Eligibility Criteria to Study Abroad for Indian Students


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Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Dec 21, 2023 13:59 IST

Eligibility Criteria to Study Abroad for Indian Students: Studying abroad can be a long journey and requires a long preparation and a list of eligibility criteria that students need to fulfil. This article will discuss the requirements to study abroad from India in detail.

Eligibility for Studying Abroad

What are the Requirements to Study Abroad: Students who are looking to pursue higher education abroad have to appear for language exams such as the IELTS, TOEFL and PTE and general exams such as SAT, GMAT, GRE and ACT to be eligible for admissions. Over the years, statistics have shown that a lot of Indians travel to destinations abroad such as the United States of America (USA)CanadaAustralia, the United Kingdom (UK), and Germany among many others for pursuing education. It goes without mentioning that students looking to study abroad are required to appear for language and general exams depending on the requirement of the course and the University of choice of the candidate.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS)Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Pearson Test of English (PTE) are all standardized language tests, which are required to be taken for the purpose of getting admission into colleges abroad. General exams include the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)American College Testing (ACT), and Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Apart from this, those who want to go for subject-specific studies also need to give exams like PCAT, VCAT, MCAT, and DAT. These follow different formats, structures and result bands. These tests are all different in various ways and colleges require scores of candidates for admission into their institutions. 

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Why study abroad?

Reasonable tuition fees and low cost of living coupled with education loans and scholarships have allowed students to make their dream of studying overseas a reality. With state-of-the-art facilities, renowned faculty, and a healthy student-teacher ratio studying abroad has become popular among the youth of the country. Moreover, top study-abroad destinations have introduced favourable post-study work options and job opportunities for international students, yielding a high rate of investment. Studying abroad does not only guarantee growth for the candidate but also an improved living standard.

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When to apply for study abroad?

Students thinking about how to study abroad should first know their options. It is always advisable for students to apply well ahead of the deadline to avoid any last-minute trouble. For example, students who are aiming for the September intake should ideally appear for these exams by February so that they can apply comfortably before the deadline. Students are advised to check with their college/ university and course, for the exam requirement. They should only apply for the exam that is accepted by their institution of choice. In case there is an option between two exams, the decision rests on the candidate to pick an exam of his choice. The time required for preparing for these examinations would depend on the existing proficiency and aptitude level of the candidates. Candidates may require 2 to 4 months of preparation before the exam date.

How many times can you appear for exams?

All the exams mentioned exhibit different rules for taking the exam. For example, IELTS can be taken an unlimited number of times. TOEFL can be retaken as many times as desired, but cannot be taken more than once in a 12-day period. The same holds true for PTE; it can be taken as many times as one wishes to. You must wait to receive your scores before you can book your next test. You can appear for the GMAT an unlimited number of times, subject to five times a year and a gap of 30 days between two tests.

Knowing about the exams for studying abroad

As mentioned, candidates would have to appear for various language and general exams to be eligible for studying abroad. Read on to know more about these exams.

Language Exams include:

TOEFL - Test of English as Foreign Language or more commonly referred to as TOEFL, measures the ability of non-native speakers of English to use and understand North American English as it is spoken, written, and heard in college and university settings. The TOEFL test has been developed and is administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS), which sets the questions, conducts the test, and sends each examinee the score report. TOEFL exam is required for admission at colleges and universities where the medium of instruction is English. Apart from academic purposes, many government agencies, scholarship programs, and certification agencies use TOEFL scores to evaluate English proficiency.

IELTS - International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an English language proficiency exam that measures the language ability of candidates willing to study or work in a country where English is the language of communication. The exam mainly assesses the ability of test-takers to communicate in the four basic language skills – listening, reading, speaking, and writing. Apart from academic purposes, many government agencies, scholarship programs, and certification agencies use IELTS scores to evaluate English proficiency.

PTE (Pearson Test of English) - PTE Academic is a computer-based test which assesses the Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing abilities of non-native speakers of English who need to demonstrate their academic English capability — often to obtain places at English-speaking universities, higher education institutions or as proof of their language ability for a visa application. The three-hour long computer-based test focuses on day-to-day English rather than the high-level English language and tests a student on his/her ability to effectively understand the language as spoken daily. The multi-level grading system ensures a better understanding of the student’s proficiency in the English language.

