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Studying and Applying to Universities in the United Kingdom

Studying and Applying to Universities in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has some of the most prestigious institutes, large cities with innumerable business hubs and a plethora of job opportunities. Therefore, it is almost inevitable that an aspiring international student applies to the United Kingdom to give their educational and professional career a boost. The United Kingdom has its own group of prestigious universities – the Russell Group which consists of 26 of the most prestigious universities in the United Kingdom, from Oxford to London School of Economics and Cambridge. In this blogpost, we will talk about selecting, shortlisting, and applying to universities in this island nation situated in Western Europe.

How to select a university in the United Kingdom?

Universities in the United Kingdom have very stringent requirements on academics and all these requirements are listed in the “Entry Requirements” section of each program a university offers. This page will have requirements for International Baccalaureate Diploma, A levels, and English Requirements on the face of it, but it will also have requirements for national curriculums of all the countries like the American Diploma, Central Board of Secondary Education etc. This makes the college search and shortlisting process a breeze for universities in the United Kingdom.

Most universities will not ask for entrance exams other than University of Oxford and University of Cambridge for most programs. However, they may have different requirements like experience or entrance examinations for those applying to programs related to medicine, mathematics or other STEM related majors.

However, it is important to shortlist universities since on the common application form for British universities, the UCAS, you can only apply to a maximum of 5 universities. To create a balanced application portfolio. I would recommend having 1 dream university, 2 match universities, and 2 safety schools. However, if the UK is not the only country you are applying to, you can replace one of the safety schools with another dream or target university.

How to Apply to Universities in the United Kingdom?

To apply to the United Kingdom, you will be using the common portal called UCAS wherein you can apply through your school or as an individual applicant.

To apply through your school, you will need to ask your school’s career counselling department for the “UCAS buzzword” which is a phrase which will put your name in the school’s UCAS database and then your counsellor will be uploading your transcripts to UCAS which will be sent to all universities once you submit your application. On the other hand in order to apply as an individual applicant, you will need to have all your official transcripts scanned and ready to upload.

Universities will also closely look at your personal statement which is a 4000 character or 47-line statement you write about yourself. In this statement, you write about your preparation and motivation for the program(s) you are applying to along with brief summaries of your extracurriculars and how they helped you hone your skills. You can also write about some hobbies you pursue in your free time. Towards the end of this statement, you can tie a bow on your personal statement by summarizing your unique qualities and state reasons for the university to consider you a compelling candidate who will succeed at their renowned institution.

In our next post on British university admission process, we will talk about the financial side of studying in the United Kingdom along with some of the living costs associated with studying in this beautiful part of the world.

- Sunjeet Singh

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