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British University Applications For International Students

british university applications
The world remains in turmoil, and the United Kingdom is facing a dual-threat in the form of Brexit and Covid coinciding at the worst possible time. Despite this, British universities have maintained their allure for international students. If you are planning to expatriate to the UK, here’s the lay of the land when it comes to the university process.

This article was written exclusively for Expat Network by Stephen Spriggs of William Clarence Education.


Although the number of applicants from outside the country fell sharply at the start of this year, we are seeing a resurgence. Increasing numbers of students, primarily from China and the US as of right now, are reengaging with Britain’s universities.

Fortunately for them, the application system in the country makes the whole process much simpler than elsewhere. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is the online application service for all British universities.
To produce a top-level application preparation is key. Very capable students are turned away from their top-tier universities because of small but important errors in the UCAS form. Its simplicity is its strength and makes the whole journey much easier for the applicant.

The UCAS journey

We begin with personal details, for international candidates take care with this section as it will ask for your funding and sponsorship options plus your residential status. Otherwise the questions are self-explanatory.
Possibly the most important decision of your life is next. Which course are you applying for? You can only apply to five universities through UCAS leaving little room for error. It should be in a subject you are passionate about, have the right academic qualifications for, and have work experience in. Speaking with university admissions teams or an education consultant may help with this choice.

Your educational background is now required, if your current qualifications were earned outside the UK, the UCAS website has information about international school qualifications and how they apply to the courses you are applying for. Include predicted grades if you have them, not every country offers these so don’t worry if you do not as it will not be counted against you.
An employment history follows the education section which can be a good place to show off relevant experience in the area of your chosen course.

Personal statement

Arguably the most important section of the entire application is the personal statement. It is the first chance to showcase your potential and interest in the course you are applying for. As an international applicant it is also an opportunity to set out why you are interested in studying in the UK.

It is vital that you demonstrate your knowledge and experience in the chosen subject, remaining honest and humble throughout. You may need a few attempts at your statement, writing and re-writing until truly happy with what you have written. Ploughing through by writing whatever it at the top of your head straight away is a recipe for disaster.

End game

The final section of the application is the references. Every applicant needs references from a teacher, advisor, or professional. Once you secure a referee and include their details you are done.

If you are waiting for non-UK exam results in the summer, you will need to send in your results when available to confirm your place. From here on the focus will be on your living arrangements, visas (if needed), employment opportunities, and travel.