If you are considering where to study abroad, here is some quick information that might help. This past year, universities in the United Kingdom saw record high student enrolments. UK universities offer world-class education, which is not just more affordable, but also provide multiple work opportunities within the country.
Consequently, the island nation has emerged as one of the most preferred study destinations for Indian aspirants, who now form the third largest international student population there, after students from China and European Union. The number of UK visas issued to Indian students nearly tripled in the past three years to one lakh enrolments, as of Sep. 2021, shows the data from ICEF Monitor.
The application process for applying to the UK universities, however, can be onerous for first-time applicants. Priyanka Nishar, Founder and Managing Director of Azent Overseas Education breaks it down for on how aspiring young students can have a hassle-free journey to their dream study destination.
1) Could you elaborate on the benefits of studying in the UK?
There are many, but one of the biggest benefits is affordability. Courses offered by UK universities are much more affordable than equivalent ones in other developed countries. They are also of a much shorter duration.
So, without compromising on quality, students could earn an undergraduate degree in three years and a postgraduate degree in just one year. Additionally, students can earn income while studying in the UK as they are allowed to work 20 hours part-time per week and full-time during vacations. Postgraduate-level and above students can also bring their partner and children (dependents) to live and even work in the UK for the duration of their course. So the policies are extremely supportive of and friendly to students.
As a bonus, the UK also offers free healthcare services for a one-time immigration health surcharge of GBP 470 per year, a wide range of courses, relatively easier student visa process, scholarships, diverse culture, and various internship options that help aspirants get the required industry exposure while studying.
2) What are some of the top universities and courses that students can opt for in the UK?
Among the top ten universities in the world, four of them are in the UK, as per QS World University Rankings 2022. At Azent, we provide admission counselling for top universities in the UK, including the University of Cardiff, Nottingham Trent, Bath, Brunel, Exeter, Leeds, and Portsmouth, and many more.
There really is a wide variety of courses offered for different levels of qualification, starting from summer school to a Bachelor’s degree, post-graduate certification or diploma courses, Master’s degree, and PhD. Students can choose between various specialisations, such as business management, law, computer science, medicine, data science, engineering, humanities, arts, music, public health, and international relations.
3) What is the admission process and fee structure for the UK universities?
For Bachelor’s degree applications, students need to apply through the UCAS application website which is a one-stop platform for all undergraduate applications. You can choose your college, submit your grades and personal statement, and apply for up to five programmes, at the same or at different universities in the UK. For postgraduate courses and higher, aspirants can apply directly to their selected university.
There is an additional requirement of clearing the IELTS or TOEFL English language test for Indian students. Even though the application process seems simple, universities in the UK lay a lot of emphasis on personal statements. This is where the competition gets tougher, and the right counselling can really make your application stand out.
There are two primary intake periods, the winter intake months are January/February, and the fall intake is in September/October. A select few universities also accept students in May/June.
The tuition fee usually ranges between GBP 10,000 - GBP 40,000 annually.
4) But there are students who may find the fees steep, how should they go about their application?
UK universities offer many government-sponsored and individual scholarships for international students. Some of the top government scholarships for postgraduate studies include the Chevening Scholarship, Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship, GREAT Scholarships, Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarships (CWIT) etc. These scholarships cover up to 100% of your tuition fees.
At Azent we also offer ‘Azent Aspire Scholarships’, which can cover up to 100% of your tuition fees, and we award these based on students’ ambition and not necessarily their grades. Besides, Azent can also organises many events and connects aspirants to counsellors to make them aware of these scholarships.
5) What are the work prospects in the UK?
This is the best part! Britain is one of few countries that offer an extra two to three years of work opportunity under the Graduate Immigration Route (GIR) post-completion of a degree or higher-level course. All one needs to do is pay the student visa fee (GBP 715) and the immigration health surcharge (GBP 624) annually, while they look for a job.
UK graduates are among the most employable students in the world. In addition to equipping students with excellent academic credentials, UK degrees can also provide students with valuable work placements. Students can take advantage of placements, paid internships and volunteering positions to improve skills, make contacts and get practical professional experience.
Once they find a suitable job, students can switch from the student visa to a skilled worker visa. The Tier 2 work visa can last up to five years and can be extended further if they meet the UK’s employment criteria.