Common Application Documents Required for Admission in Foreign Universities


Sristy Sharma
Updated on May 10, 2022 04:32 PM IST

While the specific requirements of each university and every study abroad destination are different, there are certain documents that are common to all of them. Here's the complete list of common application documents to Study Abroad.

Common Application Documents Required for Admission in Foreign Universities
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As you gear up to apply to foreign universities, the number and kind of documents must be causing a whole other level of stress and anxiety. A neverending list of questions such as 'Whether the document is relevant for you?', 'Which transcripts must be uploaded and scanned?', or 'What should be the format of these study abroad documents?', could be making the process further difficult for you.

Well, this is where this list comes into play. Here we have a guide for you with the complete list of common documents required by the foreign universities so that you can prepare them well in advance without missing your university application deadlines. 

Refer to the following guide and approach the study abroad application process confidently!

List Study Abroad Application Documents

While each university abroad might have a different set of documents for international students to submit, the most commonly required study abroad documents are mentioned in detail below.

Here is a list of some of the common study abroad application documents, and how necessary is it to include them in your application:

Name of Document

Nature of Requirement

Application Form

Always required if the university issues one. 

Student CV

Necessary to include only when asked.

Recommended even when not asked. 

Academic Transcripts

Always required. 

Test Score Transcripts

Necessary to include test score transcripts.

Which transcripts to include may differ for courses and universities.


Necessary to include even when not asked.


Necessary to be included.

Number of LORs required may differ for courses and universities. 

College Application Essay

Include when asked. 

Proof of Finances

Always necessary to include. 

Medical Certificate

Necessity differs for courses and universities. 

Travel History

Only when asked. 

Passport Copy

Often not listed as a requirement.

Recommended to include always.

Application Form

To be considered for any university abroad, be it for Masters or Bachelors, you will be required to fill out its designated application form. This form also acts as a summary and your identification for the pre-and post-admission process. 

An application form to study abroad is generally required for the following reasons:

  • The form acts as a summary of the whole application.
  • It acts as proof of your application and you can use it to refer to your application’s status.

  • It contains all the personal and academic information of the applicant.

  • It is treated as the preliminary application by the selection panel to confirm the satisfaction of the eligibility criteria.

  • It also acts as the evidence and receipt for the application fee or any additional transactions.

Precaution While Preparing the Application Form

  • Filling the form in the earlier or later stages of application duration can cause you to be caught in a traffic onslaught. Sites often tend to crash in the latter days.

  • Pre-instructions highlight many important requirements of the form filling process. They must be read carefully.

The best way to go ahead here is to take help from experts who have years of experience in not only getting you admitted but also in finding you scholarships to study abroad.

Avoid Making Mistakes in Your Study Abroad Application!

Student CV/Academic Resume

A Student CV or Academic Resume covers what the application form does not. It acts as an introduction to the selection panel, however, through your own words. The most common information furnished in the CV includes:

  • The personal Introduction of the applicant.

  • Academic qualifications

  • Additional academic-related information: internships, certificate courses, etc.

  • Participation in extra-curricular activities and social initiatives

  • Interpersonal skills of the applicant

While the application form focuses on academic details in quantity, the Student CV highlights your achievements in a multi-dimensional aspect.

Precaution While Preparing Student CV

  • Details must not be provided in the student CV. Your CV is just a list of your achievements.

  • Ensure to provide proofs in supplementary form (certificates and appreciation letters) to the content of your CV. Hence, avoid mentioning what you cannot prove to be existent.

  • Do not over-focus on interpersonal skills. 

Academic Transcripts

Academic Transcripts are the documents related to your educational qualifications. All your mark sheets, Degrees, Migration, and Transfer certificates come under this. Commonly, the following must be present in your academic transcripts:

  • GPA of your previous qualification

  • Qualification proofs of matriculation and senior secondary schooling

  • Qualification proof of Bachelor's degree (for Masters applicants)

  • Certificates of any supplementary courses

  • Any academic performance transcript which you listed in your CV 

Precaution in Preparing Academic Transcripts

  • The digital transcripts are scanned copies of original documents and not images.
  • Chronological placement of the transcripts makes a good impression.

  • All the additional transcripts must be relevant to your academic prospects.

Test Score Reports

Certain tests are required by the foreign universities to be submitted along with your application. Most of these tests allow you to send reports directly to the chosen universities. These tests may include:

  • SAT (for Bachelor's courses),

  • ACT (for Bachelor's courses),

  • GRE (for Graduate courses),

  • GMAT (for Graduate Management courses),

  • English language proficiency tests such as the IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, or Duolingo English Test.

Precaution in Preparing the Test Score Reports

  • Certain universities have gone test-optional and if your score does not enhance your application, then do not submit them.

  • Similar tests are applicable in either/or format (language proficiency test scores). If you have taken multiple of them, then submit the one with the best score.

  • Mention only in your Student CV and application form the test scores you are submitting.

  • Certain universities have the best score policy. You can submit the best score out of the multiple attempts you made for one test. However, ensure to check whether the university accepts the best scores otherwise your application might get rejected.


SOP is a type of application essay that is required to state the purpose of your application to a particular university. The contents include your academic background, prospects, what inspired you to apply for the course and institution, and your life’s contribution to your academics and other co-curricular ventures.

The main aspects of an SOP should cover:

  • Your aim in your career and how the course applied fits into this mission.

