International College
Student pathways to The University of Sheffield

How to apply to study in the UK?

Posted 18 June 2015
How to apply to study in the UK?

Our guide is here to help you through the process.

Essentially, there are two main routes you can take – you can apply directly yourself or you can apply via an agent.

Agent or direct?

Some students looking to study in the UK prefer to apply via an agent, who can help guide them through the process. Agents, or advisors, can help you with a whole range of things regarding your student application, including:

  • Planning your studies
  • Choosing the right university for you
  • Applying for your course
  • Booking accommodation and travel
  • Ensuring that all the correct visa requirements are met.

It’s important to choose a reputable agent who will put your interests first and offer you good advice.

Here are some useful tips to help you find an agent you can trust

  • Know yourself – it makes things far easier when you can approach an agent with a very clear idea of where you’d like to take your studies next. Think about courses you want to apply for and where. The clearer and more focused you are, the more your agent can provide you with helpful advice.
  • Know the school – if you already know which universities or colleges you would like to apply to, there may be agents in your area that already have longstanding relationships with them and have a clear understanding of how their applications process works. If you know where you want to go, choosing an agent that already represents this educational institution could be ideal.
  • Research – if you know where you want to study, get in touch and ask whether the institution has a list of recommended agents that it works with – these may also be published on their website.

You can also check out the British Council’s Global Agents list, talk to friends and family, and check out reviews of agencies online to ensure they have plenty of satisfied customers.

Applying directly

When you’ve decided on the course you want to take and the University or International College you want to apply to, you’ll need to check when their admission dates are and what their qualification and language requirements are.

UK universities and colleges can have different application requirements and procedures depending on whether you’re a student coming from the UK, Europe or a non-EU overseas country.

While the majority of undergraduate courses require you to apply online via the UCAS (Undergraduate Courses at University and College) service, some universities and colleges allow international students to apply directly and you’ll have to apply directly for the majority of post-graduate courses.

Step one: Getting started

If you’re applying via an agent to study in the UK, they will supply you with an application form to complete. If you’re applying online yourself, you’ll be able to download this directly from the University or College’s website or complete it online.

Step two: Completing the form

Go through the application step-by-step. It will typically ask you for details like:

  • The course you want to enrol in and when it starts
  • Your existing qualifications and English level – please give as much detail as you can here
  • Whether or not you require student accommodation
  • Whether or not you will need extra English language preparation to help you
  • Personal details, such as date of birth and passport details
  • Family details
  • How you intend to pay for your course.

You’ll then need to send your application as indicated, or have your agent submit it. You’ll also need to include any supporting documents that the University or College requests, such as proof of ID and income.

Step three: Wait – and don’t forget your visa!

Once you’ve sent off your application, you just need to sit back and wait for a reply. In the meantime, you should check whether or not you require a visa to study in the UK. You can find out at the UK government’s website here, and make your application now if you need to.