common mistakes to avoid while applying to study abroad

15 Common Mistakes to Avoid While Applying to Study Abroad

This blog contains 15 common mistakes to avoid in your study abroad goal. As silly or simple as it might seem, please do not trivialize them. 

These are mistakes that have cost people their admission or left them in a tight situation after finding themselves abroad.

These mistakes have been made and can still be made at any point in time, so, while you’re reading this be extra cautious. 

Let’s get into it! 

Common Mistakes to Avoid While Applying to Study Abroad

1. Missing Deadlines: 

The number of people who have made this mistake is alarming! While it’s easy to get caught up in the admission application process itself, please remember your deadlines!

Set reminders and alarms if you need to, because what’s the point of finding the best school with the best scholarship program if you’re going to miss your deadlines?

Please stay vigilant about application deadlines for both the university and any required standardized tests.

2. Incomplete Research:  

This is one reason why a lot of applications fall through. Most times you’re not sure what you want to study, where you want to study, the kind of visa to apply for, what scholarships are open to you, application fee costs and so much more.

Take some time to research your desired program, university, and destination to ensure it aligns with your academic and personal goals. This is very necessary to avoid going abroad and regretting it or wasting valuable time. 

3. Neglecting to Showcase Extracurricular Achievements:

This is another common mistake to avoid while applying to study abroad. Overlooking the significance of extracurricular achievements in your application can diminish your holistic profile. Highlight your involvement in clubs, community service, or leadership roles to demonstrate a well-rounded candidacy.

4. Overlooking Financial Planning:

The cost and standard of living is on the high side. Things are more expensive than before and even if you’re extremely wealthy, lack of financial planning can leave you broke and penniless. And this is worse when you’re an international student living in a foreign country.

Plan your budget carefully, considering tuition, and living expenses, and always make room for unforeseen costs. Avoiding this common mistake while applying to study abroad can help you in more ways than you can imagine. 

5. Incomplete Application: 

As ridiculous as this might sound, it is a very common mistake people make in their applications. Some people send incomplete documents or documents to the wrong email address.

Every step towards planning your study abroad goal is vital and this includes ensuring that your application is complete. Include all necessary documents, transcripts, a well-crafted personal statement and any other required document.

6. Ignoring Visa Requirements: 

Remember point 2 on incomplete research? This is a close second. Understand the visa process for your chosen destination and start early. Delays can impact your ability to study abroad. And when you do understand the visa process please do not ignore it!

Too many people are scared of travelling abroad for fear of getting rejected at the embassy. And while I understand and agree that getting your visa approved is difficult, it is not impossible. 

7. Not Seeking Guidance: 

Mistakes are made more when you try to do something by yourself. No man is an island so don’t try to figure it out all by yourself. Ask for help, reach out to an admission consultant and ask for help.

Wakawaka Doctor has numerous videos on his YouTube, and Instagram and even has lots of blogs dedicated to helping people like you study abroad. Just from watching his content alone, many people have helped themselves go abroad to study.

8. Lack of Cultural Awareness: 

If you’ve never heard about cancel culture, I’ll help you. Cancel culture is the withdrawal of support and not only does this get withdrawn, but it is accompanied by anger and hate.

Although this phrase is used mostly with regard to celebrities, I’ll apply it here too. It would be a shame to visit a foreign country and act out of line. You surely wouldn’t want to get cancelled. So familiarize yourself with the culture of your destination as it can help you adapt more easily.

9. Ignoring Health Insurance: 

Don’t overlook health insurance! It’s like a safety net for unexpected medical stuff, and you definitely want to be covered in a new place. Take a little time to find a good plan that fits your needs – it’s worth the peace of mind!

10. Ignoring Social Media Presence:

Back in the day, this may not have been very important but now, it is. Disregarding the impact of your social media presence on your application is a common oversight. Admissions committees may check your online profiles, so ensure your online presence aligns with the professional image you want to project.

11. Not finding appropriate accommodation in advance: 

This will differ for everyone but if you’re going to a new country without any family in sight, sort out your accommodation ahead of time. Wandering around a new city with all your stuff, desperately looking for a place to crash, is no fun. Take the time to find a comfortable spot that suits your preferences and probably more importantly fits your budget – your future self will thank you for the foresight! 

12. Not preparing enough for interviews

It’s one thing to do inadequate research, send incomplete documents and so on. But it’s another thing to be unprepared for interviews (should you have one). Imagine going through all the processes only to mess up the interview stage. Please don’t ruin all your hard work by not preparing for your interviews. 

13. Ignoring Post-Graduation Opportunities: 

Consider the post-graduation scenario. Although you don’t have to settle down or work in the country you schooled in, chances are that you will, at least for a while. And it’s awesome if the country offers great opportunities. Research potential job opportunities and markets, work permits, and visa regulations in your study destination.

14. Relying Solely on Rankings: 

While university rankings are important, don’t base your decision solely on them. Consider factors such as faculty, specific programs, the campus environment, and your preferences. Don’t let numbers dictate your entire decision – dig deeper for a more personalized fit. 

15. Giving Up after a Single Failure: 

Delay truly is not denial. If it didn’t work out the first time, don’t give up. Reevaluate your previous plan and see what went wrong and what you can do better. We’ll keep saying it. If people have been able to do it, you can too. 

Final Thoughts 

These are a few things to have at the back of your mind as you start your admission application process.

If you’ve successfully secured your admission and are currently studying abroad, what other common mistake should be avoided in the process? Leave a comment below to help someone else. 


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  1. Thank you for generously sharing your expertise with us. Your article has been incredibly enlightening, offering valuable insights and recommendations that have significantly eased my journey preparations. I’ve been a dedicated follower of your blog for some time now, continually impressed by the depth and quality of your content.

    Your guidance has made a substantial difference in my abroad study preparations, alleviating stress and uncertainty along the way. Your support and encouragement have been invaluable, and I’m truly grateful for the guidance you’ve provided.

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