The UK is home to well over 500,000 international students.Notably, it is the world’s second leading study destination (after the US), thanks to the strong global reputation of UK universities.Tuition fees at UK schools are cheaper compared to the what you will pay when studying in the US.
Despite economic uncertainties following the nation’s referendum on EU membership in June 2016, several UK universities are putting in the effort to welcome students from across the EU and the entire world. Indeed, the country is home to many of the world’s most internationally diverse campuses and communities – and this, for many, is a large part of the appeal of studying in the UK.
How to Apply
The UK operates a centralized university admissions service which handles all undergraduate applications –it is called the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS). This is used by both domestic and international students to apply for programs at universities in the UK. You’ll be required to register on the UCAS website before completing and submitting your application. Note that the website provides detailed information on how to apply, what to include, how to track your application and how to respond to your chosen universities. It also has a guide for international students, including information about visas, student finance and more.
Once you’ve submitted an application, UCAS will send your application to the institutions you’ve chosen, and then email or mail you back their responses. If you’re accepted by any of the institutions, you’ll get an ‘offer’. Note that this can take the form of a ‘conditional offer’ which means the place is yours if you satisfy the specified admissions criteria, or an ‘unconditional offer’ which means you’ve already reached their criteria. If you’re unlucky, you’ll receive either a ‘withdrawn application’ response, which means either you or the university has withdrawn your course choice, or an ‘unsuccessful application’ response, which means the university has decided not to offer you a place. You might be able to add another choice if you’ve received decisions from all five universities or colleges and were not accepted, or if you declined the offers you received.
For schools, English language centers, most further education courses and some postgraduate courses, there is no centralized application system, so you’ll need to apply directly to the institution providing the course. You can usually find application forms on the website.
All students are required to write a ‘personal statement’ explaining their reasons for wanting to study their chosen subject. If you are applying to more than one institution (as is usual), make sure not to mention any by name, as they will all receive the same personal statement. The UCAS website has a lot of tailored advice for writing personal statements, but as a rule-of-thumb, international students are encouraged to mention why they want to study in the UK rather than in their home country, how their studies will help them in the future, and describe their English language skills (perhaps by mentioning any English courses or tests they have taken).
As well as completing the UCAS process, international students may need to send copies of their academic transcripts to their course provider. This is usually because UCAS can only send some results from awarding bodies (such as the International Baccalaureate) directly to your chosen course providers. For most other international qualifications, the universities will ask that the results are sent directly to them.
There are different application forms and deadlines depending on the type of course you’re applying for. The UCAS website is usually very clear on deadlines, and it’s important to make sure you don’t miss these, as some universities may not consider late applications.
Though UCAS processes the applications, decisions about admissions requirements are made by individual universities. So, if you have any questions that are not about the technicalities of application, you should direct them to the university concerned. Before applying, make sure you read up on the course requirements, tuition fee costs and course details, emailing the university if you need more information. Remember that requirements may vary depending on your country of residence.
International students who hail from outside the EU will need to pay significantly higher tuition fees, usually varying between about £7,000 (~US$8,580) and £35,000 (~US$42,900) per year depending on the program.However, at postgraduate level there’s no set maximum amount, and for all students (UK/EU/international), tuition fees tend to be higher than at undergraduate level. Again, this varies depending on the degree and university.
Costs of Living
As an international student, you’ll need at least £12,000 a year to take care of living costs in the UK (~US$14,720) but will need to budget more to live in London, where rent and other costs are considerably higher than in the rest of the UK. If applying for a visa, you’ll need to meet the financial requirements set by the UK Border Agency (UKBA). One way to save money while studying in the UK is to take advantage of the many student discountsoffered by retailers – simply flash your student card to save money!
For more enquiries about admissions into universities abroad, send an email to Jonah@studyabroad365.com or call +2347037293057