Prepare to Study Abroad

Want More University Planning Tips?

Go to BigFuture

If you’re thinking about going to university in a country other than your own, it’s important to plan ahead. About two years before you apply for admission, start researching universities and make sure you’re taking the right courses.


Explore universities.

Consider the school's location, cost, academic programs and majors, and campus life so that you can narrow the list of universities to which you want to apply.

Consider taking AP.

If you take AP, you'll show university admissions officers that you took challenging classes and are prepared for the rigors of university courses. There are 38 AP subjects to choose from; talk to you parents, teachers, or school counselors to see which subjects may be right for you.

Take the SAT and SAT Subject Tests.

Universities look at many factors when making admission decisions, including your SAT score. You may also want to take one or more SAT Subject Tests to spotlight your skills in specific subjects.

Research admission requirements.

Many universities require you to submit recommendation letters, personal statements or essays, and other items when you apply for admission. Most also require an English language proficiency exam, like TOEFL or IELTS, if your first language isn’t English and if your education wasn’t in English.

Make a financial plan.

Figure out tuition costs and living expenses before applying by visiting the BigFuture website. You’ll also be able to search for scholarships and universities that award financial aid to international students.

Assemble your applications

Every part of an application is important, including essays. Make sure that your application meets all the university’s requirements before you submit it.

Submit your applications

One of the easiest ways to apply to multiple universities is through the Common App, the Universal College Application, or the Coalition Application.

Decide what university you’ll attend.

If you’re having trouble choosing where to go, talk to adults you trust to help you make your decision.