Helping your child choose to study at an overseas university is one of the biggest decisions you can make. There are so many things to think about in this life-changing adventure.

Are they ready to leave move away? Are you ready to let them go? Is their English good enough? Do they have the right background education? What will it all cost?

Even understanding the words used at an international university might be challenging. What is a trimester? What is the difference between a course and a program? Many little things can add up to a big barrier that can slow down the process or even prevent them from applying and missing the opportunity of a lifetime.

That's why it is important to have people who can help knock down that barrier to a rewarding and exciting adventure in a far-off land. Staff at Deakin University in Australia are the people you want helping you and your child with that decision.

'The application process was quite challenging as it was my first time applying internationally. Luckily, I got to meet one of the staff from Deakin's office in Indonesia, who helped me enormously,' said Liman, an Indonesian student studying public health at Deakin. 'The staff member who handled my submission was very responsive and helpful. The submission was surprisingly easy and straightforward.'

Consider getting help from an education agent

Some families seek assistance with their child's application from an education agent. Samantha and her parents met an agent at an international education event in the Philippines. 'The education agency helped me through my whole application journey,' she said. 'I was assigned an education counsellor who gave me the documents I needed and walked me through the whole process.'

Though applicants from some countries must submit through an agent, Deakin's global network of authorised education agents are available to help anyone regardless of where they are from. Agents are experts at understanding your child and Deakin, and helping get the best outcome. An agent suggested that Reinhard, from Indonesia, apply for the prestigious Deakin Vice-Chancellor's International Scholarship, worth 100% of his tuition: 'Fast forward to the present and here I am, a final year scholarship student in Deakin University's Master of Communication program, specialising in digital media. It has been amazing!'

Apply on time for a scholarship

Though not everyone can get a full-tuition scholarship like Reinhard, Deakin offers other scholarships and bursaries with many different criteria. Some are based on where you live. Others are based on your child wants to study. These are offered in limited numbers and are highly competitive. Offered on a 'first come, first served' basis, eligible applicants are awarded scholarships in the order they are accepted into a program. If you have budgeted for tuition and living expenses, receiving a scholarship you are not expecting is a nice surprise. Liman applied early to his public health program and 'Exceeding my expectations, I was granted the Global Health Leaders Scholarship!'

While most of Deakin's scholarships do not require an application, the Deakin Vice-Chancellor's International Scholarship and the Deakin International Scholarships do require one. High-achieving applicants are encouraged to take the time to apply. It isn't a hard process and your child may end up with extra money to help take some of the burden off you.

Preparing the documents for an application

Whether the application is being submitted through an agent or direct by your child, they will need to supply supporting documents with their application. Many of these documents will be ones that you can help them with. Give yourself a good amount of time to get all the required material before you start working on the application with your child. Some may take a while to obtain.

'My mother had to travel to Metro Manila (capital of the Philippines) for some documents even though I am from Cebu (another region),' said Samantha of the process she had to go through. 'Bank statements and certifications are required. It is helpful to request them from the bank early.'

Everything needs to be submitted in English, so allow plenty of time to get them translated if needed.

English language proficiency

One of the important documents your child will need is evidence of English-language proficiency, a required component of the application. The level they need to obtain depends on the degree they are applying for, so check their course page on the university website to find out the English language requirements. Your agent can also help find this information. Samantha recommends scheduling the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam as soon as possible. It may take time to find a test time that is suitable and, depending on where you live, you may have to travel to the test. It may also take a few weeks for the results.

Making their case

Sometimes the application and supporting documents just don't feel like they are saying enough who your child is, how great they are and why they belong at Deakin. That's why some programs require additional information, such as a personal statement. According to Deakin's Admissions office, 'this is a chance to tell us why they want to study in Australia and their plans for after they finish their degree.'

Their personal statement is an opportunity for them to tell us how great they are. It is an opportunity to tell us about the amazing things they have done. It is an opportunity to showcase how all of the opportunities you have provided for them, like volunteer work, make them an ideal applicant. It is their time to tell us why we should be proud to have your child at Deakin!

Once they have submitted their application and are waiting for a response, it is time to think about all the things they need to do before they leave for Australia. Decide where they will live – will it be on campus or in the community? What do they need to take with them? How often will you call them? Zoom or FaceTime? Will you message every day? And who gets invited to the going away party?

And it is also time for you to think about what you want to do if you visit them!