BY ANNA CLARKE
The UK is among the top and most desired directions for international students who seek high educational standards and wish to build a successful career. In 2017, the median salaries for male and female professionals who have attained first degree qualifications at the UK higher education institutions were equal to £24,000 and £22,000 respectively. Because of this, the UK is considered a great target destination for recent graduates who want to start their careers on a high note. However, if you are from the US, studying in a different country could be difficult with the enrollment process being the main obstacle to overcome. This guide exists to provide graduates from the US with a step-by-step review of what they need to do to get a place at a top UK university.
Remember the Key Differences in Educational Systems
The UK offers a vastly different educational experience than the US. Remembering the following points could be essential in successful enrolment.
- Average higher education length: 3 years (UK) vs. 4 years (US).
- Entry: A-level exams (UK) vs. SAT (US).
- Curriculum: More focus and less choice (UK) vs. more choice and less specialisation (US).
- Assessment: Final exams (UK) vs. regular evaluation (US).
- Grading: Honours and standards (UK) vs. A-F GCPA (US).
Attain the Necessary Finances
Debates rage on about whether the UK is cheaper to study at than the US. According to a recent study, the average tuition rates are in the range of £9,000 (or about $13,000), making the US and the UK similar. However, one huge advantage the UK has over the US is the low-per cent student loans that typically are significantly less expensive to pay off. Before enrolling, make sure whether you qualify for one of these loans and, if yes, find out what steps are needed to attain the finances.
Match Qualifications with Employers’ Expectations
With the UK educational system focusing on specialisation, there is little freedom to choose the courses you want. The implication is that you might want to use a course database (such as UCAS) to familiarise yourself with the features of the courses in your preferred area of expertise and what sort of qualifications are offered post-graduation. The latter is particularly important as some qualifications are only recognised by specific employers. Before making an online application, make sure that your degree will match your career expectations.
Check for Alternative Entry Requirements and Complete the Enrolment Process
Enrolment in the UK is based on A-level exams; the vast majority of the course descriptions you will read will focus on A-level results. It is your responsibility to check whether your SAT results are sufficient to meet the requirements of a specific programme. Usually, the programme website mentions at least one criterion applicable to international students. If not, you could always contact the UK National Information Recognition Centre. The majority of universities offer an option for online enrolment, meaning you would need to have digital certified copies of your documents.
Sort out Your Accommodation
After enrollment is complete, the next step is to check for available accommodation. Most universities offer places on campus or student villages which are usually up to international standards and inexpensive. You may also want to check online communities, namely Casita. These are great for cooperating with fellow international students.
Create a Document Package for Getting a Visa
As a graduate from the US, you will not be required to document your English proficiency. The visa you would need to apply for is a Tier 4 student visa which will enable you to stay in the UK longer than 6 months. While the application process is simple and can be done online, there are a few caveats such as the need to document your ability to finance yourself and providing confirmation of your acceptance. Bank statements are typically enough to confirm your personal finances; the confirmation is issued by the university after the applicant selection process.
Studying abroad is a worthy objective with the UK providing the universities and curricula to significantly boost your future employability. Using the above recommendations, you will be able to navigate the challenging international student landscape and get the degree you have always wanted.
Anna Clarke is the owner of online writing company 15 Writers. She is a successful entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in freelancing, academic dissertation writing consulting, specialising in Business, Economics, Finance, Marketing and Management.