Studying in the UK

1:40 PM

Hello everyone! I've been incredibly busy the past few months, and this post is was delayed by 3 months, pretty much due to the lifestyle adjustment, and my studies.

A panorama I took on the day I arrived. Cloudy! The typical British weather.

So, yeah, I'm in the UK, and I'm doing my postgraduate studies, MA Advertising, in Bournemouth University. I don't have any ounce of regret coming here to study (though I have to admit, I do get homesick).

From here, I'm going to list down the process (and maybe some tips) in applying to study in the UK.

Firstly, I would suggest going to UKEAS Philippines, they really helped a ton with my application process, and don't worry, they don't charge anything for counselling. Also, check out their events; in which you can have a chance to meet with representatives from universities in the UK and elsewhere. They have an event on the 16th of January, so go check it out!

So, where to start... Of course, you have to find the university and course of your choice. I applied to 4 universities (Bournemouth University, University of Leeds, Goldsmiths UoL, and London College of Communications), because I need some plan B's just in case I don't get in my first choice, though I did get accepted in all of them! 

The most important thing in choosing a uni, is to see if they have the course you're looking for. For example, I finished my bachelors in UST on Advertising Arts, and since for 4 years, (and working as a digital creative for a year), I wanted to know the brains and the strategy in making ad campaigns. From a list of 10, I've narrowed it down to 4. Universities will often have the course module on their sites, so you will know what subjects you will have, and what do you learn from them. Don't rush!

Reading the course modules is crucial. You don't want to end up in the "wrong" course. Also, most of the times in the interview (both in applying for the visa and the university) they will ask WHAT the course is about, so they'll know if you're serious or not.

Next would be requirements. They'll usually ask for:
  1. Your transcript of records from your previous university
  2. Certificate of graduation
  3. Certificate of your final grade (required if you're applying for a scholarship in which you have to show a certain grade)
  4. Recommendation letter from your university (in their official letterhead paper)
  5. Recommendation letter from your employer (if working)
  6. A scanned copy of your passport
The process goes like this, you might be emailed for an interview, or sometimes not. You have to wait for your "offer"and there are usually 3 of them:
  • Unconditional Offer - This means you are accepted to study in the university. Quite rare if applying for the first time unless you have exceptional grades or experience, etc.
  • Conditional Offer - This means you CAN be accepted granted you fulfil the "conditions" of your offer. Usually, everyone would get this offer. For most international students, it would be achieving a certain mark in your IELTS exam (can vary from 6 to 7), or a certain grade if you're still studying.
  • Unsuccessful - This means they didn't offer you a place in their course. A rejection.
It took me about a week for all the universities to reply to me, all conditional offers, which was to get their minimum IELTS point.

If you went through UKEAS, they will be the one send your applications, and monitor them as well. I highly recommend going through them, they're nice people, and are willing to help. And it's free :)

Some of the requirements!

It is highly recommended that you apply as soon as possible, to avoid the heavy period of applications. Get your recommendation letters from your university as soon as possible. It took me over a month and a half to get mine, since there were a lot of processes to follow.

Next is the IELTS. Last time, I think it cost me 8,000 php for the academic exam. Don't underestimate IELTS though! You don't want to pay another 8,000 php for a retake. In a nutshell, IELTS is composed of 4 modules: Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking. Writing was the most difficult for me (and I was a bit shocked, since I was so confident about it) I got an overall 7.5 point. Not bad!

Once you submit your IELTS results to the chosen institution, AND, gave the university the deposit (a part of your tuition fee) they will give you a CAS document. You will need the number in it, and you may need to print it to submit in your visa application.

At this time, you should also consider your accommodation in the UK, as they will also ask for it in the visa application. 

A requisite for all Filipinos wishing to go and study in the UK, is the Tuberculosis test. It won't take more than 3 hours. Note, they will only accepts results from IOM in Makati. I think it cost around 3,000 php for the test.

Now comes the most nerve wrecking part. The student visa. Sadly, this year, they implemented that we need to pay somewhere $ 500 for the health surcharge. Probably because people were abusing it. To be honest, I feel cheated. Maybe because I'm perfectly healthy (and I've never used it so far in the last few months)... Besides that, the fee is also costly, which also costs around $500. So you might have to pay around $1000 for the whole application.

This is done only in VFS.

Documents needed for the student visa:
P.S. You need to photocopy everything.
  1. Application form
  2. UK Passport size photo
  3. Your passport
  4. Every requirement the university asked of you (transcripts, IELTS results, recommendation letters, etc)
  5. Tuberculosis test results from IOM
  6. Proof of accommodation (emails, etc)
  7. Proof of deposits (tuition fee, accommodation, as they will subtract it from the money you need ton show)
  8. Recent bank statements, which should have: The remaining fee to pay your tuition fees, and living expenses. In this case you should read GOV.UK 's guidance documents on the amount you must show, because it varies in every situation. This money should be in your account for at least 28 days. And should not be more than a month old.
In VFS, you'll just have to submit your documents and pay. Also, an immigration officer will interview you (from the UK), and ask you things, such as why do you want to study, or what is your course about, or how much money are you or your sponsor making. Also, they will take a photo of you, and get your fingerprints. As if your application is successful, it'll be your residence permit.

It usually takes 14 business days for them to send back your passport. Annoyingly, even if you sign up for SMS or email confirmation, you'll never know unless you get it in your hands.

And that's about it! I was equally nervous and wasn't even sure if I was really going unless I had a visa in my hands. But no worries! as long as you know you are clear in the requirements, then you should be fine!

I'll post up some more on my student experiences (and travels) in the next few days! Ciao! Hope this helps!

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