CAEL (Canadian Academic English Language Assessment Test) - The Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL) is a standardized test of English in use for academic purposes. It is designed to describe the level of English language of test takers planning to study in English-medium colleges and universities. The CAEL Assessment tests the ability to use English as it is used in Canadian universities and colleges. It allows test takers to experience what it is like to participate in a Canadian post-secondary classroom. The CAEL Assessment offers a unique alternative to other standardized tests of English because it is a topic-based performance test. It comprises an integrated set of language activities. Test takers read articles, listen to a lecture, answer questions and write a short essay – all on one subject.

General Exams include:

SAT - The Scholastic Assessment Test evaluates the aspirants on the basis of literacy and writing skills that are needed for academic success in higher education. This test measures how well the aspirants can solve problems-skills they learned in school that they would be using further in college. The SAT exam is generally taken by students who have completed their schooling or students in high school to get admission in UG courses.

GMAT - The Graduate Management Admission Test is given by those who want to pursue MBA, or business or management-related courses. The aspirants are measured on English, mathematical, and reasoning skills.

GRE - The Graduate Record Examination is also taken by students applying to graduate schools to pursue MA or MS. Also, many business schools also accept GRE scores for granting admission to pursue MBA or business or management courses.

ACT – Also referred to as American College Testing is a standardized test that is required to be taken by students looking for admission to undergraduate schools based in the US and Canada. ACT exam has been developed to evaluate the written, mathematical, verbal and scientific skills of the candidates.

LSAT - The Law School Admission Test is a standardized test and is taken by students who want to take admitted to law schools. The students are evaluated on the basis of reading and verbal reasoning skills.

Must Read: Benefits of Studying Abroad

What are Admission Documents for Study Abroad?

Apart from the above-mentioned tests, another important aspect of a candidate is eligible for admission to universities/colleges abroad and how they should study abroad that is, what all documents are required to successfully submit admission application for the same. These documents include:

Letter of recommendation (LOR) – Students also requires a Letter of recommendation (LOR) while applying to different universities. The LOR should be from a faculty member from your previous education institute. In case you are a working professional, your employer can also give a letter of recommendation.

Statement of Purpose (SOP) – Apart from the LOR, students also need to submit a Statement of Purpose highlighting their achievements and learnings. Some universities demand Admission Essays in place of Statements of Purpose. Essays are generally required for pursuing a specific course like MBA.

Requirements to Study Abroad from India: Conclusion

The requirements to study abroad from India might vary based on the country, university, and course you have applied for. An overview of the entire article and study abroad requirements is given in the points below:

  • Formal Schooling with a certain minimum percentage (usually above 70%)
  • Bachelor’s degree with a certain CGPA and academic courses (vary as per the university requirements. Typically, the minimum CGPA required is 3.0 out of 4.0)
  • Academic or Professional experience (depends on the course)
  • SAT or ACT scores
  • GRE or GMAT scores
  • English language proficiency: IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, or DET
  • Latest resume
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP)
  • LORs (Letters of recommendation)
  • Admission Essays
  • Work Experience Certificate / Work Samples + Video Samples (for creative courses)

Still, confused about college admissions? Get advice from our Shiksha Team of Overseas Admission Counselors who are always ready to help you with all your queries. It is advisable for students to thoroughly check the entry requirements of the university/college they are applying to, and appear for the exam accordingly. Many educational institutes accept specific exams whereas some institutes allow students to give the exams of their choice. Therefore, before preparing for the exam students should check with the university they aspire to get into.

Best of luck!

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Eligibility Criteria to Study Abroad for Indian Students FAQs

Q. What is the eligibility criteria to study abroad for Indian students?

A. The eligibility criteria for studying abroad as an Indian student can vary depending on the country, university, and program you are applying to. However, there are some common requirements that most students need to fulfil. These typically include having completed a recognized secondary education, such as the completion of 12th grade or equivalent. Additionally, international students are often required to demonstrate proficiency in the language of instruction, such as English, by providing scores from standardized language tests like the TOEFL or IELTS. Financial requirements are also important, as students are usually required to show proof of sufficient funds to cover tuition fees and living expenses. Some universities may have specific academic requirements, such as minimum grades or specific subject prerequisites. It is important to thoroughly research the specific eligibility criteria of each university and program you are interested in and ensure that you meet all the requirements before applying.

Q. Is it worth studying abroad for Indian students?

A. For Indian students, studying abroad can be a very rewarding and life-changing experience. It provides several benefits, including exposure to various cultures, languages, and educational systems. Indian students who study abroad have the chance to extend their views, get a global perspective, and gain a more comprehensive grasp of the globe. Additionally, they can develop their language abilities, create a global network, and progress personally and independently. Furthermore, studying abroad can open doors to chances for research and high-quality education that may not exist in India. But before making a choice, Indian students should carefully analyse the financial ramifications and weigh the costs and benefits. Planning ahead, doing research, and looking for grants or other forms of financial aid can all help make studying abroad a worthwhile and rewarding experience.

