The labour market has become more globalised and as a result companies need employees not only able to speak fluent English but also with the ability to adapt to new environments and cultures.
The experience and knowledge that a student can acquire at a top British university is becoming increasingly important in order to have full access to the global labour market.
The United Kingdom has some of the best universities in the world. For years the top UK universities have been rated amongst the 10 best in the world. In addition to the elite universities, the UK’s education system is highly regarded internationally and its qualifications are recognized worldwide. In contrast to the Spanish model students are encouraged to think and work independently and develop their oral and presenting skills.
UK universities offer first-class sports and leisure facilities and a wealth of cultural and social activities tailored to students. For a non-UK student, this is a wonderful opportunity to improve their English and acquire first-hand knowledge of the country’s culture.
The Student Union is responsible for the students’ well-being and organises lots social activities to help integration. There are also social clubs and societies that help students develop a successful social life. In the larger universities, such as University College London (UCL), there are around 250 different societies. These range from scuba diving to amateur boxing, from the film society to the opera club. If students miss home they will definitely find a society based on their country!
University courses in the UK usually last 3 years except in Scotland, where they last 4 years. However, there are exceptions for combined study plans and for courses in medicine, architecture, veterinary science and languages which last between 4 and 6 years. Some courses, such as architecture and history, may require a student to prepare a dissertation in the last year, but this varies from university to university.
Campus universities: these are universities where student accommodation, teaching, research facilities and leisure activities are all on one site.
Non-campus universities: these are universities based in urban areas where the student accommodation and teaching facilities are not on one site. Some of the urban universities will be in very large cities such as London, others in the smaller cities such as Bath.
British Universities vary dramatically in size. Some may have fewer than 2,000 students and others more than 30,000. The average has about 16,000 students. It is, therefore, very important to be aware of the type of experience you are looking for when choosing your university.
courses and qualifications
The university degrees that are granted vary depending on the area of study. These include:
- BA: Bachelor of Arts (Degree in Art, Humanities or Social Sciences)
- BSc: Bachelor of Science (Degree in Science or Natural Science)
- BEd: Bachelor of Education (Degree in Education)
- BEng: Bachelor of Engineering (Degree in Engineering)
- LLB: Bachelor of Law (Degree in Law)
- MBBS: Bachelor of Medicine (Degree in Medicine)
Most students stay on campus during their first year. The cost of accommodation varies but on average is around £130 per week. (There are approximately 39 weeks in the academic year). While university accommodation is often guaranteed for new students, this is not always the case. However, overseas students often have priority. In later years, most students share with friends.
For students who have not completed the British system and therefore do not have A´Levels or the International Baccalaureate (IB), they must demonstrate their proficiency in English by providing their Cambridge or IELTS certificates or other language certificates. Some colleges may test the students’ level of the English and this can sometimes be done via Skype.
Most courses require some qualifications in a related subject. It is important to find out if the student qualifies for the course before completing their UCAS application. British Universities have always welcomed overseas students and so will make their offer depending on the educational system. For example, in the UK the offer might be AAA and the equivalent offer if taking the IB would be 35 points. It is important, however, that the student’s level of English allows them to access the course.
the cost of universities
The price of universities in the United Kingdom varies depending on the country.
Scotland would be the most economically accessible country, with the lowest university fees and where more funding is also offered. England would be the country with the highest prices and lowest funding.
The table below illustrates the different prices in England, Scotland and Wales, applicable to students from the European Union or students who have only resided in the United Kingdom in the last three years.
Currently this is the situation for the EU students, however, this might change after BREXIT.
NB: The annual cost shown in the table corresponds to 39 weeks per year which is the duration of the stay at the university.
Financial aid: loan and subsidy as instruments (NB1)
England, Scotland and Wales offer subsidies to cope with the cost of university fees. The financial aid provided by each country is different, below we show in detail each of the subsidies.
Aid for studying in Scotland: SAAS Grant
Through its program SAAS (Student Awards Agency for Scotland), the Scottish Government offers the most support to European students. This assistance is provided to the student in the form of a subsidy, not a loan, so that the student does not have to pay it back. This subsidy covers all the tuition fees.
Aid for studying in England and Wales: Student Loan
The student is offered a loan that is managed by the UK Government and which enables all students from the European Union access to their universities. This loan is requested annually and covers 100% of the university fees for each year.
Conditions for the repayment of the student loan (England and Wales):
The repayment of the student loan will be subject to the pupil’s salary performance in the future. In order to repay the loan, the student must receive a gross annual salary exceeding £25,000 in the United Kingdom. This amount varies depending on the country in which they work.
The conditions of the loan that carry an interest of the IPC + 3%, stipulate that the student will have to pay only 9% on the amount that exceeds the £25,000 (minimum wage). Let’s see an example:
Student’s gross annual salary in UK = £29,000
Difference between minimum wage and student’s salary: £29,000 – £25,000 = £4,000
Amount Payable: £4,000 x 9% = £360 Year/£30 month
Key dates for applying:
The deadline for sending applications to UK universities through UCAS is mid-January.
Because places are limited, we recommend that the registration is done as soon as possible, especially for the most popular courses. It is best to apply between September and November for courses beginning the following year.
The UK has some of the best universities in the world. However, with over 150 to choose from it is vital to choose the right university with the best course for your subject. It is one of the most important decisions you will make and will have an impact on the rest of your professional life.
At Boarding Schools Abroad, we offer a bespoke service. Our advice is impartial and independent and we select the best universities according to the needs and ability of the student.
The process for selecting the universities we recommend is as follows:
- Personal interview with the student: This is to ascertain the academic level, interests and expectations of the student and understand which field they would ideally like to work in
- Recommendation of five universities: These are made in accordance with the student’s academic profile.
- Detailed information on the preferred universities: These include the results required in order to access the preferred universities, annual budget and available grants together with career prospect having completed the chosen degree.
- Personal statement: A fundamental part of the application. We help with the preparation of the statement, edit the drafts and supervise the final edition.
- Registration with UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Services): We help with the on-line registration.
- Advise on available student loans and subsidies.
- Accommodation: We organise the accommodation and provide all the necessary information for a great start to university life.