Over the past week I have received many emails, messages and direct messages from international students. All of you have been asking relatively the same questions and so I have decided to compile a guide.
The point of this article is to inform and guide, so that international students who want to study in the UK are aware of the basic procedures.
Students that have reached out to me over the past few weeks have all asked questions without context. For example, I have had queries like:
- What courses are available for admission?
- What academic requirements can I expect?
- Can you explain the fee structure?
- Will I be required to have certain qualification before applying?
While I am more than happy to answer any questions students have, I cannot give satisfactory or detailed responses without any background.
This means that students need to provide me with some context around their question.
For example, if you were to ask,
‘what academic requirements can I expect?’
I would need you to also let me know the course you are applying for, the university you want to go to and what qualifications you already have. Only then can I answer sufficiently!
I cannot just provide students with academic requirements when I have no clue what course or university they want to study at!
With all this in mind, in this guide I aim to outline and detail the most frequent – and in my opinion, the most important – questions students need answering. I will provide my own insight as well as links for you to further research yourself.
If after reading this article and exploring the links you find yourself still unsure about something, please contact me. I will always be here to help students by providing professional and free advice, guidance and information on the whole academic process.
I can help you with applying to university, filling out forms, advice on supplying documentary evidence etc.
How can Mr Marketer help International Students?
I have over two decades of experience in the education and marketing sectors which have allowed me sufficient insight into both the academic system as well as what is expected of students.
As an individual born and bred in Pakistan, I completed my honours in Accounting and Finance at the University of Peshawar. Upon completion I decided to do a Masters in Marketing from the same university.
When I graduated, I got a job at Allied Bank in Pakistan where I worked for 3 years. I have held positions both nationally and internationally in the banking sector and my banking career spanned a total of 10 years.
Following my move to the UK, I took up a position in HSBC bank for a further 7 years.
After gaining a lot of experience in banking, I decided to move into the education sector. Until 2012 I worked alongside UK universities to recruit international students.
My role allowed me to help with the process of admission, applications, accommodation, visas and any other queries they had about academia in the UK. I have been living and working in the UK for the past two decades now and recently have taken up various marketing projects.
This has led me to try new ventures and further broaden my skills and experiences.
I have created this website as a way to still help students in my spare time by providing free and confidential advice on applying for university.
To learn more about me, check out my About page where you can read more about my experiences and passion for the education and marketing sectors!
In this guide I will include the following sections:
A word of advice to all students wishing to apply
Academic procedure on applying to UK universities
A word of advice to all students wishing to apply
Keep in mind this guide is for students at all stages of their academic journey. Whether that is an undergraduate, postgraduate or PhD. This information is relevant to all types of students regardless of where or what they are studying and at what level they are studying.
However, I would advise that it is both, cost-effective and simpler for international students to study a degree in the UK when they are applying for postgraduate courses. This is for multiple reasons:
- Students become mature at this stage and are able to handle the transition better. This is not to discourage undergraduates from applying, but rather to put the idea into perspective. I speak from experience as I have seen a great many students come and go into the UK as well as other countries globally.
- It is cheaper as students are not applying for large loans. The course is shorter and so the time spent, and the money spent is less. Therefore, you save a lot more than you would if you were studying for 3- or 4-years undergraduate degree.
- Accommodation costs are lower. Similar to the previous one, since your course is much shorter than an undergraduate one, you can save a lot of money on where you are living. This money can be better spent elsewhere.
- You can adapt and integrate better. Since you are more mature, have better language and academic skills, you will be able to merge yourself with ease as opposed to a younger and less experienced student.
- Better with friends. When students come over with friends, or already have connections in the country they wish to study at, there are multiple benefits. Students are able to cut down on accommodation costs, have someone they can ask advice from, as well as being introduced to new people.
Academic Procedure on Applying to UK Universities
When an individual decides they want to study at university, there are many things to consider. But firstly, there is a list of application processes that need to be completed. This consists of various elements in the form of registrations, completing forms and providing sufficient evidences.
In short, the main process is as follows:
- Selecting the course you want to study
- Selecting the university you want to study the course at
- Providing academic documents, reference letter, IELTS (if any) and CV to university department of choice
- Payment of university tuition fees
- Applying for a visa
I will now further elaborate on each of these processes below. This should give a more thorough insight into how to complete each part.
As I have mentioned previously, please note that this is written as a guide and should you read through and still have questions, please ask me!
Choosing a University and Course
Choosing a university and course is almost the same as asking,
which came first, the chicken or the egg?
In other words, which one do you look at first, your university choice, or the course you wish to study?
Well its really down to individual preference. Some may find it easier to select a course that they like and find it in various universities across the country they want to study in. Or on the other hand, some may want to choose a university they really want to apply for and find a suitable course to study.
Most importantly, students should take into account the experience they have, the subjects they have already studied and the qualifications they possess. For example, if a student really wants to apply for a MA in psychology at Coventry University, they would need to check the university guidelines in what sort of qualifications they accept.
Every institution has their own rules and regulations on the type of student they will accept at enrolment.
Usually, universities accept a broad range of foreign qualifications so make sure to check you have the right ones before applying.
As for the grade boundaries, this definitely depends on each institution as they set these marks depending on their preferences.
Obviously, this can be seen with examples like applying to Oxford versus applying to Coventry University; the grades will be much higher and tougher for Oxford in line with its world-class ranking.
