According to the latest reports, the international student population in United Kingdom just crossed the 500,000 mark this year. With so many students from all corners of the globe studying in the esteemed higher education institutions in the country, UK has once again proved that the niche it had carved out for itself is here to stay for long. It is the second-most favoured destination for higher studies for international students from all over the globe, following USA close in heels.
Perks of studying in UK
What is it that drives scores of students to apply to the prestigious undergraduate and postgraduate programs in the higher education institutions in UK every year? What makes the country such an alluring destination for higher studies? The answer lies in the following factors that the students take into consideration.
- Premier higher education institutions
United Kingdom is home to some of the best universities in the world. An awe-inspiring total of 71 universities from UK feature in QS World University Rankings this year with four of them in the top 10. A legacy that was mainly associated with the premier higher education institutions in the country such as University of Oxford and Cambridge has gradually percolated and added to the fame and repute of the universities in the UK as a whole. Many students thus aspire to be a part of the enriching legacy of studying in one of the premier higher education institutions in the United Kingdom.
- Globally renowned education system and degrees
The higher education system in the United Kingdom is impeccable and globally renowned. The quality assurance in the higher education sector is under the supervision of Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) that ensures maintaining very high standards and meeting international expectations. The employers from all around the world attach a high value to the degrees and diplomas awarded by the higher education institutions in the United Kingdom.
- Easy course research and application system
Applying to the undergraduate programs in the UK has been made very simple through the unique one-stop solution for all universities. The application system is called UCAS, and you only need to submit one application form for applying to all the courses of your choice taught in the colleges and universities in the UK.
- Cost effective higher education
The cost of higher education in UK is relatively lower than the tuition fees in the colleges and universities in USA. The average annual tuition fees to study in the majority of universities and colleges in the United Kingdom only cost around £6000 to £7000. But what is more important to note is that the living expenses in the United Kingdom are quite steep so what you can save up on your tuition fees will probably go a long way to sustain your accommodation and living expenses in the country.
- Myriad scholarship opportunities
There is no dearth of scholarships to study in the higher education institutions in the United Kingdom. The government of UK, various private organisations, philanthropists and charitable foundations provide a plethora of scholarship options for the domestic and international students to study in the premier higher education institutions of the country across all levels of study. These apart, almost all the higher education institutions in the United Kingdom have a wide array of scholarships, fellowships and awards for the deserving and talented domestic and overseas students.
- Promising career prospects
The career prospects in the United Kingdom are really bright for the high achievers in the country. The British economy is slowly but surely recovering from the hit it took along with the recent referendum on EU and that has opened up the floodgates of plenty of promising job opportunities in all the sectors. Despite the initial bumps, the job scenario in the post-referendum UK looks quite promising for talented and skilled professionals of all industries.
- Multicultural environment and doorway to The Continent
The cosmopolitan nature of the country serves as a very welcoming factor to the overseas students. With spices from all around the world available in the departmental stores and shrines of almost all religions around the corner in even the quaintest British towns, the global feel of the United Kingdom is hard to miss. The UK is also the doorway to The Continent, referendum or not, and many who wish to settle in Europe choose to pursue higher studies in the country.
UCAS – The one-stop solution for admission applications
UCAS stands for Universities and Colleges Admission Service, an organisation created to manage the admission application process for the universities in the United Kingdom. An independently functioning and highly reliable organisation, UCAS serves as the gateway to apply for all the undergraduate programs and a few postgraduate programs to study in the higher education institutions in the United Kingdom.
Located at Cheltenham in the Prestbury parish of Gloucestershire, UCAS is renowned the world over for its function in the undergraduate admission application management for the higher education institutions in UK. It was formed as a merger took place between Universities Central Council on Admissions (UCCA) and Polytechnics Central Admission System (PCAS). Apart from the undergraduate admission application services, the following are the other service areas of UCAS and it handles each of them with equal finesse and efficiency, with undergraduate admission applications being of crucial importance.
- UCAS Teacher Training (UTT): For postgraduate teacher training programs for the specialisations
- UK Postgraduate Application and Statistical Service (UKPASS): For a few postgraduate programs
- Conservatoires UK Admissions Service (CUKAS): For performing arts courses at a UK conservatoire
- UCAS Progress: For education and training programs at the post-16 level
It is important to note that while you can apply for the postgraduate program of your choice by applying to the individual higher education institutions (unless your course is registered under UKPASS), you must compulsorily apply through UCAS for admission into the undergraduate courses at the higher education institutions in the United Kingdom.
