So, you’ve made the decision to study in England. This wasn’t a difficult for you to decide, but now you’re at the hard part – how do you apply to attend university in England? What do you need to do in order to make sure that you can go exactly where you want to go?
We want to help you figure out the application process! Here are some general guidelines that can help you to determine exactly what you need to do in order to study in England.
General Application Requirements
No matter where your home country is, there are general application processes that you will have to go through in order to study in England. As you will see, it’s not very different than the application process for other countries. Keep in mind – even though the following guidelines apply for almost every English university, each university may have its own requirements that you have to follow in order to get into a specific program or area of study. Contact the university you wish to attend for these sorts of details.
See if the university that you wish to attend has specific requirements for admission. This is fairly common, considering some universities (such as Oxford) have very high expectations for their students. Because of the high influx of international students attending university in England, most English universities actually have lists of requirements for each country that may wish to attend their university (Check out this example from Oxford). If you do not meet these requirements but would still like to apply, contact the university and see what you can do in order to try and meet those requirements.
Finish any applications that you are planning on completing. If you would like some help doing this, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) can help you apply to each of the institutions that you would like to apply to attend. Most English Universities will use the UCAS application as part of their application process. Many English Universities will have their own individual online applications you can fill out as well. Keep an eye on application due dates. If you don’t fill out your applications on time, you may be charged a fee or your application may be discarded.
No matter where you apply, you will notice that many of the questions are the same. Give as much information as you are able to, because the more complete your applications are, the quicker they will get processed. Incomplete applications may be completely ignored. Also be sure to do any essays that you may be assigned to do as part of the application process; they do matter and skipping them can be detrimental to your acceptance to the university. Pay any fees associated with the application process.
Make sure that you send your high school transcripts (or equivalent, depending on the country you live in) and transcripts from other higher education institutions off to the universities that you are applying to. These are required as part of the application process so that they can determine if you’ve met their admission requirements. Most times, you will just need to contact the secondary school or university that you attended and ask them to send or fax the transcripts to the English University (sometimes a fee is required to send transcripts). You can also keep copies of official transcripts on hand and just send them off or fax them yourself.
Lastly, make sure that you do anything in regards to financial aid. There are literally millions of dollars available for those who are studying in England, and some of it goes unclaimed. This even applies for those who are international students; some of that money is allocated just for international students. You just have to know where to look. The UK Council for International Student Affairs can help you to figure out what aid you may be eligible for. Make sure that you go through any processes you need to in order to obtain financial aid – contact the financial aid office at your potential institution for more information.
If English Is Not Your First Language
If English is not your first language, you will have to prove your proficiency in the language. You may have to take a placement test, or the university may require another kind of test in order to prove your proficiency in the language. One of the tests that you may have to take is called the Test of English as a Foreign Language exam (TOEFL), which is the most recognized English as a second language test in the entire world.
Some universities may also conduct an interview in order to determine your competency in speaking and understanding the English language. Many people who study abroad will know several languages to start with, so this may not be of concern to you.
What You Need to Do if You Are An EU/EEA/Swiss Applicant
If you are a student who already lives in the European Union, the European Economic Area, or Switzerland, you will just have to go through the process listed above. You will then have to deal with any visa and/or immigration requirements as determined by the UK Border Agency. A list of these countries can be found on this page (writer note: link to Visa and Entry Requirements) or at the UK Council for International Student Affairs website.
Depending on which university that you decide to attend, you may have other requirements as an EU/EEA/Swiss student. The international student affairs office or the admissions office at the universities you are applying to will inform you of these requirements as necessary.
If you are not from the EU, the EEA, or Switzerland, there are some processes that you will need to go through in order to be accepted into a university in England. Here are some of the most common things you will have to do:
- You will need to provide a copy of your passport and a passport size photograph to the university during the application process. If you are planning to stay for more than a semester, you will also have to prove that you have the appropriate paperwork completed (visa application, etc).
- You must provide a copy of your birth certificate and a certificate showing the birthplace of both of your parents in order to be considered for admission to an English university.
- You must also provide proof that you will be able to afford your education and other expenses that may come up as a result of your education. This is because, if you are not in the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you will be very far away from home. This isn’t as much a “requirement” as it is the English university ensuring that you will be comfortable while you are studying in England.
As you can see, even if you aren’t from the European Union, the European Economic Area, or Switzerland, the process isn’t much different. The additional parts of the application are due to the country’s requirements for immigration, and the university wants to make sure that those sorts of things are squared away before you even apply to attend their university. If you are having issues or do not know how to do some of these things, the international student affairs office and/or the admissions office at your potential university can help you through the process.
Overall, applying to attend university in England is not a difficult thing; it will just take some extra time because you’re applying as an international student. England welcomes international students with open arms, and when you start the application process; your potential admission will be viewed as an asset to the university. If you utilize your resources properly and do everything you are asked of by the government and your university, the process should not be difficult at all. Good luck with the application process!
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