  • What has been your journey till the application?

  • How did you discover the course, country, and university and why did you choose them?

  • Your social acumen and co-curricular initiatives.

  • Your aims and objectives for the course and in your future.

Precaution in Preparing an SOP

While writing an SOP, beware avoid these common mistakes:

  • Make it interesting but not fiction.

  • Ensure your vocabulary, grammar and language are formal and have them reflect your proficiency in the language.

  • Do not overload every piece of information, but only the relevant and prioritized ones.

  • Ensure adherence to the word limit.

  • Have a balanced approach of appreciation and determination and not flattering and snobbish.

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LOR or Letter of Recommendation are statements from the designated individuals of your academic, social, and/or personal life. These statements act as guarantees from these individuals of your academic dedication and conduct while you study at the institution.

A LOR must consist of:

  • The proper explanation of the relationship between you and the designated person and the relationship must reflect a positive one, allowing the recommender to recommend you to the university.

  • The observations made by the recommender about your academic performance and related aspects.

  • The observation of your character and interpersonal qualities.

  • The recommender's contact information and official designation.

  • Observation in terms of your interest in the applied course.

Precaution in Preparing the LOR

Do not make the following common mistakes while writing a LOR:

  • The relationship must be positive and of guardianship.

  • Mostly, universities specify the capacity of designated persons, the same must be met properly.

  • In case the university has only mentioned LOR submission, ensure the designated person is of capacity and with the profile of a respected individual of the home country.

  • An LOR may be required in the plural (more than one) and it must be met accordingly.

College Application Essay

Certain universities specifically ask for an additional and separate college application essay other than SOP. In such cases, SOP focuses purely on academic acumen, aims, and vision. On the other hand, the college application essay focuses on:

  • Your academic and the socio-personal background leading to the application stage.

  • Your inspiration and qualitative aspects of your future and career.

  • The things that caught your eye and made you apply to the university.

  • Your determination and other interpersonal skills.

  • Your hobbies and how they add to your whole personality.

  • Co-curricular activities and your social initiatives.

Precaution in Preparing a College Application Essay

The application essay will be an additional requirement as SOP alone acts like one. Therefore, the following precautions must be followed:

  • Do not overlap the information. If certain academic information is in your SOP and is required in an essay as well, only then should you mention it in your application essay.

  • The essay must take a personal approach as SOP takes a formal one.

  • The language, vocabulary, and grammar must be taken care of.

  • It should be written in the first person.

  • Add creative and interactive elements to the essay.

  • The word limit must still be followed and must not exceed that of SOPs.

Proof of Finances

International Students are required by the foreign universities to prove that they have the financial capacity or background to bear the educational and living costs at the chosen university and study abroad destination. 

Proof of Finances can be:

  • Bank statements, showing the income or savings of the applicant.

  • Bank Statements of parents or legal guardians.

  • Bank statements of official financer of student’s education

  • Scholarship or financial aid, government or non-government

  • Education Loan

Precaution in Preparing the Proof of Finances

Following precautions must be followed while preparing Proof of Finances:

  • The finance source must not get exhausted before completing the course fully.

  • In case of financer being other than the applicant, their consent must be delivered in writing.

  • The financer must agree to bear the education and living expenses of the international student.

  • All the statements and agreements must be true and complete.

Medical History Documents

The Medical History of the international applicants is an important document. Most study abroad destinations have excellent healthcare mechanisms for their citizens. Even the public healthcare system is highly innovative and comfortable, making the medical costs to be quite expensive. Countries require international students to insure themselves on basis of their medical status. 

Medical history documents must show:

  • Full medical status of the applicant is present.

  • The reports must be attested by an authorized medical practitioner.

  • All the previous instances of medical complications and diseases must be properly disclosed.

  • All the vaccinations ever taken by the international student must be disclosed.

  • All the allergies or medical conditions must be disclosed along with their severity.

  • The medical practitioner should describe the possible health risks or conditions of the student. 

  • Details of any existing medical insurance or insurance applied for.

Precaution in Preparing Medical History

Medical History related documents must be prepared while below mentioned precautions:

  • The details and disclosures must be true, complete, and attested.

  • The license of the medical practitioner must be valid and capable of giving the required attestation.

  • Insurance details must include the cover amount, premium instalment amount, duration, and any special terms or conditions.

  • All the details must be updated to the current status.

Travel History Documents

International students are required to submit travel history documents only in certain circumstances. Majorly these documents are submitted along with the Visa application. However, sometimes travel history might result in immediate disqualification of the student for admission. This is when the travel history is in direct contradiction to the rules of immigration of study abroad destination. In this case, travel history document submission saves a lot of time for both the student and the university.

Travel History requires disclosure of:

  • Recent travel details, if any.

  • The travel history may date back to any time, however, generally, it is between 1-2 years before submission of the application.

  • Duration of travel, stay period, and purpose of travel, must be disclosed.

Precaution in Preparing Travel History

While preparing travel history documents:

  • Domestic travel may be skipped, as per the requirements of the university.

  • The international travel details must be disclosed irrespective of the country travelled to.

  • All the details must be true and complete.

  • Supporting proof must be provided as per requirements.

Our Ivy League mentors will not just help you prepare these crucial documents but also make sure that your application process is hassle-free. You can also write to us at to get further get your doubts cleared.

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