Sunday, 24 August 2008

Study abroad in the UK - How to go about applying

Before you Apply
English Language Proficiency
Are you sufficiently skilled in English to understand and participate in lectures, seminars, tutorials and examinations conducted in English to study in the UK? Do you have evidence of your written and spoken English language ability? Most institutions accept a number of qualifications as providing evidence of competence, including the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). This is an internationally-recognised system for testing English language skills in listening, reading, writing and speaking. It is recognised by universities all over the world and can also be used to support visa applications. The main alternative is the American Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
If you consider that English may be an area of weakness for you, think about taking a pre-sessional course. This could be an English Language Teaching course in your own country, at one of the many recognised UK language schools or at a UK university.
Academic QualificationsBritish Higher Education is selective at the point of entry – do your current or expected qualifications meet the likely requirements? Your local British Council office may be able to advise you, but you could start by visiting the Council’s Education UK website at: www.educationuk.org
You should also spend some time exploring the UK Council for International Student Affairs website at: www.ukcisa.org.uk
Life in Britain
Gather information about living in Britain from friends, family, students returning from the UK, institutional information, websites and your local British Council Office. Although Great Britain is a small island, there are considerable variations in climate, surroundings, cost of living, and population. The cultural and social environment could be very different from what you are used to.
Are there any religious, cultural or social reasons, which may inhibit you from studying in the UK?
Do you know what to expect from the British weather? The climate in the UK is moderate: summers are fairly cool and winters are quite mild. Despite what you might have heard, British weather is not all rain and fog - it is actually more comfortable, more varied and more interesting than that. What you can look forward to in the way of rain, sun, temperature and even daylight depends on where you will be living. In general, the west is wetter and milder than the east, and northern areas are noticeably cooler than southern ones. For more information visit the websites at: www.bbc.co.uk/weather or www.weatheronline.co.uk
Family
Are you intending to take any or all of your family with you? Have you considered the practicalities of your family accompanying you such as; availability of facilities, extra cost, education provision for dependants, their language proficiency or immigration arrangements?
The British Council can offer detailed guidance on these issues.
Cost
Do you know what the likely costs are? Are you able to provide a financial guarantee of your ability to pay your costs for the full duration of the course? Do you know that living costs vary from region to region? What is the length of your proposed course?
Do you qualify and have you applied for any scholarships to fund your study? You must be able to finance both your tuition and living costs for the whole course, airfare, initial accommodation cost, appropriate seasonal clothing and study expenses – information is available from each university or college, your local British Council and recently returned students (through the Alumni Association)
Accommodation
This may be provided by your chosen institution or by family/friends. Is it guaranteed for the duration of the course?
How do I know which UK institutions offer recognised degrees?
The UK Government has an official list of institutions that can award recognised UK degrees.
Beyond that, as we have suggested earlier, the British Council office in your home country should be your first stop for information on studying and living in the UK. The British Council’s website at: www.educationuk.org provides a wealth of information for anyone considering the UK plus links to local British Council offices.
By spending some time researching online, you can obtain current information about the course(s) that you are interested in (syllabus, teaching and examination methods), about the institution(s) where courses are offered (region, location, size, and facilities), and about your future prospects on successful completion of the course.
Most of the main UK universities have an international office, which can help and advise you.
Making a decision about your preferred choice of course and a shortlist of universities or colleges is the first step, and you are now in a position to make your application.
How to apply
For undergraduate degree level courses, you must apply to universities through a central admissions system called the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). The UCAS website has information specifically for international students and you can apply online.
For other courses, check the institution's prospectus for the correct way to apply and the application deadlines.
After you apply
There is a lot to be done and if your arrival in Britain is to be trouble-free you must make many practical arrangements and preparation in advance. Seek advice as often as necessary, and allow plenty of time to make arrangements.
Immigration Regulations and Documents
Request information from the local British Government representative and seek advice from your local British Council Office. Find out which documents you need to obtain and how and where to get them.
You can find out whether or not you need a visa, and how to go about applying for one, by visiting the website at: www.ukvisas.gov.uk
Check what your visa (if you need one) allows you to do. Can you work in the UK, either during your course or during the vacations, to supplement your income while you study?
Accommodation at your chosen institution
Request accommodation, if you need it, as early as early as possible.
What do the quoted costs include? Food, heating and lighting, linen, vacations? If meals are provided does this include weekends?
Travel
Take advice on how and when to travel to Britain, taking into account the start date and pre-sessional training if applicable.
Finally, book your tickets, but only once you are sure you have a firm place.
Original article by: Chris HudsonBrunel University


1 comment:

diamond said...

It's useful for me

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