Study in Australia ?
Find out everything you need to know before deciding to pursue higher studies in Australia.
Modern, happy and sun-soaked are some of the qualities attributed to the country and continent down under. Australia ranks 3rd when it comes to the popularity of international student destination, just behind United Kingdom and the United States of America, and that too despite having a population of a mere 25 million approximately. And since Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, its summer begins when the rest of the world starts experiencing the cold (December) and winter comes in June. The changes in climate can be quite extreme to Australia’s massive size. The average temperature during summer ranges from 15 degrees Celsius to 35 degrees Celsius, and in some parts, going as high as 40 degrees. During winter, one can expect the average range to vary between 8 to 20 degrees Celsius, however, temperatures may go below 0 degrees in certain cities, like Canberra for example.
Education in Australia
Eight of the top hundred universities in the world are based in Australia owing to a wide range of course options and rigid quality assurance systems set up by the government. ESOS (Educational Services for Overseas Students) and AQF (Australian Quality Framework) are two such bodies. International students contribute massively to the country’s economy, therefore the Australian government takes special care protecting the students’ rights.
The Australian National University, Monash University, The University of Melbourne and The University of Western Sydney are among the top universities in Australia. Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth and Brisbane are the homes to some of the best colleges in Australia. MBA (Master of Business Administration), Accounting, Information Technology, Hotel Management and Health Care are among the most sought-after courses by international students in Australia.
Universities in Australia tend to be very flexible. Not only do they offer numerous course options in levels of varying degrees, but the universities permit students to manage and extend their studies around part-time employments or other significant commitments. Furthermore, most universities in Australia tend to offer a wide range of options to earn double degrees, facilitating students to pick from a wide range of subject areas. This is uniquely helpful in the sense that it unburdens students from picking one definite academic, and later professional, path so early in their lives. Consequently, students who choose to undertake the double degree option end up with a more comprehensive education and can start their professional careers with an array of transferrable abilities and one of a kind educational maturity, making them highly desirable by employers worldwide.
Students always have a choice on where to live, whether it be university managed accommodation or private housing. Usually, university accommodation may also include a catered option. The advantage of catered accommodation are obviously the cooked meals and the foreknowledge of the costs. However, students may to choose to manage meals for themselves as well.
Wherever you prefer to live, the university accommodation office is there to help. Like most students, if you choose university managed rooms for your first year of stay, the accommodation office will be able to inform on the availability of their lodging facilities. However, if your preference is to rent from a private landlord, or there isn’t any availability left at your university of choice, then the accommodation office should be able to provide you with a list of privately owned properties in the area.
Whatever your choice may be, it is always essential to be aware of your contractual privileges and obligations. In most cases you will be required to sign a tenancy contract, it is crucial that you read it thoroughly and understand all of the terms before you sign it.
The requirements for admission differ according to university, programme and level of study. But, by and large, the need to meet a minimum score in an English language test is a requisite in all cases. The most popular is the IELTS exam; the minimum score for undergraduate applicants is 6.0 (with no band less than 5.5) and postgraduate applicants 6.5 (with no band less than 6.0). GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) and PTE (Pearson Tests of English) are pretty standard alternatives to IELTS. A minimum academic grade may be a requirement depending on the university and programme of choice. All of these will need to be proven through submission of related documents.
The required documents for applying are as follows:
- Copies of SSC and HSC or O Level and A level certificates
- Bachelor’s degrees (for postgraduate applicants)
- Two Letters of recommendation (this may be academic or professional)
- Statement of Purpose
- Scoresheet of English language test (IELTS/PTE/TOEFL)
- Portfolio (if applicable)
- Proof of funds
- Any other documents stated specifically by the university of choice
For Australian universities, there are two intake sessions: July/August (spring session), and February/March (autumn session).
If your objective is to start studying in July/August session, the most ideal time to begin applying would be the November of the year before. It is advisable that you begin your research and preparation much earlier. Make sure you apply before the deadlines stated by your chosen universities. It can take up to 7 weeks for your application to be processed by the university after which you can expect a response. An acceptance letter known as the Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) will be sent to you by May/June depending on the university. It is mandatory to receive the COE before applying for your visa/study permit.
It is also important to note that, university and college applications will involve paying a fee. The application fee will vary from institute to institute.
The most common steps of the application process are listed below:
- Explore university and course options
- Contact the shortlisted institutes for relevant information
- Register for and take the requisite entrance exams (IELTS/PTE/GMAT/SAT/GRE, etc.)
- Write your Statement of Purpose (SOP)
- Acquire the Letters of Recommendation (LOR)
- Begin applications
- Partake in video/phone interviews
- Once accepted by an institution, start applying for your visa
Costs and Expenses
Your expenses will be governed entirely by which part of Australia you’ll be living in. Nonetheless, the overall cost comes down to which university you’ll be attending, where you’ll be living and the kind of social activities you’ll be participating in. Other than the tuition fees, the following are where your money will be spent:
- Food and groceries
- Bills (Utilities including phone, electricity, water and heating)
- Airfare to and from your country of origin
- Other optional expenses (this may include eating out, travel, car rent, etc.)
The tuition fees for undergraduate students range from AU$15,000 – $33,000 annually, excluding high value courses like Veterinary Science and Medicine. Postgraduate studies will cost an international student approximately AU$20,000 – $37,000 every year. Additionally, based on where you stay, living expenses can range from approximately AU$18,000 – $21,000 per year.
In order to attend an Australian university or college, procuring a student visa (subclass 500) is mandatory. However, you cannot apply for a student visa without having been enrolled into an Australian university or college first. Before you begin the applications for your student visa you must first ensure the following:
- Valid Passport: it is important that the validity of your passport extends to a minimum of six months outside the length of your stay in Australia
- Nonimmigrant Visa Application
- Proof of Financial Support: usually a bank statement, unless stated otherwise, proving you have the necessary finances to support your education and stay in Australia
- COE (Confirmation of Enrollment) form: In order to evidence your enrollment in an Australian educational institution, you need to be issued a COE form by the institution itself. The forms are usually given to students once the tuition fees have been paid.
- Acceptance Letter: in addition to the COE, the acceptance letter from the university containing the proposed study plan will act as further proof of admission
- Letter from your current/previous institution: confirming your student status
- 4 Passport sized Photographs
Other documents may include:
- Certificates and transcripts evidencing previous education
- Scoresheets of entry exams (IELTS/GMAT/PTE)
- Medical reports
- Statement of intent to leave Australia as soon as studies are complete
The Australian High Commission usually takes about 8 to 12 weeks to complete processing the visa application. It is highly recommended that you apply at least 3 months prior to the commencement of studies.
Important things to ensure before leaving for Australia:
- Book airline tickets
- Purchase travel and health insurance
- Arrangement of accommodation on arrival to Australia
- Arrangement of transport to home in Australia from the airport
- Check baggage and customs policy
Documents that you must have on you before leaving for the airport:
- Airline tickets
- Insurance certificates
- Letter of Acceptance (the one sent by the university or college)
- Key addresses and phone numbers
- The bank statement evidencing the required funds
- Prescriptions for any medication you might be carrying
- Cash or traveler’s cheques
- Medical and immunization records
- Past certificates and transcripts evidencing previous education
Post Study Options
On completion of a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree, students may be permitted to apply for a post-study work visa that may extend their stay to up to two years. While graduates who’ve completed a Master’s by research degree or a PhD will be eligible for a work visa that will extend up to three or four years respectively. Other graduates might be able to apply for a subclass 485 visa that will last for 18 months.