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Steps to study abroad

With 50 years’ experience and more than 450,000 successful student placements around the world, IDP knows what it takes to find a good match and set you up for success.

IDP has been helping students like you to study abroad for over 50 years. We know what it takes to set you up for success with assistance on course and visa applications, travel and feeling at home in your new destination. Best of all, most of IDP’s advice services are free.

steps to study abroad

1. Research

Do a little research before you speak to us. Get an idea of the subject areas that interest you the most. You might also look at some course descriptions, university reviews and their locations. Start a wish list of your preferences and begin to narrow down your selection. 

Research can also include asking your friends and family. Have they studied overseas? Where did they go? What did they like about it?

If you use Facebook, this can be a great way to do get feedback and advice from your friends. Post a message to your timeline and you might be surprised at how many people have experience of an international education.

What if you don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, come in to one of our offices and our counsellors will help get you started.

One final word of advice – don’t trust everything you read online. Some reviews from other students might have been influenced by a single negative personal experience or choosing a course that wasn’t right for them. It doesn’t always mean you will feel the same way. IDP can ensure you get accurate and non-biased advice.

2. Speak to one of our IDP counsellors

When you’re ready, make an appointment with an IDP counsellor. Our counsellors are professionally certified and many have been international students themselves. They’re a friendly face and a wealth of first-hand professional advice and personal experience from different study locations all over the world. 

Take your wish-list and course preferences along with you to your appointment as a starting point. Your counsellor will work through all the big and small details to ensure the best possible fit between you, your future university and your area of study.

3. Make your application 

After you’ve chosen your course and university or school, it’s time to apply. Your IDP counsellor will support your university and course applications. We take our job very seriously and follow the strictest legal and ethical standards. 

Your counsellor will personally contact your chosen university or school to make sure they support your application to improve your chances of acceptance.

If you need to take an English test to qualify for your course, don’t assume you’ll get the grade without practise. In a test such as IELTS you will need good grammar and spelling, as well as a wide range of vocabulary. Even the best English speakers can have bad habits so remember to practise these skills.

4. Accepting your offer

Once the university or school receives your application it will be assessed and you will be notified of the result. It can take a few weeks (or longer for postgraduate courses) for your application to be processed. 

If your application is successful, you’ll receive a letter of offer and an acceptance form. Before accepting your offer, your counsellor will read it carefully through with you and check any conditions that may apply.

If you are accepted for more than one course or school, we'll help you decide which option is best for you.

It’s natural to be nervous as you wait for the outcome of your course applications. If you are feeling anxious, we want you to tell us. This is perfectly normal and we can help you feel more confident. 

5. Practise your English skills

It’s always a good idea to brush up your English skills to ensure you can keep up with what your lecturers are saying, especially if English is not your first language. Try watching things like TV news and talk shows, reading books or listening to podcasts where the English is more formal.

Have some fun learning the local slang in your study country. For example, Australians (or ‘Aussies’ as they call themselves) have lots of different words (and accents) to the British (they call themselves Brits) even though they all speak English.

There are plenty of websites that list the slang from different regions and some of these words will help you understand the local people in your new country. 

6. Student visa

Now that you have been accepted, it’s time to apply for your student visa. IDP can provide you with some information to help make sure you are well positioned to navigate this process with the authorised migration departments. 

7. Ready, steady, go

Congratulations! You’re off on a huge adventure. There are lots of things to think about during this time and your IDP counsellor will help out along the way with advice on matters such as exchanging money, insurance, SIM cards and opening a bank account. 

We host regular pre-departure sessions throughout the year to help prepare you for student life in your new country.

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