7 tips for International Students considering applying to the UK
4 June 2015
1. The Right Course
The first important step, when you begin to look for the right university abroad, is to check if they offer the course you wish to study. Course search engines such as UCAS, Education UK or FindAMasters can help you find where your ideal degree is offered. Don’t just judge by the degree title as the content of similar titled programmes will often vary between universities. Take in the details of their programmes and find the right match for you. To see all the courses QMUL offers, look through our Course Finder.
2. The Right Location
When you are planning to study in another country, location matters. It will influence your experience on both personal and practical levels. Where you go to university will affect your visa requirements, financial arrangements, as well as the kind of experience you are looking for in a new country. QMUL’s London location for example, offers a unique educational opportunity, with its wide-ranging career support and a wealth of life experience, making it ideal for someone who thrives in big cities. Also, consider the weather! If you have health problems that are upset by adverse weather conditions, then this may also play a role in deciding the right location for you.
3. Admission Requirements
Make sure you know what the admission requirements are for the universities you are interested in, and ensure that you can meet them. When applying through UCAS for an undergraduate degree in the UK you are only allowed to apply to five institutions so make sure you’re realistic in your choices based on their admission criteria. Most universities in the UK and US for example, will also ask you for proof of English language skills and might require you to take IELTS, TOEFL or a suitable equivalent. You will need to know about these requirements well in advance of your admission so you can take the relevant test in plenty of time.
4. Fees and Funding
Studying in an international university can be expensive. Make sure you find out everything you can about the fees, and how it may affect you e.g. currency conversion rates, payment schedules. There are numerous funding opportunities available for international students so do some research into scholarships and bursaries available at the institutions you are applying for. For example Queen Mary has a range of scholarships available to International Students, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Investigate all your options!
5. University Reputations
Different countries will have different educational standards, but there are some international norms. Ensure that your chosen university’s reputation is good enough to give you transferrable qualifications within your own country. Queen Mary University of London is, for example, a member of the Russell Group universities, which are well-known for their research cultures and academic excellence. Check that the reputation makes your degree valid internationally and is recognised by local authorities, such as Bar Council’s for Law students or Medical and Dental Councils.
6. Campus Environment
What kind of environment do you want to study in? Do you want a campus set in a beautiful countryside location, or are you happier in the heart of a bustling city? Do you want a self-contained campus? What kind of facilities do you need? If you have never travelled before, or if you are going to study in a country where you don’t speak the language, you may need a more welcoming and protective environment until you settle in. Therefore, keep your personal requirements and situation in mind before making the decision.
7. Individual Attention
When you are applying from abroad, it’s more than likely that you will have various questions for the university. Are they responding to your queries? How do they respond to you? Are they friendly? Helpful? The service you receive can be a good indication of how likely they are to respond to your queries once you are studying at their university. If a university is neglectful of prospective students, then it’s unlikely to offer a nurturing and supporting environment to study within.
There is no rule book for finding the right international university, as everyone’s situation and requirements will be different. Just do your homework, and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions!
• Blog provided by Dolly Garland, MA English Literature student at Queen Mary University of London.