If by the next academic cycle you wish to study abroad or if studying abroad is part of your backup plan, then here are some steps that you could follow to ensure that you stay in control of your application and not succumb to the last minute panic monster.
Understanding Requirements Stage (Jan to October)*
Ideally, if you are looking at studying abroad, then this needs to happen at least 16 to 20 months in advance of the semester you intend to join. This is a vital stage as it helps you weigh the pros and cons of international education as well as helps you to understand the costs involved in the whole process. It is important that you do your own online research and visit the websites of some Universities so that you have basic knowledge yourself. You could consult an experienced counsellor, at this stage, to help understand these requirements better. My suggestion would be to create an excel sheet where you list the name of the University, the application deadlines, documents required, tests to be taken etc such that you can plan accordingly. For instance, if you are applying for medicine and to some universities in the U.K., then October 15th is the deadline and you need to adjust this timeline accordingly. Similarly, some U.S. universities for undergraduate applicants have an early action deadline in the first week of November and if you plan to meet that then you need to have given the tests by June/July such that you have your results in hand while completing the applications.
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