'Depending on your chosen type of UK study, there are several different ways to apply to UK institutions. Applications are easy and straightforward if you have the right information - you can also apply online for many courses.'
Finding the right course and place to study can seem confusing, but there are lots of sources of information to help you.
Before you begin your search however, it’s a good idea to think about what you are looking for and ask yourself following questions:
- What qualification do I want to achieve?
- How long am I prepared to study?
- How much can I afford to pay? Can I support myself financially?
- Do I want to study in a cosmopolitan city or a quieter location?
- Do I want to study at a large institution or a smaller campus?
- What academic and social facilities would I like? Halls of residence? Sports complex? Arts centre?
- What activities and support do they provide for international students?
Before you apply, you need to make sure you have the necessary qualifications that will enable you to be accepted and that your level of English is high enough. Check these requirements with the institutions that you are applying to.
You might also need a visa to study in the UK. You can find out more about student visas here.
Where to look for information about courses and places to study
On the Education UK website you can find over 150000 UK courses at schools, colleges and universities throughout the UK. The ‘Search’ tool is located at the top right hand corner of this and every other page.
There are three tabs – ‘Courses’, Institutions’ and ‘Scholarships. If you want to find a course, then pick the ‘Courses’ tab, choose the type of course you want to do (e.g. English language/undergraduate/postgraduate etc) and then search for your chosen subject.
Once you have found some courses or places to study that interest you, you can contact the institutions directly through our website.
Other sources of advice and information are as follows:
- Many British Council offices hold a wide range of information about studying in the UK. You can contact your local office here.
- The British Council also organises Education UK exhibitions in selected countries around the world, where you can meet representatives from UK schools, colleges and universities face to face to ask questions. You can find out about these exhibitions on this website in the ‘Events’ section, or by contacting your local British Council office at: http://www.britishcouncil.org/about/contact
- Some UK education institutions have offices and agents in different countries around the world. If they don’t have their own offices they may arrange for you to attend a session to find out more about them at your local British Council office.
- UCAS list undergraduate courses.
- Boarding Schools Association
- State Boarding Schools Association
Making your application
- UK undergraduate study
- Postgraduate or MBA study
Many universities and institutions handle their own application processes for postgraduate study, and you can often apply directly via their website. It is advisable to submit your application well in advance of the course starting date. This might be as early as the October of the previous year, and although there may not be a formal deadline for applications, the earlier you apply the better. Courses start to become full during May, so an application before the end of April is encouraged.
Some institutions use the UK Postgraduate Application and Statistical Service (UKPASS) scheme. UKPASS allows you to apply for up to ten postgraduate programmes, track progress and receive and reply to offers. You can see which institutions are part of the scheme and find out more at the UKPASS website.
- Career-based and pre-university study
There are hundreds of top-quality further education (FE) colleges in the UK, offering a wide range of academic and work-related (vocational) qualifications. Some colleges offer a broad range of subjects, while others specialise in a particular field or industry, such as catering, art or drama.
For Higher National Diplomas (HNDs), you can apply online through the course finder or through UCAS. If you want to apply for any other career-based or pre-university programme you should apply directly to the UK institution that offers the course.
There is no standard closing date for applications to career-based courses in the UK. However, you should leave enough time to apply for a visa, make travel arrangements and find accommodation.
You can search for career-based and pre-university courses in the ‘Search tool’ on this website (the box in the top right hand corner).
- English language courses
To apply for an English language course in the UK, you should contact the UK institution directly for an application form. You can expect to receive a reply within two weeks of sending your application. If you are offered a place, you will receive a letter of acceptance that will confirm your accommodation requirements and a request for a deposit. Once the school has received your deposit they will send you a letter confirming your place - this letter can be used to support your visa application.
- Schools for pupils up to age 18
There are many different types of school in the UK for pupils up to age 18. They fall into two broad categories: state schools (publicly funded) and independent schools, where parents usually pay fees for their children to attend. Families who live in the EU or who have EU passports may be able to send their children to UK state schools. More than 26,000 international pupils go to independent schools every year.
Schools usually prefer new pupils to start at the beginning of the academic year in September, although most will agree to admit pupils at the start of a new term in either January or April.
You can find out about state schools here. Applications for places at state schools in England, Scotland and Wales are usually handled by the school’s local authority (or, in Northern Ireland, by the school’s local education and library board).
For independent schools, you can consult the Boarding Schools’ Association and the Independent Schools Council. You can also read about individual schools online at www.schoolswebdirectory.co.uk.
Some UK independent schools prefer pupils to apply up to a year before they wish to start. Other schools are more informal and welcome applications at any time.
- UKPASS - www.ukpass.ac.uk/students;
- ISC - http://www.isc.co.uk/InternationalZone_WelcometotheInternationalZone.htm;
- UCAS Apply - www.ucas.com/apply;
- UCAS TV - www.ucas.tv