The UK education system offers flexibility, allowing students to choose courses that suit their career aspirations and lifestyle. As lakhs of international students pursue higher education in the UK, you will get a chance to meet people from different nationalities, sharing their backgrounds and finding out new perspectives. There are numerous benefits of pursuing higher studies in the UK. Some of them are –
Cost-Effective and World-Class Education: Academic excellence offered by UK universities has a long-standing reputation that can be traced back to the 11th century. Even today, there are over 160 universities and institutions in the country, of which 84 are featured in the 2021 QS World University Rankings. Degrees from these universities are valued across the world, which work best in the future, no matter which industry or location.
International students in the UK enjoy financial benefits and given that the duration of a UK degree is less compared to other countries, studying in the country in any way becomes affordable. Besides that, the country is well known for offering numerous scholarships, grants and bursaries to students from outside the UK.
Great Work Opportunities: International students in the UK are allowed to work part-time for up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time outside of term time. They may also do a work placement as part of their course or take up an internship which goes a long way in developing new skills, earning money while studying and preparing themselves for the professional world.
The UK government has recently announced a post-study visa or Graduate Route, allowing international students graduating from Summer 2021 to stay and work in the UK for the next two years.
A Welcoming Student Community: According to the QS Best Student Cities, 14 of UK cities are featured in the top 120, making it one of the top student destinations in the world. Whether it is Oxford or Edinburgh, each city in the UK guarantees a wholesome and vibrant student community.
Being the second most popular destination for international students, the UK is a multicultural country where university campuses value diversity and different food, traditions and cultures and interests. This further leads to unique and new student experiences almost every day.
Affordable Cost of Living: Although this is primarily dependent on the location and the area one will be shifting to, in general, the UK boasts decent living standards at affordable prices. Cities such as London, Brighton and Oxford could be a little pricey, but affordable cities such as Aberdeen, Newcastle and Manchester offer high quality of education and lifestyle.
Healthcare in the UK is usually free of charge for international students and they can also make the most of student discounts offered on travel, shopping and food to save money.
Gateway to Explore All of the UK: An international student, if chooses to study in the UK, may easily travel to other parts of the UK and explore its rich culture and history. From landscapes, inclusive culture, great food, festivals, sporting events, castles and palaces, students will be able to see more of the UK.
In London, each area has its own distinct character, which can be experienced in Camden, Little Venice, Brixton, Notting HIll, Shoreditch and more. Students may also venture out into the greenery of the British countryside, full of rich valleys, dramatic coastlines, gleaming lakes, and so on.
Education system in the UK can be categorised into primary education, secondary education, university preparation, further education and higher education. Primary and secondary education in the UK is legally attended by students from 5 years of age until 16 years of age. This can further be divided into based on age groups or five “key stages”, according to the National Curriculum introduced by the UK in 1988:
Some primary schools can be divided into infant and junior levels, which start from the age of five and continue until the age of 11. While the infant level is for those aged between 5 and , the junior level is for children between the ages of 7 and 11.
Secondary education includes the key stage 3 – years 7 and 9, for those aged between 15 and 16 years old and also the key stage 4 – years 10 and 11, for those aged between 15 and 16 years old. The UK school system, here, requires students to study subjects such as Math, English, Science, Humanity and a Modern Language along with optional subjects like Art, Music, a Regional Language, Physical Education, Computer Science, Design Technology.
The key stage 3 can be further divided into junior and senior school- the former from year 7 to year 8 and the latter from year 8 to year 9. Year 9 is considered quite important under the British school system given that most students here make the transition from junior to senior school.
In the last two years of secondary education in the UK, students prepare for the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examinations which are taken after two years. Here, students study compulsory subjects such as English, Math, 2/3 Sciences, History/Geography, Modern Language etc along with other 9 and 12 subjects.
In the UK education system, after secondary education, students can start a two-year program which leads to Advanced level examinations. University preparation falls under years 12 and 13, when students specialise in three to four subjects relevant to the subject they wish to study at university level.
Those who would want to study over three to four subjects can continue into more subjects with the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme offered by independent schools.
This is nothing but vocational education after completion of secondary education from the age of 16. A college of further education or state sixth form college in the UK works as an alternative to private education. They provide GCSE and A level courses along with foundation and diploma courses. These can further be extended to BTEC courses designed specifically for development of practical skills and knowledge in a specific subject such as Psychology, Sport, Engineering, Business, Art & Design and more.
Higher education in the UK refers to a great range of tertiary qualifications recognised across the world. This includes three-undergraduate programs, one-year postgraduate programs or research master’s programs that last for two to three years.
In the UK, there is a unified higher education in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, elementary and secondary education along with upper-secondary and vocation education systems are somewhat different in Scotland than in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
The degree structure or higher education in the UK is categorised into the following:
Higher education throughout the UK is offered at various universities, colleges, schools and institutes. They may offer both academic and professional programs irrespective of their title. All these HEIs in the UK have the authority to frame their own curricula, program requirements and grant recognised degrees.
Yes, it is possible for international students to study in the UK without IELTS. Some universities in the country do not require students to submit IELTS scores or any other English language proficiency test. Universities that do not assess an applicant’s English language proficiency through IELTS might ask you if you studied in a school where instructions were in English for which they might ask you to provide proof. Similarly, some universities might take into consideration the marks you obtained in English in your high school or senior year. If your score in English in 10th and 12th standards was above 60%, you might be offered admission to the university. Some universities also like to conduct an online interview to judge your English proficiency. It is noteworthy that IELTS or any other English language proficiency test is required to get a Tier 4 Student Visa. However, if your university waives off the same, you may ask them to hand you a document saying you are eligible for a visa.
Usually, a gap year is acceptable at UK universities. However, this would vary depending on the university. Recent graduates might have a slight advantage but if you can provide a valid reason for the gap, you are good to go. Some of the possible reasons for a study gap could be gaining work experience, preparing for an entrance exam or taking a short term course, a sudden family crisis or serious health issues. Having said that, whatever be the reason, it should be clearly mentioned in the application. Every university evaluates an application in a different way but it is certainly based on a variety of factors, such as your academic record, work experience, community involvement, skills, test scores and so on.
For both undergraduate and postgraduate courses, you may visit the UCAS website and choose the study level and entry year along with location and region. To ensure you choose the right course for you, it is best to research the range of courses in the discipline, colleges and universities offering them and compare them based on a range of factors. Some of these factors include ROI, ranking, tuition fees, location, reputation, curriculum, internship opportunities, accommodation and so on. Once done with the research, you may move on to finding out the eligibility requirements for the course(s) and applying for them directly through UCAS (for undergraduate courses) and university websites (for postgraduate courses). It is also suggested that you consult an admissions counsellor for further guidance.
The UK is known to be one of the best study destinations for all study areas. However, among all, according to global rankings such as the QS World University Rankings and THE Global Rankings, the most popular areas of study in the UK are Business Studies, Accounting and Finance, Undergraduate Law, Economics, Art & Design, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Politics, Electrical Engineering and Biological Science
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