A woman sticking pins into different locations on a world map
A woman sticking pins into different locations on a world map ©

British Council

Applying to study in your preferred country takes careful planning. Use our checklist to record your progress.

Up to 3 years before enrolment

Find the college or university of your choice, and check the version of IELTS you need to take and the IELTS score required. Find our how to register for IELTS.

  • Maintain a good academic record at your current institution.
  • Find your nearest IELTS test centre, check for a convenient date and book your test. You should plan to take the test around 12 – 14 months before enrolment on your course. Register for IELTS for details.
  • Start preparing for IELTS – even if you are a native English speaker.  You should familiarise yourself with the format and timing of the test.
  • Find out if the institutions you are interested in require an admission test. Start planning to take the test(s) required by your chosen institutions.

15-18 months before enrolment

Look at information about studying from organisations such as:

  • Take the IELTS test and receive your score within 13 days. Visit our courses and resources for ideas about how to do better next time if you did not achieve the required score.
  • Prepare a folder for each institution you want to apply to so you can organise all forms, correspondence and receipts.
  • Carefully read all application materials and fulfill all requirements by their due dates. Create an application calendar to stay on track.

10-12 months before enrolment

  • Complete the admission application for the institution(s) you have chosen.
  • Complete your financial aid and scholarship applications.
  • Check the visa requirements.

6-9 months before enrolment

At this stage you should know which institutions have accepted you as a student.

3 months before enrolment

Ensure your visa application is progressing as required.