Applying to a British University, why and how?

Applying to a British University, why and how?

Craig Van de Velde
June 7th 2018

Degrees from UK Universities rank amongst some of the highest in the world. Craig Van de Velde explains how and why you should apply...

Take a look at the Times University Guide, which ranks universities worldwide. There you’ll see that Cambridge and Oxford have the first and second-best universities respectively, with Imperial College London also appearing in the top 10.

The UK has a long and fascinating history, of which its universities have been a great part. Oxford University for instance was founded in 1096, making it the second oldest university in the world. This sort of history is apparent at a number of UK universities, such as University of Manchester, University of Edinburgh and the University of Durham. These universities, amongst others, are also renowned for their research programmes. In fact, 4 UK universities appear in the top 10 universities in terms of contributions to research.

When compared to their American and Australian count-parts, UK universities can also be considered better value-for-money. A bachelor’s degree from a UK university is typically only 3 years, compared with 4 years elsewhere in the world, which means you are saving a whole year’s worth of expenses and fees.  Most universities in the UK also offer one-year Master’s courses (full-time), which again its American and Australian counterparts do not.

In the last academic year, the UK had an intake of approximately 1.8 million full-time undergraduate students, of which 104,000 were international students; that’s an incredible 5% of all undergraduate students in that academic year. So, if you apply to a UK university from abroad, you won’t be alone! Whilst studying for their undergraduate courses in the UK, these international students were also able to master their English language skills, both conversationally and academically. Most UK universities offer additional language support for international students. It’s important to know that fluency in the English language will hold considerable merit for any potential future employer.

Dates for the diary.

Non-EU international students need to have submitted their UCAS applications before 30 June, the year before they wish to study.

EU international students have until the 15 January of the academic year you are hoping to start your course. For example, you would need to apply by 15 January 2019 if you hoped to start September 2019.  

The UK also offers a number of scholarships, loans and grants for EU International students, which is always worth a check to see if any are available to yourself.  

UCAS applications

All undergraduate applications to British Universities must be done through UCAS. See our UCAS How To Guide for more information on what UCAS actually is, and how to create the best application possible.

For those hoping to study law at a UK university, it’s important to know that there is no requirement for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) to be taken in-order to be considered for a British law degree. You will simple be considered on your school transcripts, UCAS application and references.

Do I need a visa?

Yes. However, the process can be very simple. The most common visa international students need is a tier 4 student visa which can found at Gov UK. If you are enrolled on an undergraduate degree, you will be able to enter the UK 1 month before your course begins. Should you want to stay in the UK to work, having completed your course, you can apply for a 2-year working visa.

There are a number of criteria you must meet in-order to successfully obtain a visa; for instance, you must have received an unconditional offer from the university offering you a placement. There are a number of university placement services and consultancies, predominately based in London, which can help with all aspects of your application – from UCAS applications to visas and tours.

Please note, since the UK is leaving the EU in March 2019, some of the information in this article may change. We will be sure to update our information as soon as student visas and applications have been confirmed between the UK and EU party states.


William Clarence Education offers unbiased advice on UK School and University PlacementOxbridge AdmissionsUS College ApplicationsUCAS application and extensive support for parents and students in all aspects of preparing for entry to the UK. Please contact us on 02074128988 to discuss your particular needs, or email