How to Plan for Studying in the UK in 2022
Aug 05, 2022
The UK is an excellent study destination for international students because of its world-class universities and high-quality education system. For Filipino students like us, it can be an exciting journey to move to the other side of the world, be in a different environment, and earn globally competent qualifications.
If you’re set on turning your study-abroad dream into a reality in the UK, here’s a quick guide on how you can start your journey based on my personal experience as an international student applicant in the UK!
How can I begin my search?
Your road to studying in the UK begins with research. Of course, your obvious best friend in this process is Google. You can start by typing keywords related to your chosen field of study and simply adding “bachelors/masters/PhD UK.” In my case, I Googled “youth development masters UK,” and voila! The results showed me relevant programs offered by various universities across the UK.
From there, I thoroughly checked each university and program to see which were the best options for me. You can narrow down your choices depending on your priorities such as the location, costs, program structure, or scholarship opportunities. Personally, costs and scholarships were crucial for me as I would be self-funded. I also looked into the program structure to see if the modules sparked my interest. I wasn’t very particular with the location or the university itself, though I leaned more towards the ones outside of London because the living costs would be lower.
Who should I talk to?
Once you have a list of potential programs and universities you want to apply to, you may want to consider reaching out to other people who can help you in making decisions and applying. Do you have friends or family who are studying or living in the UK? They can be of great help in terms of sharing insights about what to expect from a particular university or location.
I also recommend talking to an educational advisor. There are agencies out there that offer free services as long as they are partners with your chosen unis. (I personally recommend Intake Education!) The application process can be quite overwhelming and tedious, and it’s great to have an expert assist you. They can help you find programs, connect you with universities, handle your application process, and give you proper guidance on your requirements.
What is the application process for Filipino students?
The process starts when your chosen unis and programs have opened applications for your desired intake date. Usually, the school year begins in September (some have January intakes, too) and you can apply a year early. In my case, I was aiming for a September 2022 intake, and I started my applications around February 2022.
Firstly, check the university’s website for their application process. Usually, you have to register to their portal, provide basic information, and upload necessary documents such as transcripts from your previous schools, CV, copy of your passport, recommendation letters, and proof of English language proficiency.
Once you have completed your application to the university and it was successful, you will receive an offer, either “unconditional” or “conditional.” An unconditional offer means that you’ve been accepted, and there are no other requirements that the university would need from you. A conditional offer, on the other hand, means that you may be accepted to the university if you comply with a few other requirements such as submitting English proficiency test results (if you haven’t yet) or paying a deposit.
While you’re waiting to hear back from the universities you applied to, I recommend you start looking into the visa application process especially if you’re only a few months away from the intake date. Head over to gov.uk/student-visa to check official guidelines and requirements to apply for a student visa. Aside from the documents you submitted to the university, you also need to prepare financial documents which can prove that you have the financial means to live and study in the UK for a year. Filipino students also need to undergo a tuberculosis screening.
Another thing you need to secure is the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies or CAS. This will be issued to you by the university as part of the admission process once you’ve accepted your unconditional offer.
Once your CAS and requirements are ready, you will officially apply for the student visa here. In the portal, you will provide personal information, upload documents, and pay the visa fee (£363 or around ₱24,000) as well as the health surcharge. The health surcharge that you will pay depends on your years of study. In my case, the length of my master’s program is 1 year, and the health surcharge I’d pay is £705 (around ₱47,000) which would allow me to access healthcare services throughout the duration of my stay in the UK.
Once you’ve completed this online process, you will then schedule an in-person biometrics appointment at the VFS Global Visa Application Center in Makati. Visa approval can take three to five weeks or longer, so make sure to plan and apply accordingly!
Where will I live in the UK?
When your visa application is on track, you should also start thinking about accommodations. Universities usually offer on-campus living arrangements which can be easily found on their website.
You can also search for apartments or flats outside of the university. Amber Student is one of the best platforms where you can explore accommodations that are perfect (and safe!) for international students like us. Just type the university or city in the search bar, and you can see all the available flats around the area.
You can narrow down your choices based on your preferred location, room type, and budget. There are usually a lot of options that are walking distance from universities, so you don’t have to worry about commuting. In terms of room types, you can choose accommodations with shared facilities such as bathrooms, kitchen, and communal spaces. There are also en-suite rooms with private bathrooms or studio-types where you can have your own kitchen.
Another great thing about the listings on Amber Student is that they are usually furnished with the basics such as a bed, closet, desk, dining set, and kitchen appliances, so you only have to pack or buy smaller household items for your flat.
And, that’s it! Wherever you are in your process, I hope that this quick guide has helped you take necessary steps towards your UK dreams! Just keep the ball rolling, and you’ll get there soon enough!
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