The basics
THE UK: Applying to University

European students applying to a UK university

Practical advice for European students applying to study in the United Kingdom

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The UK is known for its wide range of high-ranking universities, making it a popular study destination for students across Europe. Attending a university here can help improve your language skills, as well as giving you friends for life. The country is filled with friendly and polite people - who love to socialise at the local pub.

 

As a European student the application process for UK  universities should be fairly straight-forward, although it may vary depending on the university and your chosen subject. If you are not part of the EEA (European Economic Area) please read the last paragraph.

 

All applications to UK universities are made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Make sure you get your application in well before the deadline, particularly if you want to study at one of the top universities in the UK.

 

Research

 

If you haven't already, a good start is to research the different courses and universities around the UK that might be suitable for you. There is a lot to choose from - over 35,000 courses divided between 300+ universities and colleges.  Register at www.ucas.com/apply. You can apply to five courses, either at the same university or different ones. Note: there is often an option to do a joint degree where you mix two different subjects such as english literature and french, etc.

 

Entry requirements

 

You will have to contact the university directly and ask them what the minimum requirements are. Often you will have to take part in a english test to prove your language skills before being taken into a UK university.These may vary - IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Cambridge English: Advanced (also known as the Certificate in Advanced English/CAE, or Cambridge ESOL), and you can read more about them on UCAS' website.

 

As part of your application you will be asked to write a cover letter/personal statement. This is your opportunity to show the university that you are passionate about the study, and why you want to study in the UK. It can be helpful to check out other examples of cover letters online before you embark on writing your own.

 

When to apply

 

EU international students

Applicants from the EU and EEA should hand in their application to UCAS before 15th of January. After this date the students will be treated as late applicants. Note: Oxford and Cambridge usually have an earlier deadline, as well as some science courses.

 

Though the deadline is in mid-January, many universities encourage their students to apply well before this date. This allows the school more time to go through your application and cover letter. Also make sure to research whether or not you are eligible for any scholarships and grants.

 

Key dates in the application process

 

  • Summer - September: Research universities and courses. If you have the opportunity to visit the university, go to open days and conventions during this time. Applications can be sent to UCAS from mid-September.
  • 15 October: Deadline for UCAS applications for Cambridge or Oxford - or medicine, dentistry or veterinary science/medicine in any university.
  • 15 January: Deadline for general UCAS applications. Applications are normally accepted after this date, but will be marked as 'late'.
  • 23 July If UCAS receives decisions from universities by 16 July, you need to reply to any offers by this date. This is the last date to make changes to your replies.
  • 30 June: All applications received after this date will be entered into Clearing.
  • 4 August: The Scottish Clearing vacancy information service starts.
  • 21 September: This is normally the last date that UCAS will accept applications for courses.
  • 21 October: This is the last date a clearing applicant can be accepted by a university.

 

 

Non-EU/EEA students

International students from a non-EU country can submit an application to UCAS at any time between 1 September and 30 June - but sooner is better as you'll need time to sort your student visa and accommodation arrangements.

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About Author

Anette Lien is a recent journalism graduate and an avid traveller. Hailing from a small town in Norway, she went on to study in India before settling down in London, UK. She has previously worked for a local newspaper, at various music websites and as an Expedia blogger. When she is not travelling, or writing about travelling, she enjoys going to small gigs with quirky, underground bands.

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