The application process for undergraduate courses through UCAS is quite simple, and you will only need to apply once for all the courses that you want to do and universities that you wish to apply to instead of lodging separate applications for each of them. But first, take a look at the functional aspects of UCAS, the online one-stop solution for your admission applications.
Functions of UCAS
A centralised admission application system, UCAS has a varied range of functions. UCAS manages hundreds of thousands of admission applications each year efficiently through its impeccable web of collaborations with the universities and their admissions offices. The wide range of functions of UCAS is as follows.
- Management of admission applications
UCAS manages the entire admission application procedure for the universities in UK. While applying for undergraduate courses in the UK is mandatory through UCAS, there are several postgraduate courses that need to be applied for using the postgraduate application system (named UKPASS) developed under UCAS. These apart, UCAS also manages the application for the specialised teacher training programs offered in the higher education institutions in United Kingdom.
- Managing the student database
As it handles the admission application procedure for all undergraduate applications and some postgraduate programs, UCAS also has the crucial function of managing the database for the thousands of students applying through the system each year. It stores and manages the academic and personal details of every student applying through the system for the universities as well as the immigration authorities (in case of the international applicants).
- Managing the university and courses database
UCAS has an extensive and in-depth database for all the undergraduate programs and courses offered at the higher education institutions of the UK. It brings to your reach a trusted searchable database containing the course and program details for the subjects and the universities that offer them. You can also search the database to compare between two universities or courses and make an informed decision on which course or university suits your academic and financial requirements.
- Guiding students on the application procedure
UCAS also has several guidelines that tell the students about the application procedure and how it actually works. Taking help of charts and infographics, UCAS provides answers to all the queries of the students through detailed guides and provides online support for the students facing troubles lodging their admission application through the system. UCAS strives to be user-friendly in all the stages of the application process, ensuring no glitches or issues crop up for the students.
- Establishing liaisons with higher education institutions
As UCAS serves as the all-around admission application system for undergraduate applications for the domestic (from the UK and countries in EU) as well as international students, it also has a liaison function. UCAS performs the task of establishing effective liaisons and managing admission applications for the higher education institutions and handles a part of their incoming student database.
- Organising events and open days
UCAS organises regular events and open days where the students can come and get to know about the courses taught at the various higher education institutions, the scholarship and financial aid services in the universities as well as the government grants on higher education, the course fees for each course and specialisation they are interested in and many such important information required for the admission procedure for all undergraduate and a few postgraduate programs.
How can you apply to undergraduate courses through UCAS?
If you want to study an undergraduate program in the UK, then you will have to apply through UCAS, the centralised application system for all universities and colleges that caters to both domestic (hailing from the UK or EU nations) and international students. The application procedure through UCAS is quite simple and devoid of many hassles. In fact, UCAS makes applying for the undergraduate programs much easier by allowing you to submit only one application for all the universities and colleges where you choose to apply.
The following are the simple steps through which you can apply for the undergraduate courses to study in the universities and colleges in the UK using the online application system managed by UCAS.
- Log on to the UCAS website
- Research on the courses and universities from the searchable database
- Finalise on the courses and universities that you wish to apply to
- Register yourself with UCAS
- Sign in to UCAS admission application portal using the password and login ID obtained through the registration process
- Fill in the application form with the relevant personal details
- Choose the courses and universities that you wish to apply to (you can choose a maximum of 5 courses and 5 universities)
- Provide your academic qualifications history (including the ones for which the results are awaited)
- Provide a personal statement or letter of intent
- Pay the UCAS application fee*
- Submit your application
*UCAS application fee: The UCAS application fee is £13 if applying to a single course and £24 if applying to more than one course (or for late applications submitted after June 30th)
UCAS application deadlines
The students who wish to start their undergraduate programs must apply through the online application system managed by UCAS. The admission applications for the undergraduate courses in the higher education institutions in United Kingdom commencing on 2018 are now open.
The relevant application deadlines for applying to the undergraduate programs in the UK through UCAS are as follows.
- 15 October 2017, 18:00 (UK time): For applying to the undergraduate programs offered in the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge and for applying to most of the medicine, veterinary medicine/ veterinary science, and dentistry courses
- 15 January 2018, 18:00 (UK time): For applying to most of the undergraduate programs
- 24 March 2018, 18:00 (UK time): For applying to some undergraduate art and design programs
While UCAS gives you the choice of adding your desired course to the admission application after the deadline has passed, it is advisable to add them beforehand and submit the completed application form and the requisite fees before the deadline.
A single gateway to admission applications, UCAS offers impressive application management services for the domestic and international students for the undergraduate programs to study in the United Kingdom.
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