. This applies to other destinations like Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the UK.

In general, these Canada has three available intakes:

Canada University Intakes


Stars in the month of September




Around April and May


Additionally in Canada, there are varying intakes for universities and colleges, and with that, deadlines differ as well. Here's a quick overview:




University Undergraduate or Postgraduate

Fall - September
Winter - January

December - March
September - November

College Diploma


August - September
January - February
February - April

Book a free counselling session today!

Intakes for UK Universities

Most UK universities will require you to send in a “personal statement” with your application, but there are no standard tests (such as the SAT test) that you’ll have to take to apply.

If you’re hoping to study Medicine or Dentistry in the UK, applications for these courses typically open in early September and closes in mid-October.

The same goes for all other courses at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge - applications open in early September and close before the end of October.

In general, you're looking at these timelines:

Intake for UK Universities

Term 1

September to December

Term 2

January to April


April to June

Do check with the specific university you want to attend to confirm their admissions deadline, and if they require you to sit for additional (non-standard) admissions tests.

Generally speaking, we recommend that you start preparing to study in the UK two months prior to when admissions close.

Intakes for Australian Universities

For those applying to Australian universities, you’ll require a Statement of Purpose, resume, school certificates, two letters of reference, an IELTS score sheet and a copy of your Birth Certificate.

In Australia, universities generally have two intakes in February and July, with some universities offering intakes also in September and November. For international students, admission deadlines are as follows:



Semester 1 (February Intake)

October - November

Semester 2 (July Intake)

April - May

idp-study together

This differs from university to university, but generally speaking, Australian universities normally take 4 to 6 weeks to process your application.

If you’re hoping to study in Australia, you’ll want to play it safe, and start preparing for your applications seven months prior to when admissions close.

Study Abroad and Experience Life in Another Country

Here at IDP, we’ll walk you through the process of applying to study overseas, including:

  • Giving you advice on what course to take
  • Applying for your course and student visa
  • Preparing for your departure our guide.

Want to take the first step in embarking on an amazing adventure? Find a course on IDP today!

Meet A Counsellor For Free! 

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With over 50 years of experience helping students to study overseas, you too can pursue your dreams with IDP at the upcoming Study Abroad Education Fair.

📅 25 and 26 February, 12 PM to 6 PM

📍 Suntec Convention Centre, Level 3, Summit 1

Our team of dedicated and experienced IDP Education Counsellors and Uni Reps will be there to guide you to kick-start your study abroad journey to your dream university. Register now and we’ll see you there!

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