Study in the UK: The Definitive Guide to Becoming a Student in the UK

Many things make studying abroad appealing for college students. Not only are they in a period of life where they have less responsibility and can easily take advantage of an opportunity like relocating, but there is much to experience during international travel. 

At times there can be anxiety surrounding the learning of a new language. For that reason, it is a popular option to attend college in the United Kingdom. Not only can students study in the UK, but they can easily network and connect with other people due to both countries speaking the same language. 

To get ready to attend university in the UK, there are many different aspects to consider. Read on to understand why studying in the UK is an unforgettable experience. 

About the UK

An island that resides in the northwest area of Europe, the United Kingdom is made up of four significant areas. 

  • England
  • Wales
  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland

Although the UK has a government that oversees the different areas, each region also has its own bodies of authority that deal with local matters. Additionally, the United Kingdom is part of the Commonwealth of Nations, which comprises 54 member states, of which most were formerly territories of the British Empire. 

The primary language in the UK is English, and their currency is the pound. The biggest city in the UK is London, which is also the capital.

Why Study in the UK?

Besides the common language use, there are many reasons why studying in the UK is a popular option and a solid choice for those entering their college years. 

Highly Diverse

The United Kingdom is one of the most diverse areas globally, with a bulk of its population coming from outside of the country. Not only does this open your eyes to new experiences and cultures, but it allows you to network with a larger group of individuals than other countries can provide.

Historical Universities

The United Kingdom is home to many historical and well-established universities. Most of the colleges within the UK are internationally known and recognized for their high levels of education. Some of the top institutions that students vie for positions at include:

  • University of Oxford
  • University of Cambridge
  • Imperial College London
  • University College London
  • University of Edinburgh
  • The University of Manchester
  • Kings College London

Lower Cost

Getting a college degree in the United Kingdom can be done more quickly than at an American university. One year of education is a large sum of money. Therefore, the ability to get your education done in less time is a considerable cost saving. 

How Do I Apply?

Each university in the United Kingdom will have its own set of requirements for entry into its school. Most commonly, this will include a test to prove that the prospective student has an adequate understanding of the English language. 

However, and especially with international students, there will often be examinations and education requirements that pertain to each institution in particular. Fortunately, a central organization manages admissions for all of the universities in the UK, known as the University and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS).

There are several sets of dates that you need to remember for the UCAS. These vital dates serve as deadlines for applying and being accepted into your desired educational institution.

  • September 1st – Applications Are Open For Following Year
  • January 15th – EU Nationals Application Deadline
  • June 30th – Other Applicants Application Deadline
  • June 30th to September 30th – Clearing and Acceptance Process

As international students, you will need a visa with the correct embassy. Additionally, you may qualify for a visa extension upon graduation. A student visa will permit you to work up to 20 hours per week. However, a graduate extension may allow you to secure full-time employment. 

Where Will I Live?

As an international student, you will have various living options during your stay in the United Kingdom. Depending on which university you attend, you can take advantage of dormitory-style housing. These are called “Halls of Residence,” and there are two different types in the UK.

Basic Halls of Residence 

These dormitory rooms are standard bedroom-style accommodations that will house one or two individual students. The rooms do not have personal bathrooms but do have access to a communal bathroom and lounge area. Students have the ability to visit a public cafeteria during certain times of the day to purchase meals or snacks for a fixed price.

Self-Catered Halls of Residence

These dormitory accommodations offer a bit more freedom. Although the individual rooms are much the same as the basic option, the self-catered options allow access to a communal kitchen. Many international students appreciate this option because they can prepare their own foods that are familiar to them.

In addition to the Halls of Residence, there are the standard housing options available in the city, including:

  • Flat/Apartment Rental
  • Home Rental
  • Roommate Agreement
  • Long-term Hotel Rental

Some options are more cost-effective than others, so it is best to research what options are available and choose what works best for your situation.

In Summary

Attending college or university in a foreign country is an experience that is unmatched by any other. The amount of independence that one can gain and the cultural opportunities that people can explore are once-in-a-lifetime events that some have the ability to take part in during their life.

Even with the excitement surrounding a new life in another country, there is anxiety that comes along. For most, the prospect of learning a foreign language is quite daunting, and not having access to the usual comforts that home provides.

Thankfully, one of the top options for international study is in the United Kingdom, where there is a shared language and overlap in common traditions and cuisine. 

For those who desire to take part in international study and go across the pond to the UK to achieve their dream, this guide will point you in the right direction to take the necessary steps to put you on the road to success.