A guide to applying to study in the UK

studying in the UK

UK is currently the second favorite study destination: 11% of world’s international students choose to study in this country. Indeed, British universities have an excellent reputation and several higher education institutions appear in rankings of world’s top 10 universities. If you plan to study in the UK, you will need to follow a specific schedule, write a convincing personal statement and in some cases, apply for a student visa.

Applying to study in the UK through UCAS

Whether you wish to study in London, Liverpool, Sheffield or any other city in the United Kingdom, applications for university admissions must be lodged on the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) website. Currently, about 650,000 prospective students apply every each on this website. Take a look at the different steps to follow to make an online application.

1. Select the universities and courses that interest you.

The UCAS website contains a search engine which helps you find the course that is right for you. There is plenty of choice: 100,000 courses in over 340 UK universities appear on the website. Before selecting a course, remember to make sure you meet all the requirements.

2. Prepare your application and apply online.

To submit your application to universities, you must provide information about your qualifications and employment history (jobs, internships or voluntary work). You will also need to write a powerful personal statement and provide a letter of recommendation. The application fee is either of GBP12 if you are applying to only one course or of GBP23 if you are interested in several courses (up to 5).

3. Wait for offers universities might make.

If you are selected, you will receive one or several offers. Meeting all the admission requirements is a must. Foreign students from non-English speaking countries will often be expected to demonstrate their knowledge of English.

Be sure you pay attention to application deadlines! You can generally apply until January 15th. However, some prestigious universities or selective programs only receive applications until October 15th.

Getting a UK student visa

Only nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland do not need a visa to study in the UK. Many young Europeans choose to take part in the Erasmus program. Citizens of all other countries must generally get a Tier 4 student visa.

What is the Tier 4 student visa eligibility criteria?

You can request a student visa online up to 3 months before the beginning of your study course as long as you:

  • are over 16 years old,
  • have received a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) issued by the institution you have been accepted in,
  • have a sufficient knowledge of English,
  • have sufficient funds to support yourself and pay the tuitions fees.

What are the required documents?

When requesting a visa, you will need to provide all or some of the following documents:

  • a valid passport,
  • 2 ID pictures,
  • your CAS,
  • proof of funds,
  • the documents you used to get your CAS,
  • proof of parental consent if you are under 18,
  • tuberculosis test results,
  • payment of the visa fee (GBP310).

Did you get your student visa? You can arrive in the UK a week before the beginning of a less than 6-month course and up to one month before the start of a study program lasting over 6 months.

To find out more about studying in  the UK:

Visit the British Council website.

Go to gov.uk to get additional information about visas.

Date of publication Jan 5 2015

Other articles on this subject

What are the most expensive study abroad destinations?
Studying abroad: world’s top universities
Applying to study in France: what you need to know
Study destinations: choose one of the most student-friendly cities!
Getting a visa to study in the United States
Erasmus+, the new EU program
Where can you go on an exchange programme?
Studying in France: the MICEFA program
CREPUQ
Study Abroad
ALFA
International exchange programmes
European exchange programmes
The Erasmus Mundus Programme
Educational exchange programmes
The Erasmus Programme
The Comenius Programme
The Leonardo da Vinci Programme
ISEP