Steps to Apply for Study Abroad Program as a Nigerian Student

Study abroad program
Written by Omolola Akinyemi

Truth be told, the allure and promise of improved work and living conditions abroad is irresistible. Little wonder then, if you aspire to get yourself a study abroad program as a Nigerian student. Whether you aspire to undertake a Bachelor’s, Masters or even Ph.D. degree (or a professional certificate). The prospect of studying abroad in a developed country is quite rewarding.


You get to meet with people from diverse backgrounds, learn a new language perhaps, and get the best academic training and qualifications. And above all – some of these countries offer the best job opportunities. Technology, health and social benefits in many countries in Europe, USA and some Asian countries are also cutting-edge. 

If you have the opportunity to apply for a study abroad program and you meet the requirements, by all means do so. We would endeavour to discuss how you can apply for such a study abroad program as a Nigerian student in this article. So stay glued and let’s flow together.  

Points to Note Before Embarking on a Study Abroad Program as a Nigerian Student

To a large extent, you must be willing to adapt to new environments, climates, languages, and cultures (without losing yourself of course). You would need some adventurous spirit and willingness to learn to be able to adapt this way. And of course form rewarding, lasting relationships with foreigners in a positive way. However, a word of caution: you will need to be responsible for yourself.  

The experience of living and studying abroad will obviously force you to grow up quite fast. And to look out for yourself, in the midst of both good and not-so-good events and realities. It also requires plenty of fact-finding and planning ahead. Go to the internet to do careful, indepth research. 

There are certified study-abroad education agencies and advisors that can assist you with the due process and comprehensive information around town. They often organize educational fairs and online events, to enlighten prospective students about foreign school admissions. You can visit their offices or websites, and work with them to have a satisfying admission experience. It is also good to connect with international students (especially those from Nigeria), and relevant education forums get facts from them.

And prepare yourself to deal with the following factors:

  • You must find out and determine which countries and schools are best for your needs. In terms of cost of living, this factor will be very important. You must have enough money to cover your daily needs. Findings have revealed that cost of living is generally cheaper in a good number of Asian and European countries.  Whereas in the USA, UK, and Australia, costs of living can be rather high. 
  • Also check out the tuition fees for each school – if you and your parents (or sponsors) can afford it. Public tertiary institutions in Europe tend to be cheaper than private ones (and we believe it is the same in most countries). 
  • Your academic grades must be good enough for the school you are targeting. Findings have revealed that most foreign universities prefer to admit students with an average score of 70% in their grades. Especially for courses in Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering fields.  
  • Check also for affordable and available housing in your target country (and city/town where the school is located). Sometimes it is not easy to get accommodation, and a decent, affordable one for that matter. Also check if the environment is safe, especially for foreigners like you. So make your findings.
  • Find out how far your target school campus is from your proposed dwelling place. Is transportation available (and affordable)? Is the distance trekkable? Does the institution provide its own transportation system for students? You need to know and plan ahead.
  • The prevailing weather and climate of your target country is important. Are you willing and ready to handle the weather conditions? Can you get suitable clothing on time, and can you afford it? You need to prepare ahead for this. 
  • Are you ready to adapt to a new language and culture? Some of these foreign countries speak a different official language. If you will be attending a choice school in their country, then you must also learn their language, and fast enough. Also, prepare yourself to adapt to a different culture from your own. And to avoid getting into scruples with their law enforcement agents. You will need to respect their laws and norms in that country, and the town/city where you will domicile. So research these facts. 
  • What resources are available for free (or not) in your target institution? Find out what tools and resources your target school is willing to provide for students – including foreigners. That would include electronic study gadgets (such as laptops), free wi-fi, food/snacks, books, dormitory space and more. 

Planning to Study Abroad as a Nigerian Student: General Requirements

Before you attempt to embark on a study abroad program, as emphasized above, arm yourself with enough information. Especially from online sources. You must understand all the necessary steps to take, the right place to go, and the needed documents. In general, get the following documents ready before you aim to apply for a study abroad program:

  1. Valid International Passport. This is your international identification document as a citizen of Nigeria. It must be ready far ahead of your study abroad program. And it will be demanded at the local embassy of the country where you are going to study. You can pay for, and obtain your international passport from offices of the Nigerian Immigration Service closest to you.
  2. Your Birth Certificate. This is further proof of your citizenship as a Nigerian. So it must be ready.
  3. WAEC/SSCE Result. Some schools accept WAEC results, and some accept NECO as well. In any case, proof that you completed secondary school with the required certificate is necessary.
  4. Secondary School or University Transcript from your previous school (whichever is required): These transcripts are a summary of your academic records and final results, while still in your former school.
  5. Recommendation Letter from a respected person.  It is best that this letter be written by respected figures of authority.  Your secondary school guidance counselor, principal, a senior teacher, professor, or thesis supervisor who knows you well will be ideal. This serves as evidence of your character or good conduct from someone who knows you back home.
  6. Language Proficiency Certificate. Some countries and schools expect you to prove how good you are at reading and writing skills in their official language. The most familiar of such exams and certificates are:                              – TOEFL (minimum score: 80)       – IELTS (minimum score: 6)         – Cambridge C1/C2 exam (minimum score: 170)                   – Duolingo English Test (minimum score: 100)                   – Chinese/Mandarin: (Minimum score HSK 5)
  7. Your Bank Statements. You need to show your bank balance for several months (anything between 6 to 12 months in most cases), or that of your sponsor. Thus serves as proof of your financial capability to support your studies abroad.
  8. Study Visa. This Is the official permit allowing you to stay for a specified time and study in the target country. This is very important.
  9. Certificate of Fitness/Health Documents. It would be necessary to test and document your current health status, and your health history. Also whether you would need assistance with your health (or if you may need to undergo some restriction) is important. For your own safety and other travelers as well, this will be critical. 
  10. Personal statement essay
  11. Application form for the university/target institution
  12. Your Resume/CV
  13. National Test scores (such as ACT, SAT, AP, GRE, A-Levels, IB diploma, etc) are usually requested
  14. Certificate of scholarship receipt and funding would be required, if you are sponsored to study through a scholarship 
  15. You may also be requested to get a Police Report Certificate as proof that you have no criminal records


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About the author

Omolola Akinyemi

A Computer Science graduate of UNILAG, I hail from Ekiti state of Nigeria. An astute teacher, learner & admin assistant of many years experience. I love technology, innovation, and Nature. A problem solving mentality is important to me. The future is only seconds away, and I believe I can define the future now. You can also.