About United Kingdom
The United Kingdom (UK) consists of four different countries, England, Scotland, Wales (commonly known as the Great Britain), and Northern Ireland (the northern part of another island). This political union took place 300 years ago.
The British Empire has a long history and was considered to be one of the world’s most influential empire with colonies all over the world, such as Africa, South America, Canada, Australia, and similar. Nowadays, UK is still considered a major economic force with significant trade agreements in place.
UK is also renowned for its educational system and has some of the best universities in the world.
Why Study in the UK?
UK universities and the education system dates back hundreds of years consisting of elite institutions and a variety of degrees and programs that area globally recognised. Here are some details to take into considerations:
- Worldwide Recognition: undergraduate, postgraduate, or any other qualification from a UK higher education institution is considered to be of high quality and class.
- It takes three years to complete an undergraduate degree and only one year for a postgraduate degree.
- There are various work opportunities following the completion of your studies (and for part-time jobs while you are studying – depending on your visa).
- UK universities have a great culture supported by numerous unions such as for sports, music, theatre, and similar.
- There are many financing schemes and scholarships available to students who want to study in the UK.
- UK is a multicultural society and is open to new cultures, which is great for foreign students.
- From the UK you can travel to Europe within a few hours either by train or a direct flight.
When must you apply to a UK University?
There are three stages you must consider:
- Research and Pre-Application
- Applying to a University
- After you have been accepted
1. Research and Pre-Application – 12 to 18 months in advance
- Research and find your desired program and university/ies
- Examine the Universities Entry requirements and match them with your qualifications. Are you eligible or not? And if not, what can you do to meet their criteria?
- Collect all the required documentation in order to apply
- Prepare for your English Test (if you have not already)
At this stage is important to:
- Choose the right program and university based on your requirements
- Think about the accommodation and how far away is from the University
- The total cost of living in the area (London, for example, is quite expensive in comparison to other smaller cities)
- Check the university rankings and student ratings
- Consider the career and employment prospects
2. Applying to a University – 6 to 10 months in advance
- Create an account and fill in all the details on the application form
- Submit your application and the application fee (when required)
- Provide the documentation
- If required, prepare for the interview with the university
- Wait for the university to send you a Letter of Acceptance (conditional or not)
3. After you have been accepted – 3 months in advance
- Acquire the study visa/permit while on your country
- Find accommodation
- Make travel arrangements
- Arrive at the UK
- Open a Bank Account
- Visit your university
Depending on which degree you are studying there are different requirements. In order to be accepted you must fulfill those entry requirements as specified by the university. Bear in mind, that Scotland has different educational structure and therefore there are dissimilar entry requirements.
The most common eligibility and entry requirements are:
- Your completed degree, and relevant qualifications
- Your grades and subject transcript
- English language test (each university has different requirements but the most common is TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, GMAT, etc)
- Financial status and ways to support yourself while studying
- Personal statement
- Resume / CV
In terms of application deadlines, please note the following:
- Undergraduate Programmes: There are four deadlines throughout the year; October, January 15th, March, June 15th
- Postgraduate Programmes: you should apply at least six months in advance (the UK universities have different deadlines for postgraduate applications)
- You must MEET the deadlines otherwise there is no guarantee that you will be accepted
- Popular programmes fill up quite quickly and well before the deadline (they are highly competitive), thus you must complete your application as soon as possible.
UK has strict immigration policies and following the Brexit things has become much harder. Having said that, this is a situation that everyone faces globally and therefore, it should not deter you from going to UK.
The UK Visa application has different stages and there are various processes in place. It also depends on the country of your residency and the duration of your course. For example, if you are a EU citizen you need not apply for a visa if you are going to stay in UK for less than six months (for studying purposes only).
If you are coming from a non-EU- country, you should apply for the following prior to leaving your home country:
- A student visitor visa; or
- A student visa; and
- Prior Entry Clearance
If you do not acquire the above, you will most probably be turned away at arrival.
A Student visitor visa is for those wishing to stay less than six months and you may not extend your stay once you have arrived. On the other hand, if you are planning to stay longer than six months, then you need to apply for Student Visa and Prior Entry Clearance.
Your steps leading to applying a UK Student Visa:
- Find a UK University;
- Be accepted;
- Enroll in a certified full-time programme;
- Make sure you have received all the documents from the university.
In addition you must be able to:
- To pay your course fees;
- Support financially yourself (and any dependents);
- Live in UK without employment;
- Attend and follow the curriculum of your programme;
- Comply with the regulations and leave UK when your studies have been completed.
Visit the UK Government Visa website for more information.
It is imperative to remind you that if you wish to study in the UK you should be able to provide sufficient proof of financial support whilst you are there. There are however, some popular sources of funding.
- International organisations who grant aid to students all over the world. In order to participate, you need to apply while you are at your home country and not in the UK.
- In some countries, banking institutions offer student loans.
- Various UK universities offer student bursaries and some limited financial support. To find out, please contact your university admissions office.
- Apply for scholarships in own country or from an international organization.
Your accommodation choices will vary based on:
- which university you are attending to,
- whether they have halls of residence,
- the city which the university is located, and
- your monthly budget.
Do note, that universities will not automatically give you accommodation. This is your responsibility, and you must actively secure your housing prior to your arrival. The accommodation around the university goes away quickly and therefore, start looking for housing as soon as you are accepted.
Your options in UK:
- University Halls of Residence (divided by flats and studios). A great and safe place to start your studies in UK. You will most probably provide with a bed, desk, and chair.
- Local area houses and flats. This is a good option if you are in your second and third year of your studies. In this case, you will have to sign a tenancy agreement with your landlord.