Want to study in the UK? But not sure how to proceed further? Here are seven simple steps that will enable you to discover everything you need to know from selecting the right university to applying for your visa.
STEP 1: University Screening
With endless choices accessible to you, as the UK right now houses more than 200 globally-recognized universities, the first thing you need to do is introspect and answer – what is your area of concentration? For example, a portion of the top UK colleges is a worldwide pioneer in technology, research, and development; while there are equally great opportunities in management, business, and economics. From Science and Commerce to Art and Entertainment; UK is a learner’s paradise.
To grab the best arrangement from this assortment, you must have clear objectives in your brain about what you need to study and what you need to accomplish with your degree. To pick your school, make a rundown of all colleges that offer degree courses in your field of expertise and survey their course structure, modules, internship offers, job placement rate, research projects and so on. Based on these results, you can filter a shorter list of schools/universities that perfectly matches with your interests and satiate your cravings. To carry on this research, you have to begin sufficiently early somewhere around two-three months before application due dates.
All things considered, this vast collection of universities is a confirmation to you that given your interests or scholarly inclinations, there will undoubtedly be something in store for you in the UK.
STEP 2: Applying to the University
Once you have shortlisted your school and program, you need to review and analyze what are the prerequisites to apply for a spot at that school. To do this, you should visit their site and check their ‘How to Apply’ page.
Realizing that UK schools keep updating their entry requirements on a regular basis, for example, many universities have started accepting TOEFL score in place of IELTS; it is advisable that you do various checks, compile a checklist of required documents, and bookmark the deadlines accordingly. Timing is very crucial at this phase because completion/access of specific paperwork can be time-consuming and there might be some unknown delays until they’re issued to you. For instance, planning and undertaking a GRE/GMAT takes something like two-three months; in the meantime, you need to finish the remainder of your application in a timely fashion. Therefore, get ready well in time, somewhere around four-five months prior to the college calls for new admissions so as to avoid late or incomplete submissions.
Majority of the UK universities channelize their online applications through UCAS, an online application portal, while others run their own dedicated application platform or mutually with UCAS. Therefore, based on your university selection, you need to create a personal account and then proceed with course selection and application’s submission.
STEP 3: Waiting for the Admission Letter
Upon submitting your application, you will receive an email confirmation; however, there is not a standard timeframe it takes the admission committee to review your submissions and revert back. Given the heavy load of college applications, the selection process may last for up to several weeks. Having said that, you can track and follow the status of your online application through UCAS at any time and from anywhere.
STEP 4: Funding Your Studies
Studying in a foreign country, especially the UK, can be a costly affair unless you have been awarded a scholarship, assistantship, or financial aid by the institution you are going to attend. Therefore, as a non-EU and non-EEA student, you need to have appropriate financing options to cover your academics as well as accommodation in the UK. The amount of money you required to show in your bank statements depends on several factors such as the location of the university and the duration of the degree program. Generally, you may expect to chip in anything between £3000 and £18000 per year.
We would suggest, take advantage of the time period between your application’s submission and college’s confirmation to handle monetary issues and propose you begin as ahead of schedule as could reasonably be expected. Fortunately, there are a lot of scholarship support options in the UK accessible for international students such as Gates Cambridge Scholarship, Edinburgh Global Research Scholarship, and Bristol University Think Big Scholarships to name a few. Therefore, start well in advance and explore all the possible avenues and don’t let inadequate funding hamper your ‘Study in the UK’ dreams.
STEP 5: Getting a Student Visa – TIER 4 (General)
For a non-EU and non-EEA resident, TIER 4 visa is required for studying for a period of more than six months in any UK university. Owing to the unprecedented delays in student visa processing, it is highly advisable that you should be fully aware of the visa requirements and documentation needed even before you get the admit letter. To sum up, mainly you will need a) University Offer Letter, b) Proof of English-speaking Proficiency, c) Valid Passport, and d) Proof of Financial Support. So the day you receive your acceptance letter, we advise you seek guidance from the British Embassy on student visa requirements in the UK or visit the official government website to find out more about the visa application process and dates. Once you have applied for your visa, you will hear from the embassy within three to four weeks.
STEP 6: Finding Accommodation/Roommates
With your college and visa applications endorsed, the subsequent stage is discovering someplace to live. There is an unfathomable scope of student accommodation alternatives in the UK, extending from shared residences and college corridors to private condos and off-campus housing. The best way to find out is to seek advice from your seniors, friends or acquaintances who are already studying (or have experienced the student life) at that particular university. For those who don’t have one, get help from Indian Student organizations (or on-campus student clubs); they will not only provide you with a temporary accommodation upon landing but will also unite you with your potential roommates.
STEP 7: Working Part-time
To further lower the burden of financial constraints and earn some extra cash to support your living expenses, you may grab the opportunity to work on-campus on a part-time basis depending on your degree and visa requirements. There are some strict guidelines and rules set by the UK Council for International Student Affairs about working in the UK and hence it is vital that you don’t overstep these boundaries or else you could be deported back home. However, once you are aware of these restrictions, for example, the number of hours and type of jobs, based on your visa type and degree coursework, you can shortlist your available job options and start paying off your rent and phone bills.