Q. Which are the top universities for studying abroad?

A. The top universities for studying abroad can vary depending on different rankings and criteria. However, some universities consistently appear as top choices for international students:

  • Harvard University (United States)
  • University of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
  • University of Oxford (United Kingdom)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
  • Stanford University (United States)
  • California Institute of Technology (United States)
  • University College London (United Kingdom)
  • University of Chicago (United States)
  • ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Switzerland)
  • University of Toronto (Canada)

These universities are renowned for their academic excellence, research opportunities, and diverse student communities. They often have strong international programs and support systems in place to cater to the needs of international students. However, it is important for students to research and consider their specific academic interests and goals when choosing a university to study abroad.

Q. Which are the best countries to study abroad?

A. Here are some of the best countries to study abroad:

  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Singapore
  • France
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Spain

These countries offer a combination of high-quality education, diverse academic programs, research opportunities, cultural experiences, and employment prospects. However, it is important to note that the "best" country to study abroad can vary depending on individual preferences, academic interests, and career goals. It is recommended to thoroughly research and consider factors such as language requirements, cost of living, scholarships, and specific programs offered by universities in each country before making a decision.

Q. What are the application documents for studying abroad?

A. When applying to study abroad, the specific application documents required can vary depending on the country, university, and program you are applying to. However, here is a general list of common application documents you may need:

  • Application Form: This includes personal and academic information required by the university or program.
  • Academic Transcripts: Official transcripts of your previous education, such as high school or college/university transcripts.
  • Diplomas/Certificates: Copies of your diplomas or degree certificates from previous education.
  • Test Scores: Standardized test scores such as TOEFL or IELTS for English proficiency, and SAT, ACT, GRE, or GMAT for academic aptitude.
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP): A written essay explaining your motivation, goals, and reasons for studying abroad.
  • Resume/CV: A detailed summary of your educational background, work experience, skills, and achievements.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Typically, two or three letters from teachers, professors, or employers who can attest to your abilities and character.
  • Passport-sized Photographs: Usually required for identification purposes.
  • Financial Documents: Proof of funds to cover tuition fees and living expenses, such as bank statements, scholarship letters, or sponsorship documents.
  • Visa and Immigration Documents: Specific documents required for the visa application process, including a valid passport.
About the Author
Written by
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert

Rahul Singha is a seasoned editor with Shiksha Study Abroad, specializing in overseas education. With over 8 years of domain experience, he has made a significant impact in contributing to the study abroad industry ... Read Full Bio

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king art

3 weeks ago

this is raj I hadn't +12 10 th standard then I took Diploma in mechanical engineering it is 3 year course approved by aicte. could I study in europe

Reply to king art

Rudraksh Bharti

a month ago

hello sir I completed my 12th with 64 percent last year and took a drop, I want to pursue study related to engineering and CS in affordable coast, am I eligible to study abroad?

Reply to Rudraksh Bharti

Sir I completed my MCA in 2015 can I apply for further studies in USA?

Reply to Pooja Mahashabde


Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

11 months ago

Hello Pooja. Yes, you are eligible to study in the USA. You can check popular universities in the US here: https://www.shiksha.com/studyabroad/usa You can also get in touch with our Shiksha Study Abroad counsellors for assistance with university admissions on our website: https://www.shiksha.com/stu



R Dhanush

a year ago

Hi sir this is Dhanush for India. I want to pursue my undergraduate in abroad. I Got 54%in my board's. Can I study abroad . If yes which countries are best ..

Reply to R Dhanush


Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

11 months ago

Hello Dhanush. Yes, you are eligible to study abroad. The 'best country' for you would depend on a number of factors including your preferred course, job prospects and so on. Would request you to get in touch with our Shiksha Study Abroad Counsellors for assistance with university admissions and sel



Pooma Devi

a year ago

Hi Sir, I'm Pooma from Andaman &Nicobar Islands. Completed in Master of Vocation in Food technology and quality Management from Bangalore. I want to pursue my Ph.D. from abroad in Food tech. Can u please guide by refering some stipend offering universities where and how to apply.

Reply to Pooma Devi


Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

a year ago

Hello Pooma. Our Shiksha Study Abroad counsellors will be happy to help you with your university admissions at PhD level. Kindly request a call back at: https://studyabroad.shiksha.com/apply

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