So you want to study in the UK? You’re far from alone. The UK has long occupied a spot as one of the top destinations for international students. And while Brexit cast some doubt on the future of international exchange, the allure of studying in UK remains strong. From its world-class universities to outstanding satisfaction rates across all levels of the international student experience, the reasons to choose the UK are manifold.
But with so many international students setting their sights on the UK, how can you make sure you earn a spot? Read on for a roundup of four things all international students aspiring to study in the UK should do.
1. Take A-levels.
While A-levels may not be part of the university admissions process in your home country, they’re a big deal in the UK. According to UCAS, “A-levels are subject-based qualifications that can lead to university, further study, training, or work.” A major determinant in the college admissions process, this two-year intensive period of study typically occurs between the ages of 16 and 18 as the culmination of secondary education, although mature students seeking university admissions may take them, as well.
While many UK universities will accept international students with A-level equivalent academic qualifications from overseas institutions, A-levels are the UK’s standard measure of academic success. In short, there’s no better way to set yourself up for success in the UK education system than by studying for A-levels in the UK.
Enter Brockenhurst College. International students hoping to gain admissions to leading UK universities will find the training they need while taking A-level courses at this nationally recognized institution known for its excellence and innovation in further education. There’s a reason why students from all over the world flock to Brockenhurst to prepare for their A-levels: Thanks to top-notch A-level results and an overall pass rate of 95 percent, 85 percent of the school’s international students progress to top 50 ranked universities in the UK.
2. Perfect your English.
UK universities have a very high standard when it comes to English language requirements. And with good reason: Maximizing the international learning experience is largely reliant on a solid grasp of the language of instruction.
This is yet another reason to consider enrolling in A-level coursework at Brockenhurst. You won’t just be studying for your qualifications, you’ll also be significantly boosting your English skills in the process. If your academic performance is strong, meanwhile, but your English skills fall short, you can also participate in English support courses directly aimed at helping you meet the English entry requirements.
3. Choose a prospective university.
The UK is home to a diversity of universities and colleges — each with their own unique offerings and advantages. One of the most important steps toward your UK international studies adventure? Finding the right university.
While this can be a daunting process, there are some resources available which can help you narrow down the field. Unistats, the UK’s official website for comparing UK higher education course data, is a great place to start. From jobs and salaries after study to college satisfaction scores, Unistats puts a breadth and depth of valuable information at your fingertips.
The Complete University Guide is also an exhaustive and yet user-friendly repository of useful information. Be sure to check out The Complete University Guide League Tables, which rank UK universities across several key measures, including entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality, and graduate prospects.
Don’t forget to confirm that any universities you are looking at are on the Tier 4 register of sponsors, meaning they’re licensed to accept international students. If a university isn’t on the list, you won’t be eligible for a student visa.
One thing worth noting? How and when you apply to schools largely depends on whether they’re public or private. Publicly-funded universities require that all applicants use the UK’s central admissions system, the University and College Admission Service (UCAS). Privately-funded universities have their own application processes. Carefully reviewing all information about the online application, supplementary materials, and deadlines can help ensure that you don’t overlook any critical parts of the application process.
4. Find out what kind of visa you need.
Not all visas are created equally. If you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, you will need to apply for a short-term visa if you plan to study in the UK for less than six months. If you plan to study in the UK for more than six months, you will need a Tier 4 (general) student visa.
In both cases, you will need to meet other eligibility requirements as well as pay an application fee. In addition to proof of English speaking proficiency, proof of financial support, TB test results (for students from certain countries), and a current passport or other valid travel documentation, you will also need to prove that you have received an offer from a registered Tier 4 sponsor university. You will not be able to complete your visa application without a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).
Also, keep in mind that receiving the Tier 4 student visa takes approximately three weeks so make sure you don’t cut it too close.
While pursuing international studies in the UK may seem overwhelming, there’s good news: Not only is the process simpler if you break it out into the steps above, but your efforts will pay off in the form of the extraordinary reward-to-red tape ratio of living and studying in the UK.