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University of Bradford school of management, Yorkshire, UK

Where can I find information about universities in the UK?

January 21, 2015

If you’re already studying an English language course in the UK, then you’re lucky enough to have most British universities just a train ride away.\r\n\r\nOur little island makes university open-day trips easy (and relatively cheap) when you travel off-peak and us Mancunians are generally quite proud of the fact that it only takes around 2 hours to get down to London!\r\n\r\nUK universities are really good at giving prospective students a taste of their culture. It isn’t uncommon to meet your tutors, visit the student union and look around the student accommodation during one single open-day. They know that you might have a few unis you wish to visit, so they usually try to squeeze in as much advice and information as possible. You may even be able to take a trip to popular university cities as part of your college’s extra-curricular program.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAn example of an introductory video from Kingston University.\r\n\r\nHowever when you’re living overseas, it can be difficult to really get a feel for the universities you’re interested in. While university reputation, league tables and graduate employment rates can help you choose top institutions, there’s nothing like visiting a place to see if it’s right for you.\r\n\r\nWhen you can’t physically visit UK universities, we find the following resources are really helpful for exploring all aspects of university life. Have a look and let your parents/guardians read them too – remember it’s helpful to have all the advice you can get when studying overseas!\r\n

Finding out who offers your course

\r\nIf you’re interested in studying a course such as maths, science or any other core academic subject, then all UK universities will offer your course. This may be good news or bad, as while you’ll have lots of choice, it doesn’t really narrow your search!\r\n\r\nHowever, if you’re interested in a course such as Medicine, Dentistry, or generally anything which isn’t a core subject, UCAS is a handy tool for finding out which university/college offers your course. UCAS stands for ‘University and College Admission Service’ and most, if not all, university applications will go through this service. UCAS is registered as a charity and it doesn’t have any affiliation with a particular institution. You can find out more about UCAS on our dedicated UCAS blog post, or just ask one of the consultants at IEC Abroad for advice.\r\n

The Complete University Guide

\r\nOnce you have an idea about which universities offer your course, The Complete University Guide should be every student’s (UK-based and overseas) port of call.\r\n\r\nThis online guide is completely independent and is brimming with all the information a new student could possibly want. From hard facts such as university rankings to more detailed advice about funding and living costs, we recommend this site for undergraduate, postgraduate and MBA students.\r\n\r\nWe particularly like the advice about staying safe and secure at university. While universities are often very much concerned about keeping students safe (for example free night buses and ‘pay later’ taxi schemes), it’s important to remember that students do often carry a lot of gadgets around which can appeal to thieves.\r\n

Virtual open-days

\r\nUK universities are aware that a number of their applicants will be international students and over the past couple of years they have responded to this with virtual open-days. Simply search for ‘virtual university open-days UK’ and explore what’s on offer. Different universities do this in different ways – some have an interactive format which you can use any time, whereas others will have ‘live’ open- days which every student will ‘attend’ on the same day.\r\n\r\nUCAS have a very helpful virtual open-day calendar, so pencil in some dates and prepare to take a tour from the comfort of your sofa!\r\n

Advice for your parents

\r\nWhile they’ll be incredibly proud that you’re off to university, it’s natural that they’ll worry. The Which? University Guide for Parents covers a lot of the topics that your international education consultancy will be helping you with (for example personal statements and course choices), but don’t underestimate how much your parents will want to know about the whole application and settling in process.\r\n\r\nFinally, speak to us – it’s what we’re here for! We host spot admission events regularly, so many of our students can put their questions directly to university staff too.