Therefore, make sure to choose a course and university which are suitable for your level of competency. Do not just select a subject which is favourable in terms of its name.
In other words, don’t opt for a medicine course just because of its reputation as this will not be beneficial for you as a student. You may not be eligible for the course or if you are, you may not enjoy it.
Always choose something you have an interest in and can study for the duration of the degree!
Documents for your chosen University
All universities will require 3 or 4 sets of documentary evidence, each relating to different parts of your background. You will need to provide your chosen university with:
- Academic documents including a personal statement
- Reference letter
- IELTS (if any)
- CV & experience (if any)
These documents will show your chosen university what your academic qualifications are to date, a reference letter stating your suitability for the course as well as verifying you.
Importance of your Personal Statement
Make sure your personal statement outlines in detail why you are suitable for the course you have chosen. It is essential that you thoroughly research the course and what it will teach as with this information you will be able to produce an exceptional personal statement.
What the academics at your chosen university will look for, are not only your academic qualifications, but also any relevant experience you have had outside of education.
For example, if you are applying for a dentistry course, you may have some work experience of working with a dentist, or that you have taken some extra short courses in your chosen field.
IELTS & CV
The IELTS are not essential at this point but will be required and by proving them your process can be speeded up. Similarly, by providing a CV with your full experience to date will showcase your competency for the course and can speed up the process.
If any of these documents are missing, the university will contact you. Once you send all these documents to your chosen university, they will assess your application and make you an offer.
Should any documents be missing, the offer will be conditional, therefore, meaning that you have to meet their demands and requirements before being fully eligible for the course.
Fees & Payment
Once all the previously stated documents have been presented to the university and you have received an offer, it is time to discuss fees!
This is the dreaded part about any course or university subject when it comes to studying. No student wants to be told to pay a sum of money but alas, this is the way the system works.
And who are we, but slaves to a system!
Back to the point.
Your university will demand payment which varies across institutions. But generally, this can be anything between 20% to 50% of your first-year fee.
Like everything else, please make sure to check this thoroughly and if you are unsure of anything, always ask your university directly. Alternatively, you can ask me, but please provide a full story, I won’t be able to answer any questions based on a snippet that makes no sense on its own!
“Money, money, money. It’s so funny, in a rich man’s world”
ABBA couldn’t have said it better.
You want to study but the fees and accommodation and living costs are just piling up. Fear not, you may be eligible for a scholarship!
A scholarship is essentially being fully or partly funded to study a course or subject.
You are not required to pay a scholarship back, it comes in the form of a grant and therefore, non-repayable.
But there are requirements and 2 different types of scholarships:
1. University based scholarships
These scholarships are funded by and through your university of choice and are mainly merit based. This means that to be eligible for the fund, you must meet some form of criteria in the qualifications you have. Such as having certain grades or taken a particular subject or course.
Here I have provided some links to various UK universities who provide scholarships. Have a look through and see if any apply to you or if you are eligible.
- Sheffield Hallam ‘Transform Together Scholarships’
- University of Sheffield ‘Pakistan Students Scholarship’
- Queen Mary University of London international students scholarship
- University of Bradford ‘Half Fee Academic Excellence Scholarship’
- Warwick University postgraduate scholarship page
- University of Huddersfield scholarships for undergraduate and masters
- Manchester Metropolitan University international students scholarship
- DeMontfort University Leicester
2. Other scholarships
These scholarships are not funded through an education institution but by bodies outside a university. For example, there are scholarships for international students through the Commonwealth or Chevening.
Each scholarship has their own criteria and deadlines, so make sure to check when you have to apply by. Some you have to apply a whole academic year before your course start date so give yourself plenty of time to check which you are eligible for.
Since these scholarships are not given through the university, they are not necessarily merit based. In other words, they may be aimed at students studying for a particular course, or for those students going into a specific industry.
Entitlement to these scholarships may even be based on the extracurricular activities you take part in. There are lots of scholarships so definitely do your research!
Here I have provided links to ‘other scholarships’ that may be of interest.
- Chevening in Pakistan
- Chevening in other countries
- Commonwealth Scholarship for Pakistani Students
- Commonwealth Scholarship for other countries
I will also provide a few links to scholarships for international destinations for those of you who might be interested. This list is not definitive, meaning that there are many more scholarships out there and you need to do your own research.
- DAAD – The German Exchange Service
- Japan scholarship for Pakistani Students
- Sindhorn International Institute of Technology – University of Thailand
- High Education Commission Pakistan, Law Grad Scholarship, Study Abroad
- Student World Online – for general scholarships for various countries
I hope this section proves useful to you all in helping you financially so that you may pursue your educational and academic goals!
After you have received your offer letter and paid the required tuition fee, your university will send you a CAS letter. This is essentially a ‘Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies’ and legitimises your application to study and the university’s acceptance of this.
Your CAS letter is very important as it’s the document required for you to apply for a visa to study in the UK.
Providing you have followed the previous steps and have all the required documents mentioned throughout this guide, you are now finally eligible to apply for a visa to study in the UK!
What you will need for this is you CAS letter/number as previously stated as well as your financial documents.
The whole process of applying for a visa is very long and I may need to write a separate guide on this.
Let me know in the comments below if you would find a full article on applying for a visa to study in the UK useful! If there are a lot of people who want this then I will prepare another guide!
I really hope this article has helped answer some of the most asked questions by students wishing to study abroad in the UK!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and make sure to follow my social media profiles for more information!