From ancient landmarks educational institutes such as Oxford, Cambridge and Aberdeen to modern polytechnic universities Ulster Polytechnic and Nottingham Trent University, the United Kingdom is the hub of educational opportunities. In the midst of vibrant London to secluded historic college towns around Scotland and Ireland, the UK has many great educational institutes that cater to a wide range of disciplines and subjects; whether your objective is to pursue academia, research, or a career in your chosen field. These facts were the driving factors that motivated over 485,600 students from both EU and non-EU countries to make their way to pursue higher education in the UK. Like them, if you have your heart set on attending a university in the UK in the coming academic year or sometime later, here’s a brief guide step of how to apply to UK University.
Step 1 – Pre-Prep
The logical first step here would be searching for a University. However, before you begin making plans, make sure you meet travel requirements. This way you can make sure you have necessary documents ready in advance, mitigating a situation where you miss an important deadline.
Finances and Passport
What you need to check is your passport’s validity along with proof that you can fund your education and support yourself financially for the duration of your course. For example, if you’re planning to join a UK university in London, you’ll need to prove that you can spend £1,020 every month on living expenses while having separate means to cover your tuition.
Besides documents for your travel plans, you will need an English proficiency qualification such as a TOEFL or IELTS qualification. It’s important that you take this test proactively as UK universities you end up applying to might require a specific score and that may take you more than one try.
Authorities in the UK visa applicants to get cleared for Tuberculosis or TB. This is not a requirement for every country, check the list here to find if you need to get tested or not.
Step 2 – Find a University and Course
This research-intensive step is where the research problem concerns your scholastic persuasions.
Before you look up where you want to study, figure out what you want to study. Channel your passion and look up courses that appeal to you. We suggest doing so first because not every university might offer the programme want to study.
When you’ve decided on the course, look for UK universities offering a relevant degree or programme in that discipline.
You can check universities based on The Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings, or others. Select up to five universities as that’s how many you can apply to at one time on the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Look for your chosen five universities on the website or app and note down their UCAS codes.
Step 3 – Check Entry Requirements
When you’re doing your research, be thorough when it comes to entry requirements. Besides travel documents, English proficiency tests, and medical clearance, each UK university also has a specific admission criterion for every degree/ course.
The eligibility criteria for each course will include requirements and thresholds for:
- GCSEs or equivalent certificate
- A-Levels or equivalent certificate
- GRE scores
- Highers and Btecs
- Portfolios (for applicants of fine arts courses)
- UCAS points
- And admissions tests
For graduate and post-graduate degrees, there may be additional requirements for CGPAs. Also, some courses may have subject prerequisites. For example, a Master’s in Cyber Security may only admit students holding an undergrad in computer sciences.
Step 4 – Track Deadlines
When you’re conducting your research, make sure you note down application deadlines and key dates. This includes both university deadlines as well as the UCAS application deadline. For example, the UCAS deadline for the undergrad courses starting in 2021 was January 29th.
If you want to be considered on an equal plane with other applicants, get your application in as early as possible. If you miss a deadline, you can still be eligible but UK universities don’t have to consider your application if they’ve received their quota of applications.
Step 5 – Write your Personal Statement
Your personal statement is your opportunity to tell the universities why you’ll make a candidate for their programme. What you say here and how you present your eligibility can be the deciding factor between you and another candidate.
Instead of repeating what you mention on your application, explain how your passion combined with previous achievements drive your pursuits. Include any extra-curricular activities, awards, and other skills that will make your case stronger.
Make sure you don’t stretch it out too long. Be concise and set a 4000-character limit.
Step 6 – Begin the Application Process
Register yourself with UCAS and set up your account fill in personal details, which include your academic history and other qualifications. UCAS will charge you £13 if you’re applying to just one university and £24 if you’re applying to multiple (up to five).
You can use the UCAS platform to send out your application to the universities you chose at the beginning. Unlike colleges in the United States, you don’t have to write customised applications for each UK university.
With the application submitted, all you have to do now is sit back and…
Step 7 – Wait for the Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS)
The UK universities you’ve applied to will take their own time to get back. While there’s no set date for when you’ll be hearing back from the universities, responses start rolling in around May (for applications submitted in January).
In the meantime, look up accommodations, student life in and around the universities you’ve applied to. You can also take this time to prepare for your visa application and interview.
You Got In!
When you get into any, multiple, or all the universities you applied to, you will receive a CAS or Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies form. This digital copy of the form will include a reference number from the university you’ve been accepted into.
This document is critical as you’ll need it when applying for a student visa or for a scholarship. Furthermore, it will also have details about your admission, the date your course starts, tuition, etc.
While the guide steps of how to apply to UK University ends here, the overall process does not.
You have to pay £150 as Immigration Health Surcharge or IHS fee to receive free healthcare for the duration of your programme. You will need to apply for a Tier 4 General student visa and begin planning your journey to the UK.
You will need your CAS form, TB screening certificate, passport, IELTS or equivalent certificate, financial records, passport photos, academic certificates, birth certificate in English, and IHS payment receipt.
When your student visa comes in, you’ll have to buy your tickets and make the remaining travel arrangements for your new academic journey in a UK university.