Undergraduate Applications in UK
The United Kingdom attracts people across the globe to pursue their first degree. It is home to four of the top six universities in the world, and the Oxford being the second best in the list. UK offers a wide variety of choices when it comes to getting an undergradaution degree. Find out here.
Bachelor’sin UK: Application process
The most important tip for starting the application process for UK universities is that you must start thinking about it at least a year and half in advance and start the process before one year. This is particularly important if you are looking out for scholarship/funding or any other form of financial assistance.
Step 1 : Shortlist courses/degrees
The United Kingdom has four of the world’s best universities. The education standard in general is very high and there is a variety of courses available in the same stream for the bachelor’s. Most arts, commerce and humanities and some science courses have BA or BA (honours) degrees while there are BSc and BEng degrees available too. There is a centralized entrance procedure that most UK universities follow for undergraduation applications of international students. You can find out more here: http://www.educationuk.org/global/.
Research well and shortlist the courses that best suit your needs. By research is meant the name of the course, the curriculum, the fee, the eligibility, the duration, location and overall expenses.
Step 2 : Understand application requirements
In UK Education system, UG applications are made through UCAS (University College Admission Services) (http://www.ucas.com/). Yet, there are a few requirements expected by most universities, they are:
- A filled-out application form of the university
- Personal statement (it is like an SOP)
- Curriculum Vitae/Detailed resume
- Statement/explanation about how you are funding this education
- High School/Higher secondary transcripts
- Letters of reference
TIP : There’s a small in January every year when you don’t have to apply through UCAS.
Step 3 : Prepare for IELTS/TOEFL
Most UK universities do not require a SAT but they shortlist based on your academic performance in your school years, your profile and your IELTS/TOEFL scores. Normally, 75-80% marks are required to pursue UG at a good University. At least 50% in 12th is required to get into the bottom ranked university or college.Understand the pattern of these exams thoroughly and prepare well. Take the help of seniors or experts in preparing. You need a very good IELTS/TOEFL score to get shortlisted from any British university.
Step 4 : Profile building
Since you are not chosen through a common entrance but only through English proficiency, a strong student profile is the difference between wining and losing here. Following points should make your profile look strong:
a) Strong CV: Make sure your CV is detailed enough to give them a good idea of your current qualifications. Don’t forget to include any work experience you have, even if it is not related directly to the degree applied for. Include extracurricular achievements, philanthropic/voluntary/community development work, achievements in terms of awards and prizes, certifications if any, any other language proficiency such as French, any other quality that you can prove.
b) Application essay/ statement of purpose: It is a vital document that will play a huge role in your selection. The SOP must state your purpose of applying to a particular post graduate school. Students are required to write an essay explaining their main goal or purpose in life, which would support their decision of joining that college. Most universities give tips on what they would like to read in the SOP, and how long it should be.
UK universities would like to know about your purpose for applying, your career goals, your reasons of applying to the specific course, achievements, examples of the display of your traits/qualities, projects undertaken, work experience etc through this statement.
c) Statement of funding: UK universities need to know beforehand how you are going to fund your education. The application form itself will have the section and you will need to give details. This helps them to determine how many students will need the university funding. You need to check the university funding box apart from mentioning your other sources of finance.
d) Letter of recommendation: Letters of reference or recommendation letters play a very important part in your admission especially in courses that earn you a master’s or doctoral degree. A recommendation letter is a signed statement from a person who knows you well or has taught you in a subject at school or college. It should list out your positive and negatives and give pointers about your academic or non-academic achievements.
The recommenders must indicate their position, how long they have known the applicant and in what capacity. He/she should briefly discuss the need, importance and usefulness of the study the applicant proposes to undertake. Recommenders are usually asked to rank applicants in their letters of recommendation, which helps admission officers to interpret the academic credentials of foreign students.
Step 5 : Review the application
Verify all the requirements and documents to be sent with the application. Once sent, you will not be able to change it and you will only hear about your selection and rejection next.
Have a look at all the academic documents such as;
- Marksheets and certificates of Class X/ A Levels / secondary school
- Marksheets and certificates of Class XII/ O Levels / high school mark
- Transcripts and certificates of any other programs that you may have attended.
- TOEFL/IELTS score card
- SOP and LOR
Step 6 : Submit the application
You would need to create an online account on the university’s website. You will have to submit all the forms and documents. Nowadays most forms and documents can be uploaded online, some may ask for a physical package. The application fee can be paid online as well. You should keep an eye on the application deadline and prepare accordingly.
Selection process of UK universities
UK universities invest a lot of time and resources on foreign students. Hence they want to be sure who they take in. They usually look for and select students who would positively contribute to the campus-learning environment and benefit other students. The college admission process is a tedious and a rigorous process and now you know why.
After receiving your application and supporting documents, the admissions committee or department reviews your profile. The committee considers the entire profile of the student and scrutinizes his/her extra-curricular activities, interests, achievements etc.
Cost of Study
Most undergraduate course fee will vary from one university to another. Arts and Humanities courses would be between £8000 and £13,000; Math courses between £8000 and £15,000; Computer science and engineering between £ 10,000 and £21,0000; Medicine courses around £33,000.Most of your living expenses including accommodation and food should be above £7,850 a year.
Most universities including Cambridge, Cardiff, Oxford have their own scholarship programs for international students. Bristol University International Office Scholarships are worth £8,500 while University of West England International Ambassador Scholarships gives away 100 scholarships every year worth upto £5,000 which can be used for tuition fees.
There are several other funding agencies like the Commonwealth etc. For Indians students, there is Manmohan Singh Scholarship for undergraduate Indians studying the UK.
Step 7 : Student visa and interview
The UK student visa is based on points. Out of the total 40 points required to get a visa, 30 points are for a “confirmation of acceptance for studies” granted by the school, college or university that a student had applied in. The preferred place of study needs to feature in the “register of sponsors” maintained by the UK Border Agency (UKBA). Students may visit www.britishcouncil.in, the UK Border Agencywebsite UKCISA website for more details.
Some universities will want to meet the candidates in person, hence prepare for the interview well. Also, you must prepare well for the visa interview.
Step 8 : Before you go to the UK
You ought to read and understand about the destination/location where you are going to live in UK. For this purpose you may utilize the online services provided by newspapers in that area. Read about and understand the British culture to avoid any cultural shocks. You may learn a few local slangs, idioms and abbreviations. These little things will come in pretty handy in the first few days.
Step 9 : Plan your travel
Unless you want to land in the UK a day before your first lecture, do plan your travel on advance. You can do this online through travel sites to get competitive prices according to your budget. Major UK airlines include: