UK Application Process

Published On: 03 Oct 2008

 | Last Updated On: 29 May 2014

If you are planning to go to UK, one of the most popular study destinations in the world known for its top universities, you must prepare your application in careful manner.

Application process for Under Graduate aspirants:

While for undergraduate degrees, you can apply through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) which is the British admission service. As nearly all British higher education institutions are members of UCAS, all those wishing to study for undergraduate degrees in the UK must apply through UCAS.

This applies to all categories of applicants - regardless of whether qualifying as a British student or as an international student. Applicants submit a single application via UCAS's website with a list of up to five courses for which they are applying. Choices are not listed in preference order. All five choices are confidential during the application process so universities and colleges considering an application cannot see any of the candidate's other choices. Applications must be completed by the middle of the January of the year that the student wishes to start university.

Application process for Post Graduate aspirants:

Unlike applying for a UG, there is no central admissions system for postgraduate courses in the UK. You will have to check the admission procedure for the course you want to pursue. You can check UK Postgraduate Application and Statistical Service) is the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service), postgraduate application service. If the college is not listed there, then you can apply directly to the educational institutions concerned and each one will have a slightly different application procedure. There is, however, a generic form that is accepted by most institutions, which you can get at your local British Council office.

Applications Timeline:

Starting early with your preparations to find a course and university/college will increase your chances of finding a place of your choice, one that offers courses and funding options that suit you. Students should also keep an eye out for application submission deadlines as they may vary from one university to another. The following timetable might help you manage your preparations and search better.

Timeline

Stage

Action plan

24-28 months in advance

Research and plan

Identify areas of study that interest you and universities that offer courses you want to do.

Attend education fairs.

Use the internet to inform yourself sufficiently about the various courses and universities offering programs that interest you.

Find all required information regarding eligibility, application process and visa requirements.

18 to 12 months in advance

Finalizing details based on research.

Use this time to investigate more options; talk to people from the UK or from your chosen area of study to get a better understanding of how things work.

Ensure that your referees will provide necessary references.

Apply for standardized tests such as GRE, GMAT etc.

 

12 months in advance

Apply

Apply for funding and make final arrangements.

Fill out forms and send the main application.

Apply for funding.

Make arrangements relating to travel, accommodation, visa etc.

 

Application procedure:

What goes into an application varies from institution to institution. Some only require a letter while others will want a complete academic history and research plan. What is most usual is to fill out one of their application forms where you will be expected to highlight your academic record and possibly mention your proposed research interests. Contact the National Academic Recognition Information Centre to know the UK equivalents of your qualifications. This way you can ensure that your qualifications meet the course requirements. Do not put the equivalents on the form as the admissions officer will do that. If the documents are not in English, do provide a translation.

If English isn't your first language, you may be asked to supply proof of your English language competence. This is usually done by taking an English language test, such as IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or TOEFL. Work experience is valuable when applying for a postgraduate course so give full details of employment as well as skills and training that you may have developed on the job. Your personal statement is one of the most important parts of the application form and you should write it very carefully. Mention your motivations for the course and talk about your experience and interests; be specific and honest.

You will also have to state where your funding is going to come from, although at this stage it won't be necessary to be definite, and to provide academic references from someone who has previously taught you. Some of the more popular institutions will want you to have an interview before they make a decision and this will give you the opportunity to see the department and to meet with the tutors and students. Interviews will usually involve one or more of the course tutors and they will want to know, amongst other things, why you have chosen the course and what your goals are. Think beforehand of all possible questions you might be asked so that you are well prepared. You should also think of some questions you could ask the tutors. These might include queries relating to course or research requirements, whether you are eligible for financial support, and research interests of the academic staff. Investigate prior to the interview to give a good impression.

Admission criteria

Most graduate degree programs require students to have an upper second class honors degree. However, since its equivalent may vary from country to country, it is better to seek clear and accurate information from individual universities. Contacting individual universities will provide you with sufficient information to know the criteria for admission to the graduate program of your interest.

Where to get application forms:

Send inquiries at least 12 months before the proposed date of admission. There are three ways to get application forms.

1.Fill out request forms on university websites: Most universities have a form on their websites which can be completed online to request application material.

2.Ask agents/representatives: Most universities have representatives in many countries who will give you the application forms and guide you through the application process as well.

3.Download from the university website: Many universities have a downloadable and ready-to-print version of their application form on their websites. These can be used for applying just as regular forms. 

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