Choosing the Right Course and University in the UK

Published On: 25 Jun 2012

 | Last Updated On: 28 May 2014

Studying abroad is major step in any student’s life and the most important and crucial part of moving abroad for higher education is choosing the right course and university. Studying in the UK can be a very exciting prospect, considering that it transforms your career.  Students are faced with many questions while making decisions about the course and college they plan to study. Am I going to be happy doing this course? Will this qualify me for the career I have in mind? Such questions can be answered by doing some research on courses and colleges available.

Moving to the UK for higher education can be a very exciting prospect. However, it is very important that you obtain comprehensive and reliable information on courses and universities before applying or moving abroad. It can be a very disheartening to find your-self in a foreign country, in a course or university you do not like. So make sure you follow all the below mentioned points before heading to the UK for your education.

How to choose the right course:

Find a course that matches your interests and aspirations: Look for a course in the UK that takes into consideration the subjects that interest you, your talents, the career prospects you have in mind a course that which improves builds on your academic skills. Although many colleges offer courses with the same name, their contents and study methods may vary. Use the internet to compare various courses and learn more about those courses that interest you. This will give you a broader view of various colleges and courses.

Consider combination courses: In case, you are interested in pursuing more than one subject, consider opting for combinations of courses from different departments, an option that UK universities very commonly offer. A combination of this may help broaden your perspective, apart from offering you an interdisciplinary approach.

Explore subjects: Once you are sure about which subjects truly interest you, you may choose from the various courses offered in that subject. For example, if you are interested by English, you may opt for journalism, creative writing, teaching etc. You need to bear in mind that courses with similar names could have different, sometimes very different, content. Doing proper research will give you information on course content and help ease your decision process.

Choose the right university:  The institute where you study is of paramount importance and choosing the right university is a big decision in the process of moving to the UK for your education. UK immigration permission for the student visa is granted only for study at colleges and universities which are listed on the Register of Tier 4 Sponsors. So you need to check the registry to make sure your institution is also on the list.     

Do keep in mind the following pointers while looking for universities:

Location: The UK has many universities in various locations. Keep in mind that while some universities are closer to the city, some may be several miles away. Keep this is mind while checking out universities.

Cost of living: Higher education can be an expensive affair. So make sure you have an clear idea about the cost of living, which often varies based on location. Cost of living in cities such as London can be fairly high.

Old or new university: While older universities invest more on research and offer more traditional courses, new universities are more vocationally-oriented. Keep these factors in mind while picking a university.

Quality and reputation: This is where you can use university rankings to have an idea of where a university stands in comparison to others. Make sure you know a university’s ranking even before you send your application. Also check whether the institute or university is listed in Higher Education Institute (HEI) list from UK Border Agency for it is important to have the status of a sponsor.

Facilities: Facilities offered by a university play a significant role in how much it has to offer its students. Make sure you compare facilities offered by various universities and find out all about the kind of infrastructure they have.

Education Cost: Tuition fee varies from one place to another. You must take into consideration all factors– including your financial status, availability of Scholarships, opportunity to take part-time work – to make a good decision while choosing a university.

Moving to the UK for higher education can be a very exciting prospect. However, it is very important that you obtain comprehensive and reliable information on courses and universities before applying or moving abroad. It can be a very disheartening to find yourself in a foreign country, in a course or university you do not like. So make sure you follow all the above mentioned points before heading to the UK for your education.

Applying for a course

UG Courses: For undergraduate courses, you can apply online through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). You can find out about application deadlines and courses that different universities offer in that web site. UCAS also operates an application system for graduates who want to take postgraduate teacher training courses.

PG Courses: For postgraduate courses, many universities and institutions handle their own application processes, and you can often apply directly via their website. Some institutions use the UK Postgraduate Application and Statistical Service (UKPASS) scheme. You can see which institutions are part of the scheme and find out more at the UKPASS website. You can apply using the UKPASS service at any time as there are no deadlines. However, your preferred universities and colleges may have their own closing dates, so you'll need to check with them before you apply.

Dance and drama courses: The Conservatoires UK Admissions Service (CUKAS) operates a separate application system for undergraduate and postgraduate practice-based music courses, and some dance and drama courses. You can find out more information and apply online by visiting the CUKAS website.

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