Studying abroad is a life-changing ordeal for many. Moving to a different country to attain education comes with a plethora of pros, such as better exposure, the potential for a higher standard of living in the future, more significant work opportunities, greater relevancy of a specific field, and much more. International experience is one of the most pertinent components of higher learning in the 21st century, testified by the fact that the global number of students who study abroad continues to rise at an annual rate of 10 percent. If you are among the many young minds contemplating studying abroad, this is the right blog for you.


Timely planning can either make or break your plans for international education. To begin with, planning provides direction to your study abroad agenda and streamlines the trajectory. You get to know the viable options available vis-à-vis admission prospects, disciplines, international destinations, financing, and much more.

Likewise, appropriate planning also removes a lot of the uncertainty that comes with contemplating studying abroad. College-admission anxiety is a legitimate phenomenon affecting hundreds of thousands of students yearly. One of the major triggers of that anxiety is the uncertainty that comes with the admission process. As such, planning can reduce uncertainties and help calm down your nerves.

Lastly, adequate planning is essential because you understand the financial implications of your decision beforehand. 

Of course, it goes without saying that international education is expensive, especially if your desired destinations are countries like the UK, the USA, and Australia. However, mapping out the dos and don’ts at the right time can erase many of the monetary murkiness of opting for higher learning abroad. Lastly, time planning also gives you room to obtain international debit cards.

So, simply put, planning should fare at the top of your study abroad. And more importantly, that planning should be done at the right time. But what is ‘the’ right time? Let us find out!


Although the amount of time you will need to apply to foreign universities varies from country to country, the ideal approach is to start as early as possible. As a student straight out of school, you need ample time to thoroughly research the institutions and programs that will best serve your academic and professional objectives. In addition, you must meet the application deadlines of the universities, which may be up to 10 to 11 months before the beginning of the school year.

The top-tier international have highly competitive admission procedures, and completing the application itself is a laborious process. For instance, the average time to write the optimal personal statement for Harvard is around four weeks. In addition, you will have to request recommendation letters from your faculty, which may take up considerable time. Therefore, considering the above mentioned factors, a rough time frame of 1.5 to 2 years is required to navigate your study abroad plan adequately.



Most experts recommend that students who are looking forward to completing their undergraduate from a foreign university should follow the plan given below –

  • Class 9 – Although 9th standard may seem a tad bit embryonic to plan for studying abroad, the ‘slow and steady wins the race in this scenario. Previous academic qualifications are one of the primary deciding factors in undergraduate admissions abroad. Therefore, the 9th standard is the right time to pull up socks, improve your grades, and materialize an immaculate report card. Moreover, starting early also gives you time to indulge in extracurricular activities to strengthen your chances of being considered for admission and getting a good scholarship.


  • Class 10 – Although the 10th standard is a time to focus on your boards, you can simultaneously get acquainted with the college admission process, discuss 11th-grade circular planning, and engage in college suggestions and research processes. Also, it is an opportune time to review your family’s finances to understand affordability and potential scholarship scope.


  • Class 11 – By the time you reach 11th standard, you should be pretty conclusive about your decision to study abroad. It is only after a firm decision that you can take the proper steps forward. Class 11 is the right time for students to research prospective universities and colleges, different study abroad destinations, the disciplines of interests, pursue teacher recommendations, keep tabs on academic and extracurricular performance, and so forth. Also, they should begin analyzing the education system, cost of living, and other dimensions of their chosen study abroad destination. Lastly, class 11 is also when the time is ripe to prepare and sit for tests like SAT and ACT.


  • Class 12 – When you reach the 12th standard, you should finalize the personalized college selection list, review the application deadlines, and develop a strategic plan and completion schedule. It would be best if you began by shortlisting your course, which should be done in the initial phases of class 12. After that, begin preparing the documents you will need during the application process, such as transcripts, SOPs, letters of recommendation, etc. You have to remember that most international universities start accepting applications 12 to 8 months prior to the commencement of the academic session. So, the August to December months of your 12th standard (the year preceding the beginning of undergraduate academics) are crucial, as, during these months, most international institutions accept applications for undergraduate admissions. The pending documents, like class 12 transcripts, can be submitted later.


After you have submitted your admission application in a timely fashion with the correct documents and test scores to the desired study abroad institution, all you have to do is wait for the results. If your admission is confirmed, you will receive a notification via email from the institution. Make sure to accept the admission offer and pay the tuition fee to confirm your seat. After your admission is finalized, you must plan and materialize your visa application process, which can take a few more months. After arranging the travel documents, you must take care of other requirements like health insurance and accommodation.

Now that we know the ideal time to plan for studying abroad, let us dovetail into some other nitty-gritty of international education.


Students aspiring to seek a Bachelor’s degree from a foreign university must appear in the SAT entrance exam. SAT is the most popular entrance examination acceptable for admission in universities of the most sought-after study abroad destinations like the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, Singapore, etc. The ideal time to sit for SAT is from class 11, as you will have enough time to improve your scores in case the first attempt scores are not up to the mark.

However, when it comes to TOEFL or IELTS, which are English language tests, the right time to start appearing for the exams is also class 11 or even before that. So the earlier you start giving your TOEFL exams, the more time you will have to hone your scores.


  • The United States – The United States is the most popular study abroad destination, with 1,075,496 international students. If you are looking forward to studying in the US, you must write GRE and GMAT (for postgraduate studies). Therefore, you might want to start working on your application a year before the commencement of the academic session.

  • Australia – With an overall international student population of 31.3 percent and a total number of international students being 463643, Australia is the fifth most sought-after study abroad destination. To study in Australia, even if you place your application for three to four months, is fine as long as you can write your TOEFL or IELTS. 


  • Others – For countries like Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands, you need considerable time to apply for admission. However, a six-month prep time is enough for others like Dubai, Australia, and Singapore. 


Applying to master’s programs in a foreign university comes with advantages. Unlike Bachelor’s degrees, most postgraduate aspirations do not have to worry about a delay in application. It is possible to apply for masters applications at international institutions whenever you want. While some prefer to opt for a master’s degree immediately after completing their undergraduate, others prefer to wait it out and gain a few years of professional experience. Both approaches are appropriate, and there is no ‘right or wrong.’ 

The entrance exams required for postgraduate admission in foreign universities are GMAT and GRE, along with the language tests – TOEFL and IELTS. Most experts opine that interested students to 18 to 24 months before the beginning of the academic session for a master’s degree in a study abroad destination. 


So, there we have it, a comprehensive overview of the time you may need to plan for studying abroad. Although there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer to the question, it is always better to start early.